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Meta: Reflections on Race and Gender

If you haven’t read this post by Digby at Hullabaloo on the media gearing up to use the 2008 election campaign tactics as a way to crush women politicians in 2016, go read it now. I’ll wait.

In this one post, Digby comes so close to seeing the political landscape the way we did back in 2008. What she writes makes perfect sense but at the last moment, the thought-stopping conditioning springs into action and she calls anyone who draws the obvious conclusions racists.

I don’t have time to clear this up for her but I will say that we called the phenomenon that she is describing as “Penis Years” back in 2008. That is, no woman, no matter how much experience she has, regardless of her accomplishments, is as qualified as a man who simply wants the job. The presence of a penis adds eight to ten years of authority to his CV over any female that gets uppity enough to get in his way. This is hardly relegated to politics. It’s rampant in the private sector as well.

As for the racism aspect of all this, that’s in the mind of the beholder and that was the whole point of the 2008 campaign exercises. There are some Democrats who saw two potential interest group constituencies and through clever messaging, made sure that sexism was combined with the desire to finish the Civil Rights movement. It’s called marketing.

I think we can all agree after six long, painful years that Obama was not ready to be president, that his candidacy was rushed by some self-interested financial industry donors and that he has been the most conservative Democratic president of our lifetimes. He got the nomination using Penis Years reasoning and his campaign was ruthless in describing anyone who opposed him as a racist. The fact that some political scientists are making a bungling mess of pointing out this reality doesn’t make it less true. The legacy of the 2008 “Bros vs Hos” campaign is going to haunt the first woman nominee no matter who she is. We will be lead to wonder whether another inexperienced, less than competent in a time of economic crisis president is going to be shoved down our throats to satisfy some politically correct teachable moment.

You can pretend this is not true but when both Amanda Marcotte and Digby start writing posts about Penis Years in the lead up to 2016, they are actually acknowledging this fact.

I guess they are racists now.

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How religious narcissism works

Ah, the Duggars are making headlines again.  They’re little headlines but you should pay attention anyway because they are part of the pattern of religious narcissism that I have written about previously.

Jessa Duggar, the hot one, is dating courting Ben Seewald, another obnoxious Jesus freak Southern Independent Baptist.  I can’t remember where I heard this, it might have been somewhere in the free thought skeptic media, but it turns out that the Duggars follow this self-annoited preacher named Bill Gothard.  If America has a Taliban, and it does, Gothard would be its leader and his IBLP, Institute of Basic Life Principals, would be its Sharia Law.  Wait, that would have been last year.  THIS year, Gothard has resigned his position at IBLP due to sexual improprieties, as well as failing to report child abuse cases.  Yes, the man who brought America the chaste “side hug” has been accused by dozens of young women of inappropriate touching, groping and other no-nos.  Maybe their knees were exposed briefly and were asking for it.  So much for self-control. (Funny side note: while I was writing this, the WordPress autocorrect function kept replacing “Gothard” with “got hard”.  You can’t make this stuff up.)

In the Duggars’ world, the Southern Baptists are too worldly.  Yes, those teetotalling, non-dancing, patriarchical fundies are just too wild and crazy for the Duggars so the Duggar family mostly worships at home with other similar families.  Note that they don’t form “friendships” with these families.  They “fellowship”.  The distinction is significant.  That’s because if one of these families steps out of line, they have to be ready to jettison that family before the infection spreads.  It’s cold and unloving but their own salvation is at stake, so it’s necessary.

So, Ben Seewald, who is 2 years younger than Jessa, who is all of 20 or 21, writes a twitter about his catholic friend.  It’s been erased but someone has been kind enough to save the content.

“I have nothing against individuals who are Catholic. I know a lot of Catholics who are great people. What I DO have a problem with is the teaching that man can merit God’s favor through his own works or the works of other fallen men.

“My conscience is captive to the word of God. Where my Catholic friends adhere to God’s Word, I adhere. Where they depart from Scripture, I will in no way support, but will call them out because I love them and desire that they be turned from their deadly errors.”

