Obama’s Subway Ride to Bizarre-O World

Just before the holidays, one of y’all* valued commenter Mnemosyne provided a great piece of advice on dealing with frothing wingnuts that I’ve used to good effect several times since: When confronted with some bogus charge of liberal perfidy, act like you’ve never heard of the issue the person is raising, and stand there with a polite, somewhat incredulous look as they explain it. These absurd plots invariably sound kooky and far-fetched when spoken aloud, and with any luck, your wingnut is capable of recognizing that and shuts up. The POTUS engaged in something similar last night:

I’m sure Fox viewers were exuberant about O’Reilly’s “interview.” I thought it was deeply stupid, which is hardly surprising. But the reaction I saw from unaffiliated folks was interesting: It was as if O’Reilly were babbling about missing mustard and shaving cats’ asses to people who have never heard of Balloon Juice. Obama played his part well, maintaining the demeanor of a subway car rider who is trying to avoid escalating the ravings of a psychopath between stops.

*I’ve inexcusably forgotten who provided this excellent advice but will be glad to give credit if he or she claims it in comments.

152 replies
  1. 1
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    It was as if O’Reilly were babbling about missing mustard and shaving cats’ asses to people who have never heard of Balloon Juice.

    It’s only Monday, but I’m pretty sure this wins the internet for the week.

  2. 2
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: And BC didn’t even bring up tire rims and anthrax.

  3. 3
    Harold Samson says:

    They’re trying to get you mad, make you upset, get *any* kind of reaction.

    Quizzical vacancy isn’t what they’re looking for.

  4. 4
    EconWatcher says:

    One of the many reasons this guy is president, and I’ll never be elected to so much as dog-catcher, is that he can keep a straight face and keep his cool in circumstances like this. Whatever it takes to pull that off, I don’t have it. But I take some comfort in the fact that few people do.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    Pretty sure it was Capt Mnemo, IIRC.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @…now I try to be amused:

    Or cars in fields or naked mopping….

  7. 7
    different-church-lady says:

    Two things:

    1) I visit Balloon Juice nearly every day, yet I still think missing mustard and shaving cats’ asses sounds like insane street person talk.

    2) Is it actually possible for a somewhat incredulous look to also be polite? Perhaps you meant patient.

    Or maybe it’s just me, as I consider even the slightest revealing of incredulousness* to be impolite.

    (*Incredulity? Incredulocity?)

  8. 8
    David in NY says:

    @different-church-lady: Incredulity. Nice word.

  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    It was as if O’Reilly were babbling about missing mustard and shaving cats’ asses to people who have never heard of Balloon Juice.

    As far as the category of Free Entertainment goes, I’m not sure it gets much better than the Cole Chronicles with an apéritif of cement encased boobs once in a while.

  10. 10
    Turgidson says:

    @EconWatcher:

    I’ve long suspected that, upon his inauguration, Obama had a room of the White House converted into a 100% soundproof room with padded walls, which he uses to scream and punch things after dealing with too much idiocy like this in a given day. He probably uses the room after addressing the Press Corpse too. Particularly when Ed Henry gets a chance to ask one of his gotcha questions.

  11. 11
    different-church-lady says:

    @David in NY: Indeed, but I can never remember if it means the the person speaking has no credibility or the person listening finds it incredible.

    If only people would do something amazing, like put dictionaries on line, then all my problems would be solved!

  12. 12
    Roger Moore says:

    @different-church-lady:

    (*Incredulity? Incredulocity?)

    Incredulity.

  13. 13
    Comrade Jake says:

    I’m simply hard-pressed to understand why the White House felt that granting such an interview would be productive. Is the notion that they might convince some portion of the populace who actually believe the batshit-crazy Benghazi/IRS theories that they might be wrong? Seriously?

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Moi aussi.

    Obama is so cool. Cool as a cucumber. Delightfully sly with his responses, which I’m sure went right over the heads of the wingnuts, but allows normal people see what a douchecanoe BillO is.

    Couldn’t be prouder or happier with my President.

  15. 15
    Dee Loralei says:

    It was Mnemosyne, but I’m getting the spelling wrong. It was wise advice she gave.

  16. 16
    cintibud says:

    @different-church-lady: Think more of being totally baffled. I wouldn’t consider that impolite, would you?

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Cromulent.

  18. 18
    EconWatcher says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I haven’t watched this interview, but I thought Obama did himself some good when he did the O’Reilly interviews in the 2008 election cycle. One way to emphasize that you’re the adult in the room is to spend some time patiently and visibly explaining things to children.

  19. 19
    Comrade Jake says:

    Also, be sure to read Conor Friedersdorf’s piece on this interview over at The Atlantic, in which he wraps up with:

    If you want to see a broadcast journalist who is much tougher in his questioning of Obama, and elicits much more interesting answers, take a look at Jake Tapper’s recent effort. I’d prefer an even more adversarial treatment, but Tapper does so much better than his broadcaster colleagues typically do that he’s earned nothing but praise.

    LOL

  20. 20
    Cervantes says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes, or incredulousness, either will do.

  21. 21
    Jay says:

    @EconWatcher: I believe that Obama has his anger translator.

  22. 22
    Comrade Jake says:

    @EconWatcher: THAT interview made sense at the time. This one? Not so much.

  23. 23
    different-church-lady says:

    @cintibud: I would, actually, but I’m a little extreme in that way.

