Everyone Knows But The Man Himself

Reasonoid Gene Healy declares that President Obama’s “hope-and-change act”has descended into self-parody.  Since it’s coming from Reason, the odds of comedic hijinks involving morose trombone stingers are unintentionally high.  His main argument is that the President noting last week that he feels his story hasn’t been told correctly is laughable because the President talks too damn much as it is, and it passes unfiltered through the media apparently so there’s nobody for Obama to blame but himself.

Cue the brass section.

Obama considers himself a sophisticated and nuanced guy, so you wouldn’t think his descent into self-parody would be quite so unsubtle.

Anyone else out there for the explanation that a lack of storytelling, explaining, and inspirational speeches was the great sin of the Obama presidency? According to CBS’s Mark Knoller, in his first two years in office, the president clocked 902 speeches and statements and gave 265 interviews. Anybody who talks that much runs the risk of saying too much. Case in point, this gem from the president’s speech Friday in Roanoke: “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Inspiring!

To recap, A) Healy is attacking the President’s supposition that he’s had issues being taken out of context and getting his message across by providing a perfect example of taking the President’s message out of context, with our wonderful media regularly inventing such faux controversies out of whole cloth, and B) there’s little greater self-parody than writing lazy nonsense like this for an outfit called “Reason”.  The context of that speech was of course that the President was referring to businesses not building those terribly soshulist public goods:  roads, bridges, infrastructure, education, the internet, all anathema to the Reasonoids and their glibertarian ilk.  The full passage makes that clear:

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

You can’t make this stuff up, I guess.  Glibertarians are just Republican doucheknockers with better vocabularies anyway.

53 replies
  1. 1
    Another Halocene Human says:

    They have better tuned dogwhistles.

    “Obama considers himself a sophisticated and nuanced guy” == uppity Nigra is a legend in his own mind, doesn’t match up to real [fatpastydouchcanoe] Americans.

    High school bully is back, and taunting.

  2. 2
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    And conservative projection continues unabated.

    Complaining about Obama’s message being transmitted unfiltered and unchallenged, where the GOP talking points of the day always get reported uncritically like they were whispered by god himself.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Reason” is a misnomer.

    “Pigshit” Is more accurate.

  4. 4
    Robin G. says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I’m surprised he didn’t praise Obama for being “articulate.”

  5. 5
    Scott S. says:

    The longer the campaign goes on — and the more I have to read stuff from glibertarians — the more I want to go buy a bottle of Jack and re-enact that “Dirty Laundry” mini-movie from yesterday…

  6. 6
    RSA says:

    Almost as funny is the very beginning of Healy’s next paragraph:

    To be fair…

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    __

    You can’t make this stuff up, I guess.

    Oh, so now I guess that anything I ever made was instead made up by the government?

  8. 8
    Felinious Wench says:

    According to CBS’s Mark Knoller, in his first two years in office, the president clocked 902 speeches and statements and gave 265 interviews.

    Wait, you mean the President actually talks to the American people a lot? And explains both the issue and his reasoning behind why he’s pursuing a particular direction/solution?

    Paraphrasing Henry Rollins, because I can’t find the quote. About George Bush: “You need to be in front of the American people constantly, explaining every decision you make. Because you owe us that, motherfucker. You work for us.”

    Exactly.

  9. 9
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @RSA:

    Well, it’s certainly worth prefacing, since he certainly wasn’t fair beforehand. Too bad he wasn’t really fair afterwards either, so…

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    I would like to think that as we see the Republican machine going off the rails and over the cliff, we might see an end to this type of political campaign.

    Au contrair. Those mutants are just getting a head of steam up. Since it is anger and fear that Republican Capos use to motivate their base, we are going to see a whole lot more of this before November. I fear for us. Just look at the level of hostility these Capos are already instilling into their underlings.

    It’s only a matter of time before ‘armed insurrection’ becomes a common refrain, and one or more of the reichtwingnutz takes the bait and runs with it. And when that happens, well, the Arab Spring ain’t seen nothing yet because our crazies are better armed.

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    In the olden days…people use to say thanks to the important teachers in their lives. In the olden days people appreciated what government provided them. In the olden days tax payer money spent on research was valued.
    Am I being unreasonable?

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    That’s some powerful swamp dredging for your Poor-President-Obama narrative. What next, Republican press releases?

  13. 13
    El Cid says:

    By the way, it’d be a good time to tune into Syria-related matters, as some serious shit’s going down.

    Turkey’s PM’s in Moscow giving presser alongside Putin denouncing Assad for massacres, and this is after Assad’s key ministers were blown up in a suicide bombing (as in Iraq, a technique virtually unknown inside Syria) allegedly by one of Assad’s own guard squad (unverified), and a fire set upon the Presidential palace.