Where to begin.  On the face of it, it looks innocent enough.  I mean, IBLP has been around for less than 100 years and is a niche sect, appealing to authoritarians and people who watch TLC and think it’s perfectly Ok to train children to be smiling, non-thinking, personality free, well behaved, chaste automatons in the name of Christ. (As my favorite aunt says, “Someday, one of those Duggar kids is going to write a book.”) The Catholic church has been around for 2000 years and has branch offices all around the world.  Catholics don’t have anything to fear from some American fundies in Arkansas.

But the debate of “saved by grace alone” vs “saved by good works” has been raging since Martin Luther.  In retrospect, Luther ignited a firestorm that to this day we can’t put out.  To many of us freethinkers or panentheist non-Christians, this debate is intensely boring and about as meaningful as how many angels dance on the head of a pin.  Really, who the hell cares whether it’s faith or good works??  Does preferring one to the other preclude you from being a good person?

Anyway, the money quote in the above tweet is:

“My conscience is captive to the word of God. Where my Catholic friends adhere to God’s Word, I adhere. Where they depart from Scripture, I will in no way support, but will call them out because I love them and desire that they be turned from their deadly errors.”

I’m sorry, who died and made Ben Seewald god?  That tweet almost sounds like it could have come from the pages of the Old Testament.

But this is pretty typical of the religious narcissist.  YOUR faith is not important to them.  Only THEIR faith is important.  They make it their business to interfere and make it their responsibility to set your ass straight.

Let’s recap: The Southern Baptists aren’t good enough for them.  They are superior to most of the denomination they consider their closest allies.  They worship at home because it’s safer for them and they can control who can bask in their reflected glory and who can’t.  They hold themselves up as paragons of virtue and expect that you show them respect for their life choices that they say are more moral than yours.  And they do not respect your boundaries as far as your life choices or religious beliefs are concerned.  Your beliefs are inconsequential and fungible, theirs are not.

I’m pointing this out now because a couple of weeks ago, a bunch of anti-choice protestors interrupted a service at a Unitarian church in New Orleans.  Amanda Marcotte wrote of the protests recently, describing the actions of the protestors:

Some of the anti-choice activists invaded the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans while members were observing a moment of silence for a deceased congregant and proceeded to abuse and harass the people inside the church. The folks from Operation Save America were hardly ashamed of this deplorable behavior, instead bragging on their website about disrupting services at the “synagogue of Satan” and making special note of haranguing the female pastor, who they called a “pastor,” in scare quotes. (But they’re in this for “life” and not because they have a problem with women!) This behavior isn’t necessarily any worse than the miseries they subject clinic patients and workers to, but it serves as a reminder that the reason anti-choice “protesters” get into the lifestyle is that they are bullies, full stop.

The protestors did not recognize the authority of the female pastor and they violated the boundaries of the congregants’ faith in a very literal way.

Now, the Unitarians are not really Christians in the strictest sense of the word.  They’re more deists or pantheist non-Christians who are respectful of Christians.  You can even be an atheist at a Unitarian church.  On the scale of churches, Unitarians are waaaaay over there on the commie left.  So, what’s going on here?  Marcotte’s theory makes sense:

There are many pro-choice churches, but the religious pluralism of the Unitarians is what really sets fundamentalists off. Indeed, there’s a strong reason to believe that the religious right is basically using the battle over reproductive rights to advance a much larger agenda against religious tolerance. And the strategy is to argue that their own “religious freedom” cannot be protected without taking yours away.

There’s an actual quote about that somewhere from one of the Christian fundamentalist imams.  I think it might be in this video from a recent free thought convention.  Found it.  Here’s the quote attributed to Gary North, former curriculum advisor for Ron Paul:

“So let us be blunt about it, we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education and no neutral government.  Then they will get busy in constructing a bible based social and political order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of god.”

