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The World as it Is

I started listening to Stay Tuned with Preet Bharara this morning and his guest Ben Rhoades. But after about 10 minutes into the interview, I switched to a BBC podcast on some Mytileneum Debate, which I had never heard of and means nothing to me.

The reason why I switched was because I couldn’t bear to hear another rambling hagiography about Obama by one of what seems to be his neverending supply of young, Ivy League, white male speechwriters and aides. They are all over the place.

I challenge you to make a list of Obama’s female speech writers and aides that have made it into the general punditry. Take your time.

I thought I was over Obama but interviews like this make me remember how angry I was with the Obama campaign of 2008 and the subsequent do-almost-nothing years that followed. Obama benefitted greatly from the fact that his successor is a loathsome individual in almost every way.

When I look back on the Obama years, I’ll remember that his all male staff shoved Lily Ledbetter down our throats but made almost no mention of Paycheck Fairness. I’ll remember that he stood between us and the bankers- and he protected the bankers. I’ll remember that he underfunded the recovery by about half a trillion dollars and made it harder for people like me to get full time work and health insurance again.

I’ll remember that his Obamacare had ZERO cost control measures and had a ditch that the working class fell into. I’ll remember that he didn’t want Plan B sold over the counter because de didn’t want his daughters to be able to buy it without his permission and knowledge.

I’ll remember that he was so wishy washy about proposing new gun control measures that Stephen Colbert called him “Lifeguard in Chief”. “Come on, guys, cut it out. Can’t you see the sign says no horseplay?”

I’ll remember that he was so afraid that Mitch McConnell would call him “political” that he said almost nothing about the Russians infiltrating and meddling with our elections in 2016. He should have pulled the emergency alarm. He didn’t.

Oh, sure, he’s better looking and better dressed than Trump. He’s smarter, not that he applied that intelligence to the best of his abilities. He’s got that je ne sais qua. He’s classy and no-drama. My old lab rat colleagues would have called him “swave” and “deboner”.

He’s got a Nobel Peace Prize. I’m still not sure why he’s got a Nobel but gosh darnit, the Norwegians LOVED him in 2008.

When it comes right down to it, Barack Obama may go down in history as the luckiest least effective president that was ever bracketed by the two most incompetent, belligerent, rule breaking, autocrats in their own mind presidents in history. George W. Bush might pass Michelle hard candy at funerals but let’s not forget that his pointless war in Iraq caused the death or dismemberment of thousands of US servicemen and millions of Iraqi civilians. We should all find that revolting.

And we do.

But between W. and Trump, sits Obama who embraced the “new coalition” and put the “old coalition” on an ice floe.

He wasted eight years in office. I take that back. He COMPLETELY wasted the first two years in office. He coasted on the rest.

He had a chance to make the world as it should be. But he had no vision beyond his own aspirations and the aspirations of his young white male speechwriters on their predetermined path to success.

Preet’s podcast is one of my favorites. His female guests are great and he always treats them as colleagues and equals. His interview with Bill Browder was astonishing. Ann Milgram is a breath of fresh air.

But I’m not sure we need to give Obama’s boys any more help than what they already got. Time to see the world as it is. That is, almost completely devoid of female voices that the country will respect. And Obama deserves some of the blame for not championing enough female voices while he nurtured and promoted young white men.

Hey, remember when Obama joined in the pile on:

Yeah. Great guy.

It turns out that the Mytileneum Debate is more relevant than I thought. Catch it on In Our Time.

10 Responses

  1. Couldn’t agree more… and now the media is attempting to foist Biden on us who is campaigning on the back of the success of the Obama administration…eeesh… the success comes from the fact that he followed W and was followed by tRump… We don’t need a Biden administration.

  2. I happened to look on an old thread here and found this comment I made about a year and a half ago. Sadly, it remains relevant.

