I know thee not, old man

Josh Marshall Brian Beutler has good piece up on what he describes as “The Establishment’s Obama Derangement Syndrome”.

I think things are a bit more complicated than he makes it out to be. For example, pundits like David Ignatius and Joe Klein say “both sides are doing it” because that’s what they say about everything, whereas pundits like Bob Woodward and Ron Fournier are explicitly blaming Obama because Woodward and Fournier are conservatives who side with Republicans on most everything.

The latter group doesn’t interest me so much, because that’s how things work with all conservatives. The former group is sort of interesting to me because I think the paradigm that they cling to is slowly dying. Younger non-partisan establishment journalists — like Michael Grunwald and Ezra Klein — are mostly saying (accurately) that Republicans refuse to make any compromises whereas Obama has offered quite a lot of compromise. The older ones are uniformly repeating the “both sides do it” mantra.

“Both sides do it” won’t die out altogether anytime that soon, but I think we may have hit and passed Peak Both Sides Do It.

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44 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    Finally, a quality Shakespeare post title.

    /2 Henry IV

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    @BGinCHI: But he was mean to Chris Christie in that speech:

    Leave gormandizing; know the grave doth gape
    For thee thrice wider than for other men.

  3. 3
    Hill Dweller says:

    Even the both sides so it crowd are ultimately absolving Republicans, albeit not as explicitly. They sure as hell aren’t going to say both sides do it if Dems rightly deserve all the blame.

  4. 4
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    You always have a few people still clapping when everyone else has realized it’s time to stop.

  5. 5
    Samuel Knight says:

    Think the establishment know-nothing syndrome plays a role too.

    Basically Woodward’s gossip books have pedaled obvious baloney for years – Greenspan is a Maestro? Bush spoke in complete sentences? Powell was a brave hero? Arguably since the Brethern most of what he’s written was unsustantiated BS from insiders. He doesn’t understand what’s going on now – primarily because he hasn’t really understood anything for 30 years.

    And the same thing holds true for Scarborough – he didn’t get what Nate Silver said before the election or what Krugman said last week – because he’s just a BS artist too.

    And same holds true for Ignatius, Will, Dowd, Friedman, Sully, etc. They’re all basically BS artists who really don’t understand what they’re talking about – but feel very free to make stuff up and pretent they do.

  6. 6
    eldorado says:

    a certain blogger here was also confident about peak wingnut

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    I just think it’s crazy how Bob Woodward is making himself a central figure in the sequester.

    Senator Woodward:

    Bob Woodward, who has been engaged in a fight with the White House over blame for the sequester,

    They’re completely out of control, IMO. They all need to re-read their job description.

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    “Both sides do it” won’t die out altogether anytime that soon, but I think we may have hit and passed Peak Both Sides Do It.

    Aaaaaaaand you jinxed it. Has “Peak Wingnut” taught you nothing?! Thanks, Doug.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    @MikeJ: CC as a humorless Falstaff. I like it.

    I can totally see him misusing the king’s press damnably.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    The ‘Both Sides Do It’…this morning on NPR Mara Liason had a Sequestration piece where she said Obama had offered up cuts to entitlements in addition to revenue increases and that Republicans refused any additional revenue and want only cuts. She then said ‘Both Sides Are At Fault’.

    Oh NPR…..it’ll be a cold day in hell the next time you see any of my money.

  11. 11
    jl says:

    piece was by

    BRIAN BEUTLER FEBRUARY 27, 2013, 11:37 AM

    not Josh Marshall.

    But I agree that it was a good piece and important to highlight.

  12. 12
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    The trouble is that Junior Leaguers like Gregory, Todd and Tapper have all drunk the Broderist Kool-Aid, and they’re the ones destined to occupy the media slots that too many elected Democrats pay attention too– Andrew Ross Sorkin of the NYT just explained to David Corn that OF COURSE Republicans are the ones who won’t compromise, but both sides are still to blame– while Klein is “balanced” at the WaPo by Jennifer Rubin and subs for Lawrence O’Donnell, and Michael Grunwald tweets and writes articles for a dead tree magazine that people flip through at the dentist’s. How many Congressional Democrats of the McCaskill variety do you think read Grunwald’s New New Deal? I’m not totally pessimistic, I think between OFA and a possible Clinton presidential campaign, 2014 could be a very different kind of mid-term, but a lot of the shit we’re in right now can be tied to the demographics of mid-term voters, which like the Village and its readers/viewers, is older, whiter, male-er and richer than the rest of the country.

