When Telling The Truth Is An Outrage

"Imagine, Jay...the Republicans want to defeat me!"

President Obama visited the Tonight Show last night, and Jay Leno, as is traditional and proper on such occasions, sucked up to him with gusto. In one exchange, the President and Jay tut-tutted about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s infamous statement that the Republican Party’s objective would be to make Obama a one-term president. “How is that a goal?” Jay asked.

Is he serious? Well, okay, I know he’s a comedian and all, so maybe he’s not serious, but all the pundits and journalists and Democrats who have been squealing to the skies for two years about how McConnell’s remark proves that his party is unpatriotic, evil or racist are presumably serious, and it is disingenuous.

It has been the goal of every political party that loses the White House to make the current President who belongs to the other party a one-term President. The Democrats wanted to make Abraham Lincoln a one-term president. The Republicans wanted to make Franklin Roosevelt a one-term (then two-term, then three-term…) president. Do Jay and the President really believe that Democrats were not fully focused on making Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush one-term presidents?

It’s ridiculous. McConnell’s statement was impolitic, but only because we are conditioned to expect elected officials to spout pablum about wanting to work together with the President and do what is best for the nation, when everyone—including Jay Leno—knows that they are looking for any opportunity to help him fall on his face so they can take his power away. That is the way it has been since the advent of the two-party system. The critics who claim that McConnell’s sentiment is monstrous and unprecedented are the ones who are lying. McConnell’s crime, apparently, is telling the public the ugly truth, which in Washington, D.C. is the greatest crime of all.

And it is the one crime in Washington we need to see more of.

54 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Professions, Race

54 responses to “When Telling The Truth Is An Outrage

  1. Dwayne N. Zechman

    …and once again the Celebrity-in-Chief does something entirely beneath his office.

    –Dwayne

  2. Elizabeth

    I agree with Dwayne. The President of the United States should be above going on “comedy” talk shows. One: It is unpresidential. Two: To me, it just demonstrates his degree of desperation. (3) A late-night talk show host is neither equipped nor expected to talk “real” issues with the President of the United States, and you can’t blame Jay Leno for laying back on this, or perhaps joking inappropriately. Obama and his gang knows this of course, else why the booking on the show?

    Let Obama stop giving speeches and really really be interviewed by someone who can ask the hard questions… and oh by the way, can and will press until he/she gets the hard answer.

  3. Elizabeth

    PS I agree with Jack… every party wants the opposition president to be a one-termer. It’s politics as usual, and has been true since political parties were formed. It may be poorly expressed by the Republicans, but is anyone complaining that the Democrats are doing everything possible to make Obama a two-termer, and that they did everything possible to make George Bush a one-termer? Is this fair? Are they desperate or what?

    • Barry

      “…but is anyone complaining that the Democrats are doing everything possible to make Obama a two-termer, and that they did everything possible to make George Bush a one-termer? ”

      No, because they didn’t, neither before 9/11 nor in the last couple of years of his term. They were willing to negotiate and compromise.

      The whole meaning of the term ‘make him a one-term ‘president’ was rather clear; it meant that the GOP leadership wouldn’t follow a policy of bargaining hard, and taking what agreements were reasonable. It meant that they’d follow a ‘scorched earth’ strategy, up to and including shutting the government down and putting the full faith and credit of the USA in doubt.

      • “No, because they didn’t, neither before 9/11 nor in the last couple of years of his term. They were willing to negotiate and compromise.” So you say. I was conscious during that period, and they were no more willing to compromise than the current GOP. The difference was that Bush, as an occasionally competent leader, was willing to compromise and actually lead. Obama lacks those inclinations and skills.

  4. Jack, you’re being inaccurate. What McConnell said, using his exact words, was “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

    “The single most important thing?”

    More important than fixing the economy? Than lowering unemployment? Than two ongoing wars? Really?

    It’s hardly fair of you to attack criticism of McConnell’s statement when you’ve omitted the most offensive part of his statement.

    And you’re completely wrong to imply that it’s “pablum” for politicians to say that they want to work across the aisle to try and improve the country. Historically, that has often been the case — politicians have routinely worked across the aisle, including with a President from the opposing party (while simultaneously wanting to defeat that President in the next election cycle, of course), to pass legislation. I could list off dozens of examples of major, non-mandatory bills that passed with significant support of both parties over the last 40 years, and I bet you could, too, if you thought about it.

    The extreme degree of partisan polarization and gridlock in Congress right now is not an inevitable feature of US politics. We can — and historically often have — done better than this.

    • tgt

      I’m thirding this. The issue is not that defeating the president is a goal; the issue is that this goal has been raised above governing the country. That should be priority number 1 for ALL elected officials.

      Yes, this gets compromised at times (Must have pro-law enforcement bonafides!), but throwing it out the window completely?

      • I agree – this being the goal above reason, logic and above the promoting of the general welfare of the least among us is the real problem here.

        • tgt

          [holding the goal of getting rid of Obama] above the promoting of the general welfare of the least among us is the real problem here

          While I strongly support assisting the weak and unfortunate, I think that partially falls into political positions. Someone could be an ethically consistent elected official and not promote the lower classes.

