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The Funniest Thing I’ve Read All Day

The Establishment?

The Establishment?

This is hilarious. Howard Fineman of Newsweek says that “The Establishment” is turning against Barack Obama.

Luckily for Obama, the public still likes and trusts him, at least judging by the latest polls, including NEWSWEEK’s. But, in ways both large and small, what’s left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking.

But who is “they?” Fineman provides no examples of Establishment figures who have been whispering in his ear, nor does he bother to clearly define what he means by “The Establishment.” In my mind, the term refers to the ruling class of a country–the top government figures as well as the heads of the most powerful corporations and foundations, and the most influential members of the national media. Here’s Fineman:

If the establishment still has power, it is a three-sided force, churning from inside the Beltway, from Manhattan-based media and from what remains of corporate America. Much of what they are saying is contradictory…

(Later in the piece, he refers to these people as “big shots” and “bigs.”). But really, is he serious? “What remains of corporate America”? Corporate America is currently running our government and is successfully stealing the taxpayers blind.

But to me it sounds like Fineman is mostly referring to the media, and most likely those in the media that he talks to regularly. Maybe he and Chris Matthews had a little chat night before last and that’s what this column is based on?

Anyway, Fineman provides a long list of complaints that his “establishment” buddies have with Obama. The gist of these complaints is that the stimulus wasn’t big enough, too much money is being poured into zombie corporations like Citigroup and General Motors, Obama should just focus on the economy and stop trying to do too much, and his Treasury secretary is a laughing stock who has been “compared to Doogie Howser, Barney Fife and Macaulay Culkin in ‘Home Alone’—and those are the nice ones.”

I might even agree with some of the complaints, and I’m certainly not thrilled with the job Obama is doing so far, but I think Fineman owes his readers a bit more information about where these complaints orginated. My guess is Fineman pulled all this out of his nether regions and dashed off this column in about fifteen minutes because he had something better to do last night.

Fineman does tell us what he thinks about these “concerns” he’s been hearing:

They have some reasons to be concerned. I trace them to a central trait of the president’s character: he’s not really an in-your-face guy. By recent standards—and that includes Bill Clinton as well as George Bush—Obama for the most part is seeking to govern from the left, looking to solidify and rely on his own party more than woo Republicans. And yet he is by temperament judicious, even judicial. He’d have made a fine judge. But we don’t need a judge. We need a blunt-spoken coach.

Obama may be mistaking motion for progress, calling signals for a game plan. A busy, industrious overachiever, he likes to check off boxes on a long to-do list. A genial, amenable guy, he likes to appeal to every constituency, or at least not write off any. A beau ideal of Harvard Law, he can’t wait to tackle extra-credit answers on the exam.

But there is only one question on this great test of American fate: can he lead us away from plunging into another Depression?

WTF?! Fineman is all over the place here. It seems he’s a bit concerned that Obama might be going further left than Fineman thinks he should and that Obama isn’t working with the Republicans as much as Fineman wants him to. Plus he thinks Obama is “judicious” and would have been a good judge and that he’s “busy, industrious, genial, and amenable.” It sounds like a lukewarm letter of recommendation. Most of all, Fineman thinks we need an “in your face guy.” Really? Isn’t that what we had with George W. Bush for the past eight years? Maybe Fineman just checked his 401(k) and then wrote this column out of sheer panic? That could explain why it makes no sense.

The good news is that at least one of Obama’s previously fawning acolytes in the “big shot” media has finally expressed a few doubts about our Dear Leader–although it’s too late for it to make much difference. But I find it incredibly hard to believe that Howard Fineman actually gets paid to write this kind of unsourced drivel. And Obama thinks blogs are a waste of time?

68 Responses

  1. Fineman is a perfect example of whats wrong with our press and journalism. Tweety too.

    • Ah! the comb-over couple.
      At least I’ll give Tweety credit for coming out of the closet on national TV over Barack, that took guts.

  2. BB, Fineman and the members of the NBC family ( MSNBC, Slate, WaPo, etc.) are only allowed a certain amount of criticism without countering themselves, in order to achieve “balance” favorable to the Chosen One, get it? Gotta maintain that ‘journalistic integrity,” don’t they?

    • Cinie,

      I heard the new boss at Newsweek is a conservative. Maybe that is the person Howard talked to?