But Catholics are hardly Kumbaya strumming hippies.  The church has its own authoritarian issues and, even though its members might think a bunch of red beanied single old dudes in Rome are cracked when it comes to reproductive health, it has had a significant impact on the American public through the appointment of 5 conservative Catholics to the Supreme Court.  The uber fundie independent baptist taliban in Arkansas has little to fear from Catholics.  They’re getting everything they claim they want through them.  Except that the Catholics don’t believe what they believe, and therefore, they must be “saved”.

No one is safe from this kind of religious narcissism.  First they came for the atheists and there are still laws on the books in some states that prohibit an atheist from holding a public office.  Then they came for the Unitarians because they’re all about inclusion and social justice.  They have no qualms about calling out Catholics.

When Ruth Bader Ginsberg said the 5 member majority in the Hobby Lobby case had “ventured into a minefield”, she only scratched the surface of the problem.  Political motives aside, the  conservative majority has given a tacit nod to the religious narcissists to continue to breach other people’s boundaries.  I think we’re going to see more of these protests and pretty soon, you won’t be able to go anywhere before some righteous religious person decides your beliefs need an attitude adjustment.  Countries have and are still to this day fighting religious wars.  Many people are hurt and lives are ruined over religion in other parts of the world.  For more than 200 years, we have decided we as a nation weren’t going to subject our citizens to a test when it comes to religion.  Are we now going to throw away that detente and for what reason?

What do we do about the religious narcissist?  I’m still trying to find the answer to that question.  There are some suggestions for dealing with narcissists in general.  I’ll talk about some of them in a future post.

Pre and post 2008

Violet Socks has been on a roll the last couple of days.  She lives in Virginia where the state legislature has passed the vaginal ultrasound before abortion bill.  There’s no reason why it has to be vaginal.  It could have been done the normal way with that jelly stuff on the abdomen.  In fact, it didn’t have to be done at all.  No one who wants an abortion is going to be the least deterred by this.  But the humiliation is revolting.  On top of everything else, you’ve got to put up with a probe for no reason except sheer meanness.

And then there is the Santorum donor’s comments today:

FRIESS: On this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.

Cheap? Yes.  Effective?  Well, there’s plenty of walking, talking data on the efficacy of this method.

What puzzles me is WHY you would want to go back to that or have anyone else go back to that if you lived through it the first time.  It makes no damn sense.  It especially makes no sense if you know it didn’t work the first time around and that even the threat of infection, infertility and death didn’t deter anyone.  Think about that.  The death penalty is supposed to be a deterrent but it doesn’t have much effect on people who are determined to have an abortion and it doesn’t stop them from having sex.  There’s nothing a religious person can do to change that.  Nothing.  A religious person can only make it more dangerous.  These are well known facts that history has proven for thousands of years.  Birth control and safe abortions were improvements on this history.

The religious can get all pissy and prudish and insufferable to be around about it but this is something they are going to have to face at some point.  Their crusade against sex is going to fail.  It’s going to fail as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  They’re only going to feel rage and frustration from failing to get all of the women in the world to exercise self-control because it is never, ever going to work.  Just like the Rapture is never going to come.  Wishing does not make it so.  Your blood pressure will go down once you stop obsessing about premarital sex because there’s not a thing you can do about it without going all Taliban and Old Testament.  And the Taliban *still* catches people having sex when they aren’t supposed to.  Even the strictest religion in the world and the harshest abortion laws on the books will not stop this.  It doesn’t even matter if you don’t believe in evidence or data or reality.  People are going to continue to have sex and get pregnant unintentionally and there’s not a damn thing the country’s Christians can do to stop it.  Not a thing.

There’s no point to the intrusiveness of the religious unless they like to be mean and judgmental and if their religious convictions give them a sense of power and superiority that they can’t get any other way.  They’re not doing it for OUR benefit.

