what's in this sausage, anyway?
January 9, 2016 5:05 PM   Subscribe

"Over the past seven years, Americans have heard an awful lot about Barack Obama and his presidency, but the actual substance of his domestic policies and their impact on the country remain poorly understood. He has engineered quite a few quiet revolutions—and some of his louder revolutions are shaking up the status quo in quiet ways. "
posted by the man of twists and turns (67 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
"What he’s done is changing the way we produce and consume energy, the way doctors and hospitals treat us, the academic standards in our schools and the long-term fiscal trajectory of the nation. Gays can now serve openly in the military, insurers can no longer deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, credit card companies can no longer impose hidden fees and markets no longer believe the biggest banks are too big to fail."


true.
posted by clavdivs at 5:23 PM on January 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


The Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency, explained

Doesn't this let Obama off the hook? For what? Not doing things he doesn't have the power to do?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:26 PM on January 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


“The change is real,” says Ron Klain, who served as Biden’s White House chief of staff, and later as Obama’s Ebola czar. “It would be nice if more people understood the change.”

Don't worry, the Republicans will do all they can this year to make sure it's understood in the way they want to frame it.
posted by blucevalo at 5:29 PM on January 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh, and for that matter, so will Politico.
posted by blucevalo at 5:30 PM on January 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


My first glance at that artwork immediately made me want to see a portrait of Obama as Godzilla.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:55 PM on January 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's a really good piece with regard to looking at the Obama administration's many, many accomplishments. It's very bad with regard to the politics.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:25 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


See, here's my problem.

Obama did so very much good. What was stated. It's laudable. Revolutionary, even. Amazingly in tune with good and right and what the US and even the world needed.

But at the same time he kept the wars running, the war profiteers profiteering, the bankers running amock, the surveilance state intact, habeus corpus off the list of rights, allowed drones to kill americans, kept Guantanamo and torture (fucking war-crimes level torture!!!!) a legal method, pharma companies safe from prosecution and allowed the rich to remain insanely rich, companies destroying the environment unaccountable .... the list of the bad, of the downright evil is as long as the amazing good he has done.

I'm torn about Obama's presidency. But at the very least it is SO much better than the Republican alternative would have been.
posted by MacD at 6:47 PM on January 9, 2016 [48 favorites]


But at the very least it is SO much better than the Republican alternative would have been.

Which is pretty much the mind-set I've had going in to the voting booth for the past thirty years, give or take.

Doubly-so this year.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:51 PM on January 9, 2016 [14 favorites]


The usually unfairly critical Ted Rall pulled up some stats on how "the first black president changed everything for blacks". Umm... yeah.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:57 PM on January 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


"What he’s done is changing the way we produce and consume energy, the way doctors and hospitals treat us, the academic standards in our schools and the long-term fiscal trajectory of the nation. Gays can now serve openly in the military, insurers can no longer deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, credit card companies can no longer impose hidden fees and markets no longer believe the biggest banks are too big to fail."

Can we still wage unaccountable secret wars and proxy wars in any third world country we want? Check.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:57 PM on January 9, 2016


I'm torn about Obama's presidency. But at the very least it is SO much better than the Republican alternative would have been.

Pretty much, yeah.

If you want to score on terms of strict morality: all presidents fail. All of them have done things that are inexcusably awful, and Obama's no exception. If you accept that all presidents are going to do some shitty things--be it by virtue of limited resources and the need to make deals or not being able to fix every individual thing or any conceivable excuse--then you have a spectrum, and I imagine Obama stands up pretty well on that spectrum.

I mean if you want to look for a decent Republican: Eisenhower put his foot down to force desegregation in schools, called out the military-industrial complex and whatever. At the same time: coups, the Cold War, let McCarthy run amok, the list goes on.

