The residue of design

James Fallows has a long piece about Obama that someone has probably already mentioned here. I mention it because I noticed that over the past few weeks the “Obama is lucky” stuff (e.g. here; here; here) is back with a vengeance, and Fallows argues that there’s more to it.

It’s just a fact that if a black person accomplishes something it will be chalked up to some form of luck, the luck of “natural talent”, the luck of affirmative action, the luck of having a crazy opposition party, whatever. That’s a topic for another time.

My question is this: are there other issues like contraception (which the media insists Obama got “lucky” on) where Republicans can be baited into taking insane positions that alienate most of the population? They have crazy positions on almost all issues, so there should be other opportunities like this. We should all be thinking about this, IMHO.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

111 replies
  1. 1
    Maude says:

    Cut Medicare.

  2. 2
    ChicagoPat says:

    I’m sure if the Obama administration started pushing to sign onto the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, we could get them angrily defending child abusers.

  3. 3
    Mark B says:

    It’s just fact that if a black person accomplishes anything it will be chalked up to some form of luck, the luck of “natural talent”, the luck of affirmative action, the luck of having a crazy opposition, whatever.

    Well, they do have Clarence Thomas as a clear example of an unqualified Black person who was elevated to a position he didn’t deserve and is clearly unsuited for. Not to mention when someone came up with credible and well supported evidence of misconduct in his earlier career, she was smeared and treated as a liar and a slut. Which connects the racism and the sexism into a grand nexus of sleaze which was the Thomas hearings.

  4. 4
    Nicole says:

    Replacing government-provided military veteran health care with a voucher system.

  5. 5
    red dog says:

    Obama has always been playing chess while the GOP plays checkers or maybe even tic-tac-toe. The republicans keep going for headlines instead of substance.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    If Michelle wore a suffragette dress with the sash and walked openly past the White House fence, I’ll bet they’ll attempt to take back the vote from those hussies.

  7. 7
    MattF says:

    I have noticed that wingers have unbridled contempt for Joe Biden, so probably Joe should get out more and bait the crazies.

  8. 8
    c u n d gulag says:

    Well, starting another war in the Middle East, thus sending gas prices further through the roof and into the stratosphere, is a really stupid f*cking idea.

    And yet, the Conservatives seem Hell-bent on, if not invading Iran, then at least bombing it.

    I don’t think the bulk of the American public wants to see either one.

    And tying together elitism and college educations (pretty much what every parent wants, is pretty f*cking moronic.

    They’d be better off trying to tie brown people getting advanced degrees from cheaper state schools, to the poor, rich white kids having to pay more for private ones.

    But look, if they can sell basic health care accessibility as “death panels,” you’ve got to admire their “Chootspah” and marketing skills.

    So, my point is, be careful what you wish for…

  9. 9
    BO_Bill says:

    It’s not really luck DougJ. Axelrod paid Stephanopoulos to ask the contraception question, and then the TeeVee people ran with it. Then they put some 31-year old ‘student’, who really likes unprotected copulating out of wedlock, but who is not a slut, on the TeeVee. Then this female who is not a slut was molded into a victim by the TeeVee people.

    All in all, we need to give Axelrod great credit for this, and not attribute it to luck. Otherwise, how would we justify his 7-figure compensation for what is clearly not peddling political influence?

  10. 10
    Mark B says:

    If Obama cured cancer, the Republicans would be suddenly pro-cancer. There would be bills in every state legislature declaring a tumor to be a person.

  11. 11
    sb says:

    End public education entirely.

    I say we pin this on them; see if they really support educational apartheid. They do, of course, but we should make them say so.

  12. 12
    PeakVT says:

    @Maude: That may be crazy to you and me, but there’s a large cadre of Very Serious Persons who think that it’s Bold Idea to suggest such a thing.

  13. 13
    DonBoy says:

    Get them to support taking away the children of illegal immigrants.

  14. 14
    Cat Lady says:

    Public sanitation. We don’t need no stinkin’ sewers.

  15. 15
    scav says:

    @Mark B: Well, du-uh, Curing things is a jobs-killer, what does he have against the pharmaceutical industry, huh? ! Besides, Cancer is GSD’s Holy Finger, if Someone Wants To Die of GSD’s Holy Finger, Big Government Shouldn’t Interfere So There.

    ETA: and who profits off cancer and how long it takes to care for? Hospitals! Catholic Hospitals! Once again his anti-catholic bent is revealed utterly.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @BO_Bill:

    And here we see the cretinous stupid in all its glory.

  17. 17
    Tripod says:

    @MattF:

    He and Joe should do one of those take out lunch stops at a taco joint.