    Obama always did try too hard to appease the Right. That was one of many reasons Hillary would have made a better President. She had seen Bill do the same thing and get kicked in the teeth repeatedly, and finally impeached. She would have known they could not be reasoned with, or mollified.

  3. It is almost hopeless to try to watch the political media. I happened to pass by Brian Williams’ show for literally five minutes yesterday, and there was Donnie Deutsch, and why does he have his own show now? He tells us that “it is possible that Trump’s attacks will turn Hillary into an empathetic character!” As if this were virtually impossible to imagine! He’s a Biden man, warns Democrats to stick to the middle. Then we have the new excitement about reparations, which in my view is the most sure-losing issue that Democrats could bring up. And it is sad and depressing to contemplate where we are politically now. Scylla and Charybdis, almost. The wholly evil Far Right takes over the country, while the Left focuses on fantasy ideas which 80% of the country will never adopt. Or we occasionally vote in an Obama or Biden for a brief interregnum. In my view, at least, if we nominate Warren, she will lose fairly substantially in the EC; she is not Hillary, and she is not in Massachusetts during a general election. I am not at all enthused about Biden, but could not live here another four years if Trump is elected again. If Biden is President, Obama has his third term, and then in four years, our candidate is whomever Biden picked for VP, probably Kamala; so Obama would essentially have picked another candidate.

    It is too complex to try to fill up the page discussing it, but to simplify, the peak of the Democratic Party ascendance was under FDR. But the truth is that the South was all Democratic, and that gave him the majorities he needed to pass sweeping legislation, which the Republicans have been trying to undo for 80 years. But since then, the Democrats have lost the South. And we don’t want those kinds of voters, except that the old Democratic coalition of working class voters of both genders and all ethnicities is no more. Look at the Democrats who have won since Nixon’s Southern Strategy bore dividends for the Republicans. Carter, a Southerner. Clinton, a progressive Southerner. Gore won, but was cheated, he was another progressive Southerner. Yes, Hillary won, too. She was far more “empathetic”as a candidate that Deutsch can ever conceive. But the so-called new Democratic coalition which Brazile was so proud of, contains various segments which push for their own agenda, and apply various purity tests to candidates. The advent of social media, and the plotting of the Russians, has made it relatively easy for the evil forces to turn one segment against another, and to urge people who are aggrieved, not to vote. And we’ll surely see this in the upcoming campaign.

    Obama was seen as the magic embodiment of Democratic dreams, an amalgam of the best of JFK, RFK, MLK, and Jesus. (Do note that RFK ran primary campaigns against Eugene McCarthy in 1968, which warned white collar voters in Indiana, Nebraska, and California, that McCarthy was going to have Black students bused into places like Orange County. This is an absolute fact, and I remember the CA debate between the two, after which Louis Lomax, an African American radio commentator, announced that he was switching from RFK to McCarthy, just because he was so offended by it. It was a different time, of course, and busing was a major issue. But this story does not fit the “new coalition” narrative, which has JFK, RFK and Obama as the true royalty,,on the noble side of all of the issues, and the Clintons as the scruffy dogpatchers not to the manner born. Is the choice now between Biden’s old-school version of the Democratic Party, or the new party which is going to talk about reparations, lose the most important election in our history, but feel virtuous about it? Not an appealing choice, either way, though one is certainly preferable).