I want to vote on the basis of morality. I really do. Yet even Sanders doesn't get a perfect score there. It's hard to imagine somebody who really does prioritize being a good guy first above all other matters ever getting to the nomination regardless of party, let alone winning the general.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:09 PM on January 9, 2016 [24 favorites]


The Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency, explained

It took President Obama years to issue an executive order reversing some of the egregious changes to overtime pay that George W. Bush instituted. This was something entirely within his control that he could have done 9am on Day One with little fanfare, and yet he waited until last summer.

It's this kind of inaction that really ticks me off, especially with the Republican candidates lining up with promises to immediately cancel Obama's recent executive action on gun background checks.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:17 PM on January 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


If you accept that all presidents are going to do some shitty things

So we have to accept that to exist as a nation we have to be ok with our Presidents murdering innocent people....if we want nice stuff that is....?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:19 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes, you do. Your comfortable life as an American is a direct consequence of those murders of innocent people.
posted by dilaudid at 7:29 PM on January 9, 2016 [36 favorites]


but apart from better sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health ... what have the Romans ever done for us?
posted by Justinian at 7:39 PM on January 9, 2016 [33 favorites]


The thing about any elected politician is that the odds of their actions matching the hopes/expectations of every person that voted for them are nonexistent. It's impossible. You can't please everyone, because not everyone has the same expectations, never mind wrangling with Congress and all the other things that can go wrong. I wish there was some kind of Wins Above Replacement statistic for presidents which would tell you how much better they were at implementing their campaign promises. You can probably derive one from politifact or something, but this silly thing that everyone always trots out where they go "but s/he didn't do X!!!" is so tiresome.
posted by axiom at 7:40 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Your comfortable life as an American is a direct consequence of those murders of innocent people.

That was easily said. I would go further and say this:

Your comfortable life as a human being is a direct consequence of the murder of a lot of innocent living things.

How's that?
posted by valkane at 7:41 PM on January 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


Your comfortable life as a human being is a direct consequence of the murder of a lot of innocent living things.

I think there is considerable moral difference between eating a cow and blowing up a wedding in a third world country.


Yes, you do. Your comfortable life as an American is a direct consequence of those murders of innocent people.


These innocent people? I fail to see how destabilizing the middle east, among other places, has in any way contributed to my "comfortable life." I would argue that, quite the opposite, it has endangered it. Sure we can have a conversation about capitalism and it's foundation and how I have benefited from that, but this is a quite different thing I am talking about. The war on terrorism is less than 15 years old and has contributed absolutely zero to modern society insofar as a "comfortable life" is concerned. Obama had the opportunity to right the course and he chose the opposite. He doubled down and has arguably expanded our ability to wage covert wars more than any other president in American history.

but apart from better sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health ... what have the Romans ever done for us

Except that we already had all that, and then we willfully chose multiple war of aggression and now an apparently permanent covert war footing.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:58 PM on January 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


Your comfortable life as an American is a direct consequence of those murders of innocent people.

Quoted for truth.

I think there is considerable moral difference between eating a cow and blowing up a wedding in a third world country.

Are you proud about anything regarding America? Anything at all?

'cause this country was acquired through a massive rolling genocide, and built largely on the backs of slavery on a massive scale. The chain of causality will always lead back to that.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:17 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's always been my assumption that the folk I vote for will do MUCH LESS than I would like. Otherwise we'd be living in a socialist utopia. Mostly I hope that they don't completely acquiesce to the evil corporate/christian hegemony and it's handmaidens in the Republican party. that's why I vote for Democrats. I'm not really asking a lot here. It's nice that Obama discovered he was president at the end of his final term and has decided to do some stuff for the good of more than just the backers of his two campaigns. Honestly I was happy enough to vote for a non white alternative. Still it would be nice to be able to hold my elective officials to a higher standard than "The other guys didn't get all of their wish list."
posted by evilDoug at 8:23 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


>It's hard to imagine somebody who really does prioritize being a good guy first above all other matters ever getting to the nomination regardless of party, let alone winning the general.

