Our Grand Old Problem

Dan McLaughlin, an editor at RedState who I’d never known of before Twitter, had some thoughts about the deeper meaning behind the President’s “you didn’t build that” comments. (If you’re not familiar with this kerfuffle, here’s a basic recap. Short version: Obama’s being taken out of context.) As you can see above, McLaughlin feels that what Democrats and others are dismissing as a throwaway line, a rare verbal flub from a talented politician, was actually a window into Obama’s political soul. McLaughlin seems to believe this peek behind the veil will compel Republicans to fearlessly defend the inviolability of property rights. This, of course, will inexorably lead the GOP to victory in November.

I don’t think I’d be unreasonable in saying there’s an “If Obama just used the bully pulpit, we’d have single-payer by now” quality, reappropriated for the Right, to the RedState editor’s logic. The difference: Rather than that of a vocal minority, McLaughlin is voicing a widely held belief among GOP partisans.

The worldview of McLaughlin et al reminds me of a Steve M. post from last week. Steve brings up the inconvenient truth — as important as it is, and as large as it looms, this year’s election will not bring resolution to the country’s cold civil war. The stasis and dysfunction of Washington will endure. And that’s in the best-case scenario; we’ll imagine the President is reelected. At the time Steve wrote the post, Romney was in the midst of flailing about like a muppet, searching for an answer to Obama’s loaded questions on tax returns and Bain Capital. Regarding Romney’s odder character traits, what they do and don’t tell us about today’s Republicans, Steve writes:

[B]eing bizarre is, at this point, a requirement for making it to the top tier in the GOP. You have to have the same extreme economic views as the Koch brothers — and you have to have at least some obsessive fixation on supposed Antichrists (people who have premarital sex in Santorum’s case, evil liberals who oppose child labor in Gingrich’s). It’s the Republican Party, stupid. That’s the problem.

So Romney may lose — and the takeaway will be that he was a lousy presidential candidate, an unappealing guy with an unappealing life story. But the GOP is now built to elevate people like that. The Republican rank-and-file loves what the rest of us hate. It’s more than a Romney problem — it’s a Republican problem.

And do we have an answer? Electorally, the short-term answer is a “Sadly, no.” Few are predicting the House will switch hands for the third time in four elections. For at least two years’ times more, you’ll pry that big goofy gavel from John Boehner’s cold, dead, orange fingers. And don’t look to the Senate for any daylight, even if we grant that, this time, Harry Reid’s got the filibuster in his crosshairs. The House Republicans have shown how disruptive they can be wielding half of one-third of the government; reeling from the defeat of the squishy, secretly moderate, Republican In Name Only-y loser — Mitt Romney — the Tea Party caucus is unlikely to decide that working with rather than completely, tirelessly, and unapologetically against the President is the solution.

For Democrats, this year’s election is about holding ground. It may not yet feel like it, but for the creaky and moribund US government, the past three-and-a-half years have been characterized by significant changes. Liberalism is in part aspirational; it’s about rejecting the proposition that government is not, and cannot be, a legitimate manifestation of a free people’s will. Near-axiomatically, many liberals are going to be forever dissatisfied with the pace of change. But every cause has its effect, and in most countries the effect is counterrevolution. We risk affirming their most messianic beliefs in saying so, but what happened in 2010 was, in the American system, what a counterrevolution looks like. And since January 20 of 2011, Congressional Republicans have by-and-large acted like they knew it.

He didn’t at first, but the President gets it now, too. I think he understands what he’s fighting for in 2012, prosaic in comparison to 2008 as it may be. Maybe he’ll follow in the footsteps of many a President before him and focus in his second term on finding a political resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hell, if he gets that done he should be able to raise the debt ceiling.

(cross-posted)

[Update: I’ve cleaned up some typos. Believe you me, that’s the last time I outsource my typing to Yglesias.]

89 replies
  1. 1
    Gin & Tonic says:

    we’ll imagine the President is reelected., as important as it is

    Important enough that you might even consider voting for him, eh?