  18. 18
    Brachiator says:

    @BO_Bill:

    It’s not really luck DougJ. Axelrod paid Stephanopoulos to ask the contraception question

    My, my. Look who crawled out from under his rock again.

  19. 19
    Mark B says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Poe, I guess. It was so inarticulate and clunky, language-wise, I read it as a Borat-style parody. But maybe the poster really is that stupid.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @PeakVT:

    The Very Serious Persons need to be treated to Very Serious Tumbrel Rides Very Soon.

  21. 21
    Chyron HR says:

    @BO_Bill:

    By applying logic, which is a branch of mathematics, we can determine that someone who uses birth control does not, in fact, engage in “unprotected copulating”.

    Your failure to comprehend this suggests that your ancestors did not evolve in the presence of tungsten.

  22. 22
    BO_Bill says:

    Perhaps Cole is being benevolent after being banned by that black guy.

  23. 23
    aimai says:

    Luck is a really old concept00related to both personality and fortune. My favorite book of all time, Njal’s Saga, has a character, Skarp Hedin, who is fatally unlucky. he can’t help but spoil everything he touches, often at the last minute. I agree that, generally speaking, “luck” applied to African Americans occupies the same dismissive spot as “natural talent” does when sports writers write about someone like Michael Jordan.

    But people admire the lucky. Fortune favors the bold and people favor the fortunate. So in the political context it remains better to be lucky than smart. I’m not so sure that this is as much a knock on Obama as plenty of more agressively racist things are. I remember tha tmanyo f the same things were said about Clinton–his “luck” was that things always redounded to his credit even things other people had done or said. People did not at all think that was some kind of detraction from Clinton.

    In short Luck, in the political context, has a whole lot to do with Charisma and this is generally speaking a good thing for the politician. Maybe it is used by some people to attack Obama as not really all that smart, or not in control of the events around him but simply ucky and reactive. But the people who hold that view (the teleprompter crowd) swing wildly between that view and the view that Obama is behind literally everything so does it matter?

    aimai

  24. 24
    Irving says:

    @BO_Bill: Fascinating. Tell me, how much did Axelrod pay Stephanopoulos? And who are the TeeVee People? Why did they run with it? By all means, tell us more.

  25. 25
    rageahol says:

    This takes a couple of things to work:
    1) accurate prediction of how many people will, in this case, take offense. sometimes that is a lot more difficult than it seems.
    2) the means being available to express their displeasure and take action

    because otherwise, you just normalize the brownshirts’ rhetoric. it’s delicate and frankly makes me a little nervous, because if done incorrectly what comes out of it could very well be worse than the status quo rather than better.

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @BO_Bill:

    So … Having your very own computer really doesn’t make a particle of difference, does it?

  27. 27

    Sure. Just have POTUS. take a position. Watch the GOP. take the opposite one. Easy Peasy.

  28. 28
    Napoleon says:

    are there other issues like contraception (which the media insists Obama got “lucky” on) where Republicans can be baited into taking insane positions that alienate most of the population?

    If Obama is intentionally baiting them then good for him and why did it take top level Democrats this long to figure out that the Republicans can be baited into taking insane positions? It has been obvious for a long time that a strategy like that would be pure gold against them.

  29. 29
    chrismealy says:

    I’ve been harping on contraception as a winning wedge issue since 2000 so I’m taking full credit for it. You’re welcome.

  30. 30
    Mark B says:

    I watched the Rush video on Daily Kos and one thing that struck me is the constant repetition of “so much sex” and “a lot of sex” etc. Now, I don’t want to register on DK just to comment, but just wow.

    How can someone be so ignorant about biology and how birth control works to think that the cost depends on how much sex you have? Unless you use condoms or other ‘per use’ methods, which wasn’t being discussed at the hearing. The cost of birth control pills is the same if you have sex once a year or once an hour. He’s fixating on something which is simply none of his fucking business, and has no relation to the issue.

  31. 31
    different-church-lady says:

    @BO_Bill: Hmmm… your parody isn’t as accurate as it used to be.

  32. 32
    celticdragonchick says:

    @aimai:

    My favorite book of all time, Njal’s Saga, has a character, Skarp Hedin, who is fatally unlucky. he can’t help but spoil everything he touches, often at the last minute.

    Sort of an anti-Teela Brown.

  33. 33
    Mark says:

    Obama should push legislation that enshrines Motherhood and Apple Pie as fundamental American values. Sure it’s ridiculous (what does enshrine mean? how’s Apple Pie a value?) but it would be great to see all the republicans campaigning against Motherhood and Apple Pie in an election year.