Anyway, I keep saying that the election of 2008 let all of the worms that lurk in the mud hatch out without any kind of restraint.  Misogyny was given free reign and those of us who were paying attention (that would not include Amanda Marcotte or Naomi Wolf or the leadership of NOW, Emily’s List and NARAL) were alarmed that no one was held accountable.  It was bound to turn out badly.  The past four years has been one relentless campaign against women in the doctor’s office, in the White House conference rooms and in the workplace.  Did anyone notice that two of the biggest stories about women in 2011 were about women who were tried for murders but were really convicted of being pretty, and sexually unrepressed?  It was a shock to my system that a murder could be pinned on Amanda Knox in the most lurid, outlandish way because she was having fun in Italy.  And Casey Anthony, whatever you think about her role in the crime, was viciously smeared by cable news people for being an unrepentant barroom floozy. In Anthony’s case, the sexy dancing and drinking was the bigger crime and should have been enough to get her the death penalty despite the lack of evidence.

How did we get to the place where we are so totally divorced from reality?  I’m disappointed and angry that my daughters will grow up in a country where they will have fewer options and get even less respect from their workplace peers than my generation did.

Women were their own worst enemy in 2008.

Here’s how Obama *should* be handling women’s reproductive health:

See?  What was so damned hard about that?  This is not a trick question requiring political polling firms.

Oh, well, Amanda et al, can always invest in aspirin.

Fantasies and Choices

Lambert has an extended conversation with Amanda Marcotte over whether Hillary Clinton would have made a better president. Amanda and many others, argue that it’s all speculation and we’ll never know and blah, blah, blah, {{rolling eyes at all of the Democratic party loyalists who are, once again, either complicit or getting sucked into spreading the talking points of the people who were so damned wrong the first time}}

Look, it’s very simple:

1.) You were wrong about Obama; we were right. We never expected Obama to be an effective counterweight against the Republicans. That’s precisely why we didn’t vote for him in the primaries. Our whole reason for voting for rejecting him was that he had no idea what he was getting us into and the Bushies were leaving a mess behind. We didn’t want a neophyte for president in 2009. If anyone had a fantasy about the presidency, it wasn’t us. We knew what was coming and Obama’s failure comes as neither a shock or disappointment. We are not disillusioned. We didn’t buy the HopeyChangey stuff in the first place. That is a propaganda ploy that was covered in 8th grade social studies. Were the Obama contingent absent that day? So, why should we listen to your faulty reasoning for a second campaign season?
2.) The campaign really hasn’t even begun yet. There is still time for a substitution, whether it is Hillary or someone else with balls.
3.) NONE of us want to sit through 4 more years of Obama. Period.
4.) Regardless of how primary challengers have affected the electoral prospects of an incumbent in the past, this is a completely different economic and political reality. We are not simply dealing with malaise. This is a Lesser Depression. What we need now is something completely unpredictable.
5.) While speculation about Hillary’s presidency may strike some of the left as intellectual masturbation, it is inappropriate for them to substitute *their* judgement for ours. We want a choice. Choices are what make democracy work. We present choices to informed voters and they decide what they want. Why don’t Democrats believe in Democracy? Or is it that the Amanda Marcottes of the party, who made a huge mistake in 2008, insist on representing themselves as the superior intellects to the rest of us who they persist in mischaracterizing as working class, uneducated women?

Really, who the F^&* does Amanda Marcotte and Rebecca Traister and Jonathan Capehart and ThereIsNoSpoon etc, etc, etc think they are???

You threw a tantrum in 2008 and had to have your way. You bought the Obama brand without question and got all of the rest of us into this pickle. And it wasn’t even like he ran away with the nomination by a landslide. The nomination was a squeaker and he only won because the party changed the rules so it could ignore the will of the largest, most Democratic states in the country. He didn’t run a brilliant campaign. He ran a ruthless one and he bought a lot of superdelegates with the money from the finance industry. And because of the cluelessness of the left activist base, a good chunk of the middle class is suffering with no end in sight. Some of us (yours truly) have lost jobs and livelihoods because you insisted on putting an untried, inexperienced, political cypher in a job he wasn’t ready for. We told you that over and over and over again. He’s not even a real Democrat from what I can tell. And now you guys presume to tell US that we can’t have a choice in the matter of the next presidency?

