Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


President Obama speaks at House Republican retreat in Baltimore
January 29, 2010 1:18 PM   Subscribe

President Obama spoke at length to House Republicans at their retreat in Baltimore, responding to questions after his remarks. Video (also here). Transcript.

Political journalists seem to be thrilled by the exchange ("It's some of the best political television I've seen in memory.") But it might be a one-time-only event.
posted by ibmcginty (222 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think C-SPAN will re-air it tonight at 8pm.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:19 PM on January 29, 2010


Please let this only be the beginning.
posted by vito90 at 1:21 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thus far, it seems like basically everyone thought this went really, really well.
posted by valkyryn at 1:23 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


But it might be a one-time-only event.

More from Luke Russert (w/video): Republicans dismayed by Obama’s strong performance, say it was a ‘mistake’ to let cameras roll.
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Russert:
"Barack Obama, for an hour and a half, was able to refute every single Republican talking point used against him on the major issues of the day."
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on January 29, 2010 [31 favorites]


HAHAHA WE'RE SO PARTISAN
(APPLAUSE)
vomit
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 1:25 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, we needed some leadership from him, so we got some, finally.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:26 PM on January 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


"monthy, shit, let's do this every damn day. I'm not even sweating. Here, I'll play some ball while you ask questions"

* the President shoots a 3-pointer *

"WHOOO!"
posted by boo_radley at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2010 [59 favorites]


Jed Lewison at Daily Kos, FWIW:

... to get a sense of just how effective President Obama was, Fox "News" cut off the Q&A session before it ended (CNN and MSNBC both carried the full event live).
posted by Joe Beese at 1:28 PM on January 29, 2010 [33 favorites]


This is the House of Representatives though.
posted by smackfu at 1:29 PM on January 29, 2010


Reports of Republican dismay are probably exaggerated. Republicans in government (as opposed to talk radio) want to love and admire their president as much as anyone else.
posted by Faze at 1:29 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bully for him, he called them on their crap and went to them in their stronghold and faced them down. Now if only he could do this with the dems...
posted by Mister_A at 1:30 PM on January 29, 2010 [40 favorites]


Looks like the Republicans forgot that some of our presidents are actually intelligent and don't require prompters and hidden earpieces to decimate their moronic talking points.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:30 PM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


The brilliant thing is, you can't say "no" to the offer, and you can't use the wacko rhetoric that the surrogates use when the guy is right there in front of you, fully capable of dismantling that rhetoric and making those who use it seem somewhere between foolish and dangerous. Well played!
posted by Mister_A at 1:32 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Republicans in government (as opposed to talk radio) want to love and admire their president as much as anyone else.

You Lie!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:32 PM on January 29, 2010 [78 favorites]


also, wtf Time:
Whereas the State of The Union is basically a one-sided sort of political theater, this event actually captured the actual State of Our Political Union/Disunion.
posted by boo_radley at 1:32 PM on January 29, 2010


Republicans dismayed by Obama’s strong performance, say it was a ‘mistake’ to let cameras roll.

They forgot the dude is actually intelligent.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:32 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Barack Obama, for an hour and a half, was able to refute every single Republican talking point used against him on the major issues of the day."

And he wasn't doing this over the summer... why?
posted by scody at 1:34 PM on January 29, 2010 [23 favorites]


Ha, Republicans said it was mistake. Classic.

Next month, Obama should rent out a conference room in some Marriott hotel in the suburbs of DC and send out an invitation to the Republicans to meet him there to do the same thing as today. If they choose not to come, it'll just be Obama sitting there with a bunch of cameras on him, waiting for the coward Republicans to show up and discuss issues with him.
posted by billysumday at 1:35 PM on January 29, 2010 [43 favorites]


My guess, scody, is that he wanted to let the House and Senate "leadership" do some leading–they have demonstrated that they are manifestly incapable of that, so now he's personally involved. It was a mistake to expect anything from the democrats who lead the congress, and it looks like he's trying to remedy that mistake.
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Obama In The Lion's Den
Watch Obama debate the Republicans
posted by kliuless at 1:37 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I did not know there were mountain fortresses guarded by vultures in Baltimore!!
posted by contessa at 1:37 PM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


If they choose not to come, it'll just be Obama sitting there with a bunch of cameras on him, waiting for the coward Republicans to show up and discuss issues with him.

That would be awesome. I hope he does just that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's been almost two decades since we have had a functioning adult in the White House.

Nice change, huh?
posted by Danf at 1:37 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm sitting here at work pretty much doing a one-person wave because I'm so happy he did this. More please.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:38 PM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think this post sort of buries the lede: the Republicans are admitting to a mistake!
posted by brundlefly at 1:42 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's been almost two decades since we have had a functioning adult in the White House.


I don't recall.
posted by stavrogin at 1:43 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Fuck this "it was a mistake to let the cameras roll"; fuck this might be a one-time only thing.

This type of shit needs to happen daily. Weekly at a minimum - from leaders on all sides, all points of view. Don't fling shit at each other through the media; get together, talk, argue, answer questions, debate. Let the public and the media see it, listen to it.

That's exactly how the whole fucking process is supposed to work - it isn't sound bites, one-upmanship, and outrage of the day. It's supposed to be a goddamn dialog and testing of ideas in the public forum.

I can't believe people have forgotten that to the point that this seems a shock.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:44 PM on January 29, 2010 [81 favorites]


Republicans dismayed by Obama’s strong performance, say it was a ‘mistake’ to let cameras roll.

They forgot the dude is actually intelligent.


They got all soft during the Bush Years. I'm not sure about "two decades since we have had a functioning adult in the White House," but I'm (relatively) young and my memory for politics isn't first hand or too sharp.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:46 PM on January 29, 2010


And he wasn't doing this over the summer... why?

Obama does something universally applauded as awesome; liberals express frustration.
posted by billysumday at 1:48 PM on January 29, 2010 [96 favorites]


Now this is more like it! More of this, please. Please, please, please, for the love of any deity out there who has an interest in positive outcomes for us humans, more of this, please.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


oh oops, i guess the msnbc video is kinda working better :P

cheers!

btw, does it seem like boehner and cantor are always sitting next to each other?
posted by kliuless at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2010


More from Luke Russert (w/video ): Republicans dismayed by Obama’s strong performance, say it was a ‘mistake’ to let cameras roll.

Talk about getting blinded by their own hype. Did they still think they were dealing with bush? Or what?
posted by delmoi at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Republicans in government (as opposed to talk radio) want to love and admire their president as much as anyone else.

Oh, "love" that's what you call it when they lie, undermine, deceive, backbite, obstruct, and demean the President. "Their President?" Really? I think many of them, if asked directly, would have a hard time calling President Obama "my president."

Republicans aren't worth the shit it would take to bury them.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:49 PM on January 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


It makes me weep with joy to see someone so utterly school Mike Pence. It's a good day.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:50 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least none of the Republicans asked "Where's the birth certificate?"
posted by briank at 1:51 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I hope that the conversation we begin here doesn't end here, that we can continue our dialogue in the days ahead.

I love the man, but sometimes it's like watching Jimmy Stewart versus the Chaos Marines. Every once in a while they stop howling and firing automatic weapons at anything that moves, getting it together enough to hold a five-minute conversation. Then Jimmy smiles and extends some sort of beautiful, doomed hope for an actual dialogue.

Five minutes later, it's back to BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD and small-arms fire.
posted by Shepherd at 1:54 PM on January 29, 2010 [48 favorites]


PENCE: Mr. President, a point of clarification.

What's in the "Better Solutions" book are all the legislative proposals that were offered...

OBAMA: Oh, I understand. I've actually read your bills.


OH, SNAP!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:54 PM on January 29, 2010 [13 favorites]


This was the man I voted for. I knew he was still around somewhere.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:55 PM on January 29, 2010 [51 favorites]


"He wasn't cuddly, but who cares?" What does that mean? He started off with a joke, and there were about 20 points of laughter, which (in my very un-scientific judgment of the cuddle-factor) equates to a good bit of friendliness, if not all-out cuddliness.

And since when should the President of the United States of America be cuddly? That's the role for small children and/or the family pet(s).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:58 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Next month, Obama should rent out a conference room in some Marriott hotel in the suburbs of DC and send out an invitation to the Republicans to meet him there to do the same thing as today.

BRING IT, PUNKS.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:58 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Err, BO sounded legitimate, sincere, and actually bipartisan to me on a lot of points: but full tilt boogie in the bullshit-calling-category. And a lot of his questioners seemed the same way. I don't see how either side can call this a 'clear victory' or 'political theater' (though we'll see what happens when the fact-checkers check in), as it seemed that all personalities had an honest and consistent investment in the large fate of the American public that actually trumped their individual constituent concerns. But let's not go claiming this performance for one camp or the other; it was good work all around. B+ job, politicians.
posted by mr. remy at 1:58 PM on January 29, 2010


*wipes tear* That was beautiful, that was. :D

Talk about getting blinded by their own hype. Did they still think they were dealing with bush? Or what?

Bingo. Got it one.

They like to think the other side is filled with well-meaning soft-thinking idiots. In particular, they like to believe the Rush-hype, which says that Obama is a figurehead with a very powerful PR machine and administrators who the majority of his job for him.

Sound like a former President we used to know?
posted by zarq at 1:59 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


This was the man I voted for. I knew he was still around somewhere.

