President Obama’s Dilemma

I didn’t see the president’s remarks live yesterday, but I did read a transcript. Apparently, the remarks disappointed some liberals, including Booman, for one, and a bunch of people on Twitter.

But I think Ezra Klein has it right here:

If Obama’s speeches aren’t as dramatic as they used to be, this is why: the White House believes a presidential speech on a politically charged topic is as likely to make things worse as to make things better. It is as likely to infuriate conservatives as it is to inspire liberals. And in a country riven by political polarization, widening that divide can take hard problems and make them impossible problems.

As inspirational as he can be, President Obama has always been pragmatic, which is certainly a desirable quality in a leader, though it’s a characteristic that has to be balanced with vision. As Klein observes, before he became president, Obama was inspiring to people because they thought he really might be able to bridge political and racial divides.

I don’t know if Obama himself ever really believed that, but if so, he was quickly disabused of that notion when the GOP started acting like a sack full of paint-huffing honey badgers on January 20, 2009. Some of us got mad at him for continuing to reach out to the most floridly insane and traitorous Congress in the post-Civil War era on issues like the budget and healthcare.

But blaming the president for insufficient speechifying on the issues Ferguson raises ignores what he’s up against. My guess is he’ll thread this needle at some point with actions behind the scenes and words too, managing to inspire those of us who want to see real changes without riling up the significant portion of the country that is either batshit crazy or indifferent.

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165 replies
  1. 1
    Eric U. says:

    A lot of us are furious about what we’ve seen, but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of Americans have seen a quickmart burning and are shaking their heads over that and have been allowed to ignore the fact that a person was killed for no reason. That is a minefield for a politician to walk through.

  2. 2
    Botsplainer says:

    The guy’s primary trait is conservative progressivism, which is why I’d crawl over broken glass to support him.

    With PBO, you aren’t going to see a pro-Mumia statement or an adoption of some idea from a gadfly like Kucinich. What you do see is a commitment to basic fairness and slow, steady progressive moves that don’t jolt the economy or polity.

  3. 3
    dedc79 says:

    Apparently the police in Ferguson are so arrest-happy, they decided to cuff a 90-year-old holocaust survivor who had joined the protests in Ferguson.

  4. 4
    Bobby B. says:

    “…those of us who want to see real changes without riling up the significant portion of the country that is either batshit crazy or indifferent.”
    Still hoping for that perpetual motion machine?

  5. 5
    Elizabelle says:

    I have faith in President Obama.

    And his opponents tend to self-destruct, although sometimes at a maddeningly slow pace.

    I wish PBO could serve a third term. My mother, also a PBO supporter, wondered why anyone would want to subject himself to that.

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Bobby B.: Well, I should qualify “riling up” — they’re always riled up, of course, but I meant riling up to the point of making a bad situation worse.

  7. 7
    dedc79 says:

    @dedc79: I stand corrected. This particular protest appears to have been in St. Louis and therefore involved city cops.

  8. 8
    beth says:

    This is a needle that just can’t be threaded by the President. I thought sending Eric Holder was the right move – focusing on making sure that there’s a fair, impartial investigation. I just can’t with the people who think Obama should go to Ferguson. Have they ever seen what a presidential visit entails? How could throwing that into the mix help things? Who would he meet with and how do you show empathy to either side without inflaming things?

  9. 9
    🚸 Martin says:

    And on the ‘humans can’t cause environmental effects’ front, Oklahoma just had a 4.2 magnitude earthquake and now gets more earthquakes than California. 4.2 isn’t likely to hurt anyone, but in a state without building codes designed to minimize structural damage from earthquakes, I’m guessing a lot of people in Oklahoma are starting to see cracks in their foundations, drywall, broken pipes, and so on. This is the oil industry tax on property owners. They’re not going to pay to fix that shit.

  10. 10
    MomSense says:

    @Botsplainer:

    And behind the scenes, it was reported yesterday that DoJ officials have already conducted hundreds of interviews. He has always been a slow and steady wins the race leader but that approach is not sufficiently cathartic for some.

  11. 11
    Botsplainer says:

    They’re being pretty hamhanded in their approach, and could well spread it to places they don’t want it to spread to – like say the tourist areas around the arch, and the government complexes officing those who the St Louis County PD allegedly answer to.

    Speaking of which, who does Belmar answer to? That is an individual who seems strangely silent. We know the Ferguson mayor gave an interview to Newsmax and that Jackson talked to Hannity.

    I’d like to see who the county executive is who could tell Belmar “you’re fired”.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dedc79: Good optics, there. Way to go Fegusonheim Polizei!

  13. 13
    Marmot says:

    “As Klein observes, before he became president, Obama was inspiring to people because they thought he really might be able to bridge political and racial divides.”

    I’ve never understood this. It’s like the Bush, Jr. years erased all knowledge of the Clinton years, along with any clue about what Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Limbaugh, ad infinitum talk about every day. It’s so stupid, I often wonder if people who believed this are surprised each morning by the sunrise.

    As for whether Obama could further inflame the right by inspiring the rest of us, can that actually be true? Won’t his standoffishness do exactly that too? Hell, the Right’s word du jour for that is “feckless,” which they repeat at any opportunity.

    I think you’ve got his motivation nailed, though, Betty. I’m just amazed again by how Dems seem to think they can win the pricks over to our side. (One edit.)

  14. 14
    Shakezula says:

    Let’s see, racism, protests, police brutality, civil rights violations. And it is August. Yeah, it would be real smart for anyone to start juggling matches.

    And on the subject of August and riots – Anyone who thinks that an all-out late-60s type riot in Ferguson will be a flashpoint for the New Dawn of Race Relations in America needs to read some history.

  15. 15
    🚸 Martin says:

    @MomSense: I get the sense that Holder/Obama have been waiting for a moment like this to get some changes through. Policy can’t form in a vacuum – it almost always needs a crucible of some sort.

  16. 16
    Keith G says:

    It’s not a bad idea for presidents to avoid the details of local police policy and let acute social dysfunction sort themselves out before wading with anything but the widest platitudes. That goes fore all other national political leaders.

    There soon will be time to exert (hopefully) vigorous leadership on the chronic issues.

    …without riling up the significant portion of the country that is either batshit crazy or indifferent

    A necessary short term play, but afflicting the comfortable after the truly afflicted are given their due can be a very important political strategy. “Taking it to the opposition” is an important team building behavior and right now our team could be in better shape.

    edited after an acute copy/paste fail

  17. 17
    scav says:

    He’s also got a fundamental committment to the goverment working as it once said on the tin: with congress, the bureaucracy, different branches, and populace populace, all pulling their weight and not punching each other out for fun, airtime, and future soundbites. Hard not to see it as a new torture in Tatrurus, right alongside Tantalus and Sisyphus, only far less merited.

  18. 18
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    Bottom line, I don’t want to see Obama go to Ferguson because I’m concerned for his safety.

    What?

    You don’t think one of those trigger-happy white cops in Ferguson wouldn’t take a shot if they thought they could get away with it?

  19. 19
    srv says:

    @Botsplainer:

    The guy’s primary trait is conservative progressivism

    And here I thought I was being kind when I referred to him as the most liberal President since Richard Nixon.

    Obama needs to unite the country – it’s time to bring the drones in.

  20. 20
    AliceBlue says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Ain’t it the truth? I bet the PR firm that Ferguson hired is loving it.

  21. 21
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Botsplainer:

    With PBO, you aren’t going to see a pro-Mumia statement

    My president don’t do sweatshirts.

  22. 22
    jrg says:

    You all are assuming the tepid tone of his speech was not because he knows something about the investigation others don’t.

  23. 23
    Hunter Gathers says:

    He’s got to stay out of it. There is nothing that he can say or really do, short of going to Ferguson to lecture the community about black on black crime, the hip hop and black fatherhood that will change the way white people view the events in Ferguson. It’s either Not A Big Deal or Those Savages Brought It Upon Themselves.