    Granted, there are times when impolite is still the proper tool for the job.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    Hey Betty,
    “Which forced him to try and explain the “scandal, give up halfway through because he realized how stupid it sounded, and asked me to pass the salt.”
    Capt Mnemo

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    The audience being addressed is not the terminally cretinously crazy. They cannot be won over under any circumstances, because, you know, Obama is blah. It’s the innocent bystanders who have multiple working synapses who then scratch their heads and think WTF?

  26. 26
    Roger Moore says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Indeed, but I can never remember if it means the the person speaking has no credibility or the person listening finds it incredible.

    An incredulous person doubts an incredible one.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Conor is angling for a job at Breitbart.com, it seems.

    What a worthless waste of skin he is.

  28. 28
    boatboy_srq says:

    What little I’ve seen of the interview has that distinct odor of “when did you stop beating your spouse” questioning to it, complete with all the offensive subtext and (as usual) no supporting evidence besides wingnut convictions. Bill-O might as well have asked why BHO insisted on being so Blah.

    POTUS is way too patient with these fools.

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    *I’ve inexcusably forgotten who provided this excellent advice but will be glad to give credit if he or she claims it in comments.

    It were me! It always worked like a charm with my (now late) father and still works on my (currently annoying) wingnut brother.

  30. 30
    Comrade Jake says:

    It’s the innocent bystanders who have multiple working synapses who then scratch their heads and think WTF?

    So the WH thought people will watch the interview and go WTF? Which accomplishes what, exactly?

    I mean I suppose one thing the interview did was to clearly expose Bill-O as a boorish buffoon, but was that ever really in doubt?

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    It might have been me because I do that with wingnuts sometimes. “I don’t know anything about that. Can you tell me more?” and then ask a whole bunch of questions. Never offer an opinion, just get them to tie themselves in knots. It’s fun!

  32. 32
    Origuy says:

    Tech note: iTunes 11.1.4 on Windows is FUBAR. When you start it, you get a message that MSVCR80.dll is missing. The Apple support forum is full of compaints about this. The fix is to uninstall nearly all Apple software and reinstall iTunes. I’m in the process of doing that now.

  33. 33
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Ain’t that almost the exact thing Obama did to Romney in the second debate? “Please proceed, Governor” was his version of, “No, I’ve never heard of it, please tell us about it.” Only the smirk on his face gave it away.

  34. 34
    kc says:

    O’Reilly doesn’t even deserve to exist on the same planet as Obama, let alone be in the same room, questioning him.

    I can’t believe Obama sat down with this circus clown.

  35. 35
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    What a worthless waste of skin he is.

    Pretty much, yeah. His posts over the past couple of years have a certain, oh I don’t know, pearl-clutchiness to them?

  36. 36
    Anoniminous says:

    Congratulations! You’ve discovered Paul Grice’s Saying/Implicating distinction:

    what a speaker means by an utterance can be divided into what the speaker “says” and what the speaker thereby “implicates”.

  37. 37
    David in NY says:

    @different-church-lady: Ah, because both incredible (incredibility) and incredulous (incredulity) have as their root the verb credere (credo) (to believe). Incredible is unworthy of belief; incredulous is unbelieving. Never thought of the possible confusion.

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    @Mnemosyne: You and I must do the same thing. I love playing dumb and getting wingnuts to outline their theories. They get all hyped up and end up tripping over their own theories.

  39. 39
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Corner Stone: Thank you!

    @Mnemosyne: And thank you! Duly credited.

  40. 40
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Someday I want to ride a subway that is as well-furnished as that one!

  41. 41
    Cervantes says:

    @Violet: Re Denis Healey: He was loved for his aphorisms, including his “First Law of Holes,” nowadays stated thus: When you’re in one, stop digging.

    Cheers.

  42. 42
    Original Lee says:

    You’re absolutely right that the Faux-watching wingnuts are smugly triumphant about that interview. I am seeing a lot of sharing of “Bill-O’s interview with Obama deeply revealing”. Deeply revealing of what, of course, they never say, but the sharers are all “Yay! Go, Bill!” and “Did you see how he didn’t have any answers on Benghazi??” At least nobody’s talking about impeachment …. yet.

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    @Roger Moore: Right: Alice is incredulous because Bob has no credibility.

    Maybe it’ll stick this time. Especially if I use the cartoon as a mnemonic.

  44. 44
    Ben Cisco says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    It’s only Monday, but I’m pretty sure this wins the internet for the week month.

    There, that’s better.

  45. 45
    hoodie says:

    I may have been imagining things, but Fox’s sports guys seemed a bit sheepish or embarrassed after the network cut back to them from O’Reilly, like they were living through that awkward moment during Thanksgiving dinner when their crazy uncle babbled on about the Illuminati in front of the new girlfriend. The audience for Fox Sports is much broader than that for Fox News, but O’Reilly acted like he was doing an episode of the Factor, to the point of shouting over the President of the United States. I was struck how inappropriate and out of place his tone was considering this was during a Super Bowl pregame, mixed in with human interest stories about various Seahawks and Broncos, let alone the blatant rudeness to the President of the United States. O’Reilly is a thug.

  46. 46
    Shrillhouse says:

    @Origuy: Yeah, that happened to me. Uninstalling all the previous Apple software, then reinstalling iTunes fixed the issue. Wasted an hour doing that the other night…

  47. 47
    David in NY says:

    @Anoniminous: Is that different from “implies”?

  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I mean I suppose one thing the interview did was to clearly expose Bill-O as a boorish buffoon, but was that ever really in doubt?

    Not among the politically clued in, but there are a lot of people who just don’t pay attention to politics very much and are very surprised to discover that one of our political parties has been taken over by crazy people. It can occasionally be helpful to demonstrate this on a big, public stage to the people who aren’t paying attention.