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.
    __
    Benjamin Franklin, letter to Robert Morris, December 25, 1783

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Dan Laughlin.

  3. 3
    jwb says:

    And remind me again why I should listen to a guy who will only “probably” vote for Obama spout off about this stuff?

  4. 4
    Violet says:

    I hope that the calls for Romney’s tax returns not only continue but get louder. I think that if people see just what’s in those returns, just how weighted our tax system is toward making it easy for rich people to escape paying taxes while ordinary people do not have those options, the veil will begin to lift.

    Mitt Romney is exactly the wrong candidate for this point in history. People hate rich banker types, especially venture capitalists/corporate raiders who shut down companies, ship jobs elsewhere and make off like bandits. And that’s exactly what Mitt is.

    If Mitt can be forced to release his returns the American people are going to learn a lot about how their government doesn’t work for them. And I think that could change how people see their elected representatives and just who they want to be up there supposedly fighting for them.

  5. 5
    Hill Dweller says:

    The Republicans make sheep look like free thinkers. The speed with which they’ve internalized the fake Obama/small business controversy as fact is astounding. No amount of facts will reach these people. It’s nothing but tribalism.

  6. 6
    Zach says:

    As annoying as it is that Romney is again taking a quote out of context (this isn’t as bad as the McCain thing in November), this was an unforced error on Obama’s part. The remark was in the prepared remarks, which should’ve been noticed, and Obama’s delivery was poor. If he hadn’t paused before the “If you have a business…” bit, it would be very obvious that the quote was taken out of context in news clips, at least.

    It’s annoying, but Obama should totally just ignore this and keep pounding on Bain. Keep it in the queue for the eventual “Romney is a liar, FYI” attack later on but don’t change focus now.

  7. 7
    Steve says:

    Does anyone get that this is a complete replay of the “spread the wealth around” flap from the 2008 campaign? Other than making Joe the Plumber into America’s newest celebrity-for-no-reason, that incident had absolutely no impact on the election, even though every Republican immediately assumed that the Democrats’ socialistic beliefs had finally been laid bare. This is the exact same thing.

  8. 8
    shortstop says:

    Maybe he’ll follow in the footsteps of many a President before him and focus in his second term on finding a political resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Hell, if he gets that done

    And this is where the “20-something” really shows.

  9. 9
    catclub says:

    The message from McLaughlin: There is no _us_ in USA.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    @Zach: I agree it was an unforced error. Someone at GOS suggested he double down on it, I don’t think that’s a bad idea. Would give him a chance to explain further.

    “NO ONE built their business on their own. Businesses need customers and suppliers and phone lines and internet connections and roads. Who built those? Who are those customers and suppliers? It’s not one person, it’s led by one person but they need the rest of us to help make their business happen.”

  11. 11

    This is all correct. It’s worth noting that the president’s (innocuous, in reality) comments came in defending a proposal to return some marginal tax rates to surplus-era levels– a wildly popular proposal. The GOP has nothing but Othering, no sane policies whatsoever.

  12. 12
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The right doesn’t understand freedom of religion (from Jefferson) they don’t understand property (from Franklin) they don’t understand the free market (from Smith) and they don’t understand the Bible (from God). Their entire system is built on ignoring the very things they claim to be following.

  13. 13
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Violet:

    venture capitalists

    You, and others here, keep misusing that term. Venture capitalists are those who provide funding for startup-stage companies, seldom involving themselves very much with management of the firm, and usually just planning to cash out if/when the IPO happens. While not altruistic angels, they are mostly on the good side of capitalism and help start up the Googles and Twitters of the world. This is completely different from what Bain Capital did/does.

  14. 14
    handy says:

    @Steve:

    Yes, Obama’s comment was meat for the base. It only plays out as a “gaffe” in people’s fevered imaginations.

  15. 15
    handy says:

    @Steve:

    Yes, Obama’s comment was meat for the base. It only plays out as a “gaffe” in people’s fevered imaginations.

