obama_singing_al_green

Politics are weird. Like, OK, remember how fixated everyone on the left was with George W. Bush’s vacation schedule and golf-playing? There were huge sections of Michael Moore movies dedicated to complaining about his vacation schedule and golf-playing. Oh, I was right there with it, too. “This fuckin’ guy.” Of course, the truth was that there were a lot more IMPORTANT reasons why George W. Bush was a bad president than the fact that he played golf sometimes (over-reach for executive branch powers, the illegitimate starting of grudge wars, his inability to speak clearly about any single issue whatsoever) but it was an easy thing to grasp onto. It looked wrong. Now, of course, because I approve of the current president, I’m like, IT’S A HARD JOB! HE DESERVES TO GO ON VACATION SOMETIMES AND BESIDES HE’S FROM HAWAII SO IT’S BASICALLY JUST LIKE GOING TO MICHIGAN, WHICH IS WHERE THE REST OF US ARE ALL FROM, RIGHT? (The golf thing actually still feels problematic to me, but only because I can’t turn the switch off. Thanks, Michael Moore.) The point that I’m trying to make is that I do recognize the double-standard here. There is just more wiggle-room on these kinds of things for the politicians you support, while it seems downright criminal in the ones you don’t. And we should keep that in mind for when it flops the other way at some point in the future. (Not this year. Give me a break. Take a seat, Romney. You, too, Gingrich. And do I need to even say anything to you, Santorum? Besides eat a dick?) We should be more considerate and patient and thoughtful. We won’t be, but we should be.

All of this leading up to the fact that last night at a fundraising event at the Apollo Theater in New York, before starting his stump speech, Barack Obama sang a couple bars of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and I think we can all agree, on both sides of the aisle, that that is SOME BALLER SHIT.

Just kidding! I mean, I’m not kidding about that being some baller shit. That is crazy. Dude is crushing on stage right now. He’s in the midst of a difficult and cutthroat reelection campaign that is going to be a referendum on his performance in office, struggling against a sluggish economy and a distressingly high unemployment rate, not to mention an aggressively divided congress that thwarts the smallest of his ambitions. But the guy takes the stage and is just like, what’s up, ladies and germs, here’s one for you: what’s cooler than a cucumber? Nothing. BOOM! DROPS THE MIC! WALKS OFF STAGE.

But the point I am actually driving towards, and don’t even worry, I’ll get there if it takes me all day to write it, which at this rate it might, OK, about to, getting to it now, hold on, here we go, is that I do wonder what someone who doesn’t particularly like Barack Obama, or who supports one of the GOP candidates (God understands which one) thinks and feels when they see this clip. Annoyed? Disgusted? “This fuckin’ guy,” probably. We can’t all find this as charming and as great as some us might assume that we do, right? And yet when you do find it charming and great, the idea of someone feeling differently is so foreign and impossible. What a world! All shapes and sizes. All shapes and sizes.

Like I said, politics are weird! Oh, also read this. (Video via RatsOff!)

Comments (78)
  1. They should have aired this on CNN last night instead of yet another typical GOP debate.

    At least this makes it easier to know who I’m voting for this year.

  2. Maybe the GOP flip of this would be if Rick Santorum started singing lines from Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” Republicans would react like, “Wow, I had no idea he had so much balls, and boy did he nail that ‘boot up your ass’ part. This just has to be the next commander in cheif, ya’ll!”

  3. Obama sings one line from “Let’s Stay Together” and gets all sorts of press, but Newt starts the Republican debate with his take on “I’m a Girl Watcher” by The O’Kaysions and nothing. Typical Liberal media.

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    • Why annoyed, exactly?

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        • Right, but how is that different from any other candidate/sitting president running for reelection? It was a fundraising event, after all.

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        • That makes sense. After a president sings publicly, he enters a 90-day refractory period where he can’t so much as talk, let alone read, advance political positions, meet with foreign dignitaries, etc., so it’s almost horrifically understandable how you would think his singing for fifteen seconds somehow interferes with his ability to make sound decisions.

          • Wait a second, FaceTaco. I mean, I appreciate your viewpoint because that is exactly the viewpoint I was curious in hearing about, but if you think that Barack Obama doesn’t take his position seriously, you are out of your mind. Like, disagree with any of his politics, and find in him any number of personal characteristics that you dislike (arrogance, condescension, aloofness, whatever) but if there is one thing that guy takes seriously it is his position? Not only has his entire first term been dedicated towards winning a second term, but there are any number of first-hand reports of the seriousness and gravity with which he treats the specific responsibility of “being president.”

            Also, you are wrong to say that his job is not to win over a crowd. You might find this way of doing it annoying, and that makes sense. But giving a dry, humorless policy speech is actually just a different strategy for winning a crowd. All of politics is performance art and play-acting. So, like, you can hate the way he goes about it (the way people hated George W. Bush’s joke about finding WMDs under the oval office couch) but it IS actually part of the job.

            Also, if you think that he personally hired Kal Penn to work in his youth outreach communications office, again, come on. That is such a low-level non-issue.

            Also.