I've always thought that the Carter administration was illustrative of how being a good man and being a good president are mutually exclusive.
posted by worldswalker at 8:36 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


You can get more done through executive fiat people don't have to vote for, news at 11.
posted by corb at 8:37 PM on January 9, 2016


The usually unfairly critical Ted Rall pulled up some stats on how "the first black president changed everything for blacks". Umm... yeah.

He's almost certainly being unfair here as well. I'm having a hard time figuring out where he's pulling what statistic but it's pretty clear he's stacking the deck.

All unemployment (including African American) is way down from 2009. There are many many ways to cut it but you can see a huge drop just in the past 12 months here. There's still a huge disparity between the African American rate and the overall rate, but the rate itself has improved.

Rall cites Pew for the numbers on African American poverty rates but I can't find the original -- I do find a number of conservative sources touting this. I suspect this number is legit, but you'd want to see some context.

The imprisonment number is almost certainly BS. Rall cites two sources , and it looks like that's one for each number -- which mean we're comparing apples to oranges. Those are also both total population rather than incarceration rate, which is not the best way to look at something over time. More to the point though, incarceration rates in general and incarceration rates for African Americans in specific have been dropping since the early 2000s.
posted by feckless at 8:41 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Obama prevented the planned US war with Iran. Even though the deep state and Congress were really insistent on it.
posted by humanfont at 8:52 PM on January 9, 2016 [20 favorites]


You can get more done through executive fiat people don't have to vote for, news at 11.

As noted in a previous response, numbers and citation included: "Obama has issued significantly fewer executive orders than other modern presidents."
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:52 PM on January 9, 2016 [12 favorites]


Obama has issued fewer executive orders than some presidents, but he has radically expanded executive power with what he has done with those executive orders. He has had far more controversial executive orders than past presidents. How many controversial executive orders of Clinton or Bush can you name?
posted by corb at 10:02 PM on January 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


How does one measure Congressional obstructionism over time?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:13 PM on January 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


'cause this country was acquired through a massive rolling genocide, and built largely on the backs of slavery on a massive scale. The chain of causality will always lead back to that.

I categorically reject the notion that because of our history we are doomed to repeat it. There are always other options, and there is no natural law which prohibits leaders (even U.S. presidents) from acting in a manner consistent with a basic respect for human life.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:15 PM on January 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


How many controversial executive orders of Clinton or Bush can you name?

You realize Google is a thing, right?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:17 PM on January 9, 2016 [17 favorites]


He has had far more controversial executive orders than past presidents.

If you want to shift the goalposts, that's fine, but calling everything Obama does "controversial" these days means less than nothing, when anything vaguely centrist that he does gets equated with socialism or fascism, per the latest rant from FOX News, its viewers, Breitbart, the Republican Party, right-wing talk radio, etc.

Especially when he does stuff that Ronald Reagan would endorse and conservatives are waving around photoshopped pictures of him with a Hitler mustache, it's awfully hard to take accusations of abuses of power seriously. Even more so when actual facts and numbers get quoted in response, and still those same accusations come out!

I don't think Obama has done a perfect job, and I've made my fair share of criticisms, but if I was in his shoes, after eight years of the right-wing race-baiting bigoted bullshit he's had to endure, I'd have given up sooner, that's for sure.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:20 PM on January 9, 2016 [31 favorites]


corb: How many controversial executive orders of Clinton or Bush can you name?

This list is a good start for Dubya, and this Heritage piece has a lot of gripes about Clinton's.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:26 PM on January 9, 2016 [8 favorites]


but apart from better sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health ... what have the Romans ever done for us?

Worth noting for anyone who's unfamiliar with this quote: it's actually from a Monty Python movie, not from any citizens of Carthage.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:31 PM on January 9, 2016 [10 favorites]


I categorically reject the notion that because of our history we are doomed to repeat it. There are always other options, and there is no natural law which prohibits leaders (even U.S. presidents) from acting in a manner consistent with a basic respect for human life.