  16. 16

    “The GOP is about ” … (high-minded bromides)

    No it isn’t. It isn’t about individualism or freedom or rewarding hard work. The Republican Party I have known for the last 20 years has been about spittle-flecked rage, spite, and nihilism. You might be able to delude yourself and a good chunk of the poor with all this talk of bootstraps, but can you honestly see yourself giving your glowing little epigrams about the Republican party to any woman, minority, or gay person?

    Didn’t think so.

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @shortstop: Heh.

  18. 18
    Calouste says:

    This is not a misunderstanding; if you convince people that success has little to do w/work & merit, you justify more burdens on successful.

    As long as you have a W. Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Luke Russert and Cokie Roberts for every Steve Jobs of Henry Ford, it’s not extremely hard to convince people that the correlation between succes and merit is not as strong as the correlation between success and being born to the right parents.

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I suspect the general public makes the same mistake, which is why I worded it that way. Is there no cross-over, where a corporate takeover specialist makes a ton of money, then uses it as a venture capitalist to help a start up? Of course, making a ton of money if the new venture succeeds.

    Rich people are rich people. That was what I meant. The average person doesn’t have enough money to become a venture capitalist, so it’s one of those terms that sound like it belongs to rich people who make money off other people’s effort. Or cheat.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Calouste:

    The ratio, 2:1, is about right there.

    For every one person who got rich through hard work and entrepreneurship, there are three to four who got rich by falling out of the right womb.

  21. 21

    @handy:

    It sounded like a gaffe to me. As soon as he said it, I knew exactly how it was going to be interpreted. But frankly, Obama can turn it into a game of rope-a-dope, because while he’s in a position to clarify, the Republicans can only play the “you didn’t build that” soundbite on a loop but meanwhile praying feverishly that no one ever asks Mitt Romney a single question about business.

  22. 22
    liberal says:

    Point of Obama’s “you didn’t build it” is to reverse the presumption that your $ is your property. It has no limiting principle.

    There is a very useful principle that, unfortunately, a lot of democrats/liberals/etc don’t understand, that really gets to the heart of the matter here.

    Namely, if someone earns money as a result of a genuine contribution to production (be it through true capital, in the sense of classical economics, or labor), it really is theirs, in an important sense (putting aside the Ben Franklin quote that V.D.E. has above, which touches on a separate issue).

    The problem is that a huge swath of income, particularly that of the wealthy, is not earned at all, but rather captured by the owner even though they didn’t have any role in the creation of the underlying wealth.

    The prime example is land, where the landowner isn’t creating the value, but taking the value. Other examples are rife throughout the FIRE sector. The common theme is “economic rent”.

    Thus, many of the “producers” and “job creatorz” really are such—the problem is that many more of them aren’t, but are rather just skimmers.

  23. 23
    Maude says:

    This post has awfully long sentences with a lot of big words. I got lost.

  24. 24
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Violet: Generally very different mindsets, skillsets and most importantly, different Rolodexes.

  25. 25
    dedc79 says:

    The people pushing this out-of-context quote want exactly this – they want everyone talking about it even though the whole thing is a hatchet job.

    Because then they’ll get stories in every paper and on every news show asking whether Obama made a gaffe when he said this, and wondering how it’s playing with the american people and so on.

    Personally, I think we’re better off letting the issue bounce around the right wing echo chamber.

  26. 26
    amk says:

    why do we care what some idiotic wingnut at redstate (with a few hundred eyeballs) says ? why waste time and energy parsing his stupid points ?

  27. 27
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Maybe he’ll follow in the footsteps of many a President before him and focus in his second term on finding a political resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Ah, to be young again.

    There is exactly dick any American president can do about the Isreali-Palestinian conflict, politically or otherwise. I’m having one of those days where I’m convinced the only solution is to make sure both sides are equally armed with everything short of nukes, seal the borders, and let them go at it like they mean it. Winner take all.

    Bonus points if Jerusalem is completely leveled in the process and all holy sites reduced to dust.

    Yeah, not having a good day.