First of all, that’s not true and never was true. We always have choices. But if you think this argument about fantasies and Hillary Clinton are going to persuade us, you are the ones who are out of touch with reality. Obama is not working out. The management, that would be us, would like to make a change. It is time for the party to get a clue and get him to step down so someone else can have a crack at it, presumably someone who is a real Democrat.

Whatever problem you have with Hillary Clinton, I guarantee you that it isn’t nearly as bad as the problems the unemployed have with Obama right now. No one is *ENTITLED* to a second term. And it is sheer fantasy for the Democrats to try to push a failure on us a second time when there is time to prevent it. The people who are in fantasy mode are the ones who think that Obama’s second term is going to be better than his first. Hillary told us what it was going to be like and she was right:

Amanda and Rebecca and Jonathan are in denial. They’re in denial because they are afraid. They’re afraid because the Republicans could win. The Republicans could win because the economy is really in bad shape. The economy is in really bad shape because Republicans are obstructive assholes and because Obama didn’t know how to deal with them. He doesn’t know how to deal with them because he didn’t have that part figured out before he ran and he doesn’t have a political philosophy. But fear tactics are not going to get Obama re-elected. We’re not buying it, Amanda. The party needs to stop being so craven and scared and replace the guy at the top because we are not voting for him next year.

Suck on that, Amanda.

PS: I can’t remember where I read this but some columnist wrote that there have been suggestions of a write in campaign for Hillary in Iowa. Now, I don’t know if she could be drafted or if she even has an interest. But if she won the Iowa caucuses anyway, that would send a very strong message to the party that Obama does not have the confidence of the voters. That assumes that there won’t be spillover from Illinois. I fully expect that Iowa and other caucus states don’t let the Obama campaign get away with the blatantly obvious fraudulent and unethical practices they did in 2008. For the record, Obots, that kind of behavior is not just rough politics. It’s immoral behavior that deprives voters of their rights and fair reflection. But if you put up with it, you should not be surprised with the guy does the same thing to you.

Friday: Messaging

Forget Michelle Bachmann. Get these two guys.

The left blogosphere continues to spin its wheels.  It’s everyone else’s fault for the mess we’re in.

Digby has yet another post about Michelle Bachmann.  Can I just ask what the point of this exercise is?  Who is the target of this particular post?  None of the Clintonistas turned Tea Partiers are going to read it but if they do manage to pick up on it, it’s only going to make them love her more.  Are WE, the Democrats in Exile, the targets?  Please.  We know that Michelle Bachmann is a Republican nutcase.  We don’t need Digby to point this out.  We’d only vote for her to put a woman in office.  No, it doesn’t matter if she’s conservative just like it didn’t matter that Obama was one when he was elected to be the first African American president.  Oh, I’m only kidding (sort of).  I’m sure I can find a third party candidate to vote or write in Hillary.  For sure Obama is not getting my vote.  But would I really vote for Bachmann?  Hmmm, if a woman ever got to the top of the ticket in any major party, it would be very hard not to vote for her.  Even Digby might do it.  Ok, she wouldn’t but I could see her struggling with it in the voting booth.

In any case, going after the personal or mocking her intelligence is not scoring points with us.  We would much rather that people like Digby focus on her policies.  But let’s put logic aside, because that’s all that matters here.  Voting for Obama in the 2008 primary was about as illogical as voting for Bachmann now.  Yes, I mean that.  Dems who voted for Obama back in 2008 knew even less about him than we know about Bachmann today.  I take that back.  We knew that Obama admired Reagan.  But other than that, what legislative accomplishments did Obama have?  What was his record in the community at large?  Bachmann is a foster parent and has juggled a boatload of kids at one time while running for office, working as a tax attorney and suffering from migraines (Get rid of some of your committments, Michelle, like, oh, I don’t know, running for office?  Just sayin’.)  When it comes to sheer energy, committment and sticking to her principles, as whacked out crazy as they are, Michelle Bachmann whups Obama’s ass.