Exactly. That right there was the Change I voted for.
posted by zarq at 2:00 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Companies and politicians always release bad news on Friday. Think this'll sustain?

I surely can't make any projections as to if this will further Obama's cause. I hope that the folks above are correct, that the White House has decided that the House and Senate Democratic leadership has had their chance and now it's Barack's turn. That said, you still need votes and 'schooling' the Republicans may or may not encourage any of them to break ranks (obviously, what the Democrats had been doing wasn't working either, so I appreciate the change of approach).

But, it's 5pm on a Friday and I'm going to go home and probably not think about politics all weekend.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 2:01 PM on January 29, 2010


Obama does something universally applauded as awesome; liberals express frustration

Leftist believes it would have had meaningful results to have taken obviously awesome step earlier instead of giving right-wingers further ground on crucial issues for the past year; commentator makes remark seemingly criticicizing leftist's failure to line up behind president and applaud like trained seal just like right-wingers used to do.

am I doing it right?
posted by scody at 2:01 PM on January 29, 2010 [15 favorites]


HEADLINE: "Bluff called, GOP folds on the river."

The GOP really are the "Party of No" and that's the whole story. Here's hoping this actually gets covered and can somehow penetrate the deliberate fog of ignorant rage cultivated by the right.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funniest tweet ever:

"Pres gave us another lecture. Our guys asked great questions. Need independent fact checker for his comments. Got autograph" - Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina's Fifth District
posted by unsupervised at 2:04 PM on January 29, 2010 [29 favorites]


"Need independent fact checker for his comments. Got autograph"

If I didn't know that Rep. Foxx is a blithering idiot, I'd assume this autograph plug was part of a dastardly strategy to revive the "celebrity" faux-meme from the election. But she's a blithering idiot, so I can safely conclude this cognitive dissonance is par for the course. First against the wall.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:06 PM on January 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's been almost two decades since we have had a functioning adult in the White House.

Nice change, huh?
Wait, Bill Clinton wasn't a "functioning adult"? It hasn't even been a decade since he was in office, let alone "almost two".

The only way I can make any sense of this is if you think that being faithful to your spouse is a requirement of being a "functioning adult". I disagree with that, but even assuming it to be the case, in what way would it affect what you find good about today's events?

That is, do you think that Clinton couldn't have made these Republicans look just as foolish?

And do you think that Obama isn't cheating on his spouse, based on the evidence that he made these Republicans look foolish?
posted by Flunkie at 2:06 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd love to seem him do this monthly, tbh. With Democrats and Republicans taking turns. I don't even care if it's not televised.
posted by empath at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2010


I've been feeling for a while that Obama entered the White House facing such a potential catastrophe that he threw his weight into trying to solve it, which, frankly, would be a big demand on somebody who has been an executive for decades, but he was newly a president. And I think he said to himself, well, some things are going to have to wait. And some of that was going public and making his case. He thought, you know, I give a weekly address, I have a Web page, I have a Twitter account, my message will get out.

What he forgot is that a lot of middle America doesn't get their news in any sane way. They get it from partisan sources, or from friends, or from tabloids, or from talk radio. Part of the job of President is to be your own PR staff, and you have to do it in as direct and dramatic a way as possible, or the message gets lost or drowned by noise.

And it's a pity, because he proved something important with his campaign: That people will choose hope over rage, they will pick change over intractability, they will listen when somebody has something to say that speaks to them, and they are capable of nuance and complexity. But they need to be lead to that, and they are not getting that leadership from mainstream sources. They need their president to stand in front of them and say "This is what can be."

Obama hasn't been that for a while, and everybody has been a little disappointed, because he was such a dynamic presence on the campaign trail. I was okay with it, because, hey, the guy has work to do, but now I'm starting to think we really need this. Because Obama has also shown that he can push an agenda through the sheet force of his insistance on behaving ethically. Without that force out there, calling people out on unethical policiticking, that's whats Washington falls back on as a default, and is what has happened with the health care debate.

We need more of this. Change isn't just process and backroom deals. It's making your case loudly and publicly, and being as clear and transparent as possible. This is what Obama needs to be, and I was glad to see some of it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2010 [49 favorites]


Y'know, there were always guys in my swordfighting classes that you just didn't mess with. They could offer to spar three, four, five of us at once and it wasn't going to matter-- by the time it was over, there'd be shinai, students, and gloves all over the ground.

Knowing that, I've got to ask: who in the hell takes an offer of "Sure, I'll debate all of you at once, on camera, live-- sound good?" from a Constitutional law professor and thinks they're going to be standing when it's over? It seems equivalent.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:11 PM on January 29, 2010 [54 favorites]


Incidentally, this morning, I heard on the radio that Obama was going to meet with House Republicans. "Big deal", I thought.

A few minutes ago, I the headline of an article saying that he had. "Big deal", I thought.

Then I started reading the article - "The president met with House Republicans today..." "Big deal", I thought.

Then it continued, "... on national television." "WHAT! Are they insane? This is awesome!", I thought.
posted by Flunkie at 2:11 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


OBAMA: I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.

I mean, the fact of the matter is is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, "This guy's doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America."

And I -- I would just say that we have to think about tone.

It's not just on your side, by the way. It's -- it's on our side as well. This is part of what's happened in our politics, where we demonize the other side so much that when it comes to actually getting things done, it becomes tough to do.


SWEET SKATEBOARD JESUS THIS
posted by shakespeherian at 2:16 PM on January 29, 2010 [100 favorites]


God I needed this today.
posted by The Whelk at 2:20 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


At first I read this as "President Obama speaks, House Republican retreat..." and I was all excited till I realized what it really said.

Then I read through and it looks like my first reaction might not have been that far off after all.

Sweet.
posted by quin at 2:20 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


fuck bush
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:20 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Reports of Republican dismay are probably exaggerated. Republicans in government (as opposed to talk radio) want to love and admire their president as much as anyone else.

"President Obama is leading an extreme left wing crusade to bankrupt America. I stand in his way every day." -- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

"Every institution that has made this country the greatest nation in the world is under attack. . .I don’t know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America."-- Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)

"Just from what little I've seen of [Mrs.] and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity." -- Rep Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
posted by EarBucket at 2:21 PM on January 29, 2010 [23 favorites]


Wait, Bill Clinton wasn't a "functioning adult"?

I think if Clinton had any problem it was that he was functioning TOO adult.

(who says Leno has the market on lame ass jokes that are a decade and a half too old)

Though it is nice to see a president play by adult rules rather than win by playing by being the slick Democractic version of the same Rove-y point scoring crap.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:22 PM on January 29, 2010


Mike Pence got the biggest applause being a pissy whiner. Huh.
posted by boo_radley at 2:22 PM on January 29, 2010


Congress forced to watch training video about bipartisan cooperation.
posted by The Whelk at 2:24 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity."

Any adult who uses "uppity" to refer to a black person and then claims that they didn't know it was a racial slur is either a liar or so desperately blinkered on the subject of race in America that they are unqualified to be a politicians, which, after all, requires representing all Americans, including black people.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:26 PM on January 29, 2010 [34 favorites]


"Yeah, let's get the law professor in here so we can demolish his arguments face to face! We can take him!!"
posted by yhbc at 2:28 PM on January 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


"Just from what little I've seen of [Mrs.] and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity." -- Rep Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)

That dude is my favorite because he actually oozes from places to place instead of walking; it's like watching time-lapse videos of slugs fucking
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2010 [53 favorites]


The opening prayer's sincerity and originality of it moved me.
posted by pianomover at 2:30 PM on January 29, 2010


It's interesting to read the full transcript of this event: The man not only knew the Republican positions, but also all their numbers. The result was an absolute dismantling of the current arguments against him.

I was quite disappointed, though, by a report that followed on NPR this afternoon, that framed the whole issue as some kind of delicate Kabuki dance. After that declaration, they rolled many of the Republican questions, but offered none of Obama's responses.

Is that an example of the liberal media I've been hearing so much about?
posted by silkyd at 2:31 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


OBAMA: "you had two wars that were done through supplementals"

I really wish there was a way to make this sound jazzier. It's a huge issue.
posted by boo_radley at 2:34 PM on January 29, 2010 [8 favorites]


I just noticed that Marsha Blackburn used the phrase Democrat in the perjorative way several times when speaking to the President.

That's a terrific way to show you're really interested in a debate. To repeatedly insult the party of the president while you toss out a series of talking points in lieu of discussion.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:45 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama does something universally applauded as awesome; liberals express frustration.

I see your point, but it _is_ kind of frustrating to think that if he had done some of this sooner, we might have had a healthcare bill already.

That being said, I applaud his more aggressive stance lately and that he's not falling for the idea that because there are "only" 59 Democratic senators suddenly the Republicans should dictate the agenda.
posted by wildcrdj at 2:49 PM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


There was no chance that I was going to vote for McCain in '08, but the one thing he mentioned during his campaign that I liked without reservation was his idea of starting a US equivalent of Prime Minister's Questions. If this kind of thing happened more often, it'd be great for getting people involved in politics during the off-season, between elections.
posted by Prospero at 2:56 PM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


This was the man I voted for. I knew he was still around somewhere.