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          • I don’t wanna make this a whole Thing, but c’mon, man, telling someone who is just typing regular lil words on the lil web to “relaaaax” is annoying.

          • I’m too lazy to Google it, but JOHN MCCAIN SINGING “BOMB IRAN” AT A CAMPAIGN STOP IN 2008.

          • I think you hit the real crux of the whole thing Gabe when you said, ” Not only has his entire first term been dedicated towards winning a second term,”

            Since the “Teddy Roosevelt” speech pretty much every initiative/action the Admin has taken has been to lure the GOP into fighting on their terms, which has worked pretty well. It’s not about governing so much as getting reelected. That’s what sitting Presidents, of course. I just find it infuriating because it might work. Obama cannot run on his record so he’s changing the subject.

            If 2012 is about Obama’s record in office he loses, if 2012 is about Bain Capital and Romney’s tax returns Obama wins.

          • Gabe, you’re probably right about most of the things you say. I don’t make it a point to follow politics, so there are probably a lot of things I don’t know about Obama and his presidency. But I think that actually helps illustrate my point. My primary source of political information is a blog about videos and trampoline accidents, and there are a lot of other people out there who are just as uninformed as I am. He’s probably doing a lot more than I know, but what I see is him hiring celebrities, telling jokes, and singing songs. That’s the image he projects to people who aren’t actively seeking out more information about him.

            And Chuckie, I am saying relax because I was just stating an opinion in an atypically (for me) non-confrontational way, and your sarcastic and condescending tone was uncalled for.

        • Can I just say, Gabe, that I’m always really curious about the same thing, and thank you Facetaco, for responding honestly. I do follow politics, but I don’t watch Fox, so I often find myself wondering why people hate Obama so much. I don’t quite understand why people are so opposed to healthcare for everyone. Yes, we can certainly debate the best way to do that (free market v. gov’t v. combination), but I’m always suprised by the vehemence. Who doesn’t agree that healthcare for everyone is a good thing? Do people really believe that poor people should be left to bleed to death on street corners, or die from curable diseases? Same thing with regulations generally: doesn’t everyone agree that the environment should be protected, and that there’s a role for the government in doing that? Otherwise factories will just pollute the shit out of everyting (cf. IBM pouring PCBs into the Hudson River in the ’70s). Happy to debate the optimal level of regulation verus efficiency, but who doesn’t think that pollution rules need to be enforced? And then there’s the whole religion thing. Most of the mainstream Republican candidates seem obliged to be skeptical of evolution, and to stress that it’s just a theory. That really, really troubles me, because it’s a denial of real, empirical, verifiable data in the name of religion. What else are you prepared to deny? After all, gravity is a theory, too (why does one mass exert a force on another mass far away? We don’t really know.) but it’s undeniable. Evolution is observable (you can watch it in generations of fruit flies in labs any day of the week.) When mainstream republicans insist that it’s only a “theory,” as though God creating the earth 7,000 years ago is an equally valid possibility, they’re faking, right? They can’t be serious? (And Facetaco, that to me is a much more troubling instance of people not taking the job seriously than someone hamming it up at the Apollo. It’s the Apollo for fuck’s sake. There’s a lot of history on that stage, and showing that you’re aware of it, and that it means something to you, in a way that’s also stylish and graceful is completely and utterly awesome, and not at all frivolous. No other president, (except maybe Bill Clinton, and he was so, so flawed), has had a direct connection to Black folks in this country, and it means a huge amount to see it demonstrated, even though, ultimately, it may not mean much in terms of policies, etc.)

          I know, tl;dr. And this is not, after all, a politics blog. But on politics blogs, everyone’s all wound up and shouting, so maybe this is the perfect place to have an honest and low key exchange of perspectives, so thanks Gabe and FT.

        • Can I just say, Gabe, that I’m always really curious about the same thing, and thank you Facetaco, for responding honestly. I do follow politics, but I don’t watch Fox, so I often find myself wondering why people hate Obama so much. I don’t quite understand why people are so opposed to healthcare for everyone. Yes, we can certainly debate the best way to do that (free market v. gov’t v. combination), but I’m always suprised by the vehemence. Who doesn’t agree that healthcare for everyone is a good thing? Do people really believe that poor people should be left to bleed to death on street corners, or die from curable diseases? Same thing with regulations generally: doesn’t everyone agree that the environment should be protected, and that there’s a role for the government in doing that? Otherwise factories will just pollute the shit out of everyting (cf. IBM pouring PCBs into the Hudson River in the ’70s). Happy to debate the optimal level of regulation verus efficiency, but who doesn’t think that pollution rules need to be enforced? And then there’s the whole religion thing. Most of the mainstream Republican candidates seem obliged to be skeptical of evolution, and to stress that it’s just a theory. That really, really troubles me, because it’s a denial of real, empirical, verifiable data in the name of religion. What else are you prepared to deny? After all, gravity is a theory, too (why does one mass exert a force on another mass far away? We don’t really know.) but it’s undeniable. Evolution is observable (you can watch it in generations of fruit flies in labs any day of the week.) When mainstream republicans insist that it’s only a “theory,” as though God creating the earth 7,000 years ago is an equally valid possibility, they’re faking, right? They can’t be serious? (And Facetaco, that to me is a much more troubling instance of people not taking the job seriously than someone hamming it up at the Apollo. It’s the Apollo for fuck’s sake. There’s a lot of history on that stage, and showing that you’re aware of it, and that it means something to you, in a way that’s also stylish and graceful is completely and utterly awesome, and not at all frivolous. No other president, (except maybe Bill Clinton, and he was so, so flawed), has had a direct connection to Black folks in this country, and it means a huge amount to see it demonstrated, even though, ultimately, it may not mean much in terms of policies, etc.)