I predicted a couple of weeks ago that Bachmann would keep creeping up in the polls.  And you want to know why, Digby?  It’s because women hate people like us, the snooty, smartass lefty liberals who gave them Obama in place of the person they wanted to vote for.  Yes, I am including me among the smartass liberal set.  Regular women identify with that whole “I am a mother first” thingy, even if she spends most of her time politicking.  They’re sick to death of people like us shoving men in suits in their faces and then having those men screw their economic livelihoods behind their backs.  You can mock their lack of education (to your peril, IMHO) but they know how to balance their checkbooks, Digby, and they don’t like what they see.  No, they most certainly do not.  You can’t tell them there’s a recovery going on when they’re taking in all of their laid off grown up children.  They’re plotting revenge.  You don’t want to encourage them.

They know that Bachmann is out there.  They know she’s a Republican.  And they also know that the best way to stick it to the Democrats who screwed them over is to keep pumping her up.

So, why are we dumping on Michelle Bachmann?  Aren’t there looney, religiously conservative Republican men we can pick on?  Why, yes!  Yes, there are.  What about Mitt Romney and his Bakelite hair?  What about Huntsman?  Doesn’t anyone besides me think it’s weird that two of the right wing’s political aspirants are Mormans and that Glenn Beck, Tea Partier master of ceremonies, is also a Morman?  And what do we know about Mormans?  They tithe pretty heavily to their churches and have their own social welfare system for their members.  They are the ultimate libertarians.  But no, we are focussing with laser like intensity on Bachmann.  That suggests a couple of things to me.  One is that the Democrats know they have a problem with women voters and two, the Democrats have a problem with women in general.

But why does Digby have a problem with women?  Who is running the show at Hullabaloo?

Amanda Marcotte ponders whether Obama is benevolent but ineffective or an evil Republican in disguise.  I thought we settled this question last week sometime.  Obama is an anti- New Deal Democrat at the precise moment in time when the country needs a FDR.  He never admired his mother’s brand of idealistic humanism and striving to right the wrongs of the world.  He thinks that’s a naive waste of time and that people should stop trying so hard to address inequality and learn to be content with the measley bits that life hands out to them.  Trying to do otherwise is setting yourself up for disappointment.

This philosophy goes against everything Americans have believed in since the day the nation was founded.  Americans believe in progress and evolution, sometimes in big whopping chunks, not puny, ineffective increments.  Obama may have spent a little too much time in Indonesia or the golf course.

Of course the primary problem is that the country elects too many Republicans.  That goes without saying.  But you have to wonder why Democrats, AND OBAMA, made so little effort to control the message when they had the chance.  Where was the fight over the “fairness doctrine”?  Why do we have to drag them kicking and screaming to endorse net neutrality?  Why the hell do they put up with so much passivity on NPR?  And why did they squander so much political capital in the first two years of Obama’s term on mindless, boring coverage of Obama’s every bowel movement day after day with the endless TV spots at lunchtime?  Pretty soon, his bully pulpit faded into background noise.  Who’s bright idea was that?

As much as the Republicans are to blame for everything bad that has happened to this country in the past 40 years, you have to wonder why it is that Obama cooperates with them so flawlessly.  Why is it that deals on spending cuts and social security are carried out in closed door sessions where people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are not invited?  Better yet, why are WE not invited?  Are we just supposed to accept what comes out of those doors, those mighty deals deliberated by our elders and written down in stone that we must obey now and for all time?  Where are the floor fights?  How come all of this is happening in the middle of the summer when Americans are on vacation and are oblivious to all of this wheeling and dealing in DC that will substantially change their future standard of living?  Oh, yeah, I forgot that this is how Democrats have operated since the primary and convention of 2008.  Agreements are made in secret and then a big spectacle is arranged to demonstrate that we’re all unified.  That’s bullshit, Amanda.

At some point, you have to demand that Obama and the Democrats stop acting like the Republicans we despise.  If they won’t do that, then they might as well join one big party and sing Kumbaya.