"Oh there you are Peter!"
posted by yeti at 2:56 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Just heard some excerpts on the radio as I was driving home of a marathon question asked by some guy named Jeb. He talked about how Obama had raiesd the deficit by 30%, went on and one and one, then finished by asking if Obama planned to triple the deficit again. So somehow he got from 30% to 300%.

What's a little zero here and there, amiright?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:56 PM on January 29, 2010


I really wish there was a way to make this sound jazzier.

But, there is!
posted by Anything at 2:57 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's a terrific way to show you're really interested in a debate. To repeatedly insult the party of the president while you toss out a series of talking points in lieu of discussion.

I think the proper response to this nonsense is to refer to the Republican Party as the gop. (Not gee-oh-pee, but gop, one syllable and all lower-case when written—"when will Blackburn and the other gop representatives show that they have any philosophy other than obstructionism?")

I may actually start doing this.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:59 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think C-SPAN's headline is misspelled. It says "President Speaks at GOP Retreat" when it should be "President Punks GOP Retreat."

The man not only knew the Republican positions, but also all their numbers.

Because he had a teleprompter, right? Because I've been told time and again that he's an empty suit that can only read a teleprompter.
(I know he didn't use a teleprompter.)

'President Obama is leading an extreme left wing crusade to bankrupt America. I stand in his way every day.' -- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

Not that he's a sore loser or anything. The presidential candidate of a major political party should conduct himself with more gravitas.

Just from what little I've seen of [Mrs.] and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity.

Urge to kill...rising. (Rep. Westmoreland made the comment in 2008, which excuses not saying "President Obama.")
posted by kirkaracha at 3:00 PM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


starting a US equivalent of Prime Minister's Questions.

Hear, hear! I've been agitating for this on the state level in the political groups I'm involved in. We're having a Con-Con soon, and I'll be pushing for an amendment requiring a monthly question session for the governor in front of the legislature. If we get it going in enough states, it might make it into Federal law.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:00 PM on January 29, 2010


I see your point, but it _is_ kind of frustrating to think that if he had done some of this sooner, we might have had a healthcare bill already.

Without invoking the 12-d chess stuff, I suspect he (a) actually believes in the separation of powers and deferred to Congress initially, say, on the substance of health care reform out of principle and (b) is an astute enough political player to have learned from the Clinton debacle on HCR. Shit, this watered-down bill (that I nonetheless support in the current political climate: civil rights weren't secured in a day/with a single bill, e.g.) produced by heavily lobbied "centrists" has already been labeled socialist, fascist OBAMACARE that will kill your grandma!

He gave the legislative branch a chance to redeem itself which, predictably, it royally fucked up. Now he can step into the political void and point to a year's worth of empirical evidence that the GOP clearly don't give a shit about governance and begin to more actively shape policy. I love it and I think it just might work. If we can only tone down the circular firing squad and put the pressure on the Congress I honestly believe this man will make important strides on critical issues, as he already has despite the political liabilities that some on the left seem to want to wish away. Let's seize this momentum.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:02 PM on January 29, 2010 [23 favorites]


Ladies and Gentlemen of MetaFilter, I put it to you, in all sincerity, that if these monthly meetings were to continue, and the press were allowed to broadcast them:

Surely this.
posted by tzikeh at 3:03 PM on January 29, 2010


At least none of the Republicans asked "Where's the birth certificate?"

I was sort of hoping he'd push that himself, to take advantage of the rolling cameras and provide a nice clip for the future.

"Now, does anyone here have ANY QUESTIONS AT ALL about where I was born or my citizenship or the legality of my holding this office? No? Nobody?"

<crickets, uncomfortable shuffling, averted eyes>

"You're SURE now?"
posted by rokusan at 3:05 PM on January 29, 2010 [39 favorites]


In another barbed exchange, the president said some Republican lawmakers in the audience had attended ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects in their districts funded by the 2009 stimulus package that they voted against.

This from Fox News. Gotta love it.
posted by Danf at 3:09 PM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


kid at my office: This is sooo boring]

Me: Good. Politics is supposed to boring. This is the way it should be.
posted by Think_Long at 3:10 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, Bill Clinton wasn't a "functioning adult"?

I meant that Clinton had well-documented impulse-control problems, and also that he treated the government like a big high school at times. A high school in which he was the most popular kid.
posted by Danf at 3:11 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


If we can only tone down the circular firing squad

BUT WE LOVE THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD!
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on January 29, 2010


Only Frodo could go to Mordor.
posted by hangashore at 3:12 PM on January 29, 2010 [30 favorites]


I found this more informative and productive than a week's worth of congressional debate, press conferences and TV studio interviews - a largely substantive and respectful political debate, in which both policy and policy-making were frankly debated. I would love to see something similar to this in Congress itself on a regular basis, not unlike PMQT.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:12 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is great. I really would like to see a "Prime minister's questions" type thing in the U.S.
posted by delmoi at 3:14 PM on January 29, 2010


Heh. I would have liked to have seen Bush trying a question time like deabte.
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


For a man that was elected by appeal to the people, and by holding town-hall meetings, it's taken a long time for him to actually respond to questions directly. But good for him for doing it.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:15 PM on January 29, 2010


I'm not so eager for this to happen on a regular basis. I think many of the Republicans were caught off guard because this was happening within the context of a regular event which isn't usually televised. While they may have known it was televised, they hadn't fully internalized it.

Do it on a regular basis, and they'll learn soon enough, and all go into Paul Ryan tell-a-lie-enough-times-and-it-becomes-the-truth mode.

Or maybe this sort of meeting should happen on a regular basis, and it should not be televised, recorded, or in any other way released to the public.

Also, Carthage must be destroyed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:20 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, time flies. When I read that functioning-adult/twenty years thing, I thought first of George HW Bush (and then I was, like, 'The Simpsons? Caribou? Broccoli? Don't people remember the way he spoke?') George W is simultaneously the best and the worst thing that ever happened to his father.
posted by box at 3:24 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It doesn't matter how smart a pro wrestler is or how good he is at smack talking his opponent ringside if he promptly throws himself on his back and invites his opponent to pin him when the bell rings.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:27 PM on January 29, 2010


This, like the SOU address, again reminds me of how much I like and respect our President. He is a good man in addition to having a stunning IQ. And without being naive, he calls on the best in everyone, even his opponents.

I've been listening lately to Part I of Shelby Foote's Civil War opus, and continue to notice the strong resemblances between Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln.

We are lucky to have this President.
posted by bearwife at 3:30 PM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


After all the pussyfooting around he has to do with his own treacherous party being able to lay the smack down must actually be a bit of a relief for him.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hasn't anyone posted Chris Dumber-than-Dumb Wallace's comment? Let me go find it, it's a doozy!
"I forgot he was black tonight for an hour...I was watching, I said, 'Wait a minute! He's an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people and there he is president of the United States and we've completely forgotten that tonight -- completely forgotten it!'"
-- Chris Matthews, on Obama SOTU address
[mouth agape]
posted by five fresh fish at 3:36 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Obama:] But if you were to listen to the debate, and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.

(LAUGHTER)

No, I mean, that's how you guys -- that's how you guys presented it.

(APPLAUSE)
I'm really confused what the applause here was from. Is applauding the Republican version of playing dead?
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:39 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hasn't anyone posted Chris Dumber-than-Dumb Wallace's comment? Let me go find it, it's a doozy!
"I forgot he was black tonight for an hour...I was watching, I said, 'Wait a minute! He's an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people and there he is president of the United States and we've completely forgotten that tonight -- completely forgotten it!'"
-- Chris Matthews, on Obama SOTU address
[mouth agape]


Aw come on. Dont play into that feigned outrage schtick. It's completely clear what he means.

And what he means is a good thing and a step forward for all of us.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:40 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Chris Dumber-than-Dumb Wallace'
It was Chris Matthews, and I agree with Senor Cardage that you're overplaying it.
posted by Flunkie at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2010


Here is a man who is keenly aware of his place in history, and the color of his tie.
posted by Non-Prophet at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here is a man who is keenly aware of his place in history, and the color of his tie.


And he really knows where his towel is.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:44 PM on January 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


OBAMPWNED
posted by Ratio at 3:48 PM on January 29, 2010


It was Chris Matthews, and I agree with Senor Cardage that you're overplaying it.

I third that.
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:50 PM on January 29, 2010


Obama should have asked those fucking cretins to define Socialism and explain how this country is headed there. Watch 'em sweat.
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:53 PM on January 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


Heh. I would have liked to have seen Bush trying a question time like deabte.

Deabte. Likely the way W. himself spells the word, the idiot.
posted by ericb at 3:53 PM on January 29, 2010


>> It's completely clear what he means

Obama's just zis guy, you know?
posted by JohnFredra at 3:54 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jon Stewart said that Chris Matthews is one Scotch away from being Ron Burgundy.
posted by box at 3:59 PM on January 29, 2010 [19 favorites]


That is, do you think that Clinton couldn't have made these Republicans look just as foolish?

I once heard Clinton taking harsh questioning live, one hour straight.

As a former debater, I'm just going to say that Bill v. Barack would be one hell of a contest.
posted by effugas at 4:00 PM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, hey, dogwhistles! I wrote a discourse analysis paper using that Lynn Westmoreland 'uppity' quote as a data example. In the paper, I argued that Westmoreland was using a dogwhistle tactic to send a message to his like-minded constituents, which effectively strengthened his narrative of being a divisive...well, here's the clean, academic version of that section:
In the following example, the speaker was later accused of using a term that, while having a common, dictionary-definition for most, has a secondary, racially derogatory connotation to some, usually recognized by those who were raised in the Southern United States.
Example 3.3.2 US Representative Lynn Westmoreland (Republican, Georgia), discussing Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech with reporters outside the House chamber. He was asked to compare her with Michelle Obama, the African American wife of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. September 4, 2008.

"Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity."


The Dogwhistle: Use of the word ‘uppity’.
What the General Audience Heard: The common, dictionary-definition for the word ‘uppity’.
What the Target Audience Heard: A secondary, racially derogatory connotation.
Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah,” according to the Capital Hill newspaper (The Hill, 2008). At the popular slang-words website, UrbanDictionary.com, we find an entry for uppity, meaning: Word used by racist old white Southerners to refer to any black person who looks them in the eye. Usually followed by nigger. “That uppity nigger is not working in the cotton field like he should be.”

Google.com search results provide 29,200 hits for the phrase “uppity nigger”. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) does not provide an entry for this racially-loaded meaning at this time, but they have stated that the term has not been updated since the 1970’s and will be researched for the upcoming edition (personal communication). Several other online sources corroborate that ‘uppity’ was commonly used by poor whites during Jim Crow, to refer to African Americans who were thought to speak or dress in a manner that was considered above what was socially acceptable during this time of racial segregation and oppression.

Westmoreland, who was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, denied any knowledge of this secondary meaning. This is plausible deniability with regards to the offensive dogwhistle accusation, but does not bode well with his credibility as an informed politician in the face of the many Southerners he represents, who were aware of this oppressive, racist connotation, but do not agree with its sentiment. This is a significant population who did hear the dogwhistle, but for whom it wasn’t intended. They may conclude a Lying Politician or, ironically, an Elitist Politician narrative for Westmoreland, since he is above the social sphere of his constituents that would have given him access to important cultural knowledge about lexical choices, as well as appropriate recursive action to take in refutation of an untoward accusation. The lack of citable sources for this connotation adds to Westmoreland’s credibility, but a previous public outrage at the use of the term referring to Obama, one month prior by the Republican Campaign, would have raised awareness about this issue at the time of Westmoreland’s comment (Stein, 2008).

The implications for some of the possible interpretations have negative consequences for the speaker, regardless of exercising deniability of intent. As explained above, those who heard the dogwhistle episode, but were not its intended recipients, may feel offended by either Westmoreland’s racist comment, or his lack of insight and sensitivity in both making the comment and in dealing with its possible offensive interpretation in a tactful manner. Even so, the remaining group for whom the dogwhistle wasn’t intended may take the message at face value — public slander against the opposing side’s representatives.

Just like lexical choice matters, the manner in which these choices are presented matters. The difference between screaming a slur versus whispering one contains a value judgment about what doing so means. If a person of political power uses charged language in way that makes them liable to being accused of veiled racism, and is made aware of that outcome, one would expect a following response that clarifies the original intent, so as to allay any misunderstanding. In this sense, silence can be just as much a dogwhistle as spoken utterance. Either way, plausible deniability is an option for any interpretation that could potentially damage the speaker’s credibility.
Sorry my post is so long. I just thought this might be a good place to add some fun bonus info to that god awful quote.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:03 PM on January 29, 2010 [42 favorites]


Obama: "The whole question was structured as a talking point. Let me go through it line by line."

Thanks for posting this. Love love love.

Listening to the Q & A, couldn't help thinking that Republicans collectively have nothing to gain from helping Obama succeed at anything, and everything to lose if he pulls it (anything) off.

on preview,

what he means is a good thing and a step forward for all of us.

An intermediate step forward, sure. "I forgot he was African American" is much better than hatred and contempt, and also, still suboptimal: "White people often take such de-racing to be evidence of having transcended racism. This clamor for color-blindness is another reflection of how far white America has to go in race relations. At this moment in history, being color-blind is a privilege available only to white people. Non-white people do not have the luxury of pretending that color can be ignored."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:06 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


I really would like to see a "Prime minister's questions" type thing in the U.S.

To those arguing for a US prime ministers questions, speaking from the UK experience; it's a good thing, but realise it's definitely not a sober, bipartisan assessment of policy. It's definitely more of a point scoring thing/Oxford Union reprise. An arbitrary example picked off youtube


Though that doesn't mean important points don't come out.
posted by Erberus at 4:09 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please please please can we go back in time and make GW Bush do this in front of a bunch of democrats (or kindergarteners)? He'd never get away with stealing a second election after that performance!
posted by conifer at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


So if you read the transcript, everything went really well.

If you listen to the media, grar it was a mistake grar battle grar sides grar.

I would love for the only media coverage of this to have been the transcript posting. The media is the problem.
posted by davejay at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2010


Ah Chris Mathews:
I have to tell you, you know, it's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.
posted by delmoi at 4:24 PM on January 29, 2010


I only hear of this Chris Matthiews when he's said something weird or awful.

Is this the extent of this man's career?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:35 PM on January 29, 2010


Obama does something universally applauded as awesome; liberals express frustration.

Yes, well, it turns out when a liberal votes for someone running for the most powerful office in humanity, they have actual expectations for that person.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:38 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.

Okay. This thread for me just went from:

"Hey there might be hope left for this American democracy if this president works for three years to bring the better qualities of democracy to the people he represents. Yes, the media is a problem, but he can damn well try."

to

"OH MY GOD I DIDN'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT CHRIS MATTHEWS FUCKING OBAMA BONER. JESUS IMAGINARY CHRIST FUCK EW."


I only hear of this Chris Matthiews when he's said something weird or awful.

Is this the extent of this man's career?


Yes. Sometimes weird, always awful.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:39 PM on January 29, 2010


what he means is a good thing and a step forward for all of us.

The fact that he even had the thought in the first place, rather than just saying, basically, "yay, we have a president with a big brain" or something that focuses on the content of Obama's character rather than the color of his skin, is a step back, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, this was amazing to read.

I don't think he should do this with the Dems though. I think he should just take them all and make them wear the cone of shame. Each and every one of them. Fifty eight Senatorial cones. Of shame.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:46 PM on January 29, 2010 [19 favorites]


It's nice to dream of a closed door meeting with the Democrats where he does some Al Capone style baseball batting of some of them.
posted by Artw at 4:46 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


"There's only 57 senators now, but they damn well do as I say."
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


what he means is a good thing and a step forward for all of us.

Here's a very, very, very smart response by Ta-Nehisi Coates that disagrees.
posted by neroli at 4:48 PM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


The other thing Matthews said was 'seductive.'
posted by box at 4:50 PM on January 29, 2010


This was something amazing.

Sad to see that one of Obama's main points was that the horserace/kulturkampf reportage was one of the things destroying Washington, yet this story is reported through that filter.

I don't think it can happen regularly, or even one more time. Next time they'll be prepared, they'll know how to game it, they'll be more coordinated in their mendacity.
posted by fleacircus at 4:50 PM on January 29, 2010


"Thank you for coming to this private meeting Senators. Don't mind the guards at the door. By the way, I hope you are enjoying that delicious meal you are eating... it's Joe Lieberman."
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on January 29, 2010 [54 favorites]


(at that point he'd roll the head down the table)
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on January 29, 2010 [18 favorites]


You go to a Q&A session fishing for bipartisanship with the media you've got, not the media you want.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:02 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


"monthy, shit, let's do this every damn day. I'm not even sweating. Here, I'll play some ball while you ask questions"

Um. Typo.

Should be, "Monthly? Sheeee-it. Let's do this every damn day."
posted by scblackman at 5:03 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Artw: "It's nice to dream of a closed door meeting with the Democrats where he does some Al Capone style baseball batting of some of them."

CLOSED door? It should be televised as well!

That said, how does this shift Republican votes? The President noted the problem himself: these hacks are hoist on their fundraising rhetoric.

One supposes a savvy politico might take advantage of a recent Supreme Court ruling to make it clear that some heavy capitalist moneybags were about to land on some retrograde nutbags, and that might shift some votes around. But that politico would probably not be a fella who intended to deliver stuff like rationalized taxation or universal healthcare, hmmm?
posted by mwhybark at 5:05 PM on January 29, 2010


As your leader, I encourage you from time to time, and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you're unconvinced that a particular plan of action I've decided is the wisest, tell me so, but allow me to convince you and I promise you right here and now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for bringing up our majority in the House as a negative is - I collect your fucking head.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:05 PM on January 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


Thank goodness the Republican opposition is so responsive to clear, rational discussion.
posted by Legomancer at 5:30 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


He talks a good game and the gop was foolish to try and debate him. However, he has yet to show that he can crack the whip and get things done. Start first with whipping the dems, then apply the lash to the gop. Talk is nice; results matter. Anyway, more of these debates would be great.
posted by caddis at 5:31 PM on January 29, 2010


I love it when that man says, "You've asked a question and I want to answer it."

*swoon*
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:34 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's hardly a fair debate. It's just 178 Republicans vs. one Democrat.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:47 PM on January 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


box: "Jon Stewart said that Chris Matthews is one Scotch away from being Ron Burgundy."