    Obama’s candidacy took on a strange aspect which had virtually nothing to do with any positions he or Hillary had. It was as if they were bathed in a differently colored light. Obama was the most projective candidate in American history, at least until Trump, not coincidentally. Remember all those “when was your coming to Obama moment?,” pushed by those Obama campaign leaders, Axelrod, Favreau, and the rest? The religious aspect was hardly an accident. Obama has gifts, but they are mostly rhetorical, and also he is legitimately a good father and husband, which counts for something. People could not wait to vote for him, thinking that they were going to get something magical and transcendent, but of course they did not. Hillary was the true heir to FDR, but most absolutely refused to see it, either time. You can blame the Bernie Bros for some of it, and the Hillary-hating media for much of it. And also the Democratic magical narrative of Camelot, which had Obama as a newly transfigured version of Arthur. And now, all this, “Oh, if we could only have Obama back,” while understandable at this miserable juncture, willfully or ignorantly ignore the fact that he really didn’t do much of anything to tackle the immense problems which the country and the planet face. Hillary would have, and she would have been bloodied and excoriated for it, because not enough people had her back. Obama, was like a smooth running back who can glide along through an open hole, but will gracefully run off to the sidelines when tacklers appear. He finished his political career essentially unmarked, and has a Nobel Prize, a top ten “Best Presidents” rating from historians, and a country which has now been essentially taken over by Russia, and a political landscape and a Supreme Court which the Republicans gamed almost beyond repair during his tenure.

    • i meant to say that RFK was courting blue-collar White voters in those states who were upset by the idea of busing.

      • William- Your description of Obama as running back is apt and well-written. RD- your anger and accurate recollections are right on.
        Yes, Obama was pushed by the Camelot crew – JFK’s speechwriter, Sorensen, in his death throes; Caroline, and the bunch. The Great White Guilt. Farreau and his ilk were just entitled opportunists that foreshadowed the Bernie Bros, the latter were worse but at least claimed to have some principles, albeit ill-advised. Obama’s crew could never articulate policy or principle- it was all genteel sexist BS masked in better than thou entitlement.
        I long for a pragmatist like Hillary- Klobuchar is the closest, but Kamala may be able to control the narrative after the field is whittled down. She is not my first choice, but her strong voice may make her the pragmatic choice. I do not want the economy to tank, but this superficial flurry of high stock prices and low interest emboldens the trumpets. I think a strong voice will be our best chance to protect our interests.

  4. Correction- Favreau- still ick

    • This belonged under my previous post- by the way- I still prefer Amy, I am just trying to be pragmatic. Maybe Amy K will gain traction after the debates.

      • Lililam, an excellent capsule of the Obama people, which you wrote above. Obama was picked out the minute he was i the Senate. I remember Chris Matthews interviewing him back in 2007, and I thought he seemed nice enough, but wasn’t really saying much of anything, which was born out later. He just fit a narrative, and that’s the problem with narratives. It would be amusing, if it weren’t so awful, but the only person whom Democrats never blame for anything that happened in 2016, is Obama. Excuses are plentiful for anything he did or didn’t do, including not warning the country about Russia’s attack on our elections. As much as we desperately need Trump to lose, the idea of Obama and Biden going around the country campaigning together, is not appealing.

        With regard to Klobuchar, she is virtually deliberately being ignored by the media. Being more of a centrist, she does not come up with the grandiose plans which sell tickets, but have no chance of being implemented, unless Democrats won ten Senate seats, which is impossible. Gillibrand gets more coverage than she does, and Klobuchar is a much better senator. I think that the only people who can win the nomination are Biden, Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg. As much as I would sort of enjoy seeing Biden get caught up to, I am afraid that this would cost us our best chance to win. Harris reminds me of Obama in some ways, and this has almost nothing to do with race, it’s just that she makes forceful pronouncements about obvious things, has a great deal of confidence, but I don’t think much grasp of policy, certainly not foreign policy. But if Biden falters, she may have the best chance of being nominated. I’d prefer Klobuchar, and maybe Buttigieg, or Beto, who has some fine plans, but keeps getting caricatured for silly reasons. The media and the Democratic Left always have their narratives ready, and it is virtually impossible to break through them. I would personally rather hear about plans to fight climate change, than about criminal justice reform, but of course priorities differ. And the President has a lot more power to affect the first.

  5. “I couldn’t bear to hear another rambling hagiography about Obama by one of what seems to be his neverending supply of young, Ivy League, white male speechwriters and aides. ”

    I believe the technical term is “pool boys”.

  6. Obama will mostly be forgotten by history other than being the first African American president which was pretty much his goal in the first place.

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