    We don’t give a shit about police tactics. We don’t give a shit about the cops putting targets on the entire black community. Our precious snowflake children will never have to worry about getting executed in the street over shoplifting or mouthing off to the police. So why, exactly, would we give a flying fuck about another black teenager getting murdered by the cops? Don’t you know that they’re all lying, thieving mongrels? That Michael Brown deserved to die for knocking over the QT and bum rushing Officer Whitey McWhiterson in a pot-fueled fit of black rage?

  24. 24
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    But blaming the president for insufficient speechifying on the issues Ferguson raises ignores what he’s up against. My guess is he’ll thread this needle at some point with actions behind the scenes and words too, managing to inspire those of us who want to see real changes without riling up the significant portion of the country that is either batshit crazy or indifferent.

    I understand how hard of a needle this is to thread and how precarious Obama really does need to thread. But while I don’t blame him for the situation, I still fucking hate how much the ‘significant portion of the country’ you speak of essentially has the process by the balls to the point most of those ‘real changes’ quickly get reversed hard stop soon as they start to flex local muscle.

  25. 25
    different-church-lady says:

    @jrg: That’s nonsense: what could the President of the United States know that a bunch of people bullshitting on the internet don’t?

  26. 26
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @Shakezula: I was 21 and home from college for the summer in Detroit in 1968. I lived in a blue-collar, white neighborhood and I was pretty ignorant for being an adult who live in the city. Even now, my strongest memory of the event was a picture on the front page of the paper showing National Guard in full gear peeking out from between two downtown buildings to watch a pretty girl walk by on her way to work. Apparently we can isolate ourselves pretty efficiently.

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I think the President is doing the right thing by not going to Ferguson. He needs to stay out of it personally, while sending in Holder and the DOJ to get the facts on the ground.

    It’s painfully obvious that the Ferguson PD isn’t interested in any investigation at all of the murder of Michael Brown. They are interested in turning the story into the protests and the isolated incidents of non-police instigated violence, though, as a justification, however pathetic, for their criminal neglect of enforcing the law against killing unarmed 18 year olds for jaywalking. Or, in the case of Michael Brown, for walking while blah.

    I know Obama’s heart is breaking over this, but he’s wise to keep out of it for now. There will be time to visit with Brown’s family later and express his condolences, but the Browns are well aware of that the President does share their grief and they want to see justice done, and Obama’s presence won’t speed that justice.

  28. 28
    Keith G says:

    @Elizabelle: I think eight years of any president is enough (often, more than enough). Both for the person and for the system. Obama’s leadership choices are very sound on the whole and like all human enterprises imperfect.

    Change will be good. Maybe jarring for some, but leaving with a decent amount of good will is better than staying too long.

  29. 29
    askew says:

    Watching him lately, I feel like Obama has pretty much given up on getting anything done for the rest of his presidency. The only time he seems animated is when he talks about foreign policy, which he can control on his own.

    I worry that this unrelenting wave of bad news from around the world and domestically is going to depress Democrats and keep us at home at midterms. Dems vote when they are hopeful and excited and GOP votes when they are angry. I worry that all this bad news is going to turn 2014 into 2010.

    That’s why I hope Obama goes it alone and releases a very broad executive order granting DACA to as many undocumented Americans as possible. It’s the right thing to do, it excites our base and their base is already angry, so it can only help us in the midterms.

    And the Dems need a win. We haven’t had a win outside of Obama’s re-election and the lame duck session of Congress in 2010 in a long time.

  30. 30
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    Images from Detroit in 1968:

    http://www.bing.com/images/sea.....;FORM=IGRE

  31. 31
    Ben Cisco says:

    PBO has been underestimated over and over and over again. The usual outcome has left his critics spinning like tops in incoherent rage as they are made to look like fools, over and over and over again. I’m very angry, but hard-pressed to believe that this time will be any different.

  32. 32
    Keith G says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    You don’t think one of those trigger-happy white cops in Ferguson wouldn’t take a shot if they thought they could get away with it?

    I don’t.

    Plus I have a feeling that normal security operation would preclude anything more than just the very beginnings of any such activity.

  33. 33
    srv says:

    While liberals tweet and moan, Brietbart award winner uncovers the whitey Chicagoans agitating in Ferguson.

  34. 34
    Marilynd..so says:

    Kinda-sorta off-topic, but something’s been gnawing at me since yesterday morning. I saw a snippet of an interview with the owner of the shop that was supposedly robbed of cigareelos. He said they didn’t call 911, a customer did, and that police didn’t come by to get the video tape until 2 days after the event. Also, last night over at Gin and Tacos, they had viewed the entire tape, and it appeared that Michael B had actually paid for them, and the tussle was because he tossed the ones he didn’t have enough money for back at the counter…..definite James O’Keefe-ness stench about it….please excuse if this has already been discussed

  35. 35
    SatanicPanic says:

    @askew:

    Watching him lately, I feel like Obama has pretty much given up on getting anything done for the rest of his presidency. The only time he seems animated is when he talks about foreign policy, which he can control on his own.

    He’s been issuing executive orders for various things. I think it’s fair to say he’s given up on the legislative process, but that’s understandable.

  36. 36
    safeshark says:

    Read the most eyerolling comment on the orange satan the other day which is back to it’s usual annoying August self.

    “Hillary will be a much more consequential president than Obama”. We are talking about someone who hasn’t even announced her candidacy yet. We don’t know who the Repubs will pick yet. Much less who will win….lol.

    Dkos really cracks me up…when it’s not making me embarassed to call myself a progressive. I’m not a Dkos type of progressive that’s for sure!

    Her recent comments reminded me why I am very very leary about a Hillary prez. She clearly has not learned from her hawkish past and still reverts to the “every problem is a nail” military solution far too often. I can never forgive her for voting for the Iraq war. There is not much daylight between her and McCain/Graham in that respect.

  37. 37
    chopper says:

    My guess is he’ll thread this needle at some point with actions behind the scenes

    at which point people everywhere will stumble over themselves to give credit to vladimir putin.

  38. 38
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    There is no dilemma. Obama, due to an accident of birth, really can’t get involved in the festering septic tank that is American race relations without making matters worse.

    He can and has directed others to do so, in that quiet, below the radar way that maddens the people supposedly on his side even more than his enemies.

    Bottom line, I don’t want to see Obama go to Ferguson because I’m concerned for his safety.

    @The Thin Black Duke: That’s another issue and a very valid one. I would personally like to see him disappear from the public eye after the 2014 election cycle. He does not need to take the risk. And Congress needs to reinstate lifetime protection for former presidents. Obama will certainly need it, and for that matter I’d prefer to maintain the facade of the rule of law in this country and not have anyone take a whack at the famous painter W. Rex either (his protection expires in 2018).

  39. 39
    supashark says:

    Read the most eyerolling comment on the orange satan the other day which is back to it’s usual annoying August self.

    “Hillary will be a much more consequential president than Obama”. We are talking about someone who hasn’t even announced her candidacy yet. We don’t know who the Repubs will pick yet. Much less who will win….lol.

    Dkos really cracks me up…when it’s not making me embarassed to call myself a progressive. I’m not a Dkos type of progressive that’s for sure!

    Her recent comments reminded me why I am very very leary about a Hillary prez. She clearly has not learned from her hawkish past and still reverts to the “every problem is a nail” military solution far too often. I can never forgive her for voting for the Iraq war. There is not much daylight between her and McCain/Graham in that respect.

  40. 40
    askew says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    He’s been issuing executive orders for various things. I think it’s fair to say he’s given up on the legislative process, but that’s understandable.

    Yeah, it’s been on really small stuff though. He hasn’t done anything big since DACA in 2012.

  41. 41
    Patrick says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s painfully obvious that the Ferguson PD isn’t interested in any investigation at all of the murder of Michael Brown. They are interested in turning the story into the protests and the isolated incidents of non-police instigated violence, though, as a justification, however pathetic, for their criminal neglect of enforcing the law against killing unarmed 18 year olds for jaywalking. Or, in the case of Michael Brown, for walking while blah.

    Plus one. What’s amazing to me is how open they have been about the fact they they could care less about the truth. From not immediately interviewing the witness to this selective release of information designed to badmouth the murdered youth etc etc…

    And how about CNN yesterday? Their big headline was some person who had talked to somebody and then called into a conservative show and claimed that the police officer was in the right. And CNN treated this person as a credible witness eventhough this person never even saw anything.

  42. 42
    scav says:

    @Ben Cisco: I doubt anything this engrained and systemic and pervasive is going to be ‘solved’ by a quick and easy photo-op with rolled-up sleeves by an appropriate token. Fair bit of the moaning for this is a desparate hope it’ll quiet everything down so that people can comfortably ignore it as per normal. President as binkie.

  43. 43
    askew says:

    @safeshark:

    “Hillary will be a much more consequential president than Obama”. We are talking about someone who hasn’t even announced her candidacy yet. We don’t know who the Repubs will pick yet. Much less who will win….lol.

    I keep asking how her supporters can say that when she has no history of successfully leading any piece of legislation to being enacted. Not while in the Senate and she failed miserably when she tried to pass healthcare reform as First Lady. I never get an answer besides Hillary has more experience than Obama when he was elected. Nothing on her leadership or lack thereof. And she is really electable.

  44. 44
    lamh36 says:

    Hey Betty Cracker and Anne Laurie, I think this deserves a front page don’t you…

    I may be buying my first ever issue of Sports Illustrated!

    https://twitter.com/si_vault/status/501767579716050944/photo/1

    This week’s SI cover features Little League sensation Mo’ne Davis: http://www.si.com/more-sports/.....ated-cover

  45. 45
    KG says:

    @different-church-lady: we will be needing an address to which we may ship your internets for the day. Also, please be home between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm as you will have to sign for them

  46. 46
    Patrick says:

    @safeshark:

    “Hillary will be a much more consequential president than Obama”.

    Did they say how? Just like Obama, she will have to deal with a Republican house and a filibuster ready GOP senate.

  47. 47
    Kathleen says:

    One of the things I admire most about him is his ability to stay focused on outcomes vs. provide emotional catharsis. He is not only very intelligent but very shrewd, methodical and analytic. As he has said, he doesn’t think it’s his job to feed the 24 hour news cycle, which is one of the reasons I think the media hate him so much. And yesterday I thought he looked and sounded exhausted, but he spent a lot of time talking about the initiative to deal with root causes with African American youth in poor neighborhoods. I suspect he will stay very involved in that after he leaves office and will be extremely effective.

    I also think Holder functions as his “spokesperson” on issues of race. Holder takes the flak for what Obama really cannot say. I suspect there is behind the scenes work going on and I think that some positive outcomes are possible. Also, I get the sense he is not happy with Nixon at all but he couches his sentiments in code.

  48. 48
    Josie says:

    @srv: I was just reading those posts after doing some googling. The interesting thought is that, if we can figure out where the trouble is coming from, why can’t the local police figure it out and go after the real perpetrators of the violence instead of arresting reporters and peaceful protesters?

  49. 49
    BethanyAnne says:

    @srv: I saw folk on Twitter in Ferguson talking about them already being there last night.

  50. 50
    Origuy says:

    @srv: Supervisor Antonio French was tweeting pictures of the white Revolutionary Communist Party guys.

  51. 51
    SatanicPanic says:

    @askew: Yeah, maybe you’re right. I can’t really blame the guy though. President is pretty high on my list of jobs that sound awesome but are probably terrible.

  52. 52
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @lamh36: Let’s hope that she doesn’t fall prey to the SI Cover Curse.

  53. 53
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    And Congress needs to reinstate lifetime protection for former presidents.

    Already done.

  54. 54
    Ben Cisco says:

    @scav: Oh I agree – don’t misunderstand me, I think he is handling things the only way he could.

  55. 55
    Keith G says:

    @Marilynd..so: I hope that with the arrival of the DOJ, things like that will be cleared up. They are a bureaucratic lot and will issue a full report. I bet there will be a tic toc laying out this whole event’s time line from the moment the two kids entered that store – if not before.

    It will take a while and the internet is not patient, but I am confident that much will be cleared up.

  56. 56
    mk3872 says:

    Stop with this psychoanalyzing df Obama’s speeches.

    As POTUS, with the DOJ involved, he simply CANNOT speak his mind because it could be used by the Defense to claim bias and taint any case that the DOJ were to bring to court.

  57. 57
    Betty Cracker says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Obama successfully defused the Reverend Wright issue with a pretty damn brilliant speech when he was in real peril of seeing it derail his candidacy. But, as Klein points out, candidates operate under different rules than presidents.

  58. 58

    It’s all Fournier pr0n.

  59. 59
    Keith G says:

    @safeshark: It’s tribal foreplay. Happens with all factions and all candidates.

    Folks like to get all fluffly with the notion that their person is the best evah.

    It signifies nothing. (appropriated from the Bard)

  60. 60
    scav says:

    @Ben Cisco: I was attempting in my hamfisted way to continue in the general theme, never fear.

  61. 61
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Already done.

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Hey, I did not know that and am very relieved that this is the case. I thought revocation of lifetime protection was insane. Enough idiots with guns in this country as it is.

  62. 62
    Anoniminous says:

    @Marilynd..so:

    I hadn’t heard, seen, read that so Thanks.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Origuy:

    Ah, so the anarcho-kiddies have shown up. I was wondering how long it would take them to get down there.

  64. 64
    Cacti says:

    The best thing the POTUS can do is let the DOJ proceed with their investigation and not bigfoot things.

    I have little hope that Brown’s family will receive any justice from the State of Mazzurrah, and I think their best chance is with the Federal investigation. I think a smart guy like the POTUS knows what the score is and doesn’t want to compromise anything.

  65. 65
    patrick II says:

    @mk3872:

    This. Hopefully that cop will be on trial someday and I do not want to see anything the president says now that could help the defense then.

  66. 66
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Josie: MSNBC supposedly has video of the police arresting a truck full of them. I haven’t had a chance to watch the whole thing.

  67. 67
    metricpenny says:

    The action that would help PBO and other black Americans is if non-racist white Americans denounced their white supremacy.

    This can be represented by wearing a multi-colored ribbon, bracelet or other ornament designed for this purpose.

    Just as PBO has been forced to wear a flag pen everyday to show he’s a real American, then those whites who are truly not racist shouLd wear a badge too.

    What say you Juicers?

  68. 68
    AxelFoley says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    I promise you, that police dept. would be fucking leveled. Each and every cracker killed on the spot.

  69. 69
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    But blaming the president for insufficient speechifying on the issues Ferguson raises ignores what he’s up against.

    Also ignores the fact that definitely politically and maybe legally (?– I defer to the lawyers), the boss of the boss of the DOJ commenting on an on-going DOJ investigation might be a bit problematic.Michael Tomasky points out that the jury pool for any trial will come from St Louis County, not Ferguson and not including St Louis proper, a pool which is more than 70% white in a state where Claire McCaskill is considered a liberal.

  70. 70
    lamh36 says:

    @Hunter Gathers: ooh. well it is a beautiful picture though

  71. 71
    virginia says:

    I watched the press conf. yesterday afternoon and thought Pres. Obama struck just the right chords. Get the Justice Department and the FBI in there to straighten out this mess. That, to me, is worth more than a lot of grand speech making at this stage.

    I can only imagine what the Ferguson Police Department is doing to get ready for Eric Holder’s little visit tomorrow. They must be shitting bricks.

  72. 72
    lamh36 says:

    NEW VIDEO: Redskins show solidarity with Ferguson protesters during pregame introductions: http://bit.ly/1kRMEmU

    https://twitter.com/CSNRedskins/status/501749897293737985/photo/1

  73. 73
    AxelFoley says:

    @mk3872:

    Stop with this psychoanalyzing df Obama’s speeches.

    As POTUS, with the DOJ involved, he simply CANNOT speak his mind because it could be used by the Defense to claim bias and taint any case that the DOJ were to bring to court.

    Thank you.

  74. 74
    some guy says:

    that 90 year old Holocaust survivor arrested in St Louis is none other than the unstoppable Heddy Epstein, one of the loudest and proudest opponents of Bibi the Babykiller and his War Against Palestinians.

    go Heddy, go

  75. 75
    OGLiberal says:

    People of all political stripes think the president has the magical power to fix everything….or he should be able to fix everything. It’s not a healthy way of thinking in a democracy because our president isn’t and shouldn’t be a benevolent, all powerful, monarch. But it’s where we are. And the people who think this the most are those who are politically disinterested, disengaged and disconnected. The economy is much better than it was when Obama took office, taxes still low, deficit reduced, unemployment down, Obamacare is looking like a mild to moderate success, we barely have any boots on the ground fighting and dying in stupid wars, and nothing (cross fingers) is blowing up here. Yet Obama’s approval ratings kind of stink. Why? Because these disengaged people spend 10-15 minutes a day reading/watching the news and most of what they hear are bad things. (if it bleeds it leads) They don’t understand what’s going on in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria or Gaza and they sure don’t want use getting involved but they know it’s bad, they don’t like hearing bad news, so they want Obama to wave his magical presidential wand and make it go away. Polls still show that Obamacare is unpopular. While 27% will always say that, most people either haven’t been negatively affected or have seen their situation improve. But if my fellow Americas don’t like it then I don’t like it (herd mentality), even though I don’t know why…and I want that magic wand to fix whatever is wrong with it. The same applies to Ferguson. All most people know about it is that a cop shot a kid and people are protesting/rioting….they don’t know or care about the underlying dynamics or issues. King Obama should make a decree to make that all go away….because he’s the president and the most powerful man on the planet…that’s what they’re told.

    Obama’s approval should really be higher than the 42% it is currently with Gallup. But it isn’t because he can’t/won’t make the bad news go away…bad news that is either imagined (war on whites, non-existent higher tax rates), inflated (concerns about Obamacare), or doesn’t really affect those who want to stop hearing about it. (ISIS, Ukraine, etc) But these are complex issues with no easy solutions and the only way to fix them is to have the different branches/levels of government and the factions within work together. But every time we try to do that, the right freaks out, holds their breath, stomps their feet and says, No!, which results in more bad news that people don’t want to hear….again, bad news that they expect the Wizard in the White House to cause to go poof.

  76. 76
    Betty Cracker says:

    Just to clarify in response to several observations about tainting jury pools and compromising ongoing investigations, I don’t think anyone was suggesting that PBO should address the facts of the case. He went to Arizona after the Giffords shooting, and he went to Colorado after the movie theater was shot up and gave moving speeches and advocated for policy changes without compromising ongoing investigations. ETA: As I said above, I think he’s doing the right thing to keep it low key, at least now, but people who are disappointed with the tone so far aren’t necessarily advocating anything stupid or damaging to due process.

  77. 77
    Kathleen says:

    @lamh36: That was really cool.

  78. 78
    Hal says:

    As I said yesterday, there is an investigation going on, the possibility of charges and if so a trial. That’s months and months from now, if at all. I think Obama doesn’t want this to become about him and potentially affect the outcome.
    I think it’s incredibly sad that a black President can’t have an opinion on race in America without half the country flipping out, but judging from some response I saw on Twitter yesterday claiming successful black celebrities were proof of no racism, I’m not surprised.

  79. 79
    some guy says:

    @OGLiberal:

    my shirts are still at the dry cleaners! Thanks, Obama

  80. 80
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Origuy: God, the RCP. I was hoping they were too irrelevant to pay attention to any more.

  81. 81
    Belafon says:

    @metricpenny: I have been thinking about that. I have also been thinking about the idea that it’s time whites held themselves to the same standards we expect out of others (and white men should be held to the same standards they hold women to).

    The only kink in that is that I will never dress as well as those around me, which should count against me (luckily, I’m a decent programmer and can make up for it).

  82. 82
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @metricpenny: If it actually caught on, it’d probably turn into a simple get-out-of-racism-free card.

  83. 83
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @safeshark:

    “Hillary will be a much more consequential president than Obama”.

    That’s ok. The other half of DKos thinks Hillary’s basically Jan Brewer in disguise.

  84. 84
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @safeshark: Usual disclaimer, I’m not a Clinton-hater, but I am a Clinton skeptic. I was always amused at the Clinton sloganeering in ’08– she’s a fighter! The Clintons know how to fight Republicans and win! HillaryCare, Welfare Reform, re-alignment in ’94, beat Poppy with the help of Ross Perot, Bob Dole with the help of Bob Dole, DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, repeal of Glass-Stegal, impeached but not convicted, Rick Lazio, Jeannine Pirro, some old Rockefeller Republican who agreed to be HRC’s punching bag in ’06 in return for the state party paying his country club dues…. What are the dragons they’ve slain that convince people of their legendary power and mad skills? I remember bitter old FOB/PUMA Ed Rendell saying, in all starry-eyed sincerity, that if Hillary had won in ’08, she would’ve written a health care reform bill! taken it to the Hill! and demanded they pass it!

  85. 85
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @OGLiberal: Fairly early in the Obama administration, my LiveJournal acquaintance tongodeon wrote that the Republican strategy to deal with him was “shit on his carpet and call him a poor housekeeper.”

    And it’s worked pretty well so far.

  86. 86
    Kathleen says:

    @OGLiberal: And for this I yet again blame the mainstream media. There is a lot of good news – new jobs created, deficit lowered, drop in uninsured people, etc., but the mainstream do not report any of this. They repeat Tea Party tropes and beat the Fake Scandal Drum . The low information voter (like my 40 year old suburban daughter) half listens to the morning “news” and sees concerned face anchors drone on about “Republicans said blah blah blah”. The media create that “white noise” of “he’s a failure” which seeps into people’s subconscious (I’m not talking about right wing tea party fascists – I’m talking your average, middle class, white, apolitical person who is not a bat shit crazy racist). Plus the “Both Sides Do It” mantra creates cynicism and the feeling that voting does not matter because “both sides”. Then on the “left” there are what I call the “NPR Liberals”, intelligent, caring people who, I swear, base their opinions pretty much on what they hear on NPR, which reports the same crap as the rest of the mainslime media.

  87. 87
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Kathleen:

    I also think Holder functions as his “spokesperson” on issues of race. Holder takes the flak for what Obama really cannot say.

    Imagine a small western town country whose chief law enforcement figure is suddenly a black guy… You could frame a neat comedy Western that way.

  88. 88
    mai naem mobile says:

    I was listening to the smerconish show on xm and he had mark omeara on. They talked about some vetted woman who gave a totally different version where brown fought with the cop, took off, turned around, rushed the cop like he was on drugz and then taunted the cop to shoot him and that the cop reversed after hearing about the robbery on the police scanner. Also he had an obviously racist caller who made an interesting point. He said brown’s reaction to the cop may have been because of the shop lifting.

  89. 89
    Kathleen says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Ha! Whoever thought a movie comedy could so accurately portray our reality today?

  90. 90
    Calouste says:

    @OGLiberal:

    It’s not a healthy way of thinking in a democracy because our president isn’t and shouldn’t be a benevolent, all powerful, monarch.

    Problem is, the President is a pretty powerful monarch according to the constitution. Veto power, fairly unlimited right of pardon, only one who can make nominations for one of the other branches. Of course, powerful monarchs were the only examples the Founding Fathers had for that role, the Prime Minister hadn’t really been invented yet.

  91. 91
    Belafon says:

    @mai naem mobile: The name on twitter last night was Josie. Anderson Cooper later tweeted how he’d wrongly bought into her act.

  92. 92
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Kathleen: Hear, hear, on all counts. A few people here get enraged by any attention given Beltway pundits. “NOBODY PAYS ANY ATTENTION TO THEM!”, while that may be true in terms of ratings and name ID, what they say filters down to top-of-the-hour news, local headlines people see while looking for sports the comics (yes, old people, the ones who vote), and people who think “both sides do it” excuses the fact that they’re too lazy and/or confused to study the issues. I would bet Andrew Sullivan has a lower national name recognition than Maureen Dowd or David Gregory, but his running-naked-down-the-street-wailing-and-smeared-with-beagle-poop (forget who coined that…) reaction to the first Obama-Romney debate featured prominently in the Today show’s “news” coverage. Who the hell ever heard of him? The people on that set and behind the cameras.

    As to Totebaggers… people who consider themselves liberal/moderate because they think Sarah Palin is a buffoon, the Iraq War was a mistake, they have gay friends and recycle, but… really…. government spending is out of control… oh, I don’t mind paying my fair share, of course, but the Deficit caused all this unemployment… Tom Brokaw said so, and the Ghost of Tim Russert agrees! so I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative! Most Beltway pundits sing from that hymnal.

  93. 93
    lamh36 says:

    @3ChicsPolitico 52s
    The Federal autopsy has been completed. “Michael Brown federal autopsy done: http://pix11.com/2014/08/19/mi.....e-sources/ …. #Ferguson

  94. 94
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Calouste:

    Can the president dissolve parliament and call for new elections?
    Can parliament (Congress) remove the president?
    Can parliament (Congress) remove a Supreme Court justice?
    Can the president?

    That tells you where the buck really stops. That Congress won’t do its job doesn’t mean it isn’t Congress’ job to do.

  95. 95
    Cacti says:

    Oinker from the LAPD writes possibly the most tone-deaf oped in the history of anything anywhere for the Washington Post.

    The actual title:

    I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me

    It’s actually quite a revealing insight into the police mindset, and how they view themselves as our masters rather than our servants.

  96. 96
    different-church-lady says:

    @metricpenny: Why advocate half steps when we can just bring back yellow stars and be done with it?

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Cacti: Let me quote Reggie Hammond in response to that: Being a cop’s a hard job, Jack.

  98. 98
    Archon says:

    I was one of those in 07-08 that foolishly thought Obama could bridge the divide in America by adopting right of center ideas to left of center policy problems. I thought the left would buy in in the name of progress (which they did) and I thought Republicans actually had principles and were interested in seeing their ideas implemented (which they weren’t). I also thought his bi-racial background and his conciliatory and magnanimous nature would be good for our politics.

    I didn’t understand the Republican id, I thought they were just wrong for the most part but well-intentioned. Their reaction to the Obama era has made me understand now that they are dangerous to the well being of this country.

  99. 99
    Patrick says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    They talked about some vetted woman who gave a totally different version where brown fought with the cop, took off, turned around, rushed the cop like he was on drugz and then taunted the cop to shoot him and that the cop reversed after hearing about the robbery on the police scanner.

    This “vetted” woman wasn’t even a witness. She heard it from someone else, then she called into a conservative show. And CNN desperate for a controversy since their ratings are so low decided to make it a major headline.

    Can CNN sink any lower?

    BTW – her story was already contradicted by the Ferguson policy chief (of all people) who had already said that Wilson had no knowledge of the alleged robbery.

  100. 100
    Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @KG: I also liked her “rhetorical velcro balls” comment from an earlier thread.

  101. 101

    Proving yet again that the great conservative cause is nothing but a giant grift, Officer Darren Wilson’s GoFundMe page has already raised $21,000, even though the officer hasn’t even been arrested or charged with anything.

  102. 102
    Calouste says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Of course Congress can remove the President, but it takes a 2/3 majority and quite a bit of theatre. In most parliamentary systems it only takes 50% +1 to get rid of the Prime Minister and can be done in a single vote.

  103. 103
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Imagine a small western town country whose chief law enforcement figure is suddenly a black guy… You could frame a neat comedy Western that way.

    Nah. Would never work, would be instantly forgotten, and certainly never constantly quoted four decades after its release.

  104. 104
    AxelFoley says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    @safeshark: Usual disclaimer, I’m not a Clinton-hater, but I am a Clinton skeptic. I was always amused at the Clinton sloganeering in ’08– she’s a fighter! The Clintons know how to fight Republicans and win! HillaryCare, Welfare Reform, re-alignment in ’94, beat Poppy with the help of Ross Perot, Bob Dole with the help of Bob Dole, DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, repeal of Glass-Stegal, impeached but not convicted, Rick Lazio, Jeannine Pirro, some old Rockefeller Republican who agreed to be HRC’s punching bag in ’06 in return for the state party paying his country club dues…. What are the dragons they’ve slain that convince people of their legendary power and mad skills? I remember bitter old FOB/PUMA Ed Rendell saying, in all starry-eyed sincerity, that if Hillary had won in ’08, she would’ve written a health care reform bill! taken it to the Hill! and demanded they pass it!

    This.

    @Kathleen:

    @OGLiberal: And for this I yet again blame the mainstream media. There is a lot of good news – new jobs created, deficit lowered, drop in uninsured people, etc., but the mainstream do not report any of this. They repeat Tea Party tropes and beat the Fake Scandal Drum . The low information voter (like my 40 year old suburban daughter) half listens to the morning “news” and sees concerned face anchors drone on about “Republicans said blah blah blah”. The media create that “white noise” of “he’s a failure” which seeps into people’s subconscious (I’m not talking about right wing tea party fascists – I’m talking your average, middle class, white, apolitical person who is not a bat shit crazy racist). Plus the “Both Sides Do It” mantra creates cynicism and the feeling that voting does not matter because “both sides”. Then on the “left” there are what I call the “NPR Liberals”, intelligent, caring people who, I swear, base their opinions pretty much on what they hear on NPR, which reports the same crap as the rest of the mainslime media.

    And this.

  105. 105
    Mandalay says:

    @Cacti:

    The actual title:
    I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me
    It’s actually quite a revealing insight into the police mindset

    Indeed. And also this comment in the article you linked to:

    Every person stopped by a cop should feel safe instead of feeling that their wellbeing is in jeopardy.

    How stupid and ignorant do you have to be to write that right now?

    p.s. The author of that drivel is “a professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University”. WTF is that? How do you become qualified in “homeland security”?

  106. 106
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mandalay: A professor in Colorado and, apparently, currently serving as an LAPD cop. I don’t see how either of those jobs allows for telecommuting, but I guess it’s possible.

    Also, too, a double-dipping public employee! wastefraudandabuse!

  107. 107
    piratedan says:

    The Bully Pulpit, it’s both a dessert topping and a floor wax…. I also agree that the President should stay the hell out of Missouri, this is a local matter, no matter how badly the local law enforcement has fucked up by the numbers (and imho, they have), this is for Missouri to solve and while I do believe that the governor is well intentioned, there are some local LE that don’t approve of the game plan and are doing their level best to remain confrontational and with the help of a few protestors, who have either reached the end of their personal tethers of sanity and logic, want this to become even more of a focal point. Problem is, I’m not sure what it will take the stenographer crowd to understand that the police state isn’t really their friend after all, although there have been some inroads into that monolithic PR fortress of late with even Breitbart courtiers being detained.

    I just don’t want any more skulls cracked, tears induced or folks killed. I want the officer responsible to have his say, I want the people responsible for giving the officer responsible a get out of town free card to explain themselves, I want the decision makers in this clusterfuck to be made accountable for the decision tree of suck that they’ve perpetrated on the community and the American justice system.

  108. 108
    scav says:

    @Cacti: Sunil Dutta comes off a chilling individual to have in a posiotion of authority and instruction on these matters. He writes us off as ‘average persons’ with no understanding of his presumably non-average person’s job. Our role is to graciously submit to whatever the armed superior force says because we might get hurt. It is the community’s task to make the policemen’s job easy and pleasant. To Dictate and Be Served is their new motto.

  109. 109
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Southern Beale: And he isn’t the only one raising money to defend himself from those non-existant charges.

  110. 110
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Patrick: I keep coming back to the absence of anything from the police side– Wilson, the second cop on the scene, senior officers who debriefed them– from the day of the shooting. If Michael Brown ‘bull charged’, or whatever they’re calling it, Wilson, if in the middle of his interaction with the kids he heard about or suddenly remembered the Great Cigarillo Heist, surely there is some mention of it in some timestamped, official, contemporary report.

  111. 111
    Cacti says:

    @scav:

    Sunil Dutta comes off a chilling individual to have in a posiotion of authority and instruction on these matters. He writes us off as ‘average persons’ with no understanding of his presumably non-average person’s job.

    Educational requirement for entry-level LAPD employment:

    High school diploma, GED, California high school equivalency certificate

    Sounds pretty average to me.

  112. 112
    askew says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    @askew: Yeah, maybe you’re right. I can’t really blame the guy though. President is pretty high on my list of jobs that sound awesome but are probably terrible.

    I think Obama went to this presidency wanting to do big things and this has to be disappointing to see an entire 2nd term of nothing much being accomplished especially after his major first term accomplishments.

  113. 113
    Cacti says:

    @Mandalay:

    How stupid and ignorant do you have to be to write that right now?

    Not to mention, he lists himself as a 17-year vet of the LAPD.

    That means he was on the force when the Rampart scandal was blowing up.

    I guess self-awareness is not required for LAPD employment.

  114. 114
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Patrick: And that sordid little episode tells you everything you need to know about today’s mainstream media, doesn’t it?

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cacti:

    A few weeks ago, somebody posted a story about their ex-NYC cop acquaintance who had to be let go from her volunteer job because she kept expecting the teenagers she was working with to obey her orders without question. Apparently her training had been to demand obedience and compliance from everyone she dealt with during her workday, and any failure to comply was supposed to be met with a show of force.

    To me, this is the basis of so many of these stories that we hear over and over and over again. It’s why we keep hearing about mentally ill people being killed by cops, people in diabetic shock being killed by cops, people staggering away from car accidents being killed by cops — they are demanding compliance and obedience from everyone they encounter, even people who are unable to do either one, and responding with deadly force if they don’t get it.

    This is a huge, huge problem, and it comes at the basic level of training people to be cops. This has got to be changed. Yes, militarization, blah blah blah, but Wilson didn’t have a machine gun or any tear gas. He just had a gun and an expectation of being immediately obeyed or he had a right to shoot to kill.

  116. 116
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cacti: “The views presented here are his own and do not represent the LAPD.”

    Well, thank freakin’ god for THAT.

  117. 117
    Patrick says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    It was mind-boggling, even by CNN’s standards, to have it on their front webpage.

  118. 118
    Cacti says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Despite his official disclaimer, I very much doubt that his view isn’t typical of your average LAPD officer.

  119. 119
    Tone In DC says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    I imagine you’re citing the sequel, and not the original 48 Hours. The original is one of my favorite movies, ever.

    That Kaplan Post op-ed piece is kind of eye opening. And, I have a feeling there are a lot of guys like him (and Fuhrman, and Stacy Koon) on the LAPD. I don’t think they’ve changed all that much since 1992.

  120. 120
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Tone In DC: No, it is in the original and it was sarcastic.

  121. 121
    Tone In DC says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Proving yet again that the great conservative cause is nothing but a giant grift, Officer Darren Wilson’s GoFundMe page has already raised $21,000, even though the officer hasn’t even been arrested or charged with anything.

    He’ll rake in more than Zimmerman has, before this is all over.
    Brown’s body is barely cold, and all this keeps happening.

    I need a second right about now. Gonna maybe break a few pieces of furniture, and kick in the windows on my car.

  122. 122
    Origuy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Colorado Tech is a for-profit university that does a lot of online classes. I suppose a professor in “Homeland Security and Criminal Justice” could do his lecturing from LA. Sunil Dutta’s CTU bio.

    LAPD doesn’t have the greatest reputation for protecting people’s rights. If this guy is training other cops, this could be part of the problem.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Origuy:

    LAPD doesn’t have the greatest reputation for protecting people’s rights.

    I officially nominate this as the understatement of the year. :-)

  124. 124
    Citizen_X says:

    @Cacti: I don’t know how it’s formatted for everyone else, but on a cell phone, there’s a key passage that’s quoted in the middle of the page…and they print it all in caps. So it comes out like this:

    DON’T ARGUE WITH ME, DON’T CALL ME NAMES, DON’T TELL ME THAT I CAN’T STOP YOU, blah blah blah blah blah.

    Kind of comes off like a cop screaming at you, eh? OBEH MAH AUTHORITAY!

  125. 125
    scav says:

    Continuing the militarization of police theme, notice his academic / instructional title is ‘professor of homeland security’. We’re all just equivalent threats under the same umbrella. You don’t slow down at a check-point, what do you expect?!

  126. 126
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @scav: ‘professor of homeland security’

    With a PhD in botany. Guy’s had an interesting career path, so say the least. Several of his publications concentrate on non-lethal means of enforcement.

    @Origuy: I am a dinosaur. I am aware of the existence of on-line learning, but I have to be reminded it of it.

  127. 127
    scav says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well, the botany aspect is as least theoretically hopeful. The sticking point is the attitude: shut up and do exactly as I say because I’m non-average is a bad habit also picked up by academics.

  128. 128
    CALfan says:

    A “sack full of paint-huffing honey badgers “ is brilliantly apt to describe the R wingers. That should win you the Intertubes for the week.

  129. 129
    mai naem mobile says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: apparently his plants didn’t listen to him and become nice healthy mature law abiding plants.

  130. 130
    Heliopause says:

    I’m less concerned about the struggles of a politician to mouth the correct platitudes and more concerned with what the federal government sees as its role here. Good that they’re investigating this particular shooting, but even some sort of conviction of the cop won’t remotely make the underlying problem go away. If this gets cast as “lone, rogue cop got out of control, we punished him, now everybody go home and keep quiet” then we’re back at square one.

  131. 131
    Hal says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He went to Arizona after the Giffords shooting, and he went to Colorado after the movie theater was shot up and gave moving speeches and advocated for policy changes without compromising ongoing investigations.

    But those were open and shut events. Giffords case may have raised the gun control issue ultimately, but in either case Obama’s presence would have no effect on outcome. Ferguson is ongoing, and there is still the possibility of charges against this officer. I just can’t help but think Obama doesn’t want to negatively impact the outcome of this case. More importantly, I doubt Obama (or I for that matter) trusts the media to accurately report on his comments as opposed to having round table after round table of conservatives on every show accusing him of race baiting in this case.

  132. 132
    Kerry Reid says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The Clintons fight like hell for themselves. But if you were Lani Guinier or Jocelyn Elders — not so much. I don’t give a shit about politicians who deliver “tough” red-meat speeches, and am mystified that the American Moron Voter of Right and Left uses that as a yardstick for “leadership!”

    That kind of grandstanding bullshit is what the GOPers excel at — while failing to deliver anything meaningful in the way of salutary benefits and usually fucking over anyone who isn’t rich, white, straight, male or some combination thereof.

    My main problem with Hillary in 2008 was that she wanted it both ways. Whatever good things happened on Bill’s watch were things she felt should be included in her “35 years” experience. “It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush, it will take a Clinton to clean up after the second one, etc.” Yet the things that were decried — DOMA, “welfare reform” that threw poor kids off Medicaid, etc., etc. were not her fault because she was just the First Lady and had no real power. (I actually give Bill a pass on DADT – he came in wanting to get rid of the ban altogether and was stonewalled by conservative Dems in much the same way Obama was on the public option.) So if she was unable to convince her own husband to take a more progressive course, I wasn’t sure how she could make the case for how she and she alone was the only one battle-tested enough to “fight” the GOP in Congress.

    Marriage isn’t a resume item to be used to bolster a career when politically convenient. I would say the same if Michelle Obama ran for office — I think she’s been a terrific First Lady, but that’s not the same as real executive-branch or legislative experience. (I very much doubt Michelle ever will, of course.) Bears remembering that, in terms of actual time in elected office, Obama had more experience in 2008 than Hillary, since he had served since 1996 in the Illinois State Senate. And of course, if “experience” was the big thing, then her argument back then really would have been that Biden, Richardson, Dodd — hell, pretty much anyone BUT Hillary on the Dem side — should have been given first consideration on the basis of ELECTED legislative and executive-branch experience. (Not that “experience” is a great marker. I believe it was James Buchanan who was used as the prime example of a guy who had a great deal of seemingly relevant experience before becoming president — but who is still generally considered one of our worst.)

    I will of course vote for Hillary or ANY Dem over the Nihilist Death Cult Party, but the notion that she’s somehow a tested warrior with tons of progressive victories notched on her belt is risible.

  133. 133
    Steeplejack says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    Fucking weeds. They had it coming.

  134. 134
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I’m not a Clinton-hater, but I am a Clinton skeptic.

    This is perfect. I’m stealing it :)

  135. 135
    different-church-lady says:

    @Heliopause:

    I’m less concerned about the struggles of a politician to mouth the correct platitudes and more concerned with what the federal government sees as its role here. Good that they’re investigating this particular shooting, but even some sort of conviction of the cop won’t remotely make the underlying problem go away.

    You are hereby promoted to a more advanced level of the internet.

  136. 136
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Kerry Reid: This isn’t directed at you in particular. :-)

    I’m a little mystified by the extremely strong opinions voiced about Hillary. She is smart, she obviously loves politics, and she has done good things to try to advance the status of women and girls around the world.

    She even did some things when she was in the Senate (basically worked hard to get more money to NYC after 9/11 and similar).

    And she helped rebuild the US State Department after it was a backwater under W.

    Yes, she voted for the Iraq War. Yes, she apparently was more hawkish than Obama in advocating policy options in Libya, Syria, etc., etc. The famous “situation room” photo during the bin Laden raid (with her hand over her mouth) is a study in contrasts.

    Maybe she felt the need to appear to be more hawkish than her male peers as women (and Democrats in general) often do to compensate for cultural perceptions. Maybe she really would be a hawk, given the chance. Dunno. I do know that events in a presidency rarely go according to the campaign and platform documents…

    While I seem to be even more of a minority these days, I still don’t think she’ll run. But if she does, I think she’s smart enough to have learned a lot since the start of the 2008 campaign. I think she’s learned that military involvement always has more costs than initially envisioned. I think she’s learned the limits of the office of President, especially these days. I think she’s learned the importance of having a good team and listening to them, and not rushing into decisions. (Contra her 3 AM commercial, ) There’s almost always a little more time to make a careful decision.

    One thing I do think she would have is long coat-tails. A Clinton with a Democratic House and Senate would be able to do a lot more good than an O’Malley in the White House and Teabaggers running the Capitol even if O’Malley might have better innate policies (for sake of argument).

    2016 is a long way off. Let’s do what we can to make 2014 a Democratic year, too.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  137. 137
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Hal:

    I doubt Obama (or I for that matter) trusts the media to accurately report on his comments as opposed to having round table after round table of conservatives on every show accusing him of race baiting in this case.

    These guys talk about “race baiting” as they use a firehose to shoot chum into the water.

  138. 138
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cacti: As Twyinn Lannister pointed out to young Joffrey, if you have to keep reminding people to respect your authoriteh, it’s clear you don’t have any.

  139. 139
    different-church-lady says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    Let’s do what we can to make 2014 a Democratic year, too.

    At this point the GOP is doing more towards that very goal than we are.

  140. 140
    askew says:

    @Kerry Reid:

    I will of course vote for Hillary or ANY Dem over the Nihilist Death Cult Party, but the notion that she’s somehow a tested warrior with tons of progressive victories notched on her belt is risible.

    Well said. Not just progressive victories. She has very few of her own victories to run on. There’s a reason she ran on Bill’s accomplishments and took credit for other Dems hard work. Her Senate resume is quite thin and she wasn’t in charge of FP in the Obama administration, Obama was. And it turns out that some of his biggest accomplishments she disagreed with.

  141. 141
    gene108 says:

    @Kerry Reid:

    Lani Guinier

    From Wikipedia

    In the face of the negative media attention, many Democratic Senators, including David Pryor of Arkansas, Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, and even Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois (the only African-American serving in the Senate at that time)[9] informed President Clinton that her interviews with senators were going poorly and urged him to withdraw Guinier’s nomination.[10]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lani_Guinier

    I’m sure there’s a nominee or two or three Obama’s withdrawn because of either bad press and/or Senate opposition.

    I think there’s a certain reflexive dislike of the Clinton’s amongst liberals. Liberals wilfully ignore any accomplishments and focus on the negatives of Bill’s terms in office.

    Though I do agree with you DADT was the best that could have been gotten, WRT to gays in the military in 1993, I give President Clinton more than a pass for getting DADT passed. Bill lacked “military cred” and his first major military initiative was to get gays to openly serve in the military, which was a political gambel. It was a very liberal decision and was not very popular amongst the military top brass and the American public.

    Remember, prior to DADT, it was 100% ILLEGAL FOR GAYS TO SERVE IN THE MILITARY AT ALL, so DADT was more than just what could get through Congress, it was actual progress on gay rights. It was the first time the U.S. government acknowledged gays have a right to serve in the military.

    Also, too why aren’t liberals giving President Clinton credit for the AWB? It was the most sweeping bit of gun control legislation, since 1968 and helped sow the seeds of Gingrich’s 1994 takeover of the House.

    And what about sCHIP?

    People act like the Clinton’s have no liberal inclinations what so ever, which is also wrong, even if you do not agree with them or even like them.

  142. 142
    RaflW says:

    I think this from 5 days ago in the Upshot column at the NYT is pretty relevant:

    Many who have called on Mr. Obama to speak up may not realize that it could be counterproductive for him to be visibly involved in the debate. Research by a Brown University political scientist, Michael Tesler, shows that the mere mention of Mr. Obama, the first African-American president, polarizes the public along racial lines on issues ranging from healthcare to how people feel about his dog, Bo.

  143. 143
    RaflW says:

    BTW, we had military helicopters flying incredibly low over both Minneapolis and St Paul last night. MPR says they will be overhead again tonight and tomorrow night, too.

    Some well timed military-civilian death-toy playtime in the wake of Ferguson. Over-armed and overly jackbooted local cops, indeed-y!

  144. 144
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Mandalay: I taught once for Colorado Technical University. It’s a for-profit career college, and it seemed more of a diploma mill than some of the other places I’ve taught. Why the WaPo decided this guy was worth printing is beyond me.

  145. 145
    Elie says:

    @mk3872:

    Thank you….

  146. 146
    Elie says:

    I heard that the KKK is raising money for Wilson’s defense.