I think he bears a strong resemblance to Buck Laughlin, Fred Willard's character from Best In Show. He looks like him, talks like him, and has the same "on-air" personality of tone-deaf stream-of-consciousness mixed with affable joviality. Just watch these clips from the movie... the resemblance is uncanny.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Obama is a pragmatist. He may have some liberal daydreams but his main thing is getting the government to do what it CAN do. And right now it's not even doing that. Which is why he laid the smackdown. I thought the tone was, at times, startlingly honest for a politician in a public forum.

"I mean, we've got to be careful about what we say about each other sometimes because it boxes us in in ways that makes it difficult for us to work together because our constituents start believing us. They don't know sometimes this is just politics"

Overall... bravo Obama.
posted by gonna get a dog at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2010


"Republicans dismayed by Obama’s strong performance, say it was a ‘mistake’ to let cameras roll."

Well, it's awfully hard to be accountable to the corporations that put them there if they're transparent all the time.
posted by markkraft at 5:58 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's nice to dream of a closed door meeting with the Democrats where he does some Al Capone style baseball batting of some of them.

I'd pay money to see that. Hell, do it PPV-style and rake in the dough. Global viewership, man, it'd probably pay off the debt.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:12 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the proper response to this nonsense is to refer to the Republican Party as the gop. (Not gee-oh-pee, but gop, one syllable and all lower-case when written—"when will Blackburn and the other gop representatives show that they have any philosophy other than obstructionism?")

As long as it's pronounced "Jope" (a la Gob Bluth), I say let's do it.
posted by notswedish at 6:18 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I to assume that Luke Russert laned a job based on his qualifications?
posted by jsavimbi at 6:19 PM on January 29, 2010


Watching this live was great, but The transcript is way more entertaining.

The component parts of this thing are pretty similar to what Howard Baker, Bob Dole and Tom Daschle proposed at the beginning of this debate last year.

Now, you may not agree with Bob Dole and Howard Baker and Tom -- and certainly you don't agree with Tom Daschle on much...

(LAUGHTER)

... but that's not a radical bunch. But if you were to listen to the debate, and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.

(LAUGHTER)

No, I mean, that's how you guys -- that's how you guys presented it.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I'm thinking to myself, "Well, how is it that a plan that is pretty centrist..."

(LAUGHTER)

posted by billyfleetwood at 6:22 PM on January 29, 2010


I was interested to read the reaction of a local (state-level) Republican here in Delaware. He's been trying to position himself (successfully, I think) in opposition to gotcha politics; probably preparing for a run for something (Governor?) in a few years. His blog post today about this event is titled simple "Master Class."
posted by mmahaffie at 6:41 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, he has yet to show that he can crack the whip

... or burn a cross, for that matter. [/poor taste]
posted by joe lisboa at 6:49 PM on January 29, 2010


Jon Stewart said that Chris Matthews is one Scotch away from being Ron Burgundy.

How odd. Just yesterday I said that Chris Matthews was three Scotches away from being Ron Jeremy!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 6:50 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Pres gave us another lecture. Our guys asked great questions. Need independent fact checker for his comments. Got autograph" - Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina's Fifth District
This is my ("my"?) representative. I am accepting condolences in the form of New Belgium 12-packs.
posted by jeoc at 6:56 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are you sure you said "scotches"?
posted by condour75 at 7:44 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Watching Olbermann and Maddow verbally fellate the President is pretty sickening. MSNBC should really be ashamed for putting this on the air. Yes, the Prez whipped the Republicans today in every conceivable way, but to have a "recap" that is nothing but making fun of the questioners and wildly praising the President and his "unmatched intellect" is in no way shape or form journalism. This belongs on Fox News. Ick.

When Chris Matthews has to calm you down and fact check your enthusiasm for Obama, you're a fucking hack.
posted by lattiboy at 7:48 PM on January 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


This was a great post. Thanks.

Living abroad most of my information on US politics comes from here and other news-discussion sites that I visit, and it's become pretty bleak in my mind--the divide between the sides and the way that political debate has become a team sport where there's no seeing the other sides point of view. Obama going into the lion's den and suggesting that both parties stop with this kind of politics and try to get something done together is very heartening. I'm extremely happy with my vote a year ago and seeing him like this makes me even more happy.
posted by snwod at 7:53 PM on January 29, 2010


You Should See the Other Guy: "How odd. Just yesterday I said that Chris Matthews was three Scotches away from being Ron Jeremy!"

I don't think they're mutually exclusive.
posted by flatluigi at 7:56 PM on January 29, 2010


I once had to design a magazine cover featuring Ron Jeremy. That is all.
posted by The Whelk at 8:06 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I to assume that Luke Russert laned a job based on his qualifications?

Jesus, what is with you people? I’ve seen this stupid comment about a hundred times. Are you so fucking jealous of some poor kid who lost his father that you’d begrudge him the chance to follow in his footsteps?

The people at NBC loved Tim Russert. Luke is Tim’s boy. They gave Luke a job after Tim died. Who the hell cares?
posted by Garak at 8:07 PM on January 29, 2010 [9 favorites]


I refuse to believe that this highly intelligent, articulate, and charismatic president wasn't capable of getting a decent HCR bill passed through Congress if he'd made more of an effort.

The ability is there, but I'm worried about the will. And that's why me and a lot of other Dems are really down on him.
posted by bardic at 8:10 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am increasingly confident that, while President Obama is a brilliant politician, he is not a brilliant political strategist. That man is David Plouffe. It is he that engineered the greatest political campaign of modern times.

After the healthcare debacle, this administration was genuinely adrift. But since David Plouffe reappeared last week, everything has been coming up roses, and the Democrats have at last started to influence the media narrative again.

Good policy is not sufficient to gain public approval, and failure to gain public approval prevents the implementation of good policy. Plouffe understands how to push the news to the electorate, which is something this administration has been unable to do.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:16 PM on January 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


The people at NBC loved Tim Russert. Luke is Tim’s boy. They gave Luke a job after Tim died. Who the hell cares?

Well, if he's not doing as well at his job as he might (and there is some evidence to that effect), then it's bad for America. It's hardly out of bounds to suggest that there are better-informed people out there. I don't have strong feelings on it, if for no other reason than that I don't think the network would replace him with one of the better-informed people.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:46 PM on January 29, 2010


since David Plouffe reappeared last week

I didn't know that he had disappeared and recently reappeared. That's interesting if true, and uplifting because it suggests that things might suddenly change. He can be the good Karl Rove.
posted by painquale at 8:54 PM on January 29, 2010


Ron Jeremy was in a movie I wrote.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:02 PM on January 29, 2010


The ability is there, but I'm worried about the will.
I'm taking a we'll-see attitude. But I'm feeling some hope. President Obama is calling their bluff and showing that he has a grip on fiscal issues. I'd like to see more of this.

And I loved- LOVED- that he called out Frank Luntz, that foul propagandist. (Except he called him Frank Lutz. Ha!)
posted by Monsters at 9:02 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I once got a photo Christmas card from a good friend featuring him posing (clothed, thankfully) with Ron Jeremy.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:27 PM on January 29, 2010


he is not a brilliant political strategist. That man is David Plouffe.

I get emails from that dude, like, twice a week. WHAT MORE MUST I DO, DAVID PLOUFFE? I read them aloud at family dinners. I have no idea who David Plouffe really is, but I appreciate his consistently friendly email correspondence.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:06 PM on January 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm a little over halfway through watching this, but so far it's painful to listen to most of those questions. It's as if they really didn't expect Obama to be able to answer them in any way whatsoever, and it only concerns me further that these are the people we've elected to shape our laws.

While part of me hopes that Republicans might take from this a sense that maybe they really should work with this President, the realist in me fully expects them to either pretend this never happened or spin it to their liking via The Media and simply continue on the path they've been taking. Most of these people seem to be extremely immature, largely uneducated, and not interested in bettering either of those aspects of their intelligence and behavior. They don't seem concerned at all about the monster they've created, or perhaps they've gotten so into it that they actually believe what they're saying.
posted by wondermouse at 10:22 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think my wife used a link from one of his emails to me to send him money one time, and since then he's been calling me "Heather". It errodes the mailmerge driven illusion of intimacy somewhat.
posted by Artw at 10:22 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


While L. Russert has benefited from NBC's affection for his late father, this isn't his first rodeo. It's his, uh, second. He used to have a sports talk show with Carville on XM that was kinda boring. He has a lot of connections to folks in Washington. After he got the job as "Youth Correspondent" at MSNBC (which, let's face it, makes him sound like he got a shiny Junior Sheriff badge and a behind-the-scenes tour of the local jail), local scuttlebutt in the DC area was pretty much that Carville got Bill Clinton to talk to him and only him after his speech at the last Democratic Convention. In the eyes of MSNBC, that was a get, and they kept him on.

That said, meh.

This was a brilliant move on Obama's (or Plouffe's) part. If the more mainstream end of the Republican Party is smart, they'd figure out who their most nimble debaters in the House and Senate are, the ones they want to position for national prominence (i.e. a balance against some of the more extreme high profile candidates), and push them to the forefront, arm them well, and set them against Obama in these sorts of events. Instead, because they prefer to operate from a bullwarked position of safety and highly predictable and controllable events, they'll avoid doing this again. To be fair, the Democratic Party/Leaders would do the same thing. I look forward to their lame excuses as to why this will never happen again.
posted by julen at 10:26 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Daniel in the Lion's Den. Jesus before the Pharisees. Every Christian Conservative there knew the context, and their only hope was to humiliate him, to expose him as a false prophet.