  3. I’m sick of hearing about BO’s “temperament.” That the heck does that even mean? And even more, what the heck does it have to do with being a good president? It seems to me that it is a nice country club, fancy schmancy way of saying, “He isn’t a good old boy like Bush or Clinton.” Kind of a university club way of saying he’s the kind of guy they’d like to have a beer with (except in their case it would be a nice glass of wine)

  4. They have compared him to just about everybody with the exception of Miss Reingold 1959.

  5. “They have compared him to just about everybody…” His elusiveness is akin to his blank slateness. He ducks; he dodges; he sidesteps; he stutters; he obfuscates; he dog whistles. Artful dodger, flim-flam man – even nicknames don’t stick.

  6. They’re tacking right, duck, look out for the boom!! Obot left is running out of wind and money. But are all the boats, including Tweety’s leaking schooner, going to make the big turn together. Chasing the Economist?? That’ll be fun to watch.


    Newsweek is about to begin a major change in its identity, with a new design, a much smaller and, it hopes, more affluent readership, and some shifts in content. The venerable newsweekly’s ingrained role of obligatory coverage of the week’s big events will be abandoned once and for all, executives say.

    Newsweek executives hope they are creating a new niche, but the magazine will not have the terrain to itself. To varying degrees, it will be plying turf already worked by The Economist, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and others.

  7. Oops. I got caught in moderation. Is “obfuscate” a bad word?

  8. Enough, enough. This man is no overachiever, no genial guy. And he certainly never look for extra-credit to complete in his life.

    He has an average brain, an average stamina for work. He is an overambitious man, totally driven by the idea of being in the History books, and now that he is there, he is totally overwelhmed by the reality of the job.

    Enough of this hang over from kool-aid. The only thing special about him is how little of him is.

    • Well said, FrenchNail. Obama’s not judicious, he just can’t make up his mind. He’s not amenable, he’s a suck-up and a panderer. And he’s not an in-your-face guy? Strange, that’s what he told his supporters to do last fall.

    • What French Nail said!!!

    • Yeah, I had to laugh at that extra credit thing.

      • I think Fineman is a little confused.
        He didn’t answer questions for extra credit. He went up to the teacher after class and asked if he could get extra credit – because he deserved it.

    • Someone clue Fineman in: the industrious overachiever was kicked to the curb in favor of the inexperienced underachiever.

    • Obama is “judicious” and would have been a good judge… he’s “busy, industrious, genial, and amenable.”

      All of this is pure b.s. and, in line with BB’s general criticism of Fineman, based on what, exactly?

      One could just as easily say that Obama is entirely injudicious, quite fond of free time, lazy, vindictive, and petulant. And back it up with myriad examples.

      • Yes… but that would be r@cist now wouldn’t it? 🙂

        • You nailed me there, elderj. My penance shall consist of drawing a thousand smiley faces on the blackboard.

          (Oops, did I just compound my sin?)

  9. BB — used to like Fineman before Obamaism came along. I think Howard is using the formula to criticize Obama: for every criticism you must say at least 3 things in reverence of him. blech

    • My thoughts exactly. The media is so careful in discussing Obama that I think he writes their paychecks.

  10. BostonBoomer and MyIQ please check your mail

  11. OMF& PUH LEE ee eeZ

    “A busy, industrious overachiever”

    why do I even bother letting this tripe get a rise out of me anymore anyway… this is par for the course in hopped up on kool-aid mediaville, and is quite laughable on the one hand, and quite tragicomic on the other.

    • Yeah, but Howard Fineman is a member of the *media* establishment. If he’s willing to put in print that some “big shots” are unhappy with Obama’s performance, that means something. It will be noticed no matter how much we chortle about it. He’ll probably be discussing this on Hardball tonight.

      • Let’s hope and pray this is true! If my wildest dreams ever came true, the media would do their jobs and it would look like a pack of dogs after so much fresh blood… there is just SO MUCH there for them to dig up and reveal. It could even save print news from extinction… (in my dream)

  12. Take a look here:

    The red and green lines are sure coming together.

    Not good Obie; not good at all.

    • Those horrible, horrible pollsters again. But as long as we’re looking, it does not look good for Barry.