  28. 28
    dead existentialist says:

    John Cole get control of your damn blog. For the past two days, I have seen some of the sloppiest writing since I taught high school. Jesus, is it that hard to proof a piece?

    Oh yeah. Too many cooks and all that . . . .

  29. 29
    huckster says:

    The Romney campaign takes mendacity to whole new levels, and the base eats it up with a spoon. It’s not enough that we have to fetishize soldiers, now we have to do the same with the “Job Creators?”

  30. 30
    jp7505a says:

    (SIGH) Still don’t get it do you? The GOP approach can be summed up by the following quote from Mrs. Mittens – “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” – Ann Romney. Just be thankful they don’t take away you lump of coal at christmas

  31. 31
    japa21 says:

    I expect, at some point during the debates, Romney will bring up the truncated quote and Obama will turn to him, smile, and say, “There you go again…”

  32. 32
    Hill Dweller says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    It sounded like a gaffe to me. As soon as he said it, I knew exactly how it was going to be interpreted. But frankly, Obama can turn it into a game of rope-a-dope, because while he’s in a position to clarify, the Republicans can only play the “you didn’t build that” soundbite on a loop but meanwhile praying feverishly that no one ever asks Mitt Romney a single question about business.

    Willard said yesterday(you can’t build a business without help) exactly the same thing Obama said a few days ago. He has already stepped on his own talking point. In fact, Willard’s campaign had to edit out their candidate’s comments in their new web ad released this morning.

  33. 33
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Is it just me or is anyone else tired of this constant doom and gloom on the front page. We are doomed if Obama doesn’t win but if he wins it is no big deal. Tails you win, heads I lose.

  34. 34
    Redshift says:

    @The Other Chuck: I object to the sentence being called a gaffe or a “verbal flub.” It was a perfectly ordinary sentence that could only be made to sound bad by taking it by itself, separated from what “that” refers to.

    A lot of the worst of what we now think of as “weak Democrat” behavior came in a period when a lot of Democratic officials seemed to have the idea that if we phrased things just right so that the noise machine couldn’t take a sound bite out of context to make us look bad, they wouldn’t be able to attack us. It’s a losing battle. There’s always something they can distort to make you look bad, and if you’re clever enough to avoid it once, they’ll either just lie, or they’ll go after someone else and get you next time. And meanwhile, all the effort you’re expending to avoid that trap rather than communicating effectively with people who aren’t out to get you is wasted.

    Don’t make obvious mistakes, but don’t conclude that every time the wingnut bubble says “Ah-hah!” that we’ve made a mistake. That way lies madness, and failure.

  35. 35
    jl says:

    I’m not going to call it an unforced error by Obama. Commenters above are right, the lying out of context quote from the 2008 election Mitt’s campaign spat out was worse.

    There is no way you can protect yourself proactively from a shameless ruthless conniving operator. And Romney is showing himself to be just that. All you can do is prepare for the sleaze and be ready to react.

    “Give me the man and I will give you the case.” is what the Soviet secret police chief Beria said, and that is the kind of company our current GOP keeps.

    The political horse race analyst I heard on the radio this morning gave a comparative analysis of how high on the Romney sleaze scale this ad rates. It was agreed that while this shameless misrepresentation was workmanlike, it did not rise to the level of previous lying. The twisted quote from 2008 was rated higher on effectiveness, dishonesty, creativity, treachery and resourcefulness.

    So, if that is how this pseudo gaffe is being reported, let Mitt bring it on. He will anyway.

    Makes not a fig of difference how careful Obama is, the GOP will try to live on this filth until November. It is all they have now, besides voter suppression.

  36. 36
    Maude says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    At least they could give out a happy pill.

  37. 37
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Actually, the “you didn’t get here all on your own” statement probably does demonstrate something about Obama’s basic philosophy. He really does think that it takes a village to run a village. Ideally, everybody helps and everybody benefits.

    Because that picture may be too sweet to digest, I offer another thought that is firmly based on cold reality:

    We are all standing on the accomplishments of those who have lived before us. We didn’t have to invent the wheel or invent language and figure out how to warm our abode with fire or . . . .