          I know, tl;dr. And this is not, after all, a politics blog. But on politics blogs, everyone’s all wound up and shouting, so maybe this is the perfect place to have an honest and low key exchange of perspectives, so thanks Gabe and FT.

          • All good points, but you still Spider Boner’d yourself.

          • I read both.

          • Coffeenow, I don’t understand the vehemence either, but I do have a theory. It’s pretty simple really. The Conservative brand was severely damaged by the W. Bush presidency, obviously, and then along came an Al Green singin’, three-point swishin’ baller who had oratory chops and a handsome face, and he was everything positive for the LIberal brand that W. was negative for the Conservative brand. It was a pivotal moment, potentially make-or-break for winning over a generation of voters. So the Conservatives have been on high alert for four years trying to take the steam out of all the optimism that came with the Obama presidency. It has been relentless and nasty and it has also been effective to some extent. The manipulators have played at people’s greed, their ignorance, and their biases. They’d rather destroy general optimism in America if it means swaying one voter away from Barack Obama. Sad but true, I do believe.

          • Ugh. Sorry about the double post. I stink.

          • You smell wonderful.

          • I upvoted the first, down the second. That was strangely liberating!

          • This is a beautiful, sensitively written post. I couldn’t imagine a more gently worded question in regards to the humanitarian values I share, posited to the (imaginary?) right-wing that read this blog. I also follow politics, and understand the cynicism regarding Obama, but I’m also a believer in the small steps of political and social evolution (so many puns!) in a gradually more progressive era. To discuss the pros and cons of Obama are a way to debate and decide what we would like in future leaders, but are also a reflection of the way politicians are able/forced to act in our present society. Quite interesting! Anyway, I’m pro-you, and these things. Thank you for posting so elegantly.

          • This is a reply to Facetaco’s last comment. I’m way late to the game, and no one’s going to read this, but it’s late, I’m drunk, and feel compelled to write it anyway. Facetaco, “Chuckie’s” “sarcastic and condescending tone” was totally called for. Your comments sucked, and he was calling you out. You’re the one being an arrogant prick, and your response was, ironically, ridiculously condescending. I’m sure you feel like royalty on this website because for some miserable reason your lamo comments end up in the Monster’s Ball on the regular, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because most people here like to thumb up the d-bags who compulsively post comments on this blog like it’s their job. Go fuck yourself.

            Yeah, that’s a pretty harsh comment, and sort of a backhanded indictment of the Monster’s Ball, and I’ve never really felt animosity toward Facetaco… but that comment really pissed me off, and so does the Monster’s Ball. And, I’m drunk. And, no one will read this, but I want to write it anyway…. Good night, and good fuck yourself, everyone.

  5. From August of last year.

    “So far, President Obama has taken 61 vacation days after 31 months in office. At this point in their presidencies, George W. Bush had spent 180 days at his ranch where his staff often joined him for meetings. And Ronald Reagan had taken 112 vacation days at his ranch.

    Among recent presidents, Bill Clinton took the least time off — 28 days.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/17/eveningnews/main20093801.shtml

    • Thank you for the facts!

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    • Did anyone else watch the mainstream coverage of his Christmas trip to Hawaii? On every channel I saw — ABC, CBS, NBC — they talked about Obama going to Hawaii and RENTING A HOUSE like he was taking money out of the federal reserve and lighting it on fire. The guy doesn’t have a family estate, he needs extra security and privacy because he’s the goddamn president and you know what? I LIKE that he isn’t a rich kid with a palatial family estate and his own little ranch. I LIKE that he rented the house. I LIKE that he’s vacationing in the state he grew up in and it happens to be the most vacationy of all the states. And good god, 31 days isn’t 180 days. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

      But holy shit was that coverage classist.

    • To be fair, that brush wasn’t going to clear itself.

  6. 1. That Andrew Sullivan article is a very good article! I want my friends to read that and never talk to me about politics ever again!

    2. This video is a great video! it is almost as great as Beyonce Makes Fan Sing!

  7. Ron Paul – “Legalize It”

    Newt Gingrich – “Fight The Power”

    Rick Santorum – “It’s Raining Men”

    Mitt Romney – “Any Way You Want It”

    Done and done.

  8. OK as someone who does not particularly like Obama, I can say, this is only slightly annoying.

    Any time a pol is in a room with people he knows agree with him he’s likely to chill and goof around a bit. That’s fine. But basically his argument is, “C’mon, I know shit is fucked up, and I’m not really gonna do anything different to fix it but hey, at least I’m not an uncool asshole like every one of the GOP dicks!”