    Because that’s exactly what they’d do–every last one of them.

  34. 34
    Joe Bohemouth says:

    Obama is a poker player.

    He is very good at working probabilities over a long run.

    To one kind of idiot, this looks like luck.

  35. 35
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mark B:

    He’s fixating on something which is simply none of his fucking business, and has no relation to the issue.

    He had a rather significant relationship to pills at one point in his life. Think about that and you’ll understand how he might have arrived at the “all pills work in quantity” model.

    What? I’m just trying to empathize with the guy.

  36. 36
    BO_Bill says:

    I am sorry different church-lady.

    My interpretation of the word ‘unprotected’ is based on military experience, and I now know it is somewhat different than what is implied in the modern political vernacular. As I very much enjoy my renewed posting privileges the best I can do at this time is recommend Googling the term ‘cream-pie’.

  37. 37
    Liberty60 says:

    @BO_Bill:

    31-year old ‘student’, who really likes unprotected copulating out of wedlock, but who is not a slut, on the TeeVee. Then this female who is not a slut was molded into a victim by the TeeVee people.

    Dude- Bristol Palin is like, 22, not anywhere near 31.
    And even as a liberal, I think thats a shitty thing to say.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    I do think it’s sometimes used dismissively towards Obama — “Oh, sure, he won that election, but that’s because Jack Ryan self-destructed, so he was just lucky.” And I do think that Obama has been fortunate in his opponents. I still wonder who the super-genius in the Illinois Republican Party was who decided that Alan Keyes would totally beat Obama.

    But I think it’s also hard to look at the string of successes that Obama’s had and not think of that old cliche, “Luck favors the prepared.” He’s been lucky, but he’s also been ready and able to capitalize on any lucky break that he does get. I don’t think anyone expected the Republicans to double down on “contraception is bad!” but the administration was there to nudge things along when they did.

  39. 39
    kerFuFFler says:

    OT but well worth a click! (Another cartoon skewering Limbaugh)

  40. 40
    different-church-lady says:

    @BO_Bill: C’mon, man, the real BOB was never that clever.

  41. 41
    Emma Anne says:

    @BO_Bill:

    Dude, that was masterful. Every single word was a lie including “and” and “the”.

  42. 42
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yup: you have to be good to be lucky, and you have to be lucky to be good.

  43. 43
    aimai says:

    I also wanted to add that saying that Obama (or Clinton) is “lucky” with his enemies or any particularly hideous Republican initiative is like saying that the Rooster owner is “lucky” that the Rooster wakes him up by crowing at Dawn. The Republican party is just this carzy at this point. They can’t do anything else. They must dree their weird here regardless of teh sense or political expediency of their moves. When Karen Santorum publicly advised her husband to shut the fuck up about Contraception already she wasn’t telling him to stop being the real Rick–she was telling him to stop being honest about wh he is. But they are constitutionally incapable of keeping the mask on.

    aimai

  44. 44
    Irving says:

    Obama is “lucky” in that he has whisked Opportunity up into his bedroom for a three hour dalliance right about the time that a lesser politician is wondering if that might possibly be a knock on his door.

  45. 45
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Chyron HR: Well played, Chyron HR. Well played.

  46. 46
    different-church-lady says:

    @Chyron HR: Doesn’t that rather depend on what you’re trying to protect yourself from?

  47. 47
    Palli says:

    @Mark B:
    The cost of birth control pills is the same if you have sex once a year or once an hour…or never.

  48. 48

    By the same logic Bush got lucky on 9/11 because he then had an reason to invade Iraq. Don’t you remember the dozens of articles explaining to us mere mortals how lucky Bush … oh, wait …

  49. 49
    Soonergrunt says:

    @BO_Bill: You don’t know anything about military experience, per your own words when I started posting here.
    Pro tip: Tom Clancy doesn’t count as an instructor in either operations or logistics.

  50. 50
    Mark B says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur: Yeah, Bush himself admitted he had hit the trifecta.

  51. 51
    Palli says:

    Back to the idea of luck. If you ask me GWB was (is) the lucky president.
    1. Cheney did his work.
    2. 9/11
    3. First son in a 1% traditional family = legacy & money
    4. no indictments or subsequent prison time

  52. 52
  53. 53
    Keith says:

    There’s food safety…bait them into trying to defund the FDA et al.

  54. 54
    Kirk Spencer says:

    I actually expected something like this outroar when the “80% for payouts” clause went into effect. The part where insurance companies were required to spend not more than 20% of total revenues on things like admin costs and building reserves and sales and advertising and, well, all the other things.