This kind of ethical commitment in politics requires a great deal of pressure from the public, and it's going to require a major cultural shift to happen. People in the US are not ready to make that kind of commitment just yet, not enough people. We have yet to acknowledge our history in a meaningful way, a true reckoning that would allow for healing and reconciliation. There is no way to move on from our past until we come to terms with it, and our collective denial. Until then, we should do the best we can and make incremental progress, because we can.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:44 PM on January 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


But at the same time he kept the wars running, the war profiteers profiteering, the bankers running amock, the surveilance state intact, habeus corpus off the list of rights, allowed drones to kill americans, kept Guantanamo and torture (fucking war-crimes level torture!!!!) a legal method, pharma companies safe from prosecution and allowed the rich to remain insanely rich, companies destroying the environment unaccountable .... the list of the bad, of the downright evil is as long as the amazing good he has done.
The thing is, the more charitable you are towards Obama's intentions the worse it is.

Personally I think the he's a millionaire lawyer politician who was president of the Harvard Law Review. Dude's a posh boy, a 1%er, an elite. So keeping the machine running was always his primary goal because he is a massive beneficiary of the machine.

But if he's not... if he genuinely intended to close Guantanamo, to stop torture, to derail the Military Industrial Complex, to reign in fuckers making bank and he wasn't able to.

Wasn't able to even nudge it off course a teeny tiny bit?

Then we're kind of fucked.
posted by fullerine at 12:09 AM on January 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


I like Obama. Still got my election sign up.
posted by bongo_x at 12:33 AM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Obama has issued fewer executive orders than some presidents, but he has radically expanded executive power with what he has done with those executive orders. He has had far more controversial executive orders than past presidents.

How do you mean?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:47 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Most of that list of negatives is either false, partially false, or not under Obama's control. You're right about the surveillance state and part of the drone war.
posted by persona au gratin at 2:19 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Geeze, years later and some folks just gotta flog a dead horse.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:49 AM on January 10, 2016


I'm torn about Obama's presidency. But at the very least it is SO much better than the Republican alternative would have been.


Without even reading the article, that's my answer. Now I'm gonna go read it, but I don't think comment is changing.
posted by saysthis at 3:44 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I find the bellyaching about Barry's "failures" as President by people who voted for Obama (as I did - twice) to be barely more tolerable than my uncle's despicable Facebook rants on whatever right wing topic of the day has him all jazzed up
posted by glaucon at 5:19 AM on January 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


habeus corpus off the list of rights

This is a common misunderstanding. The SCOTUS ruled gitmo detainees must have access to habeas during the Bush administration, and they've had habeas rights ever since.

kept Guantanamo and torture

He ended torture.
posted by jpe at 5:54 AM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I suspect thar even if Obama had managed to acomplish these things we'd now be hearing your complaints about his failure to deal with the mysterious plague of avian-boar hybrids now darkening the skies.
posted by humanfont at 6:41 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you're in the system there's only so much you can do. If you're out of the system there's almost nothing you can do. Obama, for all his faults, did more for pushing our country in the right direction than any of the hecklers in this thread have done. For that he has my thanks.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:58 AM on January 10, 2016 [14 favorites]


Dear AskMe: every four years, I get a massive election lasting for months. Nothing I have tried makes it subside. What sort of medical specialist can help me with this problem?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:05 AM on January 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


What sort of medical specialist can help me with this problem?

The psephologists are ready to roll.
posted by Wolof at 7:07 AM on January 10, 2016


Your comfortable life as an American is a direct consequence of those murders of innocent people.

Your comfortable life as an American is also a direct consequence of global slavery.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 9:52 AM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I categorically reject the notion that because of our history we are doomed to repeat it. There are always other options, and there is no natural law which prohibits leaders (even U.S. presidents) from acting in a manner consistent with a basic respect for human life.

I agree with you. This wasn't at all the point of my comment. I'm saying that you have to look at the ugly along with the good. Things have steadily gotten better over time, but it's an awful, ugly slog getting there.