  49. 49
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: The question is: how we can adapt this technique to internet political blog comment debates? Do we need an emoticon that signifies patient incredulity?

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    No, but one thing it did do was eliminate the “Obama refused me because I’d ask tough questions” fallback that you that BillO would shout from the rooftops if Obama told him to pound sand.

    Instead, Obama told him to pound sand in person, in his face, in front of his audience.

  51. 51
    kc says:

    I’ll have to try this tactic out sometime, but I’m skeptical. If wingnuts realized how nutty they sound, they wouldn’t be wingnuts.

  52. 52
    Violet says:

    @Cervantes: Did I speak in aphorisms last night or something? Wasn’t sure why you were reminded of him.

  53. 53
    different-church-lady says:

    @Origuy:

    Tech note: iTunes 11.1.4 on Windows is FUBAR.

    FTFY, because we haven’t had a generic flame war in the last 20 minutes.

  54. 54
    Cervantes says:

    @David in NY: Yes, only because Grice is using it in an invented sense (i.e., as a neologism of his own). In context, he wants to avoid having to choose between “imply,” “mean,” “suggest,” etc.

  55. 55
    Corner Stone says:

    @hoodie:

    I was struck how inappropriate and out of place his tone was considering this was during a Super Bowl pregame, mixed in with human interest stories about various Seahawks and Broncos, let alone the blatant rudeness to the President of the United States. O’Reilly is a thug.

    I am all for a hostile press, but in the manner of aggressively pursuing the truth and not blandly repeating govt press releases.
    BWTS, the tiny bit I could stand to watch was outside of all bounds of decency for the prescribed interview.

  56. 56
    Anoniminous says:

    @David in NY:

    For Grice (such as I understand him) Implication is the actual Semantics of the utterance. Consider the idiomatic expression “keep your eyes peeled.” Toting-up the lexical definition of the words is … ew. The Implication (Semantics) of the utterance is “be aware of what is happening around you.”

  57. 57
    Belafon says:

    @David in NY: So I could validly pronounce myself incredulous, but not incredible.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    @kc:

    I’ll have to try this tactic out sometime, but I’m skeptical. If wingnuts realized how nutty they sound, they wouldn’t be wingnuts.

    It doesn’t work with my version of wingnuts. They just get louder with each time they repeat the talking point nonsense. There is no explanation or coherence, just the same debunked bullshit. Over and over and over again.

  59. 59
    Violet says:

    @kc: It’s not that they see how nutty they sound. It’s that their conspiracy theories make no sense. They can’t keep it up when asked to explain it to someone who is supposedly completely unaware of what they’re talking about.

    They’re fine when in wingnut company–there “everyone” knows that Benghazi was covered up, the IRS scandal targeted conservatives and healthcare.gov is a complete disaster and everyone hates Obamacare. Outside of that bubble, they sound like raving crazy people. Getting them to explain their insane theories to a regular person–and it works really great if there are more people present to witness it–helps shine a light on just how truly nutty they are. They may not change, but some of the slightly less insane ones might take another look at their theories, if only to be better prepared next time. And in doing so, they find their theories don’t hold water.

  60. 60
    Cervantes says:

    @Violet: No, I was just teasing you for complaining about a kindness instead of simply tossing off an off-handed “Thank you” (which I wasn’t seriously requesting, either). (See aforementioned First Law of Holes.)

    Cheers again.

  61. 61
    Rob in CT says:

    @kc:

    This is my take as well.

    You have to do better than incredulity. You have to (ever so patiently) ask them to expound on it until they realize that it sounds ridiculous… but they very well may never realize that.

  62. 62
    Betty Cracker says:

    @kc: It really does work! I’ve had a lot of practice with it lately. I’m not sure if they realize they sound “nutty” per se, and I’m certain it doesn’t change their minds. But after getting deep in the weeds on some crackpot theory (with helpful questions from the audience), they’ll say something like “I’m not explaining it right — go check out obamaisagodlesscommiedemon-dot-com to find out more,” which I take as an admission of defeat. Best of all, the sniping pretty much stops.

  63. 63
    Belafon says:

    @kc: Well, our goal is less wingnuts. If they evolve, that’s even better.

  64. 64
    bemused says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Interesting that your wingnut brother keeps coming back for more. Why?Does he not realize you are toying with him like a kitty with a mouse?

  65. 65
    blueskies says:

    @kc: Exactly. I, too, use this tactic all the time, but not in the hopes that the speaker will suddenly grow more self-aware. I do it because, in general, they actually lose interest in their own “argument” and tend to shut the fuck up about politics for the rest of our time together. I guess part of what drives them is a burning desire to proselytize, combined with the inferiority complex that comes from the suspicion that nobody ever listens to them. Which of course they don’t. To the degree that I tune in once I let them start, I’m still often amazed at the number of non sequiturs that get tossed into their word salads.

  66. 66
    pete says:

    @Comrade Jake: Obama has apparently made a habit of giving a pre-game interview to the network hosting the Superb Owl. It’s usually a puffball piece, but he obviously knew that he was going to be facing the hard-hitting interrogation screaming memies of BillO, and figured out how to turn them at least partly to his own advantage.

  67. 67

    An armed society is a polite society … allegedly.

    He probably thought it was someone coming to haul him off to a FEMA camp.

  68. 68
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    No, but one thing it did do was eliminate the “Obama refused me because I’d ask tough questions” fallback that you that BillO would shout from the rooftops if Obama told him to pound sand.