    “Communist, destroying the whole purpose and principle of capitalism. How Dare You,” was the rant I expected.

    Despite the fact that some people are getting insurance checks back for “overpayments”.

  55. 55
    lacp says:

    I’ve heard that Obama is lucky to run against insane Republicans. Is he still just as lucky when he has to govern with them? I’m not sure that “insane Republicans” is 100% WIN for him.

  56. 56
    muddy says:

    @Liberty60:

    Dude- Bristol Palin is like, 22, not anywhere near 31.
    And even as a liberal, I think thats a shitty thing to say.

    I just gave a loud Chris Matthews “Hah!” for that and frightened the dog.

  57. 57
    RareSanity says:

    There is no way, a black man, with the name Barak Hussein Obama, could “luck” himself into the White House…

    No. Fucking. Way. Period.

  58. 58
    aimai says:

    Of course Bush was lucky and as a previous poster said upthread eve he said he hit the “trifecta.” But its true that Cheney was considered a mastermind and so was Karl Rove so when things broke their way they were saluted for seizing the moment or making their own chances.

    Its that second thing that Obama is never offered by the mainstream press. His enemies attribute to him almost supernatural powers of control and manipuation (man, look at how they insist that Pelosi and Obama orchestrated this whole contraception thing) and at the same time .

    But the Press continues to represent him as just falling into each situation. I have to admit my own feeling about Obama is midway between these points of view. The guy is brilliant, in my opinion, and I admire his calm, his intelligence, and a whole lot of other stuff about him. But I also think he’s not (until recently) really playing the long game people pretend he is. He’s way more reactive and pragmatic than that. That also means, I think, that he doesn’t respond to stimuli like a pithed frog. He doesn’t worry about newspaper coverage two months or four years from now. He navigates the shoals of the political scene like a great white water rafter.

    aimai

  59. 59
    scav says:

    Some OT complexity to warp the mind (it’s good practice).
    Anonymous hacker planned to publish details of women who had abortions

    A member of the hacking collective Anonymous broke into the website of Britain’s biggest abortion provider and planned to publicly release the details of women who used the service.
    . . . .
    But he had a change of heart because he thought doing so would be “wrong”, the court was told.
    . . . .
    Jeffery later confessed to his crimes during interviews with detectives, telling police two friends had had abortions which he disagreed with, the court heard.

    On the up side, this guy managed to find his off switch.

  60. 60
    Ben Cisco says:

    Getting things right and having it attributed to “luck” is a theme visited often during my own life; while my accomplishments are nowhere near POTUS’, let’s just say people of color and our age are familiar with the meme.

  61. 61
    scav says:

    And the flip side of all this is, the 1% and the hedge-gods attribute all their success to skill (thus requiring the mighty paychecks and bonuses) and none of it to mere luck. Funny that.

  62. 62
    Redshift says:

    @Mark B: One important point — the kind of birth control that men use (condoms) is per-use. So does someone like Rush ever bother to learn anything about how things work for women, even things like birth control?

    (Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does know, and he’s just counting on his fans to be too stupid to know.)

    Incidentally, I thought Rachel Maddow’s takedown of the Rush rant was the best, because she focused on this point. Instead of focusing on the outrage (which is what he wants, at least until it drives off advertisers), she talked about “can he really be this stupid?”

  63. 63
    kay says:

    Obama didn’t get lucky on contraception.
    The Tea Party House defunded Title X well before the HHS rule change was announced, and that’s when the policy fight over birth control began.
    Conservative governors are shutting
    down clinics where poor women get birth control, because they are defunding them.
    These are real and tangible things. They happened.
    It is an objectively true statement to say that the ACTIONS (not words) of Republicans are right now, today,
    reducing access to birth control.
    If the complaint from media is that conservatvies made huge political blunders in the course of their policy objective (reduciing access to birth control) and so Obama is “lucky” because he used that, well, I think that’s ridiculous.
    He’s fighting to maintain access to birth control. That’s what he’s doing, and he’s been doing that since at least 2010.
    Media just noticed this POLICY battle, because it went from attacking poor women to attacking ALL women.
    The smartest thing Obama did was take it out to ALL women, w/ the HHS rule.
    That was a risk, but brilliant, politically.

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    This is from the Fallows article

    Obama is more likely to be spending time with papers or a book, or even to be online—prowling through the same blogs and news sites as the rest of us, which is somehow unnerving given a president’s otherwise total cocooning from the daily details of shopping, driving, waiting, in ordinary Americans’ lives.

    I’m going to watch my language from now on. Maybe he should send Bo’s picture to whoever is in charge for next year’s calendar.