They failed. Utterly. That and Landrieu's "Louisiana Purchase", that Obama will play ball with conservatives who sign off on his agenda, means that we'll see the lockstep broken before spring, and with it a respectable, if imperfect, Healthcare bill pass. Then it's pretty much over except for the shouting with regards to the deathgrip the radical right-wing has over the GOP .
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:52 PM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


At one stage in his introductory remarks, President Obama said he was mystified as to why the Republicans seemingly always opposed him, even when his proposals/legislation included some of their own very ideas or suggestions. To me it is clear:the Republicans as a conservative elite are only concerned with one thing, and that is power. They believe it is their god-given right to hold power so that they can protect the interests of their own. They are not interested in advocating solutions to problems of modern day society, only in the pursuit and holding of power. They want to protect the status quo: the wealth and power and influence of their very own. Power is an end in itself for Republicans. They don't want to 'do' anything, only 'have' power.

President Obama on the other seems to want this thing called 'bi-partisanship' which objectively should lead to better solutions for the American people to the issues confronting them. But to Republicans this is irrelevant, it is not the issue, power is. If they cooperate with Obama, it can only make him look better in the eyes of the electorate. And that means more power to him and the Democrats. They have no interest in this whatsoever. It is all about them reclaiming their power.

It seems to me that the Democrats need more partisanship from the White House, not less.

And yeah, what fourcheesemac said way up thread.
posted by vac2003 at 11:17 PM on January 29, 2010 [5 favorites]


"since David Plouffe reappeared last week, everything has been coming up roses, and the Democrats have at last started to influence the media narrative again."

One of the things they *SHOULD* do is get rid of Tim Kaine from the DNC -- who has taken the great Obama fundraising machinery and turned it into something bringing in less money and generating less enthusiasm than the Republicans -- and bring back Howard Dean!

Bring back the 50-state strategy to excite Democrats everywhere again, and start up with the "old style" dynamically-updating fundraising goals that are routinely surpassed far before any pre-established deadline, because that's just how excited we are when our government's leaders are effective.
posted by markkraft at 12:24 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


This event was certainly a good thing for you out there in the US.

Maybe I need to read the transcript again, but I came away with the impression that he handled the Replublicans brilliants but didn't necessarily answer their questions properly. It seems like several times, someone asked a multi-part question, and he dealt with one or two of the points in it, and then they moved on. Because there wasn't much opportunity for the questioner to come back and get into back-and-forth debate on each question, he was able to give the impression of answering each one while not really doing so. So, the format of the QA session probably helped him a lot there.
posted by memebake at 12:59 AM on January 30, 2010


whatever, they're all on the blue team at the end of the day
posted by chlorus at 1:30 AM on January 30, 2010


Metafilter: they're all on the blue team at the end of the day
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:50 AM on January 30, 2010


Honestly, this really highlighted a problem I've had with the media, watching the coverage afterward. This was civil, the president and the congress members seemed to get along even when they disagreed, and the president's main point was that they needed to stop playing politics, saying things for talking points to get in the news, and govern.

Yet look at the media. Not conservative or liberal media... all media. It frames the republicans and democrats on either side of a fight. Obama is fighting the republicans during this, according to the media, cutting them down, going into the lions den. Conflict! Drama! it's good for ratings.

Really though, if you go with what Obama was saying, and can avoid being cynical, he was stating that that attitude that conservatives and progressives are on either side of a huge divide makes for bad government and prevents compromise. That by setting each other up as the boogiemen, instead of admitting that they sometimes agree and searching for compromise, they prevent things both sides can agree on from moving forward.

I don't want to hate on the media. But seriously, the way they frame politics isn't helping, and may even be hurting, the political process in umuch the same way that the politician's actions are. If bipartisanship and civility got media attention the way that yelling "you lie!" did, I think the congress would work to compromise and get things done, instead of picking their battle lines.

Anyway that's what I took for it. I gotta admire the president. He makes me think.
posted by gryftir at 4:14 AM on January 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Well, that's kind of unexpected...

Fox News -- of all media sources -- asked whether the meeting today was worthwhile in an online poll of theirs... and 88% of over 100,000 respondents said "Yes, politicians should stop fighting and get to work", while only 11% said "No, he's just trying to cast the GOP as obstructionist".

I can't believe these are the numbers that the Republicans would've liked to get out of FoxNews' audience.
posted by markkraft at 4:36 AM on January 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


I can't believe these are the numbers that the Republicans would've liked to get out of FoxNews' audience.

See, though, I'm pretty sure Fox et.al. will spin those numbers as meaning it's Obama and the Dems who are finally willing to stop fighting and see reason. His coming to the Republicans is an act of contrition, y'know.

This shit is so easy to write. I'm amazed people actually get paid to write conservative spin.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:19 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


gryftir - yes you do want to hate the media. Politicians are very adept at adjusting their message to the media outlets that give them space, and our political system has done just that. Everyone knows their audience at Fox, Drudge, CNN, MSNBC, etc. and the news you get from those outlets will be slanted accordingly.

Think you'll hear anything nuanced about George Bush from Olbermann? About Obama on Beck?
posted by tgrundke at 5:19 AM on January 30, 2010


Fox News -- of all media sources -- asked whether the meeting today was worthwhile in an online poll of theirs... and 88% of over 100,000 respondents said "Yes, politicians should stop fighting and get to work", while only 11% said "No, he's just trying to cast the GOP as obstructionist".

Reddit has been actively spamming Fox News polls lately. A few days ago they had one where 94% had given Obama an "A" for his first year.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:25 AM on January 30, 2010


Man, I'd be so ashamed of myself if I got that look Obama puts on when he's disappointed in people. I'd just hang my head and know immediately I was a very lost person and he was right.

I wish I knew how to express myself half as well as he does. He hits the nail on the head on the most difficult issues and all I do is argue with my husband until I'm too exhausted because I can never find the words to explain what he does to make me feel bad sometimes.
posted by anniecat at 6:38 AM on January 30, 2010


The whole time I was watching it I couldn't stop thinking "is this really happening?" The concept of a casual, concrete q-and-a is utterly alien after a decade of spin it felt like a viral ad for The West Wing.
posted by Skorgu at 7:07 AM on January 30, 2010


So was the 84% due largely to mandatory spending or to discretionary spending?
posted by toodles at 7:56 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama does something universally applauded as awesome; liberals express frustration

Leftist believes it would have had meaningful results to have taken obviously awesome step earlier instead of giving right-wingers further ground on crucial issues for the past year; commentator makes remark seemingly criticicizing leftist's failure to line up behind president and applaud like trained seal just like right-wingers used to do. am I doing it right?


This--exactly this. This huge complaint that "Bush got everything he wanted why can't we have it Obama?" inexplicably followed by "I'm not going to applaud like a trained seal just like all those Republicans did when they were getting all that stuff they wanted done."

You cut his legs out from under him and then yell at him for not walking. We're a democracy. That means when you don't support the guy you are relying on to get things done, he's not going to be able to get things done.

"'Lil ol' me?" you protest? Yes, 'lil ol' you. Your water-cooler talk influences those around you. Eventually pollsters call somebody who heard repeated from your friend what you said. They say they are dissatisfied. The poll gets published and Republicans get bolder.

Meanwhile their robot armies get orders from Glenn Beck. When the pollsters call them, they always say the same thing. No!

Remember Lincoln's "of the people, by the people, for the people?" That means us. Every day, not just election day.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:01 AM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fox News -- of all media sources -- asked whether the meeting today was worthwhile in an online poll of theirs... and 88% of over 100,000 respondents said "Yes, politicians should stop fighting and get to work", while only 11% said "No, he's just trying to cast the GOP as obstructionist".

Reddit has been actively spamming Fox News polls lately. A few days ago they had one where 94% had given Obama an "A" for his first year.


I found that poll sometime yesterday afternoon while looking for the Fox spin on the story, and it was 77% "framing as obstructionist" but I didn't get a look at the number of votes. Obviously some spamming going on. Let's hope the folks over at Fox don't notice!
posted by Big_B at 8:01 AM on January 30, 2010


applaud like a trained seal

Applaud what? The dude took a "hands off" approach to healthcare reform legislation. How the hell do you applaud passive inaction? If you want applause, you have to at least get on the stage.
posted by ryanrs at 8:18 AM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


...and check out this thread. When the guy finally speaks up and says something he gets plenty of applause. Imagine how we'd react if he, say, kicked Harry Reid's ass (even figuratively, although bonus points if not).
posted by ryanrs at 8:22 AM on January 30, 2010


As he himself once noted, he is a blank tablet upon whcih people write their ideas, such as...
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:25 AM on January 30, 2010


Here's the thing. People are not aware of the level of change he's trying to effect. He's really trying to change the entire game.

He's the first President in a long time to want Congress to take responsibility instead of orders. That's why his process for HCR looks different from everyone elses. He said--I want health care--give me a bill. Several bills came up in both houses. The Dems and their supporters don't get this. They want to have their own Bush, who keeps playing the hard-assed political game, with themselves getting what they want.

Obama isn't going to do that. He's going to try and change the entire poltical climate of the country.

He's going to succeed too, because it is brilliant politics. The last few days have been tremendousy instructive. He got up there in the SOTU and just told the truth--the way we've been doing politics is the reason we have the problems we do. He did it in language which was easily understood.