    Honestly, besides blaming one half of Congress for not accomplishing anything he wanted when he had two years of not needing the GOP, in which he got pretty much everything he wanted or actually what Senate and House Dem leaders wanted since he just left it all up to them, (long aside I know) Obama has nothing to offer. I mean really, you guys that like him so much, at this point is it really that you think he is a great, or even good, President or that you just really hate all the Republicans? There’s a lot to hate there I fully admit.

    So now I’m going to gleefully remind all of you that Obama has continued and in some cases expanded upon those “overreaching” anti-terror policies. More drone attacks, rendition is a live and well, Guantanimo is still open, etc. In fact, the only reason Obama has not put more people in Gitmo is that we just blow them up (and whoever else is around) from far away. I actually don’t have a problem with this stuff but, you know, nya nya nuh na na.

    • I like Obama more as a person than a President; he’s been a pretty balls-less one so far. My thinking is he’s waiting to really kick ass in his second term but I could be wrong. He’s still 100% better than any of the GOP candidates, even Ron Paul, who only looks good next to all those other J-holes.

      • I don’t understand why people talk about Ron Paul being somehow the lesser of the GOP evils. He is an insane, racist, nonsense scumbag who is pushing for isolationism in a time when we are quickly nearing the point of absolute international community, and who is pushing for economic deregulation FOUR YEARS AFTER a catastrophic economic disaster that was itself the result of some 20-odd years of economic deregulation.

        Basically, if you think Ron Paul looks better than the other GOP candidates, put your head on the pillow.

        • So you’d rather have Perry or Santorum or Bachmann than Paul?

          • Not in those terms, really. I don’t want any of them, and luckily I don’t have to choose to want one of them because I’m not going to vote for any of them. They are all the worst, and Ron Paul is there, being the worst, and they are all fitting in really well with one another in terms of each of them being the worst.

      • It’s funny kinbote, I have a feeling I disagree with you on pretty much everything political but on Ron Paul I couldn’t agree more.

        The guy is NOT a serious person. He’s full of weird paranoia and his answer to current problems with Iran is, “We should not have supported the Shah 40 years ago.” Ideological consistency is nice if you’re stoned in your dorm room at 2:00 am but it is not a part of the real world.

    • The Democrats only had a filibuster-proof majority for fourteen weeks, not two years. And that majority was hostage to the whims of the most right-wing non-Republicans: Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln and Max Baucus. He _never_ got everything he wanted.

      http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/09/about-filibuster-proof-majority

      • So am I not giving Obama enough credit for all his accomplishments or am I not blaming the GOP enough him keeping him from accomplishing anything?

        Tails you win, Heads I lose.

    • A – The ‘bad’ stuff about Obama are basically that he’s moderate. Despite being attacked as being far left, weak on terror, raising taxes and being big government … he hasn’t actually done those things. Under his watch, more terrorists are getting killed, more immigrants are being deported, more government employees are being laid off, etc … So, it’s annoying to lefties that Obama is basically doing stuff the GOP want without even getting the benefit of protecting himself from criticism in those areas.

      B – The 2 years with control of Senate and the House conveniently ignores the fact that you can’t pass ANYTHING in the Senate unless you are ‘allowed’ to get past the filibuster (threat) phase. So, because of the combination of Al Franken’s long recount election, Joe Liberman being who he is, and then Scott Walker coming in, there was not much time where the Dem’s had a filibuster proof majority. They got some stuff through, but it wasn’t 2 years of “do whatever they want”. It was 2 years of the GOP having their own veto power, which they would use even when what was offered is exactly the thing they “said” they wanted.

      C – Considering that it looks like Romney or Gingrich may get the nomination, it does seem that the GOP doesn’t want to let the great stand in the way of the good. Obama has got stuff done (DADT, some sort of health care bill, Auto Bailout, etc) in spite of set backs, and he was swimming upstream the whole time. So, while most would rather he be farther left, and have less continuity with the Bush admin in termso of Gitmo and such … odds are if he did fight for that kind of stuff he’d just have been a less effective 1-term president. So, both sides are going to be pragmatic instead of idealistic. Still, generally, the person I want running the government isn’t someone who thinks the government can’t do anything right.

      D – There is a chance, that in relecting Obama, they may also give him a chance to really cut loose. I don’t know if it would be possible for a fillibuster proof majority in the Senate, but there is a good chance that, if the Dem’s get the House and the Senate, they may end up using the Senate rules on day one to deal with the fillibuster problem so they can actually get some shit done, instead of being stopped from doing anything while being blamed for nothing happening.

      • I’m coming back after writing this whole thing, I don’t want it to sound quite so contentious. I really do respect your arguments Ryan Alarie. You make some good points, of course I disagree with most of them but I’m just having fun arguing, I don’t mean to attack you personally in any way.

        I’m willing to recognize that the Obama didn’t have carte blanche for his first two years.