  65. 65
    JPL says:

    This is from the Fallows article

    Obama is more likely to be spending time with papers or a book, or even to be online—prowling through the same blogs and news sites as the rest of us, which is somehow unnerving given a president’s otherwise total cocooning from the daily details of shopping, driving, waiting, in ordinary Americans’ lives.

    I’m going to watch my language from now on. Maybe he should send Bo’s picture to whoever is in charge for next year’s calendar.

  66. 66
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Serious suggestion: maybe y’all should keep a Google Doc that you update with the subject/link of your FP posts so that you can just go there and look to see if someone has posted a story/link already

  67. 67
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @scav:

    If Michelle wore a suffragette dress with the sash and walked openly past the White House fence, I’ll bet they’ll attempt to take back the vote from those hussies.

    Actually, if Obama marked Women’s Suffrage, maybe seeking a report on removing effective barriers to voting for women (i.e. the Repub voter suppression efforts), we’d probably get the Repubs standing up and saying women shouldn’t vote, and preventing people from actually exercising that right wsn’t something to criticise.

  68. 68
    cckids says:

    @ChicagoPat:

    I’m sure if the Obama administration started pushing to sign onto the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, we could get them angrily defending child abusers.

    Oh please. I homeschool my kids & the state homeschooling network is run by extreme right-wingers. They have been frothing at the mouth about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for YEARS. Because, of course, it will circumvent our Constitution & prevent everyone from homeschooling their kids. (because apparently there is a clause in it advocating for all kids to get an education).

    Honestly, sometimes it seems that right-wingers spend the majority of their time parsing through the most arcane crap they can find so they have something to rage against. Do they not have lives?

  69. 69
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @BO_Bill:

    My interpretation of the word ‘unprotected’ is based on military experience

    You fucked a lot of men bareback as part of your military experience?

  70. 70
    David Koch says:

    Michael Jordan was just lucky all those balls fell through the hoop.

  71. 71
    hitchhiker says:

    how about minimum wage?

  72. 72
    Keith G says:

    Obama is book smart and fantastically people smart. He has mad analytically skills and a seemingly immortal work ethic. Luck is just a wonderful topper.

    Given that luck can be seen as the impact of events beyond one’s control (or even one’s prediction), Obama has been a lucky politician and thank god for that.

    Given the chances, it takes quite a bit of good luck for any one person to successfully run for president and it takes double that to be a successful one.

    The guy has done pretty good. Some are not happy about that. Who cares? Fuck ’em.

    edited

  73. 73
    MikeJ says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    we’d probably get the Repubs standing up and saying women shouldn’t vote,

    I’ve been reading that the 19th should be repealed on Free Republic for years. It just hasn’t gotten to the point where an elected person will say it out loud.

  74. 74
    David Koch says:

    so there should be other opportunities like this. We should all be thinking about this, IMHO.

    A long film at the Charlotte convention on JFK to remind everyone how he makes the fundies throw-up.

  75. 75
    kay says:

    Hey, I was as surprised as anyone when the Tea Party House went after Title X and Mitch Daniels and Rick Perry started defunding clinics that provide contraception, and every single GOP candidate announced they opposed Title X funding,but these are facts. These events occurred.
    Are the actions of conservative leaders reducing access to birth control?
    Yeah. They are.
    I don’t know how much media need before they conclude that this is an actual, substantive policy position on the Right, but I’m glad Obama’s not waiting around for their permission, because if he had, 5 million poor people would have lost access to family planning last year.

  76. 76
    pj says:

    Obamacare. They’ve already been baited on it, and went all overboard with Death Panels/End of Freedom As We Know It! This is countered at every campaign stop by introducing one or two people on stage who were previously denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, but now have coverage through PCIP. It makes everything personal. These are your neighbors. These are the people you work with, see at the grocery store, cheer with in the stands at high school football games, attend church with… They have insurance NOW, where BEFORE they did not. Republicans want to put them back where they were BEFORE. When you hear Mitt Romney say he wants to repeal Obamacare, think about the people standing before you up here today…

  77. 77
    kay says:

    I read that poll on birth control yesterday, and laughed at the analysts language.
    “Both sides are trying to frame this…”
    Okay, but ONE side is doing more than “framing” and it isn’t Obama’s side.
    ONE side is defunding family planning, ONE side tried to cut off access to 5 million people, granted, poor people, so invisible, but this is WAY bigger than “framing”.

  78. 78
    wrb says:

    They need to bait them by proposing some real and dramatic housing crisis relief.