    I suppose. The return-on-investment here just strikes me as not being worth it.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kc:

    A lot of the time, they’ve never actually said any of this stuff out loud, just heard it on Fox News and maybe put a “like” on Facebook. When they actually have to try and explain it from scratch, they get all tangled up in their own “logic.” You really have to be believable when you say you don’t know what they’re talking about, though, or they’ll just get mad at you for making fun of them.

    It’s easiest if it’s a single wingnut in a group of people who haven’t heard of BENGHAZI!!! or FAST AND FURIOUS! before, because multiple wingnuts will start to reinforce each other. Of course, that can be entertaining in and of itself, because they start to sound like Minions.

  70. 70
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Origuy: Here’s a pretty concise description of repairs for this particular error.
    http://pcsupport.about.com/od/.....-error.htm

  71. 71
    Violet says:

    @pete: Isn’t the Presidential Interview Before the Super Bowl a thing?

  72. 72
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Please proceed, citizen O’Reilly.

  73. 73
    Joel says:

    A prime opportunity missed for a DougJ-style thread title.

  74. 74
    Comrade Jake says:

    @pete: If he’s done this for all previous Superb Owls, then it makes sense. I simply wasn’t aware of that.

  75. 75
    crosspalms says:

    He had the president for 15 minutes and O’Reilly didn’t ask a single question about the Bay of Pigs? Talk about lamestream media.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @bemused:

    Wingnuts have a burning desire to discuss their “insights,” which is why they bore people in doctor’s offices and other semi-public places. That’s why it’s so funny to watch the slow realization that they’re explaining it the same way they heard it on Fox and are getting only polite confusion in return.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    I ran across a TYT clip on youtube. I stopped looking at them because I couldn’t take anymore of Cenk’s rants about what a conservative rat fink Obama was. I was like yelling at the clips, saying “OK OK, I got I got, Cenk. You’re at a ten and you need to be at a two (or maybe a zero, hmmmmm, maybe?). So, I quit looking at TYT clips, and waddya know, he was suddenly at a zero.

    But this clip had an interesting report of marketing data on cable news. Average age of a Fox viewer is 68. A little younger than for Bill, which is over 70.

    More interesting is that in one year, the average age of a Fox viewer increased by more than two years. Interesting. I don’t know what the margin of error for the survey was, but if that change is not due statistical sampling error, then the Fox viewership is getting older and older really fast. maybe the older adults and younger elderly are abandoning the network for something better to do (reading up on boner pills, maybe?) and soon only the oldest of the old will be left.

  78. 78
    Roger Moore says:

    @Southern Beale:

    An armed society is a polite society

    If you accept implied death threats as a polite way of enforcing social norms. If not, you might consider an armed society to be painfully rude.

  79. 79
    The Dangerman says:

    I may be repeating what has already been posted…

    …but what I don’t get is people are tuned in for a football game and well on their way to being well lubed up for a football game and pretty much the last thing they want to hear is O’Reilly trying to play “gotcha” with the President. Sure, interview the President and ask him about Football or Basketball or something light; this heavy shit impresses no one but the Wingiest of Wingers.

  80. 80
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: Why are you cyberstalking her, freakshow?

  81. 81

    @EconWatcher:
    This. Obama’s best advantage in this extreme political climate is his reputation as the sane guy. He’s able to push issues like income inequality now because everyone who is not a lunatic knows that his opponents are lunatics. He spent years building that image, that he’s a reasonable guy with nonextreme positions who would love to compromise, and his opponents are Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. It’s good to keep that reputation polished.

  82. 82
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I think the President, sans tie and on Superbowl Sunday, is sending the message that Fox isn’t very serious or important.

  83. 83
    boatboy_srq says:

    @hoodie:

    the blatant rudeness to the President of the United States

    To the wingnuts, BHO isn’t the President – he’s just the ni-CLANG squatting in the WH. TABMITWH rules their narrative. No need for them to be polite to somebody occupying a positin s/he shouldn’t have.

  84. 84
    kc says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’ll try it. I just wish I’d had the presence of mind to do this when a family member started telling me that Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson forced Goldman Sachs to do credit default swaps . . .

  85. 85
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Repetitively unrequited love is my lot in life. Or at least at BJ.

    Oh, you meant Capt Mnemo. My bad.

  86. 86
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: With things like Benghazi and Fast and Furious, it’s simpler to tell them the following, which I have taken to copy/pasting into various formats:
    “Since we know for a fact that there were 13 embassy attacks that killed people during the Bush administration and you didn’t say shit, to say nothing of your cheerleading for the Iraq war which killed over 4400 US personnel to no good outcome for the US, and Fast and Furious was started during the Bush administration along with a host of similar programs, which fact you always leave out, we can completely disregard everything you ever say about either of those subjects as made up partisan bullshit. Either you are a lying sack of shit, or you are the useful idiot of a lying sack of shit. Either way, these two talking points are the product of a lying sack of shit, so the specific source is not particularly important.”

    I used to have about 500 “friends” on facebook. I now have 367. Which means that since I started calling the wingnuts liars and idiots, my number of friends has dropped by approximately 27%

  87. 87

    Went to a SB party/birthday celebration. Our plan was to show up before the game started, make the rounds before people got hammered and then leave by halftime to watch the 2nd half at home (we had the kids with us). Was talking to a group when Queen Latifah came out to sing (America the Beautiful?) when one of the lovely people there shouted out, “Of course they have to pick her because Obama is president.”. My wife smartly asked me to take the kids outside for a while.