        However, I do take issue with the “moderate accomplishments.” The auto bailouts are technically illegal, the money Obama used was appropriated to bail out banks. But that sort of thing goes on all the time so I’ll give him a qualified pass there. But that was NOT a moderate move. He bullied the auto companies into giving a huge portion of control/ownership to his buddies, the labor unions. The management can’t negotiate on equal terms anymore.

        Also, the Obama has staffed the NLRB with his friends from BIg Labor. Again, that’s to be expected and within his prerogative, but that is NOT a moderate move. They basically stopped a factory being built in South Carolina only because it was a right to work state. Only when Boeing caved and gave the unions in Wash. State concessions were they able to open the facilities. Obama’s admin. chose labor unions over jobs. That’s not moderate.

        When BP spilled all that oil, Obama’s admin shut down all drilling and refused to lift the ban even after studies showed that it was not necessary. He extra-legally made BP pay out something like $20 BIllion. He’s not authorized by law to do that. He couldn’t wait for the courts and the process already in place. That is not moderate.

        The Keystone Pipeline. Private sector unions want it. They’ve rerouted where it would go through Nebraska in response to concerns. Environmental studies do not show it to be risky. It would create thousands of jobs. A Canadian company is paying for it, no US taxpayer money. It’s been out there for 3 years waiting for Obama to “decide.” Some public sector unions and environmental groups opposed to any kinds of fossil fuels are against it. So Obama basically kills it. Overland pipelines spill much less frequently than tankers on the ocean. Because Obama is passing on the pipeline, Canada will now sell that oil to China which will be shipped in tankers on the ocean where China will burn it without any of the controls we have here. Also, because we are not buying oil from our friend Canada we will have to continue to buy oil from the middle east, Africa, and South America which will have to be shipped on tankers. That is not moderate.

        I don’t have much confidence in either Newt or Romney either but they are not saying the Gov’t can’t do anything. Newt’s record is not really one of a bare bones libertarian nor is Romney’s. He pushed for universal healthcare in Mass. and even had an individual mandate. I would like to see more push from the GOP to level the playing field in business and stop corporate welfare. Obama hasn’t done that. He’s pretty much used Gov’t spending/influence to reward his friends (GE, Solyndra, Public Unions, Enviro groups) and punish his enemies (BP, South Carolina, Arizona, etc.) He’s as much or more in bed with Big Business than the Republicans.

        Also, even if Obama gets reelected (his chances right now are fairly good) he will not have control of Congress. The seats that are up in the Senate do not favor the Dems this time around, especially with all the retirements (Dodd, Ben Nelson). It’s likely the GOP will control both houses with a bit of a chance the Dems will hold onto the Senate by one or two members.

  9. This would have been so much better if he changed the words to pizza.

  10. I call big, healthy, tightly coiled BULLSHIT on anybody saying that a.) Obama has spent his first three years in office running for re-election, or b.) that he “can’t run on his record”.

    Thems some straight-from-Fox-News talking points, and i ‘m disappointed to see them here.

    I’m not gonna spend time enumerating a list of the man’s accomplishments- if you’ve been paying attention, you know them full well, and besides, you have the internet. What nobody can possibly deny is that Obama, in three years, is already, by far, the most accomplished progressive leader in 50 years. He has governed with a centrist temperament toward progressive domestic goals and practical foreign policy goals.

    But goddamn it, you wouldn’t be liberal activists (or, alternatively, self-styled contrarian “independents”) if you ever gave a progressive leader CREDIT for anything, would you? Just jump from one malcontented, hand-wringing episode to the next. Your natural state is one of perpetual disaffected disappointment. This is why the Right Wing nutbars win so often- they stand behind the people who are pursuing their interests. Not saying we should give O a free pass- but lets also stand up for the guy. He’s earned it.

    • Completely agree:
      1. first month post-election, acted to save the entire american economy. (I know, he wasn’t president yet, but if you remember, Bush stepped aside and let Obama and the Democrats work out the $700 B bailout. Ugly, sure, but I have friends at Goldman and JP Morgan, who at one point in late 2008 thought that the whole system might go down, like ATM’s stop working. It was that serious.)
      2. Saved American Auto industry (again, ugly, because fuck them for opposing regulation forever, and then asking for a bailout, but they survived and are now profitable, and the importance of that can’t be underestimated.)
      3. Broad based healthcare bill with provisions for universal coverage (again, super ugly, because there were many many compromises, but still something no other president has been able to do, and at least (if it survives legal challenges) creates the possiblity of fixing flaws within it as we go along. (Already, some paperwork requirements have been eliminated from the bill, etc.) Healthcare is largest percentage of GDP (I think. It’s up there anyway), and growing, so someone’s got to address it, and he’s trying to.
      4. Restored (a little) Americas reputation internationally. A lot of people really hated us internationally, and thought we were really dangerous and stupid during the Bush years. I know Republicans don’t care about that, but the fact is, we need people in foreign countries to like us, or at least not hate us. There’s a strong argument that Communism fell because of blue jeans and rock and roll, as much as because of political pressures. Without good will among lots of people in the world, it’s much harder to get what we want.
      5. Found and killed Bin Laden. (This was not easy and the decision to kill him without telling Pakistan was very ballsy and very, very serious.)
      6. Supported the ousting of Gadaffi without losing American lives. Again, that was a very thin tightrope to walk, and in the face of a lot of opposition, he did it exactly right.
      7. His DOJ has started to prosecute insider trading on Wall St. using wire taps and other tools of organized crime investigations. It seems like “no doy,” but this is the first time anyone’s done it, and hopefully, it will shake up a lot of folks on Wall St.
      I haven’t mentioned a bunch of other stuff, but I’ll stop here. He’s easily the best, most effective president of my lifetime (middle aged), and doing all this in a time of increasing hostility and complexity. I DO NOT understand why Republicans keep saying he’s “in over his head,” unless that’s code for something else they don’t want to say publicly.