  79. 79
    rikyrah says:

    RareSanity – March 10, 2012 | 2:09 pm · Link

    There is no way, a black man, with the name Barak Hussein Obama, could “luck” himself into the White House…

    No. Fucking. Way. Period.

    tell it

  80. 80
    Brian R. says:

    If you haven’t seen it, the Comedy Central show Key & Peele had a terrific sketch about Obama meeting with Republicans and realizing whatever he proposed, they’d automatically be against, and using it to his advantage. Really brilliant.

  81. 81
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    Going after the Lords Resistance Army at least got Rushbo to defend a messianic murderer. Puppy mills might be a good next target.

  82. 82
    David Koch says:

    @kay: Yes, but Kay, doncha think there are bigger issues like getting even with Obama for stealing the nomination with his Chicago gangsta tactics from Hillary?

  83. 83
    sloan says:

    I noticed that over the past few weeks the “Obama is lucky” stuff is back with a vengeance

    This was a big post-election talking point for the GOP after the election. Obama, a mixed-race half-term junior Senator nobody heard of defeated both the inevitable Clinton machine in his own party and then took on America’s most famous war hero and won. So it had to be luck.

    By telling themselves this Republicans took the easy way out and didn’t consider that maybe more people agreed with Obama, Bush sucked and the Republicans have shitty ideas that don’t work. Republicans say “Oh of course Obama won. That’s because everyone hated Bush”, but they never consider why they hated Bush unless it’s some fantasy about Bush being too liberal.

    The 2010 Teabagapalooza confirmed this mistaken belief for them and now that they appear set to accidentally nominate Romney they can claim he was too liberal if he loses and go hard right again in 2014. Wheee!

    As for crazy positions I like the very first suggestion by Maude to cut Medicare. Vouchers, baby! Let’s get Washington’s favorite Boy Genius Policy Wonk Paul Ryan campaigning with R-Money to promote the Politifact-checked Not-Medicare Plan. It shouldn’t be hard to get those dipshits to paint themselves into a corner with their tongues.

  84. 84
    different-church-lady says:

    @Brian R.: He ends that with the Bugs Bunny “Ain’t I a stinker?” line. I kept thinking about that clip during this thread, because Obama’s ‘luck’ really is like the kind of luck Bugs had against Elmer Fudd.

    But Bugs frequently had much more worthy and dangerous adversaries, and when he didn’t came out on top due to his superior intelligence he came out on top due to his superior inventiveness. Luck and skill. Bugs frequently had setbacks, but by about halfway through a cartoon (right around the time he’s say, “Of course you know this means war…”) he’d have his opponent completely figured out, and the rest was just a matter of using the opponent’s weaknesses against him.

    Substitute “term” for “cartoon” and we’re at about the five minute mark of a six minute short, the point where the bull/dog/cowboy/wrestler is mustering all his energy for one last unhinged charge.

  85. 85
    Tom Q says:

    All successful politicians have good luck as part of their mix. Reagan was lucky he (barely) didn’t prevail in his ’76 primary battle with Ford; if he had, running in the post-Watergate/stagflation/loss of Vietnam era, his far-right credentials would have led to a bad loss. When he instead ran against Jimmy Carter, with an ongoing foreign policy humiliation, economic turmoil and a bruising intra-Dem party challenge, voters were willing to look past his policy positions and give him a chance. Then, once president, he lucked out that oil prices eased back and helped the economy eventually grow. All that’s luck.

    As is the mere fact of being charismatic to start. Has anyone noticed that our charismatic candidates (two Roosevelts, Kennedy, Clinton, Reagan, Obama) tend to find favorable years in which to run and then get re-elected comfortably (unless they don’t survive to re-election, as in Kennedy)? It’s as if whatever godly touch made them charismatic in the first place sees to it they have success in the job. I don’t see why Obama needs to be singled out for this as if it’s suddenly an unearned advantage.

  86. 86
    MikeJ says:

    @Tom Q:

    Then, once president, he lucked out that oil prices eased back and helped the economy eventually grow. All that’s luck.

    Volcker’s monetary policy had also begun to kick in. Volcker had told Carter that he would have to cause pain to bring inflation under control, and that it could possibly cost him the election.

  87. 87
    RSA says:

    My question is this: are there other issues like contraception (which the media insists Obama got “lucky” on) where Republicans can be baited into taking insane positions that alienate most of the population?

    Here are a few topics I think that Republicans might plausibly be baited on:

    * A movement to ensure that the morning-after pill is widely avaiable for rape victims.
    * Publicity on the growth of “medical tourism”. (Might someone in Congress try to outlaw it or make it more difficult?)
    * Publicity for Gardasil.