    • But, fred, the MSM insist The People are still strongly behind Him. I’ve been following the RCP popularity averages for the past couple of weeks and have noted that some outfit called Diegio/Hotline routinely shows by far the highest favorability ratings (who are these people, anyway?), whereas Rasmussen generally shows the lowest. The RCP average today is 60.8 favorability, not a grand mandate by any stretch. From what I’m reading, Obama’s numbers are significantly lower than Dubya’s were during the honeymoon (blech) period. They’re also lower than were Clinton’s and Bush I’s.

    • Fredster — thanks for the link

      Only 23% of voters believe that govt now represents the people. Ouch!

      • sorry, govt now represents the WILL of the people.

        I’m having the worst time typing today — dg weather

    • Wow. And it’s barely 2 months in.

    • I wonder what poll-based maneuvers AstroTurf Axelrove is going to come up with. I feel like one of those women of the French Revolution, only its not a bread riot I am eggin’ on… (practically drooling)

  13. Fredster, Oh my gosh, 31% strongly disapprove and only 38% strongly approve of his performance. Overall approval is only 56%? Wow!

  14. Howard Fineman and “the establishment” owe the Clintonistas a big apology.
    We told them he wasn’t ready and they called us stupid, old racist c#%ts.
    Thanks for nuthin’, Howie.

  15. Is anybody else having trouble accessing google?

  16. John Stewart has been all over Jim Cramer’s ass during the past few days. Not that I have much patience for Stewart these days, after all that Hill bashing last year, but maybe TC needs to cut Booyah Cramer loose? Dunno. I’ve always enjoyed Jim’s chutzpah, but he’s getting to be a load.

    • The substitute guy on countdown was trashing Cramer too.

    • Yes, it’s double barrel hunting season in the greater NYC area for anyone financial. Junior bankers (the boys) are worried about their careers and crying about not being able to get dates anymore. The testosterone is really piling up in the warehouse.

    • What Hill bashing? Cramer publicly endorsed Hillary.

      • No BB, I was talking about Stewart’s bashing of Hill. I take Cramer over Stewart, easily, after all that last year. But these days, entertainment/business/politics don’t easily mush together. And if Cramer is going to try and keep being an Oracle for Wall Street, the odds won’t be in his favor, imo.

    • Be gentle with Jon Stewart. He sees the writing on the wall. He knows Obama is a weak president but he just wants to continue living in denial land a little longer. He knows he is unqualified and was bamboozled in supporting him but he is just too embarrassed to admit it. Watch him when he tries to criticize Obama. It is just so painful for him to do it but give him time. In three months if Obama has gotten worse, it will be too hard for him to look away.

      • Sorry, I cannot be gentle with jon stuart after what he did to Hillary and Sarah ..and even when I try and watch ; he just isnt funny anymore … trying to hard to sell anything isn’t funny .

      • We should be about as gentle w/t Stewart as with Goering. Wasn’t Goering the one reputed to have a sense of humor?

      • Tough toenails.

  17. bostonboomer, Stewart is the Hillary critic, not Cramer.

    • Oh. Well he was orginally a Hillary supporter. He sold out to his audience. I never watch him anymore and never will again.

  18. Hmmm. If the elitist establishment who crammed BO down our throats no longer like him maybe he is not so bad???!! NO, on second thought BO is that bad.

  19. Jon Stewart is a dope who no longer has credibility with me. Who cares if he comes around. He is boring and unwatchable.

  20. It is all happening because Cramer made the ultimate mistake of criticizing BO. It is considered a sin to do that. No one warned him of the consequences and the new rules.
    See no evil, hear no evil

  21. It still gets down to this: ANY man, qualified or not, is preferable to allowing a woman to lead this country and the elite of the media are constitutionally given access to the public servants making the news. The networks make the millions they pay Couric, Matthews and Fineman because of their press passes. Somewhere along the line, they dropped the necessity that a FREE Press represents the Fourth and “QUASI”official branch of the government. The Press is protected and granted access in the interest of keeping the electorate informed; of keeping the other three legs of the stool in balance.

  22. Dude, that’s a Dear Jane letter he’s written there. As in, Dear Jane, I want to fuck you. You’re my beau ideal.

    WTF?? I am so sick of white guys and their hard ons for black men.

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