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      • “I don’t even have a TV dude! ”

        Man, who doesn’t own a TV? I understand Netflix and Hulu and such making such a thing possible now, but I am always wary of people who say they don’t own a TV. What do you do, sit around and think about how you’d have stopped 9/11?

        • I don’t have a TV because I’ve been living abroad for the last couple years and living fairly nomadically since about 2005. TV’s are big and heavy and don’t fit in a backpack very well. I’m in grad school now so somewhat settled but broke.

          I watch tons of TV shows, no Netflix or Hulu. I don’t even have internet at home. I’m at work right now. Basically I hate paying bills. I pay as I go on my phone even.

          So anyway, I just download movies and TV shows to watch later. News programs are just too much effin’ trouble to try and watch that way. So I just read a bunch of different news magazines, National Review mostly, sometime Weekly Standard, and I’ll check in at The Nation or MSNBC from time to time to see what the other side is saying.

          Right now I’m working my way through some BBC history documentaries, The Ascent of Man and A History of Britain. Great stuff. But I watch all the Thursday shows and dumb stuff too. I’m psyched about Justified starting up again.

      • Not my intention to come across as nasty- I don’t think that I did.

        Furthermore, it’s a little narcissistic to assume that my comment was directed specifically at you, somehow. I don’t think it’s a galloping leap to characterize the ideological temperament of the average Videogum devotee as “progressive”. My invocation of Fox News was perhaps a clumsy attempt at Irony, as you would not expect a generally left-of-center audience to spout Fox News talking points, as several people have. You have every right to deviate from the Videogum crowd politically, and to make your voice heard, but I did not accuse YOU of anything- if you’re a conservative, a libertarian, a (you don’t identify yourself with a specific ideology- but your exuberantly prideful declaration at not owning a TV fairly reeks of Ron Paul support despite your denial of libertarianism) I am not surprised that you are no fan of our current president. My beef, as stated, is with “disaffected liberals” who don’t know a good thing when they see it.

        And GOD but I hate flame wars…. at the risk of wasting company time, I will be as brief as possible:

        -Carter was most assuredly a “progressive” president, and Obama has already lapped his list of accomplishments several times over. Clinton WANTED to be a progressive president, but ended up not being one (though he was effective at what he ended up pursuing.) Lyndon Johnson was the last true progressive that Obama can be said to be competing with, and he’s so far on pace, with two terms, to eclipse LBJ and move right up behind FDR.

        -I think it’s lazy and false to assert, as you implicitly do, that America is a “right-of-center” nation. That has not always been so. Since Reagan struck his resonant chord with the US in 1980 and remade US politics in his own image, our “center” has indeed been far to the right of most developed nations. But I don’t think there’s anything implicitly “conservative” about the American character. People may site individualism, optimism and entrepreneurial spirit as proof of such, but I don’t personally see any of those qualities as essentially conservative, particularly as currently practiced, or, more to the point, I don’t see those American characteristics at odds with progressivism as currently understood.

        -The ACA (“Obamacare” for the lazy-minded) IS A FREE MARKET APPROACH. It’s a set of regulations and rules governing a fully capitalistic and free market healthcare system. There is no “public option”, as the “disaffected liberals” to which I alluded earlier will be glad to remind you of. Glad to know you agree that the government has a role to play. Pray tell, what more LIMITED role could the government possibly play than as described in the ACA? The answer is, of course, NO role, as we’ve had all along. Hasn’t worked out so well. As for the mandate which you reference, which is a free market idea pioneered by conservatives in the ’90′s, if you disallow insurance companies from barring people with pre-existing conditions from having insurance, the trade off is that you need to make sure everyone is insured. The companies lose money by insuring demonstrably sick people, but gain money from having thousands more healthy people paying premiums on their rolls. It puts the onus on the individual not to be able to game the system. Just like car insurance- you can’t drive without it, nor should you be able to walk around in the US without some form of health insurance. It’s a pragmatic, centrist idea.