  88. 88
    kc says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Did Obama casually scratch his nose with his middle finger at any point during that interview? Because if he didn’t, I don’t wanna watch it.

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: The lack of tie was noticed and is being characterized as “sloppy” by Donald Trump:

    “I definitely think he should have worn a tie,” Trump complained to the hosts of Fox & Friends on Monday. “You know, he’s the president of the United States, let him put on a tie. Bill was wearing a tie, not that he has to follow Bill. But Bill was wearing a tie. He’s the president. It’s a formal position, I think he should wear a tie.”

    “What message is he sending by not?” Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck wondered.

    “It’s sloppy, it’s not appropriate, it’s not presidential,” Trump opined. “He’s the president of the United States, let him put on a tie.”

    I’m sure he said the exact same thing when George W. Bush did the pre-game interview and didn’t wear a tie.

  90. 90
    boatboy_srq says:

    @The Dangerman: This comes from the epistemic closure on the Right. All Right-Thinking, God-Fearing, FundiEvangelist Xtian, Hetero, Patriotic Real Ahmurrcans™ feel and think exactly as Fauxnews tells them to feel and think they do, and those folk will all be watching The Greatest Game On Television™ so there’s no better place for a gotcha moment with This Guy™. The only folks who realize that Superbowl-watching football fans and Reichwingnutters and other Kool-Aid drinkers are different subsets are the folks who run the marketing.

  91. 91
    hoodie says:

    @boatboy_srq: That’s what was so odd about the interview. This was Fox Sports, not Fox News. Have wingnuts become so cocooned they no longer know when to keep the hoods and axe handles in the closet?

  92. 92
    Comrade Jake says:

    “It’s sloppy, it’s not appropriate, it’s not presidential,” Trump opined. “He’s the president of the United States, let him put on a tie.”

    I can’t believe The Donald has forgotten that Obama isn’t legitimately the POTUS, because we all know he was born in Kenya.

  93. 93
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Violet:

    I really think there should be a movement in this country to demand that the poor creature trapped on top of Trump’s head be freed…by removing Trump’s head from the rest of his body.

  94. 94
    Origuy says:

    @Soonergrunt: Yes, that’s the page I ended up using.

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Violet: Someone should tell him that wearing a shower drain hair clump as a hat is sloppier than going tie-less.

    Since it appears the GOP field is wide open for 2016, I really hope Trump does another fake-run to generate an audience for his crappy reality TV show.

  96. 96
    The Dangerman says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    The only folks who realize that Superbowl-watching football fans and Reichwingnutters and other Kool-Aid drinkers are different subsets are the folks who run the marketing.

    Perhaps, but there should be SOMEONE in upper management that should know that this type of interview is as welcome as someone loudly farting in a crowded elevator; there are some things that you just don’t do in polite society, even if the President is near.

  97. 97
    Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:

    The lack of tie was noticed and is being characterized as “sloppy” by Donald Trump

    Because Trump is such a paragon of sartorial excellence.

  98. 98
    raven says:

    @Origuy: Yup.

  99. 99

    @The Dangerman:
    The farther up the management chain, the less connected to reality.

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Well, sure, if you only have to deal with them in the digital realm, that works. When you’re sitting across the table from them at Thanksgiving, my method works better because no one gets a fork in the eye in the ensuing fistfight.

    And this method works best if you genuinely have no idea what the hell they’re going on about, because your look of polite puzzlement will be genuine. In fact, that was how I came up with it in the first place — my dad was trying to play an (allegedly) funny parody of Elvis Presley’s “In the Ghetto” for me that he’d heard on Rush Limbaugh, but I had never heard the original song, so I didn’t get what was funny about the parody. He got so frustrated trying to explain it that he gave up and we talked about normal human stuff the rest of the day. Magic!

  101. 101
    bemused says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Oh yes, that burning desire to “educate” others is very common. I don’t think seeing their explanations are confusing to others deters them much if at all from continuing but it must be great fun to watch. It would be a lot harder to pull off though if those rightwingers know the person they are trying to “educate” is a firm liberal.

  102. 102
    rikyrah says:

    Ready For Hillary Launches ‘Black Americans Program’

    Ready For Hillary, the super PAC dedicated to supporting a potential presidential bid by Hillary Clinton, announced on Monday the launch of a “Black Americans program.”

    A statement released by the group said the program will “build upon many of the successful strategies implemented during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns including organizing with barbershops and beauty salons, small businesses, DJs, nightclub promoters, and civic organizations.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....ign=buffer

  103. 103
    boatboy_srq says:

    @hoodie: Yes. Yes, they have.

    More precisely, the Infotainment unit is convinced that they can bleed over into the actual Entertainment side of the business, and nobody will notice because All Right-Thinking, God-Fearing, FundiEvangelist Xtian, Hetero, Patriotic Real Ahmurrcans™ are tuned into the Best Network Ever and won’t mind a little propaganda with their bloodsport. It’s the same reasoning that made the Superbowl Coke ad so inflammatory: just as the moment the Fox target audience is presented with evidence that they’re neither Alone nor the only Genuine Ahmurrcans they flip out, when the blinders go back on they’re convinced that all those Other people are cooking / cleaning / picking tomatoes / watching Univision.

  104. 104
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Comrade Jake: Special Conor, friend of the blog!

    I lol’d too.

  105. 105
    Patrick says:

    @Violet:

    “I definitely think he should have worn a tie,” Trump complained to the hosts of Fox & Friends on Monday. “You know, he’s the president of the United States, let him put on a tie. Bill was wearing a tie, not that he has to follow Bill. But Bill was wearing a tie. He’s the president. It’s a formal position, I think he should wear a tie.”