    Sort of along those lines, does anyone remember a stat floating around a few weeks ago that David Gregory has never asked a question about climate change during his tenure on MTP?

  13. 13
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Kay:

    I just think it’s crazy how Bob Woodward is making himself a central figure in the sequester.

    Woodward obviously has a problem with Obama. I’ve seen some people say it was because the WH doesn’t give him access, and he’s throwing a tantrum.

    Whatever the initial cause, I think now Woodward is trying to save face after a lot of smart people have embarrassed him by rightly pointed out his claims in his book and recent statements are/were factually inaccurate. But judging from the accounts I’ve read, Woodward further embarrassed himself on Morning Joe this morning.

  14. 14
    Wiesman says:

    When will we reach “Peak Predictions that we have hit Peak X”?

  15. 15
    jl says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I heard a clip of a Scott Pelley interview with Boehner which I thought was pretty sad. Pelley makes a big deal about whether Boehner was civil or not (who cares if Boehner said ‘ass’), but let Boehner slide on his lying about the fact that House has no plan and has passed nothing this session.

    I don’t follow TV news enough to know exactly who this Pelley guy is or where he came from. But every time I hear him I think of pompous gasbag who spends more time practicing his announcer delivery in front of the mirror than he does, you know, larnin’ stuff about what is going on.

  16. 16
    jl says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    ” Woodward obviously has a problem with Obama. ”

    A lot of pompous rich white guys who haven’t really done much real work recently have mysterious, rather vague, problems with Obama. I wonder why that could be?

    They are bigots, is what it is. IMHO.

  17. 17
    Kay says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I hink it’s a mistake for them to make themselves the center of the story. That isn’t part of the deal. It’s interesting that he has “a problem” with Obama, you know, if you’re HIM, but it seems to show a real lack of discipline to be in his business and make that the issue. I feel as if I see more and more of it. It’s a mistake, I think, as far as retaining credibility. He’s to the point where he’s passionately arguing the GOP side. Just way outside his job.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    sad. Pelley makes a big deal about whether Boehner was civil or not (who cares if Boehner said ‘ass’), but let Boehner slide on his lying about the fact that House has no plan and has passed nothing this session.

    Our political media in a nutshell, like all the Solons agreeing that gridlock is because Obama hasn’t been nice to GOP leaders. Policy is too complicated and makes for bad TV, so let’s make politics all about personality (also, too, and increasingly over the last twenty years, the people who talk politics on TV agree with the GOP on economic policy), with the underlying understanding that Democrats are always at least equally to blame, and usually a little more, because they’ve all internalized the whining about the “liberal media”

  19. 19
    jl says:

    And aside from bigotry, it would take some precious minutes away from lazing around and gasbagging and schmoozing to actually read the damn law and figure out what it says.

    Some of these media celebs have staffs, but I guess it is too much trouble to ask any staff to read the law and explain it to them.

    Or maybe their staff are all PR hacks and booking agents?

  20. 20
    some guy says:

    ya know what’s really crazy talk? The Chained CPI. there is absolutely zero reason Social Security recipients should be facing cuts, nor should a Democratic President who vowed not to cut SS be offering cuts to SS as a baseline for more revenue.

    Maybe Brian Beutler and Josh Marshall think cutting Social Security is just fine, but I sure don’t.

  21. 21
    taylormattd says:

    I think it is too optimistic to say we’ve passed Peak Both Sides Do It-ism.

    We are largely discussing pundits, reporters, and other media types – all from the beltway.

    But this doesn’t take into account the rest of the pieces of the media: e.g., local newspaper reporters, local television reporters, local editorial page writers.

    Those people are still around in large numbers. The Obama administration has attempted to use that for their benefit, and it works well for certain stories, especially those that are of a “feel good” nature.

    But a lot of the local apparatus serves as a way of repeating and magnifying the beltway republican / “both sides do it” opinion.

    For example, here in liberal Seattle, our only local newspaper vomits forth on a daily basis, editorals and news stories that subtley and not-so-subtley reinforce republican points of view. Almost every day, they publish a story about government waste or failure. Or they lend space for a glowing spit-polish of Michelle Rhee. Or one of the Blethen family writes a jihad against the “death” tax. Or they use kid gloves to describe insane anti-abortion bills proposed by the republicans in the State legislature. Or they simply republish syndicated colums from Brooks and Broder.