        I honestly don’t have time to respond to your glib refusal to acknowledge the tonnage of accomplishments achieved by this white house. In principal, I understand your unwillingness to respond to a non-argument. But we’re not in debate class here- I respect your news-reading and internet-browsing skills enough to take for granted that I don’t have to PROVE to you something that is plainly obvious. You may think, as I do with Reagan, that Obama’s acheivements are dangerous and damaging, but don’t try to pretend they don’t exist. I find it frankly childish, and I have to assume you’re more fair-minded then that. But I will provide a few links for your education:

        http://obamaachievements.org/list

        http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

        Andrew Sullivan Extra Credit: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/15/andrew-sullivan-how-obama-s-long-game-will-outsmart-his-critics.html

        And listen, while I have to roll my eyes at the weepy idol-worship and twisted revisionist recollection of Reagan, I will absolutely give him credit for being an effective conservative president. I disagree with just about every domestic initiative he accomplished while in office and think he has blood on his hands for a number of reasons, but what president doesn’t- Certainly Obama does. But he was the defining leader of his era and remade the political landscape out of sheer will and clarity of message. A magnificent politician. However, he expanded the size of government, raised taxes and exploded the debt and deficit. He may have had reasons for doing those things, but the Norquistbots in the current Republican congress have a totally deluded hallucination of a memory of the man’s record.

        I’m not gonna argue about FDR, WWII and the depression. Maybe another time. As you say, there’s a huge body of scholarly work on the subject. You really just make ad-hominem attacks on Wilson, whose version of “progressivism”, anyway, is not in any way recognizable as anything like today’s version. It’s like an inverted version of the current GOP claiming Lincoln. Laughable.

        Finally, and not to psychoanalyze, but your refusal to identify your preferred ideology necessitates it- I would bet, with your TR-loving, Federalist Papers citing and relatively educated sounding screed, that you fancy yourself a pragmatic, reality-based centrist. If I’m right, then you should freaking LOVE Obama. He’s certainly a progressive at heart, and has pursued progressive goals. But his defining characteristic has been his willingness to play the long game, accept limitations, adhere to reality and take incremental, gradual gains. He’s not a pie-in-the-sky liberal, and he’s not a demagogue. As said earlier, he’s chipping away at the Reagan monolith, and if he wins a second term, may get enough reps in to permanently remake the country, as Reagan did, in his own ideological image. To me, considering the catastrophic long term effects of Reaganism, a shift to Obamaism would be welcome.

        • I also realize the temerity of using the word “lazy” several times in spite of the fact that I’m myself too-lazy to rattle off a list of the Obama White House’s greatest hits.

          My intention- just to be pre-emptive- was not to accuse YOU of laziness, but rather to cite the intellectual laziness of a lot of conventional wisdom about Obama, the fundamentals of the American character, and a few of the historical precedents you cite.

        • OK fair enough. I was mostly reacting because I’m really getting tired of arguing with people that assume if you disagree with them, you are either stupid, evil or taking all your cues from Foxnews. I find it a particular vice of liberals and people of the left, to assume that they are not ideological but just practical. Obama is one of these. I am biased, I am NOT objective. Nobody is. We’ve got to allow room for others to honestly come by differing opinions. I do NOT in any way accuse you of this partymarty. You have more than proved you’re thinking things through.

          I fully recognize and acknowledge that that is not what you were doing.

          I’ll admit I haven’t read your whole response, I will I promise. I just want to address a couple things (hopefully) briefly.

          I think of myself as a small C conservative. Really, more of a classical liberal. I look to the Founding Fathers, and especially, the Federalist papers as the main source of political philosophy.

          I only used Reagan as an example of why should anyone who does not share his ideology have to concede his greatness?

          I am NOT a lover of TR!!!! I am generally in favor of trust busting but he was on balance terrible in his whole Progressive 3rd Party mode.

          As for Obama’s pragmatism, see my response to Ryan Alarie.

          The whole no TV things is really not that big a deal. I don’t understand why that seems to bug people. I just can’t afford one, but the practical effect is that I don’t watch cable news of any kind. Also, I find the Foxnews website to be kinda shitty. I love love love TV, I wouldn’t be reading this blog otherwise.

          I apologize for accusing you of nastyness.

        • I’ll fess up (partially) to the ad-hominem against Wilson. I just can’t stand that guy. But he did on many occasions express his displeasure with the impediments the Constitution put in his way. He was probably the first major brick paving the road to the “living Constitution” which I really do not like.

          Ron Paul, I am NOT a fan. See my earlier comments. He’s given me the creeps since the late 90s when I worked in the House of Reps. His staffers always call him, “Dr. Paul” and act like he’s some kind of Platonic Philosopher King. Ugh

          I’ve taken up too much space to relitigate Reagan. But . . . Gov’t growth flattened during his term. The only time that has happened since FDR. The New Deal put us on the trajectory we’re on and nobody (including Reagan) has done much about it.

    • OK well done coffeenow, I’m not being sarcastic I promise. I respect that you are backing up your argument. I’ll see where I part company (or not) with you.

      1. Bailout, ugly, agreed. Probably necessary.

      2. Did NOT save the auto industry. There were procedures in place already (bankruptcy) to deal the situation. The money he used to bail them out was NOT appropriated for that purpose. The money was to cover bad loans made by banks. He basically used TARP as a slush fund for his own prerogatives (i.e. rewarding friends and punishing enemies).

      3. Healthcare – Becoming more expensive, individual mandate is unconstitutional. If you’re a political friend of Obama or someone in his administration you are exempt from the rules. (the Waivers = Cronyism).