      • Elizabeth

        It may just be that care for country means getting rid of a president that thus far has solved no problems, has proven favoritism in doling out funds, has played the blame game for as long as he possibly could, could very well be lying about the number of meetings and negotiations had with Iraq about troop withdrawal, and has one of the least transparent administrations in a long time. By the way, there is now move afoot in his Administration for the Freedom of Information Act to be basically tossed in the toilet (see recent news) and that certain Agencies can — I quote — “LIE” about the existence of data requested by current standards of the FOIA. That and a host of other things may be behind the Number #1 priority of getting Obama the heck out of the White House..

        • Barry

          First, this was a strategy conceived on Inauguration Day; second, it was a strategy conceived by people who had no trouble as their own party trashed the country; finally, your comment is a bunch of unproven statements.

  5. I agree with Barry D, but not necessarily Barry O. As a budding self-taught intellectual with zero credentials, I try to look at the movie of reality being fed to us by the MSM with total skepticism and suspicious intent. What subliminal tricks are being laid out, and what are the true agendas?

    McConnell’s statement in context was incredibly brash – the gloves were off, and I know for a fact that besides Obama’s skin color, the game is being played by BOTH sides to make it look like it’s “gridlock” per se, but the true agenda is what is actually happening right now. Patriot act, stripping worker’s rights, the snuffing of single payer right out of the gate, strangle the government like a baby in the bathtub, military industrial complex, war for profit, bilk & squeeze the working people for every dime while hiding the real agenda and truth from them ( I note the giant chickens**t Eric Cantor’s yellow streak cancellation of his policy speech last week because he found out it was actually open to the public and not filled with like-minded imps that would applaud every talking point ) et cetera,et cetera, et cetera.

    I agree with Elizabeth – I could not believe that W got a second term, but politics is there to give us the Illusion that we have some say in the process. The overwhelming number of voters in 2008 was an election that could not be stolen, no matter what jerrymandering and Diebold voter machines could be rigged.

    Since then, the repubicons hidden agenda is now in full view via the election results of 2010. they’ve rolled out redistricting and union-busting to take the people’s power away, and now they have the jack-booted army of police ready to suppress any populist uprising… t But I bet they’ve planned that too – because they play both sides – as in If they protest against the whole system, then we’ll roll out the police state, from behind our gated communities and secure country clubs.

    I disagree with Elizabeth however about the president going on “Comedy” shows – what is missing from McConnell’s psyche and the reason why he is such a droll twit, much like most “despoted” types, is that he has no sense of humor… and at least Obama employes writers to write some snappy dialogue for him. Humor is a form of higher thinking, in all its forms – except bullying humor. If Humor were held in the esteem that it deserves, this planet would vibrate at a much high frequency and we’d all collectively be much better off, no matter what race, creed, color, etc.

    What this world needs is More Humor – especially towards organized religions and our leaders in genera, and vice versal. The fact that we even exist at all is absurd.. and life could be loads of fun and a blast for all that exist – if we structured our thoughts around that organizing principle.

    I am in the process of manifesting this Structure of Thought™ into this physical realm – let me know if you have any feedback, constructive critiism or daggers of revulsion, feel free to toss them in my general direction.

  6. Interested Blogger

    1. I don’t ever want to see my President – no matter what party he/she is associated with – on late-nite TV. Period. It’s undignified and demeans the office.
    2. I do believe there’s a difference between the party who lost the election wanting the President to be a 1-term President and what the Republicans have seemingly done … namely to make this their mission in life at the expense of virtually all other important and critical issues facing the American people at a time of economic crisis. Wait – that’s not really the case. The Republicans have had another issue. Taking away the rights of women to have control over their own reproductive rights. I guess they have 2 agenda issues.

    • Re: 2
      a) I think that’s a jaundiced perception. There is no difference whatsoever between the parties in this respect.
      b) Or, in the alternative, they are determined to protect the right helpless and innocent human beings not to be deprived of life in the womb at the whim of those more powerful. Abortion involves two competing interests and rights—ignoring one or the other makes the issue really easy, but dishonestly and cowardly so

      • Michael Boyd

        I am Pro-Life but at the same time I want the mother to be taken care of and the life that is born to be taken care of. Why are there people who are anti abortion but at the same time, don’t seem to care about the basic needs of the mother and child after the birth?

  7. I’m with all your correspondents who think that the McConnell statement and the opposition to all thinks Obama are unprecedented. Even most of the Dems who questioned Bush’s legitimacy (and Gore wasn’t, he embraced Bush as “my President after Bush v Gore was settled) collaborated with him on parts of his agenda.

    • I agree that the statement is unprecedented. The sentiment and goal just isn’t.

      That last sentence is mighty thin. Like Bush’s effort to reform social security? When the Democrats had majorities in both Houses, they steamrolled the Republicans; by the time the GOP got power in the House, Obama’s popularity had sunk. Opposition parties play ball with strong leaders, not weak ones. It has ever been thus.