The GOP perfected the art of the attack politics. They sold their soul to it and don't know how to do anything else now. But every strength has a converse weakness, where one is vulnerable. They are vulnerable when forced to sit there and talk frankly about things. And Obama is making them do that. Eventually, they are going to be put in a bind--either take the risk of working with him, or collapse.

Right now there's a battle going on for the soul of the GOP. They are literally out of ideas. The culture is passing them by. People don't think like they used to and they don't have a way out of that box. I'm not sure what is going to happen, but their long-term prospects aren't good. They haven't had a real thinker in that party since Nixon. They sure polished themselves up to a shine and got good at playing the game, but they really are pushing a bunch of outdated ideas because they sold their souls to those ideas and cannot change.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:40 AM on January 30, 2010 [20 favorites]


I wish I had your optimism, Ironmouth, but I'm too cynical about the American political climate- on the ground, not in Washington, though Washington's culture is bad enough that I think only a full replacement has any hope- to think that enough people are tired of constantly feeling righteous and superior to give it up.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:49 AM on January 30, 2010


applaud like a trained seal

Applaud what? The dude took a "hands off" approach to healthcare reform legislation. How the hell do you applaud passive inaction? If you want applause, you have to at least get on the stage.


You still don't get it. There's been a big lie in American politics for a long time and our sound-byte media is the reason for it: the idea that the President runs the country. He does not. He has some functions, but congress does a lot more of the major deciding. He only gets to say yea or nay to what they do and run the military and the bureaucracy.

Obama wants people to learn the truth about their own government.

He wants Congress to start taking responsibility for their choices. For too long, Congress has abdicated responsiblity to the President. They hide, they run scared, they try to stay elected. But they never co-lead, like they were intended to do.

Hence his approach to HCR. Which was brilliant and will eventually succeed.

Remember the last time we tried this? Hillary got appointed to the head of a commission which produced a bill, which went to the Hill and never even got voted on. The GOP concentrated all of their fire on that single bill and wiped it out--those commericals with 'Harry and Louise.' Dems had the votes. They got scared and ran away and refused to vote for the package because of the heat the GOP brought. And they paid for it.

Obama knew that. Look at how the GOP is acting now, they say no to everything. If he came out, and imposed a bill, it never would have seen the light of day.

Instead, he told Congress to come up with their own bills. This stymied the attack machine until the last possible moment. There wasn't one bill to attack. You can't have a commerical that says "Bill A is wrong for this, Bill B is wrong for this, Bill C is wrong for this." And each chamber passed their bill and they got ready to go forward.

Right now the person who is holding up HCR is Nancy Pelosi and the liberals. They could vote today on the Senate bill and have it on the President's desk by 5 PM. Literally. HCR could be done by 5 PM tonight. But they are pissed that they aren't going to get what they want and they are holding it all up.

It is time for them to take responsibility and lead and vote that bill into law.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:55 AM on January 30, 2010 [15 favorites]


Did anybody else hear Obama mutter "this guy" after Mike Pence interrupted him with some inanity? Like, "hey take a look at this guy (eyeroll)" kind of a thing? That was hilarious.
posted by billysumday at 8:56 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish I had your optimism, Ironmouth, but I'm too cynical about the American political climate- on the ground, not in Washington, though Washington's culture is bad enough that I think only a full replacement has any hope- to think that enough people are tired of constantly feeling righteous and superior to give it up.

Here's my evidence to support this--they voted this man to be President.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:57 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


...and check out this thread. When the guy finally speaks up and says something he gets plenty of applause. Imagine how we'd react if he, say, kicked Harry Reid's ass (even figuratively, although bonus points if not).

Here's the thing. He also knows timing. You can't just constantly be in people's faces. They will tire of you. And for a charismatic person like Obama, that's the death knell. He cannot be omnipresent or people will resent him. He's got to do his 'Obama thing' in small doses or it will lose its effectiveness.

People need to stop griping that he doesn't do things like other politicians do and start to celebrate the fact that he doesn't do things like other politicians do.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:00 AM on January 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Leftist believes it would have had meaningful results to have taken obviously awesome step earlier instead of giving right-wingers further ground on crucial issues for the past year; commentator makes remark seemingly criticicizing leftist's failure to line up behind president and applaud like trained seal just like right-wingers used to do. am I doing it right?

To come back to this, Obama simply can't do this and expect to win. He wants to stop fighting the right v. left battle, because it is something the GOP is very good at and has been the reason they hung around despite being for every bad thing in the country. As long as the battle goes on like that, they will still be around with their talk-radio, their clergy delivrered-message, their bizzare Glenn Becks using people's own emotional insecurities as the basis for making political choices.

If he pounds them and fights them in the traditional way, they win. But if he tries to persuade them, and people see what he is doing, they collapse. How could they not? They are running on a huge lie--that somehow you can couple huge tax cuts with no change in budgeting and not run the country into the ground. A party based on that can't survive. He just says "show me the math" and they collapse because they don't have the math.

The Bush tax cuts are set to expire soon. That's when their weakness will be manifest. They will call for the renewal of tax cuts for people making over 250k a year. Which will go over like a lead ballon. The Republican Right will collapse soon after that. Basically they have a party of lower-middle class whites voting for them by appealing to their emotional resentments about their own lives and projecting those resentments upon the GOP's poltical opponents. But you can't sustain that in the face of the fact that those same voters love medicare and love social security and love unemployment insurance and want cheaper health care insurance and are not going to give those things up so people making 5 times as much as they do can have more money.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:12 AM on January 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


There's been a big lie in American politics for a long time and our sound-byte media is the reason for it: the idea that the President runs the country. He does not. He has some functions, but congress does a lot more of the major deciding. He only gets to say yea or nay to what they do and run the military and the bureaucracy.

I have been trying to explain this to people for YEARS now. Thank you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's been a big lie in American politics for a long time and our sound-byte media is the reason for it: the idea that the President runs the country. He does not. He has some functions, but congress does a lot more of the major deciding. He only gets to say yea or nay to what they do and run the military and the bureaucracy.

I have been trying to explain this to people for YEARS now. Thank you.


Thank Obama.

It is so much easier for TV to present a drama where one guy is doing everything and follow that. The Republicans are geniuses at operating in that environment. That's why it is such brilliant politics to do things the way Obama is doing them. Once you take that away, what do they have?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:18 AM on January 30, 2010


We only have a shot at a good future if we can have a constructive process. That means real dialogue and a well-informed collective conscience.

I've always believed this much more than I believe in specific policy initiatives. You can win policy battles in the short term but, over time, lose the whole thing and have nothing. The spirit of engagement, decency included, matters most.

We must speak and listen intelligently. People's wish for a domineering president who flogs wimpy Harry Reid and gets his way all over the place is repulsive to me.

Obama operates the way I wish all people would. I do not wish for him to transform into the liberal John Bolton.

I am taken for a wimp for these reasons. Go ahead if you like.
posted by argybarg at 10:02 AM on January 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


We only have a shot at a good future if we can have a constructive process. That means real dialogue and a well-informed collective conscience.

I've always believed this much more than I believe in specific policy initiatives. You can win policy battles in the short term but, over time, lose the whole thing and have nothing. The spirit of engagement, decency included, matters most.

We must speak and listen intelligently. People's wish for a domineering president who flogs wimpy Harry Reid and gets his way all over the place is repulsive to me.

Obama operates the way I wish all people would. I do not wish for him to transform into the liberal John Bolton.

I am taken for a wimp for these reasons. Go ahead if you like.


Republicans are boxing. Obama is doing ju-jitsu. People in his party don't like it becasue they want blood and they've grown up watching boxing and see it as the only way to do business and don't understand why he's not boxing. Its because the GOP is really good at boxing.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:07 AM on January 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Wow, I love that comparison. Here's the thing about boxing--if you put a boxer and another kind of fighter (e.g., karate, MMA, etc.) in a ring together, the boxer will almost certainly lose. Unless it's a boxing match, in which case the boxer will probably win. There might be some kind of political lesson there.
posted by box at 10:39 AM on January 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


People's wish for a domineering president who flogs wimpy Harry Reid and gets his way all over the place is repulsive to me.

Oh, come now. If there's one thing Harry Reid deserves, it's to be whipped.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:45 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama is standing there doing a kata in his corner while the Republicans point and laugh and call him a queer. Just because he's doing something that looks vaguely like martial arts doesn't mean he's actually fighting.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:54 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


blah, blah, 12-dimentional chess, blah
posted by ryanrs at 10:58 AM on January 30, 2010


Whether or not you believe the n-dimensional boardgame theory it's clear that Obama is playing a long game and one that stands to make a profound change in our political process if it succeeds.

But it's risky as hell. If the timing is wrong, if the mood of the country doesn't move the right way at the right time, or if outside actors nudge us like they nudged Spain it could knock us right back down the rabbit hole.
posted by Skorgu at 11:14 AM on January 30, 2010


Obama is standing there doing a kata in his corner while the Republicans point and laugh and call him a queer. Just because he's doing something that looks vaguely like martial arts doesn't mean he's actually fighting.


He's kicking their ass dude. One vote and HCR is done. One vote today by the House. Nancy Pelosi is at fault. The House has agreed to go that route, but they gotta stand up and do it.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:15 AM on January 30, 2010


Why do people often vote against their own interests?