    Donalt Trump said a couple of years ago that his investigators had dug up evidence that President Obama was not a legitimate US citizen. But he has never come forward with the evidence. Why the hell didn’t FoxNews ask him about that??? Surely, Mr Trump wasn’t lying when he made the claim.

    BTW – It is so fascinating that Mr Trump and the other racists are so adamant that the black guy wears tie wherever he goes. Yet, there was NEVER a fricking mention of it when Bush didn’t wear a tie during his 8 years in office. Yup, no racism there.

  106. 106
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: well, my answer in public tends to be very much like what I described as well. Since a lot of my issues (PTSD, many of my friends maimed, crippled, or dead, etc) are the result of fucked up conservative thinking that gripped this country for a while, I have no patience for them, and I’d rather see their burning corpses in the gutter, but saying (or causing) that would be impolite.

  107. 107
    rikyrah says:

    Setting the stage for a net-neutrality fight

    02/03/14 01:04 PM
    By Steve Benen

    During a Google+ “hangout” last week, a voter in Arizona asked President Obama if he supports net neutrality. Obama said the policy is “something that I’ve cared deeply about ever since I ran for office” and he continues to be “a strong supporter of net neutrality.”

    As for the recent federal appeals court ruling against the policy, the president added that FCC Chairman Ted Wheeler, who also supports net neutrality, and his team are “looking at all the options at their disposal – potential appeals, potential rule making, a variety of tools that they may have in order to continue to vindicate the notion of a free and open Internet.”

    The president probably shouldn’t expect congressional support in this area. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a long-time opponent of net neutrality and the co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus, spoke at the annual State of the Net policy conference and called for fewer consumer safeguards.

    “I wish more government officials shared my optimism about how successful the Internet is about facilitating individual economic empowerment,” he told the conference, which was hosted by the nonprofit Internet Education Foundation.

    “There are exceptions of course, but far too often, when you hear someone say, ‘We need regulations to protect the Internet,’ what they’re actually saying is they don’t really trust the entrepreneurs and Internet technologists to create the economic growth and to increase public welfare.” […]

    The remarks from GOP lawmakers seemed to be a direct challenge to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, who spoke at the event earlier in the morning. Wheeler made the case for government action to ensure equal treatment of content online as well as oversight of the ways that networks connect to each other on the Internet, known as peering

    It would seem from his comments that Thune may not fully understand what net neutrality is.

    There are, to be sure, experts who can speak to the details with more authority than I can, but the general thrust of the policy is about making online content equally accessible to users, regardless of service providers.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-ma.....lity-fight

  108. 108
    Violet says:

    @Patrick: Yeah, I linked to a YouTube video of President Bush’s 2004 pre-game Super Bowl interview. He’s not wearing a tie. He’s not even wearing a sports jacket–he’s wearing an outdoor jacket. It does look like he’s outside, but even so. WHERE’S HIS TIE?

  109. 109
    Ash Can says:

    @rikyrah: If Ready For Hillary doesn’t launch a White Americans Program too, then they’re the real racists.

    /Republican

  110. 110
    rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: GOP may kill immigration reform because #OBUMMER
    By Greg Sargent
    February 3 at 9:18 am

    After House GOP leaders rolled out their immigration principles last week, many Republicans struck back, arguing embracing reform now is folly because, well, #OBUMMER and #OBUMMER. They said acting now could trample on gains Republicans will enjoy from Obamacare’s certain collapse and that the President can’t be trusted to honor any immigration deal.

    Paul Ryan’s interview on ABC yesterday offers a clue on how GOP leaders will try to navigate around these objections. And in the process it neatly illustrates the central unknowns about House Republican thinking on the issue, the resolution of which will decide whether reform happens or dies. Here’s the key quote:

    “Here’s the issue that all Republicans agree on — we don’t trust the president to enforce the law. So if you actually look at the standards that the Republican leadership put out, which is security first, first we have to secure the border, have interior enforcement, which is a worker verification system, a visa tracking program. Those things have to be in law, in practice and independently verified before the rest of the law can occur. So it’s a security force first, non-amnesty approach.

    Asked if Republicans could embrace reform Obama could sign, Ryan said: “That is clearly in doubt. It depends on whether they’re willing to actually secure the border.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....e-obummer/

  111. 111
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Mnemosyne: I know this is a waste of time to point out, but it’s so rude to impose your opinion on people who either can’t respond with their actual opinion because they’re in the service industry and will get canned, or because they’ve been taught to be nice to old people. People who do this need a lesson in manners.

  112. 112
    aimai says:

    @Violet: Of course the implicit meaning of the “pre game” interview is that you are finally getting to catch the President in a more or less unofficial, unscripted, home like setting or in a playful moment, taking part in an important non military/non work related American ritual. If the President is being interviewed on Halloween or about the Easter Egg roll its the same thing–you would expect him to wear casual dress to signal to the viewer that the viewer is being invited “backstage” or “to the house.” Not wearing a tie is the entire point. Like when George Bush was interviwed on his fake ranch he wore fake cowboy style work clothes and cut brush. Its just a different part of performing being the President.

  113. 113
    different-church-lady says:

    @bemused: Look up the punchline, “You’re not here for the hunting, are you?”

  114. 114
    aimai says:

    @SatanicPanic: I believe that spitting in their food is a time honored tradition.