As for Clinton, it’s nice to see that Amanda acknowledges what the rest of us have known for a long time.  The Big Dawg did a phenomenal job holding the Republicans off under circumstances that were much tougher politically and personally than Obama encountered when he first took office.  At least Clinton knew where to draw the line and make the Republicans crazy.   That’s why they went after him so hard on personal issues.  They wanted to impeach him because he was getting in their way.  I haven’t seen the same over the top nuttiness directed at Obama.  What is Obama’s excuse for refusing to step up?  So some Republicans can’t distinguish between communists and fascists.  BFD.  We know he’s neither.  But other than that, Amanda?  Where are the piles of legal bills, the testimonies and depositions, the ritual humiliation of his wife, the constant distractions and media mania?  It’s not there because Obama decided early on to cooperate with the lunatics instead of fighting them.  It’s much easier to not put oneself forward instead of living with disappointment.

That’s what we signed up for with Obama.  It’s neither evil or naive.  It’s merely self-serving and passive and insensitive to the massive suffering he is letting the corrupt system impose on present and future American livelihoods.  This is what the left signed onto when they forced Obama on the rest of us.  I can’t imagine a worse choice for president in 2008 and we will be paying for it for generations to come.  He doesn’t have to be a Republican to be worse than Bush.

But the question I have for Amanda and the other lefties trying to figure out what Obama is is why they are just now asking this question.  Why did it take 4 years to realize that we know almost nothing about him?  I still submit that the signs were all there in January/February of 2008.  Everything you needed to know about Obama was right there.  His passivity about calling himself a Democrat, his courting of the religious right, the race baiting, the way he blew off the voters of two major states that disadvantaged him in the polls, his supporters caucus activities that he overlooked, his nod towards misogyny, the obscene gobs of cash he was getting from Wall Street that he used to buy superdelegates, his “walking around money” in NJ.  It was all right there.  The fact that he’s president now when we needed a more muscular Democrat is not the fault of Republicans, it’s OUR fault.

But there is something Democrats can do if they’re not cowardly chickenshits.  They can force him out.  No one is “entitled” to a second term.

Update:  Paul Krugman tells us what ails us with respect to Obama in Conceder in Chief and confesses that his frustration with Obama’s 11 Dimensional negotiating skills consists of “suppressed rage and panic” (an excellent description of my feelings as well, Paul).  Then he goes on to say:

It’s very hard to avoid the impression that three things are going on:

1. Obama really just isn’t that into Democratic priorities. He really doesn’t much care about preserving Medicare for all seniors, keeping Social Security intact, and so on.

2. What he is into is his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend the partisan divide. He imagines that he can be the one who brings about a big transformation that settles disputes for decades to come — and has been unwilling to drop that vision no matter how many times the GOP shows itself utterly uninterested in anything except gaining the upper hand.

3. As a result, he can’t or won’t see what’s obvious to everyone else: that any Grand Bargain will last precisely as long as Democrats control the Senate and the White House, and will be torn up in favor of privatization and big tax cuts for the wealthy as soon as the GOP has the chance.

I hope I’m wrong about all this. But when has Obama given progressives any reason to believe they can trust him?

If Amanda is serious about taking on Republicans, she and we would be better off attacking their messaging system, specifically Fox News, News Corp and Rupert Murdoch.  Shutting News Corp down in the US would go a long way towards recovery.  Today, The Guardian reports that James Murdoch’s testimony before Parliament the other day was less than honest and forthcoming and that the US is preparing subpoenas for the Murdochs.  Two former news editors of the now defunct News of the World are spilling the beans about payments that Murdoch approved to victims of some of the hacking.  In short, the payments were too large compared with similar payments to other recipients, suggesting a more serious infraction at the News of the World had occured and that James Murdoch had to have known the true extent and details of the hacking.

If we weren’t so caught up with this debt ceiling problem, we’d be better off holding hearings of our own and accusing News Corp of being the malevolent blight on the republic that it is.   Go after Murdoch, Amanda, and save the world.

Finally, there’s this from The Onion: Congress Continues to Debate Whether or Not Nation Should be Economically Ruined.