Much as I want Captain America to be real, he's not. And his morality always works out because he has the narrator on his side.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:52 AM on January 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


You know, I am not a great big fan of the office of the presidency in general, there's plenty I can and do criticize about Obama's tenure, and I think the folks who point out his successes and failures in this thread are both right on, but if we're going to take a serious examination of his eight years I think saying his executive orders were *~controversial~* is meaningless. "Controversial" doesn't even mean "bad" in itself. Tossed in there like this, it just seems like a vague attempt at sullying the waters.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:40 PM on January 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


I really dug what Obama said on WTF about how you can only turn the ship a few degrees at a time - much as we might want (or it might be "right") to turn the ship 90 degrees, doing so will wreak havoc on the ship in all kinds of unseen and/or unintended ways. He's an incrementalist. Single Payer was not going to happen, for example - for all kinds of reasons, political and otherwise. More recently, what he did the other day on guns, while not nearly enough, is a start. It's SOMETHING. As such, it is more than has been done in a very long time. It's not satisfying in and of itself, but at least it is action of some sort. I give him a lot of credit for that.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:06 PM on January 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


"If you go to those sites, why should I treat you any different than how I treat those websites? This isn't a party line desire to avoid the other party. It's very much a realization that we are in almost no way compatible. Sure, I'll have a drink with you. Sure, I'll smile and be polite. But damned if I'm going to invite you over or pretend we're friends."

I go to those sites. Not nearly as often as I go to places like this one, but I think you're making a pretty fundamental error in your reasoning.

"Obama has issued fewer executive orders than some presidents, but he has radically expanded executive power with what he has done with those executive orders. He has had far more controversial executive orders than past presidents. How many controversial executive orders of Clinton or Bush can you name?"

Quite a few, but whether or not something was controversial doesn't in any way imply anything about whether or not the controversy was legitimate. It was controversial that Bush II expanded executive power, and while I have some reservations about the way that Obama has continued that, the two things that have ameliorated that somewhat for me are reading more about the structural lack of clear popular legitimacy between the executive and legislative branches (as opposed to how parliamentary systems work), and that I generally agree with his policies. Ultimately, I'd rather see policies I agree with enacted than adhere to the hypocritical and sanctimonious ideal put forth by critics of the executive orders. I recognize that ultimately constitutional law is process oriented, and that by taking these actions, Democrats and liberals lose some of the moral standing to object to future abuses of executive power by Republic presidents, but my hunch is that the shifting mores of political power will lead to a much stronger executive relative to the legislature in the coming century, so those complaints are unlikely to find as much purchase on the left or right.
posted by klangklangston at 10:17 PM on January 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I spent the entire summer and fall of '08 campaigning for Obama, I wish that Fitbits had existed back then because I'm pretty sure that I walked down every single street in Pittsburgh's North Side. But even then I was pretty clear eyed about who he was and what it was possible for him to do. I'd actually gone into the primaries eight years ago with him third on my list after Clinton and Edwards (remember him?) and he was clearly the most conservative candidate of those three.

That said, I'm mostly (maybe 75%) happy with what he's managed to do in his term. Obamacare is a huge fucking deal, not the system I would have written but still astounding that he got that through.
posted by octothorpe at 4:34 AM on January 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


kept Guantanamo

Obama took office on the 20th of January 2009. He signed Executive Order 13492 to close Guantanamo on the 22nd of January 2009 as one of the first things he did. There's more than that - but he certainly tried to close Guantanamo Bay.
posted by Francis at 5:45 AM on January 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Obama took office on the 20th of January 2009. He signed Executive Order 13492 to close Guantanamo on the 22nd of January 2009 as one of the first things he did. There's more than that - but he certainly tried to close Guantanamo Bay.

Honestly, pointing out facts to people on this doesn't do anything. They'll just double down about he coulda, shoulda done that totally, absolutely would have worked, you betcha!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:58 AM on January 11, 2016 [8 favorites]


If you want to shift the goalposts, that's fine, but calling everything Obama does "controversial" these days means less than nothing, when anything vaguely centrist that he does gets equated with socialism or fascism, per the latest rant from FOX News, its viewers, Breitbart, the Republican Party, right-wing talk radio, etc.