    I’d add a further emphasis on teaching of evolution, but the average American is pretty ill-informed on that topic.

    ETA: WTF, WP?

  88. 88
    Thymezone says:

    And so the endless quest to invent better, more detailed, complex and even more useless fucking navelgazing goes on unabated. Good work, Doug. The navel, as a fixture in the blog universe, has never been so well examined.

    New navel frontiers await! Like Cousteau, we dive even deeper in to the depths of the navel to see what there is to see.

  89. 89
    Thymezone says:

    Sorry, forgot the link which is here.

  90. 90

    President Obama should mention tariffs on
    chinese imports. Cutting subsidies to the oil industry. Studies on drinking water near shale. A study on the travels of a proverbial drop of water from Pacific Ocean evap (with Asian pollution in tt). to USA mountain snow, to travels down the Colorado River ( uranium and other metal mining tailing , frakking, and over 80 towns sucking up and re-pouping out the water before it gets to the lower end where CA drinks it) to our wasteful use in the SW deserts of LA, SD, and AZ.
    Let’s redefine “regulations” as “standards” and fight then.

  91. 91
    Martin says:

    My question is this: are there other issues like contraception (which the media insists Obama got “lucky” on) where Republicans can be baited into taking insane positions that alienate most of the population?

    LIke the Girl Scouts, as Asiangrrl mentioned last night.

    Seriously, all Obama needs to do is mention Girl Scouts and ‘reproductive health’ in the same speech, and it’ll be a done deal.

    But anyone who questions the ‘lucky’ issue, go back and look at the campaign spreadsheet that was leaked. Whether it was leaked on purpose or not isn’t relevant here – it came out 2 days after Super Tuesday and accurately predicted almost every race through the end of the year, including vote margins and delegate counts. If you ascribe to the belief that primaries are fluid things – that a strong debate performance can alter the trajectory of a campaign, or a gaffe, or an unexpected win will give you ‘momentum’ in future races – well, the spreadsheet puts the lie to all of that. It was calling races 3 months out – and early in the cycle no less. You can’t make a series of projections like that and have them happen through luck. Might as well just suggest that Jesus rigged the election in Obama’s favor as ascribe it to any sort of good fortune.

  92. 92

    Re-defining “regulations” to “standards” should be applied everywhere : EPA, lunches, health issues, car design, EVERYTHING!

  93. 93
    Hob says:

    @different-church-lady: Bugs Bunny… a skinny guy with big ears… hmmmm.

  94. 94
    Martin says:

    @Richard W. Crews:

    President Obama should mention tariffs on
    chinese imports. Cutting subsidies to the oil industry.

    He’s done both of those. For China it’s specific items where China is dumping product to undermine US companies – like solar panels. That’s a more than reasonable approach. Not sure the benefit of a tariff on XBoxes – it wouldn’t result in any domestic benefit other than the money raised by the tariff, which wouldn’t be much.

  95. 95
    Thymezone says:

    So here we sit on the beach, watching the surfers .. and the question comes up …. That one black guy … is he just lucky to get all the good waves, or is he really just that good?

    After 4 or 5 years, I think the answer is pretty obvious. He’s that good, and at that level, one makes one’s own luck.

    Moving on ……

  96. 96
    Recall says:

    My question is this: are there other issues like contraception (which the media insists Obama got “lucky” on) where Republicans can be baited into taking insane positions that alienate most of the population?

    This one gets my vote.

  97. 97
    sublime33 says:

    Why all this consternation about Obama’s luck? Were the New York Giants lucky that the Green Bay Packers dropped six passes and fumbled three times against them in the playoffs? Lucky, yes. Tainted victory? Hell no. Champions take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself.

    Likewise, was Obama lucky that Peter Fitzerald told the Republican Party to piss off when they retailated for his recommendation of Patrick Fitzgerald as US Attorney, leaving an open seat? Was Obama lucky that the Democratic frontrunner is 2004 scared off other competitors with his big money campaign, then got caught as a wife beater? Was Obama luck that the Republican front runner Jack Ryan turned out to be a pervert married to a TV star and dropped out before the Democratic National Convention? Was Obama lucky that the party caught wind that the Republicans were considering filling Ryan’s slot with Mike Ditka, so they thought it would be a good idea to let Obama make a speech in prime time before the country?

    The answer to all of these is yes – Obama was lucky. But he took full advantage of the opportunity every time it preseneted itself. That is what leaders and champions do.

    So quit being so thin skinned about Obama being lucky. We all have some degree of luck at some point in our lives. The difference is successfuly people take proper advantage of the situation – like this president has.

  98. 98
    El Cid says:

    A big part of skill and talent is recognizing and taking advantage of lucky turns when they arise.

  99. 99
    different-church-lady says:

    @Thymezone: So, I notice your handle doesn’t link to a blog of your own.

    Why is that?

  100. 100
    Boghprn Ordovician Dolomite says:

    ThymeZone you cantankerous angry douchebag! It’s good to see back around these parts–you always provide zest without just being a troll or a buffoon.

  101. 101
    different-church-lady says:

    @Martin:

    Seriously, all Obama needs to do is mention Girl Scouts and ‘reproductive health’ in the same speech, and it’ll be a done deal.

    OBAMA WORRIED ABOUT PREGNANT GIRL SCOUTS

    Are those really the words you wanna see on the Chyron?

  102. 102
    Raythe says:

    I read the Fallows article, thinking that it would show the opposite side of the argument that Obama was/is lucky. I left the article more aggravated with Fallows than all the others that claim President’ Obama’s just lucky!

    It appears that Fallows has interviewed people for his article who don’t have any real access to the president, but are looking at him from the sidelines with their only expertise being that they are politicians or staffers themselves. He repeatedly stated that the White House had no comment on the article. Also, there was a lot of strange pop psychology about the president that was bizarre and, at times, quite condescending.

    I see in President Obama an incredibly smart man who must keep his shit together b/c everything and everyone else ISN’T. His steadiness, which Fallows and others call “coldness”, is necessary. He is a man who understands that though most of us are running around with our hair on fire, he has to grab the nearest extinguisher and put out the flames, not join us in the hysterics.

    I was never impressed by Clinton’s “I feel your pain” approach though I understand people find that charming. But I don’t think that every president must be that way or a man you’d want to have a beer with (though having a beer with Obama would be incredible). In a nutshell, every president is different with different strengths and weaknesses, which Fallows was right to point out. But what I don’t think he got is that Obama has the perfect strengths for this time, for these circumstances. I think when (not if) he wins a second terms the media will finally get this through their thick skulls.

    End rant.

  103. 103
    Rome Again says:

    @different-church-lady: Because he chooses not to, although I just recently started my own blog (never wanted to before, decided to get around to it now) and he has already been invited (an hour before I saw this post) to contribute there.

    You had years to ask that question, and when you asked it you were just a tiny bit too late.

  104. 104
    Rome Again says:

    And here’s mine. :)

  105. 105
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “are there other issues like contraception (which the media insists Obama got “lucky” on) where Republicans can be baited into taking insane positions that alienate most of the population?”

    Yes, Andrew Breitbart’s allegedly damning video showing Obama as a student at Harvard hugging Professor Bell shows the rightwing as racists, which could turn off average Americans.

  106. 106
    Joey Maloney says:

    Perhaps Obama could devote on of his Saturday radio addresses to decrying the drinking of antifreeze and the sticking of forks into electrical sockets. It could solve a lot of our problems.

  107. 107
    kay says:

    I think there’s an easy one.

    Bring out actual people who benefitted from the health care law.

    Either younger people who got on their parents policy or (probably better) people who are in the (federally subsidized) high risk pools.

    Normal people will be glad to hear their stories, and the GOP base and huge paid punditry corps will go insane with rage and attack them personally.

    Sympathetic, nice people who come out publicly and say they have benefitted from Obamacare.

    Put them on TV and just sit back and
    wait.

    They’ll be insane with rage. They booed an uninsured person, and that was a hypothetical. Imagine what they’ll do with an actual federally-subsidized beneficiary of Obamacare.

    The problem will be finding someone willing to be the focus of all that rage.

  108. 108
    bcinaz says:

    Obama could float the idea of nationalizing Big Oil in order to control the rising cost of gasoline. This will have the effect of having Republicans prove that the market controls prices not the President as they are attempting to make us believe.

  109. 109
    Bighorn Ordovician Dolomite says:

    Aaaaaand we see why I don’t post with the tablet much. Sorry.

    I love the e-reader thing though. I’m just not that great at using the touchscreen keyboard.

  110. 110
    different-church-lady says:

    @Rome Again: So, it’s a bit… ironic, would we not say, that in his relentless expression of his view of the value of Cole’s offerings to the world he is afraid to either a) share his own or b) make his own?

  111. 111
    realnrh says:

    I don’t think there’s any need for Obama to do anything. Republicans are falling all over themselves trying to out-crazy each other as it is. Sometimes doing nothing is the best move you can make (even if it means that everyone will claim you ‘got lucky’ by making the smart decision there).

Comments are closed.