    We didn’t get here all by ourselves.

  38. 38
    NotMax says:

    Presume that McLaughlin’s Little Red Book o’ Twitters will be out from Regnery Press any day now.

    Am I the only one who remembers Elizabeth Warren from last fall passionately speaking about the exact same thing as Obama did last week, he using the same riffs (though arguably less effectively) as she had?

  39. 39
    Sugar Baby says:

    Obama is just emoting what most of you believe, that government is the answer to everything and business people are evil.

  40. 40
    gogol's wife says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Well, I’m more upset by looking at the New York Times every morning. I find at least the commenters here to be optimistic about an Obama victory, but the Times has really been depressing me. (I realize they’re biased toward Romney, but still, some of what they write is based on facts.)

  41. 41
    Trentrunner says:

    If Obama had said, for instance:

    “I saw that that toddler was in danger, so I left the rope line and humped it up that hill and grabbed the 3-year-old away from that open well.”

    But was quoted by Repubs as saying

    “I humped a 3-year-old.”

    I wonder if our media would do anything about it.

  42. 42
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I don’t think this is a big deal, they are just trying to distract attention from Romney’s Bain problems. This will be soon forgotten. Anyone who thinks that they achieved something,anything entirely on their own is too stupid for words. Even Newton had the humility to say that if he has seen farther it was only because he was standing on the shoulders of giants.

  43. 43
    ericblair says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Is it just me or is anyone else tired of this constant doom and gloom on the front page. We are doomed if Obama doesn’t win but if he wins it is no big deal. Tails you win, heads I lose.

    Read Daily Kos comments. It’s like clinical depression in a can over there.

    That, and the whole act of them voting is treated like a toddler’s first crap on the toilet. They need lots of encouragement, multiple people saying “you can do it!”, leading to the crapper by the hand with loving attention, and lavish praise afterwards for the successful execution of a standard bodily function.

    Even Newton had the humility to say that if he has seen farther it was only because he was standing on the shoulders of giants.

    Standard software engineering joke: physicist stand on the shoulders of giants. We stand on each other’s feet.

  44. 44
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gogol’s wife: What specifically has you worried? Besides no one except political junkies are paying attention right now, things will begin to heat up after the Olympics. This race is far from over, but it is hardly the time to throw in the towel and give up hope.

  45. 45
    amk says:

    @ericblair: LOL. Nailed it.

  46. 46
    Lex says:

    Short version: Obama’s being taken out of context. Republicans either don’t understand how pronouns and antecedents work or are hoping that YOU don’t.

    FTFY.

  47. 47
    xian says:

    Has Mitt repeated the Obama quote-snippet in his recent attacks on the stump? If so, shouldn’t someone just play *that* clip out of context and attack Mitt for demonizing capitalism or whatever.

    (Do you notice them saying “demonizing” a lot? — this whole idea that Obama is divisive is the most amazing blame-the-victim routine I’ve ever seen.)

  48. 48
    oogabooga says:

    I see gas prices are creeping up. Time for it to be Obama’s fault. Unlike last month when they were falling and Faux was saying the prez doesn’t control it. Only when they are rising does the prez control it and only when it’s a Dem prez.

  49. 49

    that’s the last time I outsource my typing to Yglesias.

    Could you come over here and clean up my keyboard? Thanks.

  50. 50
    SatanicPanic says:

    @ericblair: Bloggers operate on the same principle of Beck + Limbaugh, etc- keep people agitated.

  51. 51
    Bruce S says:

    The sick thing here isn’t what some internet non-entitiy is twittering but how candidate Mitt Romney is maliciously lying about the President’s comments – pulling them as out-of-context as he did with his very first anti-Obama campaign ad which was founded on a similiar out-of-context lie – and doubling down on the Birther/Racist slime with a reiteration of the word “foreign” over and over in his stump speech.

    Mitt Romney is increasingly a soft-serve clone of the lying, racist dick Rush Limbaugh – just without the Viagra. He’s in the gutter swinging wildly – probably out of desperation that he can’t release his tax returns without looking even more like a soulless plutocrat than he already does.