  115. 115
    Karen in GA says:

    I saw the beginning of this. Unfortunately, it was during one of the five minutes per day that I let my husband hold the remote. Here’s the exchange that ensued:

    Me: CHANGE THE CHANNEL OR TURN IT OFF!

    Long-Suffering Husband: Just ignore–

    Me: NO! TURN IT OFF!

    L-SH: Okay, I’ll–

    Me: NOW GODDAMMIT, NOW!

  116. 116
    SatanicPanic says:

    @aimai: a food spitting society is a polite society

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @hoodie:
    I think your last line is the reason for the interview. Not to show up o’rilley alone but to let the country see that the hard right is looney and has the maturity of a 12 yr old. That there really is an adult in charge, even if we don’t like all the things he says or does. You will never convince the other looney 12 yr olds but they don’t make up all of the country.

  118. 118
    different-church-lady says:

    @SatanicPanic: If you outlaw saliva, only criminals will drool.

  119. 119
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Well, your choice. I find myself at family gatherings like Thanksgivings, weddings, and funerals where shouting each other down is frowned upon, but your family may be different.

    If you ever do find yourself in a social situation where you’re not allowed to start a fight, my method will work better than silently seething the whole time and then shouting in the car on the way home.

  120. 120
    JustRuss says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Is the notion that they might convince some portion of the populace who actually believe the batshit-crazy Benghazi/IRS theories that they might be wrong? Seriously?

    Well, he did get O’Reilly to back off when he said “It’s because of folks like you” and O’Reilly said “Hey, I’M not saying it”. I’d call that a win.

  121. 121
    different-church-lady says:

    @JustRuss:

    and O’Reilly said “Hey, I’M not saying it”

    I don’t have sex for money! I’m just the representative of people who do have sex for money!”

  122. 122
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    Asked if Republicans could embrace reform Obama could sign, Ryan said: “That is clearly in doubt. It depends on whether they’re willing to actually secure the border.”

    I don’t think they can do it politically. The amnesty/secure the border is a real trauma for rank and file conservatives. It’s a big, complicated story.

    As they understand it, Reagan “granted amnesty but didn’t secure the border” which led to the decline of the (white) middle class. It’s wonderfully convenient of course. Nothing else Ronald Reagan or anyone else did over the last 30 years led to the decline of the (white, exclusively) middle class, it’s all the fault of those three million Latinos Reagan allowed in.

    Amnesty-not securing the border-that’s why they don’t make as much as their father did. It makes no sense in this state because we don’t even have a large Latino population, as a percentage of people.

    It’s real, though, to them.

  123. 123
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @hoodie: It’s not rude because blah. Just like the “motherfucking iced tea” comments. You people are supposed to entertain me, like in the movies and on teevee.

  124. 124
    bemused says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s a great coping-with-rightwing-lecturing tactic. I’d love to try it sometime but I’m not so sure I could feign innocent puzzlement for very long.

  125. 125
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: We’re pretty lucky in that my family is, for the most part, pretty politically homogeneous. As for the few blacksheep, the old family policy of NEVER discussing politics, especially when one is the guest at another’s house, has worked very well for us.

    But I can see how your method would work. I will try it, if only for shits and grins.

  126. 126
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @different-church-lady: Oh, FFS. I use Windoze at work, granted, IT has hardened that ***** up six ways to Sunday with firewalls, spam block servers, munging, anti-virus, etc, etc, but the point is, it mostly just runs and stays the flip out of my way.

    Now, the current version of Internet Exploder, while kinda functional with tabbed browsing and all that (yet, oddly, keeps thinking that i want to flip tabs out into their own window, no I do not the fuck want to do that, stop ‘helpfully’ detaching my tabs jezuxristo!!) but since it is still not in any way standards compliant I have problems with certain internet-based programs that I must use for my job BREAKING whenever I use IE. Chrome is just fine.

    It’s not really fair to throw Win8 in there when, like, nobody bought it anyway, or keep harkening back to Win95 (crashed all. the. fucking. time, worse than a Samsung phone) or Win98 (lol) or Win2K/WinNT (0wn me, internet scumbags, 0wn me all night long!). It’s not really as bad as all that.

    Although Word really does suck. I am so sorry.

  127. 127
    cckids says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s the innocent bystanders who have multiple working synapses who then scratch their heads and think WTF?

    Yes. To my delight, FauxNews is losing its hold on my dad, who was converted during the Clenis affair, and became progressively angrier as he got older. Now, though, he has leukemia & kidney cancer, and as he’s become weaker & watched more Fox, he’s pulling back & seeing how ridiculous & non-reality based they are.

    He’ll never be a liberal, but he’s sane again on political topics. Thank FSM.

  128. 128
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Yeesh… what a grouch.

  129. 129
    Corner Stone says:

    @Karen in GA:

    Unfortunately, it was during one of the five minutes per day that I let my husband hold the remote.

    My brain just hit the inline fuse and shut down for its own protection.

  130. 130
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Corner Stone: A hostile press worth its salt does its research first. It doesn’t mean cornering a visible public official and screaming nonsense at him/her, “gotcha” style.

    “WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY, KENNETH?! WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER MY QUESTIONS!?”

  131. 131
    cckids says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I mean I suppose one thing the interview did was to clearly expose Bill-O as a boorish buffoon, but was that ever really in doubt?

    They are starting to reach people like my dad, because Fox has built President Obama up to be a dictatorial tyrant, also incompetent, and there sits an intelligent, calm, urbane man. The images just do not match up, and it is breaking through for some.

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Those people probably went nuts if they watched the Puppy Bowl — the First Lady was on there with Bo and Sunny promoting her Let’s Move! campaign.

  133. 133
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @rikyrah: Ready For Hillary Launches ‘Black Americans Program’

    This should end well.

  134. 134
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Ash Can: The Democrats are all about the White Americans Pogrom, haven’t you heard?

  135. 135

    @Mnemosyne: Heh. I watched the Puppy Bowl in lieu of the 2nd half because I’m a broncos fan. Saw Michelle/Bo/Sunny. Was awesome.

    Instead of confronting at the party, I took my vengeance out on chicken wings. A delicious decision on my part but I have a wingover today.

  136. 136
    different-church-lady says:

    @cckids: O’REILLY: But I have to ask you: arglebargle?

    OBAMA: [glances at table] Is that your milkshake? You know, if I wanted to, I could just reach across here and… drink your milkshake. It’s not that I really want to, it’s that I could.

  137. 137
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @different-church-lady: Computers, can’t live with ’em, can’t take a sledgehammer to them and keep my job. A dilemma for sure.

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I’m pretty sure that’s what I said?
    Was this an add-on to my comment, or something else?

  139. 139
    different-church-lady says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I was sitting at work once when I realized I needed five computers going at once to do my job:

    1) controls the video recorder (back before everything was file based)
    2) workstation for the video editing software
    3) workstation for the audio editing software
    4) workstation for the control data that drove the light design
    5) laptop that held all the documents telling me what numbers I needed to enter into the other 4 computers to keep them all aligned.

  140. 140
    Cervantes says:

    @Another Holocene Human: My first reaction also.

    I’ll have to look into it, maybe even pay attention.

  141. 141
    cckids says:

    @different-church-lady: Yep, that is the reaction.

  142. 142
    different-church-lady says:

    @jl: Jeez, did someone say that guy’s name three times today? Here I was reading your post thinking, “Well, at least he doesn’t clutter up Daily Kos with his rantings anymore” and whaddayaknow he lays one of his turds there a few minutes later.

  143. 143
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay:

    It’s real, though, to them.

    And that, in a nutshell, is why we can’t have nice things.

  144. 144
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t know. I’ve sort of lost my bearings. I’m listening to this and thinking I’ve heard it before. And I have! Remember they thought the 2006 election was going to be all about immigration? They had whole cable programs about it. Lou Dobbs was on CNN at that time, he was constantly screaming, Michelle Malkin vowed disaster for Republicans if they even thought about “amnesty”.

    Did I imagine that? How they went crazy over Latinos that midterm run-up? Then nothing happened – the 2006 election had nothing whatever to do with immigration.

    This has all happened before :)

  145. 145
    Ezra says:

    I’m adding my vote in favor of the “asking questions” method of dealing with nuts. Don’t *tell* them anything, just ask questions. One of the best questions to ask is simply, “How do you know that?”

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    My one warning is that if you run into someone with a crazy pro-life or other religious belief, it’s always best to back away slowly and not engage, because they want to explain Jesus to you in great detail given half a chance.

  147. 147
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Roger Moore: “An armed society is a polite society” is (supposed to be) a Robert Heinlein quote. Back in the 1980s, t-shirts & pinback buttons with this quote were so ubiquitous among the milblogger/libertarian fans that us DFHs made up buttons saying “An armed society is a polite society — ask any Lebanese!” If I still went to sf cons, I’d probably get a new one and change the last word to “Syrian” (or “Iraqi” or “Afghan”… )

  148. 148
    brantl says:

    @kc: At first I thought you had said that O’Lielly didn’t deserve to be on the same plane with O’bama and i thought: “Simple, throw him off the plane.”, but then, if it was that simple, some one would have done it a long time ago.

  149. 149
    TriassicSands says:

    …and with any luck, your wingnut is capable of recognizing that and shuts up.

    While I find Mnemosyne’s advice interesting and I can imagine it evoking some entertaining responses, I can’t imagine it actually causing a modern Republican wingnut to shut up. Since I can’t think of much of anything that would get those same people to shut up that doesn’t mean it is bad advice.

    The kind of response I would expect and, which could offer great entertainment value, would be along the lines of George W. Bush’s infamous “can’t fool me twice” hilarity.

  150. 150
    Mike G says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    I’m simply hard-pressed to understand why the White House felt that granting such an interview would be productive. Is the notion that they might convince some portion of the populace who actually believe the batshit-crazy Benghazi/IRS theories that they might be wrong? Seriously?

    You’ll never convince the hard-core batshits busy screaming about Benghazi to their toaster, but there’s always a chance that some semi-sane Fux viewers will see O’Raidrage performing his antics next to a reasoning intelligent adult and feel some embarassment about the fart-rebreathing clownshow world they’ve immersed themselves in.

  151. 151
    boatboy_srq says:

    @The Dangerman: Roger Ailes. ‘Nuff said.

  152. 152
    Ajabu says:

    Re: Family Wingnuts
    Therein lies an actual concrete difference between Black families and everybody else.
    Unless you’re related to Allen West or Herman Cain it’s fairly unlikely you’re going to have a Fox watching mouthbreather at the dinner table.
    And, generic wingnuts aren’t likely to approach generic blackfolk to talk about “that Kenyan Usurper in the White House” so we don’t really need to develop a workable response for that insanity. I can’t remember the last time I directly heard anything wingnutty. (Different circles, I guess)
    One of the other lovely things about living in the Caribbean. There are virtually no Republicans in residence (can’t speak for tourists) and any that might be (on the downlow) know better than to talk that shit in public.
    Ah, Paradise indeed!!

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