Indeed. Both political parties have shifted so far to the right in the last two-plus decades -- with a cowed media abandoning its "objective" reporting model for a "balanced" one that conceals this rightward shift -- that it's difficult to credit Republican complaints about Obama with good faith.

This passage from the start of Ezra Klein's explainer on the Green Lantern theory is illustrative:
President Obama is a perfect example. His 2008 campaign didn't just promise health-care reform, a stimulus bill, and financial regulation. It also promised a cap-and-trade bill to limit carbon emissions, comprehensive immigration reform, gun control, and much more.


Let's look at those: Obama's health care reform plan was more or less drafted by the Heritage Foundation and modeled after a law enacted in Massachusetts by a Republican governor; on the other hand. we have objective historical evidence that Republicans intended to oppose any Democratic health care reform proposal. Cap and trade used to be a Republican, market-based solution; in fact, I'll admit I was skeptical about cap-and-trade for regulating acid rain, but it worked. Comprehensive immigration reform is something the Republican Party used to officially favor (and could have passed, under Speaker Boehner, had he been willing to accept a mixed bloc of Republican and Democratic votes).

With a number of those agenda items, Republicans have stood in lockstep opposition to their own favored policies simply because they are proposed by, and could be perceived as a political victory for, a Democratic president. Yet the insistence of much of the political press to view Republicans as acting in good faith is so strong, that opposition is excused by attributing it to a lack of Presidential will (which, conveniently, can't be disproved). Feh.
posted by Gelatin at 6:14 AM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Obama's health care reform plan was more or less drafted by the Heritage Foundation and modeled after a law enacted in Massachusetts by a Republican governor

I know why people continually try to make this point, but it's simply wrong. The ACA is a lot more than just the exchanges, with Medicaid expansion, removal of lifetime caps, and many other provisions making the sum total of the program much more progressive than the Heritage/Romney plans ever were.

Of course you're right that the Republicans would have opposed it if it were a carbon-copy of the Heritage plan without any of these more progressive features, but I don't think underselling the ACA in this way to make a political point is helpful. The ACA isn't what I wanted it to be, but it was a lot more than a rebranded Heritage plan.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:45 AM on January 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sure, I'll have a drink with you.

I'm trying to stay away from alcohol, what about dinner, say sushi?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:26 AM on January 11, 2016


I know why people continually try to make this point, but it's simply wrong. The ACA is a lot more than just the exchanges, with Medicaid expansion, removal of lifetime caps, and many other provisions making the sum total of the program much more progressive than the Heritage/Romney plans ever were.

Fair enough, but my point is that -- though you would never have knowing it by the unchalleged Republican assertions in the so-called "liberal media" -- Obama at least more than met the Republicans halfway, and I'd bet good money that if a Republican president had proposed such a primarily market-based plan -- one that solves the lack of health insurance by requiring people to buy it -- it would indeed have passed on a bipartisan basis (pick your definition -- Democrats, on the whole, still being willing to compromise in order to further worthy goals or the Beltway preference of bipartisan == do what the Republicans want).
posted by Gelatin at 10:49 AM on January 11, 2016


I actually don't think the ACA as-passed would have gotten a single GOP vote had George W. Bush proposed it. The exchanges in isolation might have, but the conflation of the ACA and the exchanges is exactly what I'm trying to push back against here, not your analysis of the politics / willingness to compromise aspect, which I strongly agree with.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:22 AM on January 11, 2016


Obama prevented the planned US war with Iran. Even though the deep state and Congress were really insistent on it.

and netanyahu...
posted by kliuless at 2:02 PM on January 11, 2016


"What error, klangklangston?"

That readers of those websites agree with all the opinions expressed there.