    [The] Syrian defence minister and his deputy have been killed after a suicide bomber struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior security officials, state media reported.
    __
    General Daoud Rajha and Assef Shawkat – the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad – were killed on Wednesday in the deadliest assault on government officials since the violence began 16 months ago.
    __
    Interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar and the head of the national security office Hisham Bekhtyar were among those seriously wounded in the bombing, Syrian state television reported.
    __
    The attack took place as government ministers and a number of security officials were meeting at the building in the district of Rawda, according to state TV.
    __
    Fahad Jassim al Feraj has been named new defence minister, state TV said.
    __
    Liwa al-Islam, an Islamist rebel group whose name means “The Brigade of Islam”, claimed responsibility for the blast.
    __
    It said in a statement on its Facebook page that it “targeted the cell called the crisis control room in the capital of Damascus”. A spokesman for the group confirmed the claim by telephone.
    __
    The attack was also claimed by the Free Syrian Army.
    __
    “This is the volcano we talked about, we have just started,” spokesman Qassim Saadedine said.

    The UN Security Council (I.e., the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China, and the lesser beings who don’t hold Permanent seats) meets this afternoon.

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JPL:

    According to Pigshit, yes, you are being unreasonable.

  15. 15
    catclub says:

    @kindness: They say that Obama takes the long view. I hope that the day after his second inauguration he is planning for who will be the Democratic candidate in 2016.

  16. 16
    Walker says:

    I gave up on Reason over 5 years ago when they embraced the climate denialists. Anyone who reads that rag unironically is a moron.

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    They hear what they want to hear, they see what they want to see. The fact that what they see and hear isn’t actually there– it’s barely even a speed bump. We need to remember, all the same, that the world is what it is and not some other thing.

    Personally, I go back and forth over whether the response should be argument, diagnosis, or just attack. Argument is a useful discipline and needs to be out there, particularly when the right-wing framework collapses for some individual. But I think diagnosis and attack are what will win in November.

  18. 18
    General Stuck says:

    Barack is driving these morons insane, and it shows a little more each day. Clinton did too, running circles around most of their tempests in chamber pots. But he did give them some grist for the right wing meme mill.

    Obama gives them not a single target for the mighty wurlitzer, remaining a squeaky clean god fearin’ family man, so normal it makes their teeth hurt, and that has driven them round the bend. So they are reduced to stamping their feets and crying about Chicago Thug politics, and demanding birth certificates. I can’t tell you how much that swells my libtard heart.

    Reducing the witch hunt to things like sending out letters to Obama cabinet secretaries asking who paid for their speaking at Pro Obama groups, when not a single one of them has done such a thing.

    And BTW, Note to Romney. Set the Sarah free and let her speak at your convention. TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!

  19. 19
    RaflW says:

    I didn’t know who this douchenozzle was until your post, Zandar.

    But looking at his recent output at the Washington Examiner, it’s clear that he’s a first order hack.

    So taking a quote out of context to use in an article about Obama being quoted out of context is both remarkable hackery and a sort of retroactive 11th dimensional chess.

  20. 20
    Brian R. says:

    Jesus Christ, libertarians are fucking idiots.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    Do you know who else was injured in a bombing perpetrated by an insider?

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @General Stuck:

    And BTW, Note to Romney. Set the Sarah free and let her speak at your convention. TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!

    Mitt adviser: Let it go. War’s over, man. Obama dropped the big one.

    OvenMitt: What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

  23. 23
    Redshift says:

    A friend who used to be reasonable before he got inFoxicated posted a graphic on FB yesterday that had the quote even more distorted than the way Fox and Romney ran with it, which is quite an accomplishment. It was shortened from “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” to “If you’ve got a business, somebody else made that happen.” And then it “contrasted” that to Obama supposedly claiming he got bin Laden single-handed.

    To quote a commenter earlier today (who I’m too lazy to look up and credit), “if everything that makes you mad at Obama is a lie, who are you really mad at?”

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Me, when I ate an over-spicy beef curry!

  25. 25
    danimal says:

    Glibertarians are just Republican doucheknockers with better vocabularies anyway.

    Cite, please.

    Though I’ll concede theyre placards are free from speling mistakes!

  26. 26
    General Stuck says:

    @Redshift:

    “if everything that makes you mad at Obama is a lie, who are you really mad at?”

    Not who. What? With it coming clear the wingnuts are mad at democracy itself. Without it, they could be running things now and forever.

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    Robert Fisk reminded the Al Jazeera viewers that Syria’s likely future was more that of the breakup of Yugoslavia than that of a softer Egyptian transition.