    This happens all over the country. There is still zero acknowledgement that the republican party is a party of insanity and destruction, or that they have completely controlled the media in one way or another for decades. This is going to take decades and decades.

  22. 22
    DFH no.6 says:

    @kindness:

    Oh NPR…..it’ll be a cold day in hell the next time you see any of my money.

    Did that some years back when they became Nice Polite Republicans (the fascists I’m surrounded by at work bluster and harrumph when I call it that).

    Not sure exactly when that was (sometime during the benighted Bush years, I think, maybe when Barbara Hagerty became their “religion correspondent”).

    Sad, really, but no totebagger I.

    And Ezra Klein is “non-partisan”? Let’s be honest – no, he is not. No problem with that, either.

    It’s all the bullshit pretense at supposedly being “non-partisan” that leads to the unhelpful and tiresome “both sides do it” nonsense.

  23. 23
    MattF says:

    Woodward’s position is amazing– Obama should just go ahead and break the law. And, just to make sure that he’s not being misunderstood, that not breaking the law is ‘madness’. One could now make a pretty long list of ‘things that this explains’, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

  24. 24
    Chyron HR says:

    @some guy:

    ya know what’s really crazy talk?

    Posting unsourced excerpts from a random position paper written in 2005 and claiming that it’s “The Obama Plan For Social Security”?

  25. 25
    jl says:

    @MattF:

    ” Woodward’s position is amazing– Obama should just go ahead and break the law. ”

    Let’s see how Woodward reacts when the GOP flips out about how Obama is administrating the sequester.

    It is sad that Obama is just not white something or other enough, otherwise he could do what rich white something or other guy farts do, like break the law when they please.

  26. 26
    c u n d gulag says:

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome” v. “Obama Derangement Syndrome.”

    My DERANEMENT over Bush came, first, from his mis-handling of 9/11 and it’s aftermath.

    And then, from getting the US into the needless wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq in the FIRST PLACE – and then the complete botch his mis-adminnistraion did once they did go in and decide to stay there!

    And then, there were the tax CUTS (for the rich – natch!)during a period of “war.”
    And then torture.
    And then the abrogation of civil and privacy rights here in the US.
    And then the Big Pharma give-away.
    And then the idiotic bankruptcy laws.
    And then virtually eliminating Habeus Corpus.
    And the the deregulation of the finance industries, culminating in the Bush Depression.

    What is THEIR “Obama Derangement Syndrome” based on?
    Michelle’s mythical “Whitey Tapes?”
    Constant questioning of the President’s place of birth, despite any number of efforts that PROVED his US citizenship?
    And other assorted BS!

    Their derangement over Obama, is not over the mildly left-center African-American President.
    NO!
    It’s of some KenyanSocialistFascistCommunistHeathenMuslimAtheist, who is determined to bring Sharia Law to the US.

    Our “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” was over REAL things, with REAL consequences, done by the Bush Administration.

    Their “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” is a derangement over an Obama of their fertile, fearful, hate-filled and racist, imaginations.

    DC Villagers:
    THERE IS NO EQUIVALENCY BETWEEN BDS AND ODS

  27. 27
    some guy says:

    @Chyron HR:

    what part of “Obama’s press secretary Jay Carney confirmed recently that the president still supports re-indexing Social Security benefits to a less generous measurement of inflation called Chained CPI.” is confusing to you?

    idiot.

  28. 28
    some guy says:

    oh that’s right, Chyron HR is one of the “useful idiots” who carefully explained that Obama would never ever ever cut Social Security. and now, like magic, Obama is offering to cut Social Security, and said cuts to SS have become the new normal.

    Lenin was correct, it’s not the true belivers we need to worry about, it’s the useful idiots.

  29. 29
    DFH no.6 says:

    @Kay:

    He’s to the point where he’s passionately arguing the GOP side. Just way outside his job.

    I don’t know, Kay.

    In a just universe of course it would be outside his job (“journalist”, or so it’s claimed).

    But here in the real universe I’d say it’s very much his job (i.e., how he makes his living).

