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Open Thread: John Nichols Smacks Down “Whiner in Chief”

Please don't hurt my feelings!

Please don't hurt my feelings!

This morning at The Nation John Nichols sternly reprimands the Obama administration for its attempts to control “left of left” bloggers with humiliating “off the record” remarks from anonymous administration sources, as well as its childish “war” with Fox News Network

Nichols writes:

…before the president and his inner circle go all Spiro Agnew on us, they might want to consider three fundamental facts regarding relations between the executive branch and the fourth estate

Next, Nichols discusses three main points about WH-media relationships: 1) media outlets have always been partisan; 2) “Presidents are supposed to rise above their own partisanship”; and 3) Obama is asking for trouble by “trying to ‘whip’ relatively like-minded” media sources “in line.”

Here are few salient exerpts from Nichols’ pithy piece:

Fox hosts do go overboard in their savaging of Obama and the Democrats — sometimes ridiculously so. But their assaults on the president are gentle when compared with the battering that Benjamin Franklin Bache’s Philadelphia Aurora administered to John Adams (appropriately) or the trashing that Colonel McCormick’s Chicago Tribune gave Franklin Roosevelt (inappropriately).

Obama should be better than [Dick] Cheney. But aides are not helping the president prevail in what ought to be an easy competition.

Cheney saw newspapers such as The New York Times and news channels such as CNN as little more than branches of his Democratic opposition.

…bloggers should…take [WH] criticism as confirmation that they are right when they suggest that this administration is increasingly out of touch with the progressive base that secured Obama the Democratic nomination and ultimately propelled him to the White House.

The fact is that the results of the 2008 election did not reveal “a closely-divided country.” Obama arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with the most muscular mandate accorded any Democrat since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide.

Please read the whole thing, and then come back here and discuss.

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41 Responses

  1. It has been fairly obvious since last year that Obama cannot abide being criticized or challenged. I’m sure everyone remembers the ABC primary debate last year in which Gibson and Stephanopoulos decided to play a little rough with him. Realizing that the media wouldn’t coddle him anymore, he then backed out of an already scheduled debate with Hillary and refused to do any others.

    And, of course, everyone here has had experience with his followers.

    • No kidding. He is soooooo thin-skinned.

    • Remember, whenever Hillary would challenge him effectively in a debate, he’d raise his index finger, with that petulant look on his face, and interrupt her? Such a baby. I love that he’s finally getting some hard hitting criticism, and look how he squirms. Narcissism on display.

      • His debate performances always reminded me of certain assholes in my grad-school classes. They never took the initiative in getting a discussion going. All they would do is nitpick the statements of the people who did. The one exception was always the professor–you wouldn’t believe the brown-nosing these jerks were capable of.

        • What I remember most about the dates was Hillary’s breathtaking command of knowledge on any and all topics, and Obama’s transparent attempts to mimic everything she said. He reminded me of a young guy trying to bluff his way through, and hoping no one would notice. Apparently, many did not.

      • The moment he’d raise his finger, we’d know…he was heading for that golden song of his….”what she said, but I’ll reach across the aisle for unity”.

    • B0 likes to take his ball and go home, like a spoiled child. Now if only he’d go back to Chicago.

  2. This WH seems strangely tone deaf, and they’re not catching on. I think it’s Rahm, and Axelrod has no DC experience. Insulting anyone and everything that disagrees is not only ineffective, it looks desperate and unprofessional. They are trying to transfer Chicago politics to an entirely different arena, and it’s not working.

    • I think Rahm has always been tone-deaf. I don’t know that much about Axelrod’s personality, except that his manner in TV interviews turns me off. He seems pretty arrogant and dismissive of other people. Remember when he blamed Hillary for the assassination in Pakistan?

      • Really, they’ve pulled so many ridiculous stunts like that it’s hard to keep track.

        • They behave as children, following The One blindly adn ignorantly! It’s really pretty sickening but mostly embarrassing.

          One would think the president of the United States could surround himself with better.

  3. bb: is this an open thread? I found some links for this mornings round up.

    • Sure, go ahead. I don’t know what happened to the morning post. I just put this so we’d have something to talk about.

  4. In other news, the Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling.


  5. Oh, if it’s an open thread I can whine. My daughter has the flu and so do I. 😦

  6. Hillary Was Being Diplomatic

    The takeaway from Hillary Clinton’s “Today Show” interview this week, at least to judge by the media’s coverage of it, was the secretary of state’s emphatic-seeming statement that “no, no, no,” she won’t run for president again.

    No matter what she says right now, there really is every reason to suspect that Mrs. Clinton will end up running for president again—in 2016, when the Democratic nomination will be wide open.

    More than a year later, Mrs. Clinton remains the second-biggest name in Democratic politics, behind only Mr. Obama. No one else—not even Mr. Biden—is even close. And, so far at least, her work as secretary of state has only enhanced her stature. As she jets from one corner of the world to another (and makes headlines at every stop), Americans have gotten a chance to see her essentially acting like a president—a leader on the world stage, not just another senator making pointless floor speeches and casting procedural votes.


    • I think the work she’s doing right now will scratch her itch for being a leader on the world stage. I’m taking her at her word and will not anticipate another run for POTUS from her.

      • The Failbots are all excited because HRC said she wasn’t gonna run for POTUS again, and because they expect us to be shocked and dismayed.

        I guess they consider her more credible than Obama, because in 2004 he said he wasn’t gonna run for POTUS in 2008.