"I mean, sure maybe you have valid reasons for going to the site. But that just smacks to me as #NotAllBreitbartReaders."

So, "#NotAllMen" was a valid zing used to highlight a rhetorical strategy that implied because "not all men" participated in any given example of patriarchy, that the broader generalizations about patriarchy were invalid. It worked in part because women are already pretty well aware of the diversity within male behavior, and because in general they weren't talking about all men, they were talking about behavior patterns that are predominantly male.

In contrast, "#NotAllBreitbartReaders" is being used in support of a blanket, dismissive generalization that explicitly rules out exceptions. While one's worthwhile, the other is lazy and dumb, similar to the lazy and dumb assumption that anyone who reads or participates in a given media source is therefore an adherent of everything said on the given source. At my old job, I used to participate in FreeRepublic threads that were explicitly about the legislation that we were proposing, which was very much not favored by most FreeRepublic readers, because I knew that by doing a little reframing and damage control there, I could at least slow some of the particularly harmful bits of misinformation by making arguments based on e.g. libertarian principles that would be received sympathetically there and thereby increase the credibility of similar arguments made in more mainstream media.

Being able to recognize the values and rhetorical strategies of people with whom you have political disagreements is vital if you want to actually persuade them. You don't have to persuade them or read media from an opposing perspective if you don't want to, but dismissing it out of hand is stupid. One of my general goals is to see less unnecessary stupidity from people whom I agree with politically.
posted by klangklangston at 3:08 PM on January 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


One of my general goals is to see less unnecessary stupidity from people whom I agree with politically.

Oh hey, sorry man.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:16 PM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well, I'm the biggest offender on that point.
posted by klangklangston at 3:17 PM on January 11, 2016


"Saying that it's "stupid" to nope the fuck out of certain sites and attempt to avoid interaction with the populace that frequents such sites smacks me as being rather... uncharitable, or at least not understanding the reason behind why."

I understand the reason you gave, but you're asking for charity for your explicitly uncharitably generalization. Your uncharitable generalization includes people with whom you would agree on many issues, and to the extent that you would like the power of Breitbart or Free Republic to recede, removing your need to nope the fuck out, dismissing them is stupid. Judge people on what they do and believe, not on what they read.
posted by klangklangston at 3:14 PM on January 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


or maybe don't be telling queer people that noping the fuck out of hotbeds of homophobia and dismissing anyone supporting those sites (reading = eyeballs = ad impressions or at least 'we had X views this month') isn't ok.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:10 PM on January 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow, just think of all the progress we could make if we sat in the comments sections of right-leaning sites and held hands with commenters while patiently explaining progressive issues. That would totally help. We need to spend less time organizing amd trying to break the will of reality-denying reactionaries and more time fishing for Schroedinger's Moderate on Brietbart.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:21 AM on January 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Rick Perlstien: OBAMA, TRANSFORMED - Thinking About the President He Might Have Been
I’ve always seen that speech as a key to understanding a certain sort of road not taken by this administration. It’s one that could have led Obama to considerably more success than he has enjoyed, and perhaps even fulfilled expectations that his would be a “transformational” and not a “transactional” presidency—a failure Obama himself seemed to acknowledge by explicitly, almost apologetically, comparing himself unfavorably to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. I agree with him. It’s not that he has not scored important, even historic successes as president: the Affordable Care Act, the Iranian nuclear deal. But a president is transformational when he meets head on, and transcends, the preeminent historical crisis of his times­­—the incapacity of the weak American state to deal with a Depression in Roosevelt’s case, the sectional crisis over slavery in Abraham Lincoln’s. Add Ronald Reagan, who Obama once cited as another model of a transformational president, whose accomplishment was turning “liberalism” into a dirty word. Obama’s historical task was to do the same for conservatism. It hasn’t happened; conservatism has instead thrived. That was not foreordained.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:06 PM on January 19, 2016


Obama admits his own failure.

Gotta love that.
posted by clavdivs at 5:43 PM on January 19, 2016


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