    Now here is a perfectly good opportunity for the Ferguson white morons driving this disaster to do SOMETHING right — like turn that support down… that this was not done immediately underscores what this situation is about and the real risk of having this thing grow way bigger than one would predict. I think this is also why POTUS is being very very careful in what he does, what he says and who he sends to do what. This is more shaky with each day that things don’t calm down and it is not clear to me who is involved in running the protest side. Not to be too paranoid, but this could be infiltrated by people with very damaging agendas not necessarily in line with the needs of that community. There has been already damage done to black small businesses and the schools where these kids do not need to skip one day of class, are closed until next week. What good does that do?

    This is very slimy and I have a weird feeling in my stomach…

  147. 147
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elie:

    There are apparently some other white morons in town who call themselves the Revolutionary Communist Party who are running around throwing rocks and otherwise trying to get shit started with the police. Because that’s just what the folks in Ferguson need — jackasses from out of town causing more trouble.

  148. 148
    Elie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Exactly. Hopefully the FBI can help see who the instigators of unrest are…again, agendas can be apparent or indeed misleading. White communists? HMMM — could be white rightists wanting to keep the pot boiling while not appearing to be who they really are..

    The sense I have is that many of the real Furgeson community are staying home at night — this other group or groups are out there and its not clear what they want other than mayhem.

  149. 149
    Sandia Blanca says:

    @CALfan: Totally agree on the honey badgers. Bless their little hearts.

  150. 150
    Kerry Reid says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: I think the strong opinions come from the strong stench of bullshit emanating off her campaign in 2008. I for one still think that her “commander-in-chief threshold” comment, whereby she proclaimed that she and McCain passed that threshold (whatever the fuck that means), but the jury was still out on Obama, was a particularly low point. She was more eager to say nice things about McCain than Obama, and in the process attempted to impugn the leadership credentials of the man who was very likely to be the nominee of her party. That is what I mean by the Clintons primarily fighting tough for themselves. Though I grant that I did hear good things about her ability to deliver constituent service as a U.S. Senator in NY. She should have foregrounded that more in her campaign, IMO.

    So basically — Hillary gets strong opinions back because she tosses her own out. Sometimes without seeming aware of the consequences, and sometimes seeming to think that there should be some magic shield that prevents her from facing the consequences of the fights she picks. I just think her whole “tough, vetted, experienced” message wilted under examination of her actual record. She didn’t have any more notable achievements in the U.S. Senate than anyone else, including Obama and Biden.

    As I said — I will of course vote for her should she get the nomination.

  151. 151
    Plantsmantx says:

    the White House believes a presidential speech on a politically charged topic is as likely to make things worse

    He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, so how can things get worse?

  152. 152
    Kerry Reid says:

    @gene108: Didn’t say that they had no liberal inclinations whatsoever — just that their reputations as “Stick it to the GOP” fighters has no basis in reality. Did Bill do the best he could with the hand he was dealt? Maybe so. But I think his main victory over the GOP was NOT walking away after impeachment. They wanted his scalp to match Nixon’s, and he wouldn’t give them that. And like Obama, he was hamstrung by a GOP House in his first midterms. Unlike Obama, Clinton doesn’t seem to be blamed for that because he was insufficiently liberal (even though Obama actually DID pass sweeping healthcare reform).

  153. 153
    Kerry Reid says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Totally with you on focusing on 2014, BTW. I hope what everyone on the Dem side has learned is that there is no such thing as a “small” race, or an “off-year” election. As I’ve said before — for me, every election is now a contest between the Dems and the Nihilist Death Cult. Sure, I can name reasonable GOPers (Judy Baar Topinka in Illinois is one). But their influence is practically nil and will continue to be so until the GOP leadership learns to get the crazies in line or tosses them overboard or waits for them to die off or whatever it takes for the fever swamps in which their base thrives are drained.

  154. 154
    DTOzone says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    I still fucking hate how much the ‘significant portion of the country’ you speak of essentially has the process by the balls to the point most of those ‘real changes’ quickly get reversed hard stop soon as they start to flex local muscle.

    And I hate that children get cancer, doesn’t change reality.

  155. 155
    DTOzone says:

    @Plantsmantx:

    He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, so how can things get worse?

    Further enraging white people until we have a full blown race civil war?

  156. 156
    DTOzone says:

    @safeshark:

    “Hillary will be a much more consequential president than Obama”.

    I think that’s likely to be true. To that matter, Elizabeth Warren would be a much more consequential president than Obama.

  157. 157
    different-church-lady says:

    @Elie: I can’t understand what’s delaying the Westborough Baptist Church. Their bus must have broken down…

  158. 158
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @different-church-lady: They were scheduled to protest in Jefferson City, MO today:

    WBC to picket the state of Missouri and Governor Jay Nixon for their crimes against the saints of God.

    yada yada. :-/

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  159. 159
    CaseyL says:

    The low-key speech Obama gave about the shitstorm in Ferguson reminds me of his witty, light-hearted behavior at the WH Correspondents dinner the night bin Laden was finally killed.

    Misdirection, in other words.

    I can hope, anyway. I can hope that the President’s public decorum means there is intense work going on behind the scenes, through the DOJ/FBI; and that Ferguson’s police and political apparatuses are about to get the domestic equivalent of Seal Team Six’d.

  160. 160
    Plantsmantx says:

    @DTOzone:
    If that was ever going to happen, it would have already happened.

  161. 161
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    And Congress needs to reinstate lifetime protection for former presidents. Obama will certainly need it, and for that matter I’d prefer to maintain the facade of the rule of law in this country and not have anyone take a whack at the famous painter W. Rex either (his protection expires in 2018).

    Apologies, I’m still making my way through the thread, so this may well have been answered, but….

    Former presidents were entitled from 1965 to 1996 to lifetime Secret Service protection, for themselves and spouses and children under 16. A 1994 statute, (Pub.L. 103–329), limited post-presidential protection to ten years for presidents inaugurated after January 1, 1997.[7] Under this statute, Bill Clinton would still be entitled to lifetime protection, and all subsequent presidents would have been entitled to ten years’ protection.[8] On January 10, 2013, President Barack Obama signed legislation reinstating lifetime Secret Service protection for himself, George W. Bush, and all subsequent presidents.[9]

    So W. Rex is okay.

  162. 162
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Already done.

    I shoulda known.

  163. 163
    Elie says:

    @CaseyL:

    The problem is that these people are not swayed by facts or worse, morality — just plain right and wrong. You cannot coerce people like these because they have no boundaries to which they won’t scale up. You challenge them only when you know what they are about and their weaknesses. I think the President and his team (and the FBI) are doing that but it takes time and is more about setting traps where they screw themselves. It is worth noting how relatively quiet the ususal big mouths (Limbaugh) are about this. This is dangerous and unknown territory for both sides. Previous approaches may not apply cleanly.

  164. 164
    DTOzone says:

    @Plantsmantx: I don’t know, whites held complete political control over the nation essentially until 2012. Now they’re slowly losing it.

  165. 165
    philadelphialawyer says:

    @askew: What legislation, of any consequence, did Obama ever get passed, before he was President? His record as a State Senator is basically a blank slate…in his last year in office, the leader of the Senate Dems got some stuff passed (not all that much, actually) and let Obama put his name on it, in an explicit effort to boost his (Obama’s) US Senate campaign. As a US Senator, Obama accomplished nothing at all.

    And, not for nothing, but even as President, Obama is not exactly rivaling FDR or LBJ for legislative records. Basically, in a term and a half, he got the health care law passed, barely, and with many compromises to Big Pharma, Big Health Care generally, and with many provisions that were attempted compromises to the Repubs (whose model the law was based on). And that’s it.

    Guess what? It is hard to get important, progressive legislation passed, at any level. And especially at the Federal level, where there is a built-in rural (conservative) gerrymander, anti democratic rules (such as the Senate filibuster) and the need to control two legislative houses and the presidency (which have different election cycles). That Hillary “failed” to do so as First Lady or as a Senator is hardly an indictment of her entire career.

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