        Now that I think about it, everybody considers her more credible than Obama. The Failbots just never considered credibility important.

        • Seriously, how stupid are Failbots? Omg! I am SHOCKED that a 68 year old may not run again! *gasps, falls over* Not that this announcement means anything, but being 68 AND having to deal with the fact that Obama has destroyed the Democrats’ brand seems like a longshot. Get over tge siege mentality and let down your guard from this war you’re fighting, boys, chances are you’re safe. Tge scourge of ever having our highest offices contaminated by scary ladyparts isn’t a real threat anymore, go to sleep. We maintain a grip on reality so you don’t have to!

          • “We maintain a grip on reality so you don’t have to!”

            I never thought of it like that. Just another in a long line of public services we shoulder while the Democratic party shrugs.

    • No one except for Bill and Chelsea really knows what Hillary plans to do long term. As long as she is in the Obama administration her answer to the question of whether or not she will run again will be a firm no. Her focus right now is on her job and supporting Obama’s run in 2012. That’s it. She’s not going to open herself to attacks from the media and blogosphere or have anything distract her work as SoS by admitting that she still wants to be POTUS. If Obama loses in 2012 or if and when she steps down from her jobs as SoS, I suspect that Hillary will begin to open up about what she plans to do in 2016. Only time will tell.

  7. Obama’s Gay Outreach: All Talk, No Action

    Saturday night President Obama charmingly delivered a rather bleak message to the gay community on the eve of its latest march on Washington. In a speech to the world’s largest gay political group, the Human Rights Campaign, Obama essentially said two things: I’m with you. But I can’t do much for you.

    As usual with this President, all the cadences were right. “It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga,” he ad-libbed, again a deft and knowing line for an audience probably as eager to hear her performance as his. During one clamorous ovation, Obama said, simply, “I love you back.” [gag…]

    And he used the opportunity to tell gay critics who have expected so much of him to express what he expects of them. The hate-crimes bill, he said, had become law only because those who believed in it had thoroughly educated the public about why it was important. “Countless activists and organizers never gave up,” he said. “You held vigils. You spoke out year after year, Congress after Congress.”

    Obama is right, in a civics-class sort of way, because social change can’t occur if it’s forced from the top down. But that’s also a convenient argument for him, since it defers responsibility from his office. [In other words, he wants the gay community to keep fighting until there is absolutely no political fallout for him and then he will act?!!]


  8. Views on Afghanistan Buildup Bring Clinton and Gates Together in an Alliance

    WASHINGTON — The last time the Obama administration arrived at a moment of truth in the debate over what to do about Afghanistan, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert M. Gates delivered a one-two punch in favor of a more ambitious approach.

    Now, as President Obama leads yet another debate on whether to deploy tens of thousands of additional troops there, the secretary of state and the secretary of defense will once again constitute a critical voting bloc, the likely leaders of an argument for a middle ground between a huge influx of soldiers and a narrow focus aimed at killing terrorists from Al Qaeda, according to several administration officials.


  9. Four-month-old baby turned down for heath insurance. Insurance company claims he’s “obese.”


  10. I just don’t get it, especially all this weirdness with Fox News. What is the point of purposely demonizing the number one news channel in the country?

    Don’t get me wrong, there are *plenty* of goofs on there to go around but logic would tell anyone with a post high school mentality that to spread a message or to explain an agenda wouldn’t one want to at least appear on the channel with the most viewers?

    Another thing that is really bugging me is this “unpatriotic” nonsense straight out of the bush playbook, aren’t we supposed to be past (or shoud i say post) all this by now?

    With this most juvenile of approaches they aren’t gonna be on tv at all pretty soon.

    Oh wait…..

  11. His aides, if they have any faith in their man’s abilities, should bend over backwards to accept some Fox interviews.

    His aides have seen him try to speak without a Teleprompter.

    Maybe he could take Hillary with him to start the answers, and then he could add “Me too, but way cooler than her” when she was done speaking.

  12. i actually think some of fox is more unbiased than the other two,not counting hannity ,beck and a couple others , you even hear about things going on in the rest of the world thats not obama. I would never have said this before and I do know its temporary.

    I don”’t get why MSNBC and CNN practically were obamas slave in the elections and now when he fails to do anything productive still make excuses for him!!1 Where is the reality check? don’t they know we have ears and eyes and oh yeah brains? Doing one thing and then calling it change has become a huge disgrace and if I was an obama supporter I would be really pissed and demand him to be accountable. Gays may be the start and good for them!

    Hillary is and always was the very best candidate for president, the race issue of course is the reason he won despite the story they put out for idiots I wonder how they can excuse the attacks on womens’ rights while talking about black rights ,I guess from the rap songs? they don’t respect any woman.

    I worry about Hillary and Bill because desperate crybabies do attack viciously when cornered about their failings.

  13. “I don”’t get why MSNBC and CNN practically were obamas slave in the elections and now when he fails to do anything productive still make excuses for him!!1 Where is the reality check?”

    Because they are invested in him. They continue to carry the water because if they stop they are going to HAVE to explain why they invested in him.

    There are talking heads on both these channels who will begin to say now (after their intial shock) that O deserves the Nobel and they will pull something out of their nethers as explanation. They have to do this because the nobel has everyone asking – What has he done? And the resounding answer being given is NOTHING YET. That NOTHING YET is beginning to resound through the grey matter of a whole bunch of people who had not realized that he had done nada – not in his state, not for his state and not for the country.

  14. of course H.R.C. will run again.she has her army on call

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