Last year, in a series of "town-hall meetings" across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whether or not you believe the n-dimensional boardgame theory it's clear that Obama is playing a long game and one that stands to make a profound change in our political process if it succeeds.

But it's risky as hell. If the timing is wrong, if the mood of the country doesn't move the right way at the right time, or if outside actors nudge us like they nudged Spain it could knock us right back down the rabbit hole.


Only we can do that. We are the responsible ones. We have to make sure that doesn't happen. There are no "outside forces." there are only forces we allow to do anything.

The thing about our democracy is that it is real. Like if we actually vote the way that will help us, it will get done.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


blah, blah, 12-dimentional chess, blah

It is exactly that attitude that Obama is trying to change. The quick dismissal, the need for partisan blood, the thirst for the emotional feeling of seeing the enemy vanquished. It is exactly what is wrong.

In other words, you are the problem.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:20 AM on January 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Instead, he told Congress to come up with their own bills. This stymied the attack machine until the last possible moment.
What?

Were you on Pluto during August? Because I think you missed a teensy bit of the attack machine in action.
posted by Flunkie at 11:55 AM on January 30, 2010


I mean, really, come on. They didn't care that there was no single bill to attack; that was irrelevant.

They didn't care that there were no individual policies in a bill to point to and attack; they made up completely bizarre nightmarish fantasy policies that didn't actually exist, and they attacked those.

They didn't care that it wasn't Obama's bill; they called it Obamacare anyway.
posted by Flunkie at 12:00 PM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seemed at the time like the Obama administration was letting the town hallers blow themselves out protesting a nonexistent plan with outrageous rhetoric and no one to validate their opposition.

In retrospect it does seem to have worked as what's stopping the healthcare bill right now has little to do with the teabaggers.

There are no "outside forces." there are only forces we allow to do anything.

I want to agree with this but I can't. There are very much outside forces to whom the toxic state of affairs is a propaganda coup, not to mention the internal forces to whom it is a profitable one. Public sentiment is overwhelmingly powerful but notoriously fickle; it feels like we may be on the cusp of a change in direction but we won't know for sure until after the fact.
posted by Skorgu at 12:27 PM on January 30, 2010


In retrospect it does seem to have worked as what's stopping the healthcare bill right now has little to do with the teabaggers.
It has a lot to do with them. They successfully scared a significant number of people; you can hear any number of people -- not teabaggers -- saying that they're scared of healthcare reform. Including people who say they like Obama. They successfully spread inchoate fears to a significant portion of the population.

And more importantly, they scared the Democratic caucus into accepting one Senatorial election as a nationwide mandate against health care reform.
posted by Flunkie at 12:37 PM on January 30, 2010


But in any case, that's just opinion (both mine and yours), and really has nothing to do with my original point, which is that the idea that because there was no single bill, and because there was no single policy to attack, and because Obama didn't create the bill, "the attack machine" was "stymied" "until the last possible moment" flies in the face of reality.
posted by Flunkie at 12:40 PM on January 30, 2010


Don't miss his response to Peter Roskam:
OBAMA: Although, that's the -- that's one of the points that I made earlier. I mean, we've got to be careful about what we say about each other sometimes because it boxes us in in ways that makes it difficult for us to work together because our constituents start believing us. They don't know sometimes this is just politics, what you guys, you know, or folks on my side do sometimes. So just a tone of civility instead of slash-and-burn would be helpful.

The problem we have sometimes is a media that responds only to slash- and-burn-style politics. You don't get a lot of credit if I say, "You know, I think Paul Ryan's a pretty sincere guy and has a beautiful family." Nobody's going to run that in the newspapers, right?


(LAUGHTER)

And by the way, in case he's going to get a Republican challenge, I didn't mean it.
posted by yaymukund at 1:11 PM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Instead, he told Congress to come up with their own bills. This stymied the attack machine until the last possible moment.What?Were you on Pluto during August? Because I think you missed a teensy bit of the attack machine in action.

They didn't have the luxury of going out directly and running a bunch of ads against a single bill. So they didn't run a single ad. They just did that stupid "yelling like freaks" thing at the town hall.

It didn't work. Josh Marshall pointed out a very interesting thing--during the whole town hall thing support for the bill rose in polling after having fell for a good period of time. The Tea Partiers failed.

This thing is ready to go. And it will, soon enough.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:54 PM on January 30, 2010


Reports of Republican dismay are probably exaggerated. Republicans in government (as opposed to talk radio) want to love and admire their president as much as anyone else.

Right up there with ...in fact, over the past 30 years, America has simply grown freer and freer.

In other news, up is down, right is left and black is white.
posted by y2karl at 1:56 PM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Just from what little I've seen of [Mrs.] and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity." -- Rep Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)

That sentence makes no sense at all. Nobody thinks themselves to be uppity; uppity is just something you are or aren't.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:10 PM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


And 'member of an elitist class individual' is, um, not without its problems either.

I was going to try to add some punctuation or prepositions or something to try to make it more coherent, but, upon further reflection, why the hell would I want to do that?
posted by box at 2:17 PM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Typical elitist class individual. I bet you think you're uppity.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:23 PM on January 30, 2010


My 83-yr-old stepdad's take on Obama's Q&A with the Republicans:

"He didn't chew their ass out. He chewed all around their ass and let it fall out by itself."
posted by darkstar at 3:47 PM on January 30, 2010 [31 favorites]


Nobody thinks themselves to be uppity; uppity is just something you are or aren't.

More to the point, "uppity" is a classist word (bordering on racist term when applied to blacks) which one never applies to oneself. It is about reaching beyond your own station, and if you are the one doing the reaching it is aspiration, not uppityness. If you are being called uppity, it is always from someone who exists within the realm toward which you are striving and is a word meant to keep you in your place.
posted by hippybear at 3:56 PM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The people at NBC loved Tim Russert. Luke is Tim’s boy. They gave Luke a job after Tim died. Who the hell cares?

My dad died when I was quite young, and a lot of people missed him, but no one suggested that I should build a house for them just because that's what my dad used to do and he was really good at it. Of course, the difference here is that general contractors are expected to produce concrete results that have to measure up to objective standards. And they generally get paid a hell of a lot less than pundits, too.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:23 PM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Nancy Pelosi is at fault. The House has agreed to go that route, but they gotta stand up and do it."

Ironmouth, I've agreed with just about everything else you've said up thread, but this irks me. Nancy Pelosi takes a lot of undeserved shit pretty frequently. It frustrates me that she's become the target of so much reactionary bashing. I for one admire the woman a whole lot (and not just because we live in the same city and I've run into her a few times). The House version of the Health Care bill, version 1.0 was pretty rock solid -- why doesn't she get more credit for that? We'd all be overjoyed if her version of the bill were passed into law, and I am awfully grateful that she's doing what she can to put something solid together that might actually pass.

I also have a theory about powerful women of a certain age or generation eschewing charm because they needed to develop mile thick skins in order to get where they are. So the way I see it, thanks to women like her I get to be charming and ass-kicking. I think Nancy Pelosi rocks.
posted by ohyouknow at 5:28 PM on January 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


darkstar is that you?
posted by HyperBlue at 5:29 PM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Heheh, no. But my stepdad could totally give that guy a run for his money. :)
posted by darkstar at 6:25 PM on January 30, 2010


uppity is just something you are or aren't.

Let the uppity rise and take their prize. Uppity is someone with gall to believe themselves to be above their station. America is the essence of uppity. Uppity is an essential American value. It's just so sad that for so many Americans, so is prejudice and resentment which denies that value to those who are "other."
posted by caddis at 7:30 PM on January 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Republicans are boxing. Obama is doing ju-jitsu.
posted by Ironmouth


That's funny, this is exactly the metaphor I've been working on lately. I think that's exactly the situation. Further more I think the founders, when the architect-ed the balance of powers had something close to that sort of a mechanism very much in mind, and I think in that way. Just listening to him speak so clearly and honestly, he really REALLY believes that our system of government is self-correcting if the executive, especially observes the separation of powers as they were designed, and not in the modern sense of a cult of personality, a Reagan or a Shrubya, or even a Clinton, Although he was genius in other ways.
posted by Skygazer at 1:50 AM on February 1, 2010


he really REALLY believes that our system of government is self-correcting

I think that's what he was trying to get through to the Republicans when he pointed out that they are boxing themselves in with their own constituents when they use such antagonistic rhetoric, and making it difficult for them to participate in doing the actual business of government.

Of course, he could have made the message a lot clearer if he had pointed out that they are also likely to box themselves out of that sweet, sweet Federal cash flow if they keep pissing the Democrats off (but I guess he couldn't say that in front of the cameras). For the most part the Republicans seem to be counting on the Democrats to be nice and forgive them for the shit they have spewed when it comes time to divvy up the pie, but eventually patience will wear thin. I'm sure there are Democrats who remember quite clearly how they were kicked out of their offices (which were traditionally chosen by seniority) when Gingrich became Speaker of the House, and having the Republicans whine about how poorly they are treated now must gall them.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:52 PM on February 1, 2010


blah, blah, 12-dimentional chess, blah

Learn to read, son.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:52 PM on February 2, 2010


Round 2! Fight!
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:52 AM on February 8, 2010


« Older This is what the Internet is for (SLYT)...  |  Scott Roeder has been convicte... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments