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Five Years and Going Strong

Observing the 5th anniversary of Operation Desert Sandtrap, and by way of introduction to new readers, this flashback to an earlier blog of mine (The Cogent Provocateur): Operation Desert Snipe — one of progressive econoblogger Brad deLong’s Five Nominations for the Best Weblog Post Ever!

And in respect of the Bear Stearns meltdown, an appropriate snip from my earlier Camp Enron Report archives: Camp Enron Scoutcraft: Flatland meets String Theory

[UPDATE] And congratulations, riverdaughter (a.k.a. goldberry, back in the old orange wasteland) on The Confluence’s 100,000th hit. Blogward and upward!

9 Responses

  1. UpstateNewYork linked to this March ’07 article about Obama’s Alinsky-style community organizing and his political career. I’d love to hear what your take-away from this article is, Upstate and other readers!


    Ryan Lizza, the author, iirc, seems to lean toward supporting Obama, iirc, so I looked at the article in that light. I may be wrong, so, again, appreciate your input..

    My impression is that Obama learned that gaining power is the most important thing and that getting it is worth doing whatever it takes. Pretty traditional political stance. Lizza said Bradley didn’t understand this–but I disagree: Bradley was quite willing to use tactics which were intended to damage Gore (and they were used by the MCM and the ReThugs), but he didn’t know how to reach voters.

    Obama realized that who he really is needs to be kept hidden, he needs to wear the mask Shelby Steele wrote about, but his mask also must be mirror-like so that followers will see in Obama whatever they want. The reflective mask makes this possible. He is The One, but “you are the ones we have been waiting for.”

    Reading this, and some other things about Obama’s IL career, I wonder if the Clintons are ruthless enough to deal with him and his machine! He and his manager certainly have mastered the attack part of modern politics. And do it without being seen as attackers. Neat trick.

    Having the press use the narrative that he is unwilling to do whatever is necessary to win certainly gives him all the cover he needs.

    As I mentioned last night, the Wright problem has caused the mask to slip momentarily. The press was there to not notice that slip–and to tell the voters they didn’t see anything there, in case they thought they did.

    BTW, the Chicago writer who covered Obama’s IL state senate political career told the Jones-Obama story differently. Lizza says Obama told Jones that he should back Obama bcz Obama was going to be a US Senator; the Chi-town writer said Jones told him that he Jones had decided to make Obama a US Senator and thus gave him bills to get passed so he had a legislative record to run on. The two stories might both be true.

  2. http://www.houstonpress.com/2008-02-28/news/barack-obama-screamed-at-me/1

    The Todd Spivak, Chicago writer, article about Obama.

  3. Last night on Letterman (which I hadn’t meant to watch anymore, but the TV was on in the kitchen), he began a new political segment: The Uh’s of Obama.

    It consists of counting the number of “uh’s” in an interview or answer. Last night the counting was done on Obama’s interview with Keith Olbermann on Friday night about the Wright situation.

    The Uh Count was–ta day!–30!

    (OMG–just now I can’t be firm on that, was it only 20?)

    Anyway, it was hysterical. And it made me think of the ways Obama is similar to Bush, especially in the difference between the teleprompter speaking style and the off-the-cuff speaking, non-practiced style.

    There’s also the willingness to use tactics others might find worrisome or even wrong.

    Such as not counting votes by a transcendent, new-style politician.

    But, it’s not the voters or the votes–it’s the winning the power–and that was true for Bush and seemingly for Obama.

    Is that the new-style politics? Actually, for Bush it was–say anything to get elected, do anything to win an “election,” where votes do not have to be counted. Getting the power, then using it as if it were a huge manadate to do whatever BushCo wanted. Maybe not such new politics!

    Hopefully, Obama is not another Bush type!… Yesterday’s speech seemed to begin to lay out what he would do with that power–but is it just more leverage to gain power? Is it what he will really do? What do we get with Obama?

  4. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120579535818243439.html

    Link for the Shelby Steele WSJ article about Obama as Bargainer–the Bargainer who must wear a mask. Mentioned in above comment.

  5. jawbone — Obama’s modus operandi certainly is Rovian. Accuse the opponent of race-baiting before you race-bait. Accuse the opponent of saying/doing “anything to win” before you say/do anything to win.

  6. jawbone:

    I do not remember where I read/heard about it, but someone (not sure who) said something to the effect that “local/state poltics is about making virgins into whores and that national politics is about making whores look like virgins” (not exact quote, but close enough).

    I have always been surprised that people in the media or the left-leaning big blogs who are educated, intelligent and poltically savvy , have suspended their disbelief this primary in order to make the concept of Obama-the-new-kind-of-politics candidate work.

    In my opinion, the article I mentioned, illustrates that Obama is neither above-the-fray politically nor beyond using latent resentment in our society in order to gain political advantage. The following paragraph is particulary interesting to me.

    “His teachers were schooled in a style of organizing devised by Saul Alinsky, the radical University of Chicagotrained social scientist. At the heart of the Alinsky method is the concept of “agitation”–making someone angry enough about the rotten state of his life that he agrees to take action to change it; or, as Alinsky himself described the job, to “rub raw the sores of discontent.”

    And “rub raw the sores of discontent” he has. Hey, it is politics and as such I guess it is”valid” to use such strategies to mobilize particular constituencies to avoid defeat . Conservatives have been doing this for years, feeding on the discontent, fears and anger of many, to the point that some will betray their class interests.

    However, when Obama presents himself as a new kind of poltician, as the candidate of HOPE and UNITY, and as someone who, as Michelle pointed out, will heal our “souls” such strategies are at best, ethically questionable. The recent exposure of Rev. Wright using similar strategies, makes me less inclined to believe the characterization that Obama stands for a new brand of politics.

    No, Obama is no poltical “virgin”

  7. Obama’s equivalency of his grandmother’s “fear of black men “with Rev. Wright’s comments has been bothering me. I wondered at the time if she were still alive and how she would feel.

    Obama’s maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, is now 85 (will be 86 in October) and still lives in the Honolulu apartment where she raised Obama from 10 years old through high school. She took care of Obama’s mother there while his mother was dying of cancer. Last interview was in ’04 at the time of his speech to the Dem Convention; here’s a link which references the interview.


    I can’t find the ’04 interview, but was googling and here is a blogger Steve Sailer’s comparison of what Obama said about Madelyn Dunham in his speech yesterday and <i.what he wrote in his book about this incident with a black panhandler. I googled the name and Sailer is a movie reviewer for The American Conservative, so take this with as much salt as warranted–anyone know about his credibility?


    …according to Obama’s 1995 book, it is not at all true that she “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street.” Instead, she once confessed her fear of one aggressive black beggar who didn’t pass by her but instead confronted her, demanded money, and then gave her — an intelligent, level-headed woman who had worked her way up to a mid-level corporate management position — good reason to believe he would have violently mugged her if her bus hadn’t pulled up.

    I have not read any of Obama’s books, but this is very interesting–there are several paragraphs from Dreams of My Father on the topic of the black panhandler whom his grandmother feared was a mugger, and in the book Obama goes to a black friend of his family, a leftist, to try to discuss this issue.

    Since I don’t have the book, perhaps Sailer has truncated or played with the Magic Ellipses–anyone have the book ready at hand to sleuth this out?

    I may actually have to read the book, altho’ I find most political biographies pretty bad.

    Good grief–anything to achieve power?

  8. Interesting. Both could be true – a confessed fear of this particular individual, and a confessed generalized fear of black men on the street.

    I might add — it would not be terribly unusual for streetwise African-American women to express fear of black men they pass by on the street.

    And I might add — also from personal experience — there are reality-based reasons one might oppose a family member’s marriage to a member of a native African Muslim culture. These reasons might include the groom’s expectations of the bride’s absolute subservience, the groom’s perceived obligation to beat his wife, the bride’s loss of freedom to go forth outside the home, or the groom’s expectation that the bride will sever all communication with her prenuptual associates (family included). [Details vary by subculture.]

    These reasons might be valid grounds for objection even in case the bride was not so young (18), the groom was not already married, and the groom had no habit of abandoning his wives and children.

  9. jawbone: I went to the isteve link and found some of the comments really funny.

    I have noticed in other sources that the granny reference in THE SPEECH has annoyed many people. I find it amusing.

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