    This isn’t an easy situation, from any angle. Russia’s government isn’t just cynical about arms sales and the like (though that too) — there is probable cause to anticipate fundamentalist mini-states or blocs emerging, because unlike Egypt which has been and remains in effect a military dictatorship with an elected head permitted to act within constraints the military sets, a military regime without Assad is unlikely to hold power in Syria.

    Not least which because they did not demonstrate the restraint shown by Egypt’s SCAF in, say, not mowing down protesters by the thousands and not bombing multiple cities in rebellion and by eventually tossing out Mubarak when he was less than useful. The Egyptian military acted very intelligently and strategically in this case. The Syrian military is of a different and less independent character.

  28. 28
    Redshift says:

    @El Cid: I’ve been looking at the news from Syria in a different light since Richard Engel’s report last week (after sneaking into Syria) that there are large swaths of the country that are now under the control of the rebels.

    Also, one of the recent defectors claimed that many (or all) of the previous bombings were perpetrated by the government, through hired “al-Qaeda types” to fabricate evidence for their claims they were fighting “foreigners and terrorists.”

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @danimal:

    Though I’ll concede conceede theyre placards are free frea from speling mistakes misteaks!

    There, fixed!

  30. 30
    RaflW says:

    @General Stuck:

    Geez. You read that story and it reconfirms two things about Issa and his House GOP colleagues:
    1) they got nothing
    2) they’re incredibly, unfathomably stupid

  31. 31
    Redshift says:

    @General Stuck:

    Not who. What? With it coming clear the wingnuts are mad at democracy itself. Without it, they could be running things now and forever.

    Yeah, but I think it’s worth at least trying to get them to be mad at the people telling them the lies, which is the point of the “who.” Some of them, like my friend for example, I think could be saved. (He’s voted for Democrats in the past.)

  32. 32
    grandpa john says:

    @MattF: You know, every time I read some inarticulate shit like this, written by some self preening idiot I think of Robert Burns and this from “To a Louse

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion:

    It would also stop people from pointing and laughing their asses of at your vulgar displays of ignorance and stupidity.

  33. 33
    NotMax says:

    @Redshift

    What the defectors say pretty much parallels what has been asserted regionally.

    Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari told reporters […] that armed “operational officers” from al Qaeda in Iraq appeared to be moving into Syria via established smuggling routes along the Iraqi-Syrian border.
    __
    “We have solid information and intelligence that members of al Qaeda terrorist networks have gone in the other direction, to Syria, to help, to liaise, to carry out terrorist attacks,” Zebari said during a briefing in Baghdad. Source

  34. 34
    grandpa john says:

    @Brian R.: who could have guessed?

  35. 35
    El Cid says:

    @Redshift: I don’t think the regime is actually bombing itself, though. Besides, the Syrian military hasn’t usually felt a lot of restraint when it comes to shelling neighborhoods. There was that whole “Hama” thing in 1982.

  36. 36
    Gex says:

    So close. I’m sure it was mentioned up thread. They are the Republicans that sleep in on Sunday, smoke weed, and like to fuck outside of procreative missionary style for the sole purpose of making a baby.

    In terms of complete selfishness and inability to empathize or realize they didn’t accomplish anything by falling out of that particular vagina there aren’t “libertarians” there are only conservatives.

    Anyone who thinks saving $0.05/year in taxes is worth 31 constitutional amendments saying Equal Protection and Due Process doesn’t apply to gays doesn’t get to call themselves libertarian or say they are for liberty in any way shape or form.

  37. 37
    clone12 says:

    libertarians and communists have this tendency of labeling themselves with qualities they don’t actually have. “Reason” and “Pravda” among those qualities.

    Contrast that to Albert Einstein. He’s not considered smart because he wrote a book titled “Hey look at Me! I’m so Smarty Smart!”, instead people looked at what he actually did and said “Hey, this guy’s kinda smart!”

  38. 38
  39. 39
    cmorenc says:

    [money quote from Obama’s speech] Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that.

    The above is a perfect example of the hazard of failing to realize the word “that” is inherently an indefinite pronoun, i.e. it’s not tied to a specified object except by whatever understanding is imparted by context. When you split off the essential context for unambiguously conveying the object “that” refers to into a separate sentence, you’re providing ripe opportunity for others to maliciously misdirect the meaning of the sentence you used “that” in to something quite different than you intended.

    Any time the word “that” or any other indefinite use of a pronoun appears in a proposed speech, it should raise a red flag to consider whether the passage it appears in needs to be rewritten in a way to minimize potential malicious misquoting and misuse.

    Such as (as the passage should have been said):
    “Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build those roads and bridges.

  40. 40
    El Cid says:

    @cmorenc:

    The above is a perfect example of the hazard of failing to realize the word “that” is inherently an indefinite pronoun, i.e. it’s not tied to a specified object except by whatever understanding is imparted by context.

    Holy shit!

    Imagine the vengeful satisfaction being taken by all those English teachers mocked for so many years for their supposedly useless time spent forcing students to diagram sentences!

  41. 41
    cmorenc says:

    @El Cid:

    Imagine the vengeful satisfaction being taken by all those English teachers mocked for so many years for their supposedly useless time spent forcing students to diagram sentences!

    My perspective ain’t hardly that of what a grammarian thinks Obama should ought to do. Instead, it’s that of proofing a document for unintended verbal loopholes, as one should for a speech or legal document. My first sentence above is a perfect example of how perfectly awful grammar can nevertheless convey clear, unambiguous meaning, though there are of course other problems with a President using truly atrocious sentence constructs; e.g. George W.

  42. 42
    Phil P. says:

    In addition to the outrage Zandar expresses regarding the idiot at Reason, you can’t help be amazed at the linked ABC News item (from our old friend Jake Tapper, no less). The headline there asks “Did Obama Say, ‘If You’ve Got a Business, You Didn’t Build That’?” and leads with the Republican spin. **But it never actually answers the question it poses.**

    Fucking MSM, what’s it for, anyway? (I mean, seriously.)

  43. 43
    Maude says:

    @Phil P.:
    I don’t know. Thank heavens for the internet and blogs like this.
    OT Hungary arrested and charged a 97 year old Nazi.

  44. 44
    El Cid says:

    @cmorenc: No, I was just inspired by the point to think of all the grammarians who could (and I guess should) point to the actual, real world hazard caused by being unclear about the referent of ‘that’.

  45. 45
    j says:

    That POS John Kass @ The Chicago Tribune was pushing that whole “Obama said businessmen didn’t do anything, boo-hoo” this morning.

    July 18, 2012 – When President Barack Obama hauled off and slapped American small-business owners in the mouth the other day, I wanted to dream of my father.

    He then went on to tell of his father and uncle who ran a local grocery. He never got around to explaining how his father built the roads that made deliveries possible, just more GOP lying and taking things out of context.

    And to think this putz was given Royko’s spot.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/.....8;lpos=Sub

    (You have to sign in to read his dreck, but it’s free.)

  46. 46
    McJulie says:

    @cmorenc: In a way, Obama is the victim of his own rhetorical successes (as well as being a victim of a Republican-friendly media environment). Bush II was so habitually incoherent, and so prone to egregious misspeaks, that the media always seemed to give him a free “oh, you know what he was trying to say” free pass.

    But, I have to admit, some of it does come down to existing narrative. I thought “They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” was a Freudian slip, because that’s what I already thought about Bush II. Right wingers already think Obama “hates business” so that’s what they hear.

  47. 47
    eyelessgame says:

    When I was six, I remember playing “Ha ha, you said ‘butt'”. This is precisely the same.

  48. 48

    […] Fox News, et al have been having a field day with an out-of-context remark from Pres. Obama. Here’s the real-world context: The context of that speech was of course that the President was referring to businesses not […]

  49. 49
    Older says:

    @Phil P.: So the headline read:
    “Did Obama Say, ‘If You’ve Got a Business, You Didn’t Build That’?”

    I’d be inclined to assume the answer is “No”.

  50. 50
    William Lyons says:

    Any way you slice it, the president’s comment was incredibly stupid.

    Nevermind the grammatical FACT that the word “that” refers to the noun proceeding it (which would be business). But even if you give the president the benefit of the doubt that he was actually referring to roads and bridges, he’s still bald ass wrong since business owners pay taxes just like you and me so they helped build those roads and bridges.

    Your complete and utter lack of integrity on trying to paint this as some kind of right-wing meme would make me weep for liberals if you weren’t all so smug and self-righteous.

  51. 51
    William Lyons says:

    @j: Do you all really not understand how taxes work?

  52. 52

    You know what’s really funny? The anarcho-libertarians at Reason.com routinely publish excerpts from the commentary here in their chat room, demonstrating the superiority of their chat room skills. I satirize Reason’s subculture of narcissistic anarcho-libertarians on my YouTube channel. Stop by some time. Or not.

  53. 53
    Lex says:

    @El Cid: I once covered an N.C. Court of Appeals case in which the disposition of a seven-digit estate was determined by the placement of a single comma in the will. My town got a real nice foundation out of that deal, too.

    So study your grammar, kids.

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