  52. 52

    @ericblair: I stopped reading the GOS years ago. The hideous site redesign was the final push I needed. Between right here on BJ and a fraction of the other blogs listed on the right, I have no zero need to wade through the emo wankery of the GOS ever again.

  53. 53
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @ericblair: I avoid Daily Kos and Huffpo unless some one links a relevant story or a post. I find reading fashion blogs more useful and amusing, at least I get ideas for my outfits, or I can laugh at people posing in a silly and a pretentious manner instead of the constant woe is me, which can get tiresome pretty quickly.

  54. 54
    Cassidy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Nah, I’m frackin’ excited. Why? Because it’s going to get worse. Every single ugly, itchy hemmorrhoid of conservatism is coming out this summer. It’s going to be glorious. And a lot of the schizo-pendents are going to see what they’re really about. Maybe we can create a permanent majority for years to come. Honestly, the only thing I’m not looking forward to are emo purity trolls and the “both sides are bad” jackasses on the left.

  55. 55
    rea says:

    actually a window into Obama’s political soul.

    Evidently, Obama’s political soul is out of context.

  56. 56
    Violet says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I skim the front page. That’s about it. Sometimes there’s info there that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

  57. 57
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Cassidy: How is the smoking cessation coming along?

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Calouste:

    Now, now, to be fair, it’s also common to marry into success. See also John McCain.

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    Wonder if at some level this taking a sentence out of context and using it as a stick (remember Romney’s first ad, wherein they used Obama quoting McCain about the economy but conveniently left out the part that stated he was quoting McCain) isn’t at least in some small, petty way meant as payback for the Bush administration being forced to repudiate (retroactively retire?) those infamous 16 words from his State of the Union address?

    The elephant never forgets.

  60. 60
    jl says:

    @Cassidy:

    ” Nah, I’m frackin’ excited. Why? Because it’s going to get worse. Every single ugly, itchy hemmorrhoid of conservatism is coming out this summer. It’s going to be glorious.

    Me damn too! I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your news letter.

    I think these people are hanging themselves politically in public. I say, go ahead.

    Edit: emphasis added, obviously, to Cassidy’s comment.
    And Cassidy, let me tell you as an ex smoker: gum, try the gum. worked for me.

  61. 61
    Kane says:

    Yes, our greatness as a nation is dependent on self-reliance and individual initiative, and a belief in the free market. But it’s also dependent on our mutual regard for each other. Our sense that we have a stake in each other’s success. That everybody should have a shot at opportunity.

    -Barack Obama @ Take Back America Conference 2006

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c19Gobwg60U

    It is a consistent theme throughout Obama’s political career. A theme that he has been quite successful with.

  62. 62
    Cassidy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Good. Two full days without a cigarette. I’m using the e-cigs, so I’m still getting nicotine, but right now all I’m working on is changing my habits.

    Edit: @jl: I chew a lot of gum, but just the regular kind.

  63. 63
    wrb says:

    @Trentrunner:

    Trentrunner Says:
    __
    If Obama had said, for instance:
    __
    “I saw that that toddler was in danger, so I left the rope line and humped it up that hill and grabbed the 3-year-old away from that open well.”
    But was quoted by Repubs as saying
    “I humped a 3-year-old.”
    I wonder if our media would do anything about it.

    They would be filled with a mighty wrath.

    Over Obama calling the toddler “it”.

  64. 64
    rda909 says:

    He didn’t at first, but the President gets it now, too

    If I see one more “liberal” suggest that America’s first black president, who got there 100% from his smarts, doesn’t “get it,” I swear I’m going to go slap Bradley Manning in the face myself! That’s what Obummer would want, anyway.

  65. 65
    NotMax says:

    @Trentrunner

    It would be reported as:

    Obama Snatches Child, Runs From Voters

  66. 66
    wrb says:

    @ericblair:

    That, and the whole act of them voting is treated like a toddler’s first crap on the toilet. They need lots of encouragement, multiple people saying “you can do it!”, leading to the crapper by the hand with loving attention, and lavish praise afterwards for the successful execution of a standard bodily function.