    I’ve followed Woodward since the Watergate days, and particularly because of “All the President’s Men”, Woodward’s been able to disguise himself to most as a non-partisan journalist, when he is in fact very much a conservative mouthpiece.

    The disguise has slipped quite a bit recently, as you noted, but he’s still accorded the “serious journalist” mantle (and thus retains his credibility). Which makes him that much more dangerous.

    “Villlago delenda est” indeed.

  30. 30
    penpen says:

    How did the last Peak prediction pan out? Famous last words…

  31. 31
    Waynski says:

    @MattF:

    Woodward’s position is amazing– Obama should just go ahead and break the law.

    This. I don’t know if Doug is right about peak BSDI, but when you urge on national teevees that a sitting President should break the law having become famous for bringing down one who did the same… I think you’ve jumped the Village shark. We’ll see.

  32. 32
    Tone in DC says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Our “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” was over REAL things, with REAL consequences, done by the Bush Administration.

    Their “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” is a derangement over an Obama of their fertile, fearful, hate-filled and racist, imaginations.

    I like it.

  33. 33
    Petorado says:

    The “Both Sides Do It” message is inherently a poor refuge for the right. It’s an admission of guilt in the first place and weak tea to try to say that the other guy is just as bad as you. But that’s where the Beltway media is these days: they have nothing good to say about Republicans, only bad things to say about the Democrats. It certainly doesn’t help the election outlook for the GOP who’s already taking a beating in public perception as a poor guardian of the public interest. But then again the whole MO of the right these days is saying “no” and doing nothing, unless it’s on a culture war issue.

  34. 34
    catclub says:

    @Tone in DC: ummm. Passing Healthcare is not imaginary (with not a single GOP vote). Neither is the Fair Pay Act.
    Neither is repealing DADT. Neither is ending Justice Department backing for DOMA. Nor is ending the Iraq occupation.

    All REAL things.

    You or I do not think those require any derangement, but
    to pretend all their objections are to imaginary insults goes a little too far.

  35. 35
    Yutsano says:

    @taylormattd:

    here in liberal Seattle, our only local newspaper

    To be fair, the PI is still around, just in online format. I think. I hadn’t heard tell of its death yet anyway.

  36. 36
    dan says:

    “… but I think we may have hit and passed Peak Both Sides Do It.”

    Wasn’t it like 6 years ago that Cole said we may have hit peak wingnut?

  37. 37
    srv says:

    Peak False Equivalence was a LIE!

    February 27th, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I just came from the future to straighten that out.

  38. 38
    LGRooney says:

    I think we may have hit and passed Peak

    I heard the same BS about the death of the religious right 20 years ago. Didn’t believe it then, don’t believe it now.

    I heard the same about the death of right-wing derangement 15 years ago after BJ-gate. Believed it then and am proved still wrong every damned day.

    I am not hopeful.

  39. 39
    Haydnseek says:

    The MSM won’t give up on Both Sides Do It until you pry that idea out of their cold, dead brains.

  40. 40
    Ben Cisco says:

    Two days till BoehnerQuesterBeltwayBullshitStartedByAFruitLoop*

    *A plan to put us underwater starring…

  41. 41
    Boots Day says:

    The way to make your bones as a conservative pundit is to attack liberals. The way to make your bones as a liberal pundit is to attack liberals.

  42. 42
    Kathleen says:

    @jl: I saw that interview and I agree with what you said. I also wonder why he did not devote any time to Obama/Dems’ side of the story. He may have done it on another newscast, but I wouldn’t know because normally I do not watch The Real Propatainment Pimps Of The Village.

  43. 43
    libarbarian says:

    Why are so many Dems upset about Sequestration or trying to avoid “blame”.

    Everyone knows who wants massive spending cuts and who doesn’t. There is no fucking way that Repubs can message away their blame for this. It just won’t work. They could be innocent as driven snow .. but they will still get the blame. It doesn’t fucking matter what any fucking media says!

    Besides, I don’t think many of you really appreciate how fucking insulated the economy of DC is from the rest of the nation or how much that insulation allows these villager dipshits in the media and politics to avoid the real problems facing america. When thousands of contractors around this city start losing their jobs and housing prices in the area start declining again and construction slows and businesses start shuttering … these people are going to get a shock that just might wake them up.

  44. 44
    dance around in your bones says:

    @c u n d gulag: So very well said.

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