      4. Projecting weakness to our enemies and insulting our allies. Iran is not friendlier towards us. Russia has taken a Soviet turn. We turned our backs on the Iranian democracy movement to avoid offending the mullahs. We are negotiating with the Taliban. Our precipitous pull out of Iraq emboldened Maliki to purge his rivals by killing them. Israel is ever more paranoid because they don’t think the US cares if they exist. I suspect they are behind the Iranian nuclear scientist getting blown up.

      5. He killed Bin Laden! Yes, Obama deserves all of the credit he has gotten for this success. I too found it gross when people celebrated like they won the Superbowl. I think it would have probably been smart to sit on the info for a bit while they exploited the intel gathered at his home but that’s a minor thing and I don’t really hold it against Obama.

      6. Qadafi had to go. Obama sat on his hands for too long, could have knocked Qadafi out really quickly at the beginning. Got dragged into it by France. However, it worked out OK in the end for the most part. But, the people in charge now may not be any better. Again, not Obama’s fault.

      7. DOJ, Oh my God. I don’t have a problem with prosecuting insider trading or how they may have done it. However, DOJ dropped a case it had already won on voter intimidation. Announced it would not enforce the law when it didn’t like it. Files lawsuits against states for trying to enforce federal laws it won’t enforce. Fast and Furious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I am sick of the racist code argument, it’s bullshit, you guys are better than that.

      • Hey, that’s fantastic. That’s exactly the kind of fact-based, rational response I’m dying for. I do disagree with you (I don’t think the individual mandate is unconstitutional, at least not moreso than helmet or seatbelt laws, and I think Russia turning Soviet is more about them than about us, but also self-contradictorially (?!) I think the recent election protests there are in part about global reaction to the green revolution, which we supported), but I really appreciate the response. You’ve given me stuff to think about. Thanks.

  11. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • yeah, ’cause he totally has NOT been working crazy hard.

      C’mon. The things you’re complaining about- the Kardashian answer, the White House Halloween party- those are all totally harmless, obligatory things that have nothing to do with his record of governance- which, even if you don’t agree with his policies, has been prolific in three years. Especially if you compare him with his predecessor- but even if you don’t- Obama has been a damned serious president.

      Pretty sure his singing one bar of Al Green at a fundraiser did not reroute the crucial mental energy that otherwise would have been devoted to “solutions”. I guess it’s fine if you don’t think he’s “the best person for the job”- although I disagree. I think he is. But you seem like an intelligent fellow- do you think that Mitt f’ing Romney or Newt Gingrich are better suited to occupy the White House? Think about it.

  12. You American’s think your president is SOOOOO special! Our (Canada’s) Prime Minister sang and played piano to “A little help from my Friends” WITH Yo Yo MA at a gala for the arts! And in the next budget he cut arts funding!

    • There are times I would consider trading our Prime Minister for an angry giant robot that stole children in the night and always mispronounces “Irregardless” and ordered reruns of Air Farce to air on every channel.

    • Our (Toronto’s) Mayor is even better!

      • My girlfriend has taken to referring to him only as “The Retard, Robert Ford” and besides the great ring it has to it, it generally makes me feel way better about the whole situation for some reason. And actually makes the things he says and does seem that much more impressive.

    • Are you BRAGGING about Stephen Harper????

      • Stephen Harper makes me want to move away from Canada.
        So does Air Farce actually.

        • Thank goodness for Rick Mercer and Jean Chretien. And the gloriously handsome, but kind of irritating, Justin Trudeau. He’s my MPP and I was standing right beside him at this year’s St Jean Baptiste parade, bestill my heart.

          • I think it’s hilarious that Fox calls Obama a socialist. I really do. Especially living in Canada. Where Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are the furthest to the right relevant Canadian politics go and have been in power for what feels like FOREVER and people STILL think we’re a bunch of pot-smoking commies because FREE HEALTH CARE! In reality, Obama and Harper are probably very close to each other on the political spectrum. On the musical spectrum… Stephen Harper is a dorky white dude who loves classic rock and plays it like a dorky white guy. Obama is smooooooooooove.

            Maybe it’s the pot-smoking Canadian commie who enjoys free health care in me, but look at the GOP candidates! LOOK AT THEM! Why WOULDN’T this GQ motherfucker toss off some Al Green while speaking at the Apollo? Hell, I’m surprised he didn’t grab his crotch, hike his pants up and moonwalk off the stage!

  13. I think it’s telling that ten seconds of President Obama nonchalantly singing a beloved song can spark any sort of controversy whatsoever.

  14. I have the most patriotic boner right now.

  15. First of all, Obama’s a boss for breaking out singing Al Green. In my opinion, it jsut adds a bit more to his personality. I like the idea that we have a president who can act just as silly as us regular folks is quite comforting. Now on the topic on the double standard between politicains we like and don’t like, I think it’s a perfectly natural behavior. We act the same with people we come in contact with on a daily basis. The more you like a person the more tolerant you are of their behavior. It’s not right for sure, but it’s really hard to act otherwise.

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