    Oh my, that was wonderful.

    Fortunately there is no one around here who likes let it be known that they will “probably” vote for Obama.

  67. 67
    The Tragically Flip says:

    Reid promising reform is progress (another thing DFH’s were right about at the time) but it’s too bad he’s not willing (or likely, his caucus isn’t willing) to just end the thing right now. The Nuclear Option doesn’t require waiting for the first day of a new Congress.

    At least they could confirm all of Obama’s judicial nominees before a potential Romney presidency. Get some sane people on the various boards and commissions (like the Federal Reserve) whose terms overlap Presidential terms and so forth.

  68. 68
    NotMax says:

    @Trentrunner

    And in the fringiest parts of Fringeland, as:

    God Complex? Obama Thwarts Lord’s Will

  69. 69
    rda909 says:

    @NotMax: The firedoglake headline would be:

    “Ignoring Due Process, Obama Violates Privacy Rights of 3-Year Old”

  70. 70
    jl says:

    @Cassidy: I found intense exercise works too. Could totally not miss ol’ nic for several hours afterward.

    You should congratulate yourself big time on every tiny bit of progress you make. It will pay off, believe me.

  71. 71
    Kane says:

    For Democrats, this year’s election is about holding ground

    Remember in 2011 when Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky were under water due to massive flooding, and Missouri and Alabama were devastated by a series of tornadoes, and how many of the citizens living in these areas were left standing on their rooftops for days begging for help while others perished needlessly in the streets because the Obama administration did not respond? Me neither.

    For those of us who still vividly remember Hurricane Katrina and the criminal indifference of our government to respond for one, two, three days and counting, the change from the previous administration to the Obama administration couldn’t be more clear.

    There’s something to be said for having a president who actually believes that government has a vital role in serving the public, rather than a president who subscribes to the notion that your’e on your own. And there’s something to be said for competent leadership. This election is much more than about holding ground.

  72. 72
    Cassidy says:

    @jl: Fortunately, I’m already in the habit of going to the gym every day after work, so that does help. And I really don’t want the extra 10 that comes with quitting. I’ve been very food conscious lately.

  73. 73
    NotMax says:

    @Kane

    Also vividly recall from days and days later, Bush, on a manicured lawn and bathed in light from generator-powered spots, speaking in front of the backdrop of a very large stopped clock on a steeple. The irony was precious.

  74. 74
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:

    Exercise is also good because the nicotine boosts your metabolism by about 100 calories a day and the effect lasts for almost a year after you quit nicotine, which is why almost everyone gains weight after they quit smoking.

    If you can get in the exercise habit immediately after quitting, it will help immensely.

  75. 75
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cassidy:

    Boost your current exercise up a bit once you’re off nicotine entirely. You don’t have to go crazy, but an extra 15 or 20 minutes on top of what you’re already doing will help prevent the weight gain.

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    Another Halocene Human says:

    Yes, any threat to property rights is an assault on liberty. If someone sells their child into debt peonage, that’s their right in the free market system.

  77. 77
    Bruce S says:

    The sick thing here isn’t what some internet non-entitiy is twittering but how candidate Mitt Romney is maliciously lying about the President’s comments – pulling them as out-of-context as he did with his very first anti-Obama campaign ad which was founded on a similiar out-of-context lie – and doubling down on the Birther/Racist slime with a reiteration of the word “foreign” over and over in his stump speech.

    Mitt Romney is increasingly a soft-serve clone of the lying, racist dick Rush Limbaugh – just without the (stiffening drug.) He’s in the gutter swinging wildly – probably out of desperation that he can’t release his tax returns without looking even more like a soulless plutocrat than he already does.

  78. 78
    HyperIon says:

    One of the zillion front-pagers wrote:

    I’ve cleaned up some typos. Believe you me, that’s the last time I outsource my typing to Yglesias.

    Hey indeedy.

  79. 79
    TenguPhule says:

    you’ll pry that big goofy gavel from John Boehner’s cold, dead, orange fingers.

    I don’t see the problem here.

  80. 80
    Joel says:

    It is weird that the SABR community is loaded with wingnuts.

  81. 81
    Joel says:

    It is weird that the SABR community is loaded with wingnuts.

  82. 82
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @NotMax:

    Am I the only one who remembers Elizabeth Warren from last fall passionately speaking about the exact same thing as Obama did last week, he using the same riffs (though arguably less effectively) as she had?

    One wingnut I know said that Obama had “plagiarized” Warren. Yeah.

  83. 83
    flukebucket says:

    if you convince people that success has little to do w/work & merit, you justify more burdens on successful.

    What happens is that you wind up with millions upon millions of Americans who have worked their asses off, played by the rules, paid their god damn taxes, stayed out of jail and are still losing financial ground every year.

    Fuck that “if you work hard and apply yourself you can ride dancing horse too” bullshit. I ate it up for years. I finally got old and realized I had been taken snipe hunting by the wealthy business owners I helped make rich. Fuck that shit.

    I told my current employer the other day that Mitt Romney had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and up his ass and that I did not want to hear about how hard he had worked to be where he is now.

    Like I said, I have gotten old and don’t liked to be fucked with anymore.

  84. 84
    AxelFoley says:

    @Redshift:

    @The Other Chuck: I object to the sentence being called a gaffe or a “verbal flub.” It was a perfectly ordinary sentence that could only be made to sound bad by taking it by itself, separated from what “that” refers to.
    __
    A lot of the worst of what we now think of as “weak Democrat” behavior came in a period when a lot of Democratic officials seemed to have the idea that if we phrased things just right so that the noise machine couldn’t take a sound bite out of context to make us look bad, they wouldn’t be able to attack us. It’s a losing battle. There’s always something they can distort to make you look bad, and if you’re clever enough to avoid it once, they’ll either just lie, or they’ll go after someone else and get you next time. And meanwhile, all the effort you’re expending to avoid that trap rather than communicating effectively with people who aren’t out to get you is wasted.
    __
    Don’t make obvious mistakes, but don’t conclude that every time the wingnut bubble says “Ah-hah!” that we’ve made a mistake. That way lies madness, and failure.

    This.

  85. 85
    AxelFoley says:

    @Sugar Baby:

    Obama is just emoting what most of you believe, that government is the answer to everything and business people are evil.

    New troll in the house?

  86. 86
    flukebucket says:

    @AxelFoley: Probably an old troll with a new name.

  87. 87
    Liberty60 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Thanks for the Ben Franklin quote.
    I am engaged in a running debate with the libertarians over at the League, in which I take aim at the central organizing principle, which is that in an ideal world, people are entitled to 100% of their stuff, and there is never any compulsory controbution to the community.

    I think its important that we tackle this head on, and not flinch from applying the idea that no one is entitled to 100% of their stuff; we need to drum it into people that society has some degree of claim, a pre-existing lien on its citizens. The mere membership in a society demands an admission fee.

  88. 88

    I’m not even sure they’re really taking him out of context. I think Republicans understand perfectly what he’s saying and, for the most part, really are outraged by the full quote, context and all. The idea that anyone other than a superman CEO is responsible for his success is genuinely infuriating to them.

    This is the basic disagreement; this is the fight. Phrasing the truth differently is not going to make it any more palatable to these people.

  89. 89
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @liberal: Namely, if someone earns money as a result of a genuine contribution to production (be it through true capital, in the sense of classical economics, or labor), it really is theirs, in an important sense (putting aside the Ben Franklin quote that V.D.E. has above, which touches on a separate issue).

    I don’t think I lack understanding and I rather suspect you do.

    That “value” that results from production is an abstraction of trust within the economy.

    In the patent sphere intellectual property may actually be more valuable, in the academic, social, AND economic world when set free, rather than patented, fenced in and the immediate ‘value’ extracted.

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