      • tgt

        When the Democrats had majorities in both Houses, they steamrolled the Republicans;

        Like barely passing a watered down healthcare bill that was essentially proposed by Newt Gingrich? By making a significant part of the stimulous tax cuts? You have an interesting definition of steamrolling.

        Opposition parties play ball with strong leaders, not weak ones. It has ever been thus.

        This is circular. He’s not a strong leader because they won’t follow him. They won’t follow him because he’s not a strong leader.

        • No, I think I can be clearer.

          He is a weak leader because he is a weak leader, has no leadership instincts, no leadership perspective or understanding, no leadership qualities, no appreciation for leadership, no concept of how to lead, no talent in choosing effective staff, no courage in getting rid of incompetent staff, no integrity, no interest or aptitude for learning how to lead. He has one useful leadership skill—public speaking, and he wastes that. I thought that George H.W. Bush was the weakest president I ever saw or would live to see—a guy named Robby Robinson was the worst leader I ever knew, but he was a scout leader—but Obama is worse by a lap. His is the most unfortunate convergence of a weak president when strong leadership was desperately needed since the double whammy of Pierce and Buchanan before the Civil War. It’s a tragedy. I was hoping against hope—since he had absolutely no leadership experience going into the job—that he would be that rarity, the natural leader who had somehow never led anything for his whole life. (Truman was one.) He isn’t. He doesn’t have it in him. It’s a tragedy.

          • Meh. Like W, he’s a corporate lapdog, and he does what he’s told, like “take single payer off the table even before negotiation starts” or “We will only look forward, and let all the crooks who bamboozled this country, its people and its Treasure + Treasury for the past 8 years in the name of “Security” get away with it.”

            When Clinton was elected and had change on his mind, the Central Bank Rep and Greenspan sat his butt down and told him it was out of the question because the debt was “Too big to fail” so to speak, so he had to change his whole tune and go against everything he campaigned about. It’s all the same trickery and hidden agenda – make it look like you’re doing A while the “hidden agenda” Hegelian Dialectic-ly does the exact opposite and real agenda.

            Bill Hicks had a great routine where he talks about a new president on the day of his inauguration, I have a sneaky feeling Obama was treated in a similar fashion:

            Any puppet walks a tightrope – any variation or straying too far afield from the preprogramed Elitist agenda and the strings are cut.

          • i think you’re all wet. All.

            • Which I find amazing. I just heard Rep. Nadler say that all reductions in entitlements were off the table. All. No means-testing, no increased retirement age. All. Is that politis, or “the best for the nation”? The US is facing another credit downgrade, the deficit and debt are a drag on growth and a threat to national security, and he doesn’t care—all he wants is to keep getting elected. Putting political power over the best interest of the nation is the norm, not an aberration…how anyone could watch Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Tom DeLay and Bill Frist for the last decade and think otherwise is beyond me. And, of course, I do believe that the GOP leadership believed Obama was a hard-left ideologue who was inept and feckless to boot—if they believed that, and I sure do at this point, then making him a one-term president was and IS in the best interest of the country.

              I detest being made to defend a soulless hack like Mitch McConnell. But the problem with what he said is that it’s stupid politics…that’s why it was outside the mainstream, and the only reason.

              • ‘I detest being made to defend a soulless hack like Mitch McConnell. But the problem with what he said is that it’s stupid politics…that’s why it was outside the mainstream, and the only reason.’

                Then why defend him? Look, I don’t defend Obama hardly at all – or any other Demicon who suckles at the teat of Corporatocrasical Illuminatilicious Fascism.. I think you need to throwgo political affiliations in the dumpster and judge the book by its contents, not its “cover” in every sense of its double meaning.

                Love the fact that you are feeling the revulsion of a soulless hack however – good to know that about you Jack. Gives me even more hope.

          • tgt

            He is a weak leader because he is a weak leader…

            Please tell me that was a mistake. If not, you’ve just demonstrated my point.

            has no leadership instincts

            How do you measure that?

            no leadership perspective or understanding,

            Or that?

            no concept of how to lead

            Because he’s not followed by people bent on not following him?

            no talent in choosing effective staff

            You don’t claim he hasn’t chosen effective staff, he just doesn’t have the talent to do it?

            no courage in getting rid of incompetent staff

            Citations needed.

            no integrity

            He’s failed that test on the drug war, and, um, yea…. This seems pretty debatable.

            no interest or aptitude for learning how to lead

            Really? How do you judge that?

            In total, 1 debatable, 4 unmeasurables, 2 irrelevants, and 1 possible. Not nearly as impressive.

            • tgt

              Correction: 1 debatable, 4 unmeasurables, 1 irrelevant, 2 circular, and 1 possible. At best, you’re 2 for 9.

            • I judge it by experience, history, and because it is my field, and because I’ve studied it and am a leader by profession and inclination myself. I don’t have to convince you. If you think he’s a good leader, swell—the fact is, good leaders are usually successful, so you have a difficult burden of proof. Leaders have followers…Obama has apologists. You want more details, I supplied them. I think most of it is res ipsa loquitur, frankly. Leaders don’t bark “pass this bill now.” Leaders don’t make absolute demands and then back down on them. Leaders don’t promise major philosophical change, and fall back on stale old politics. Pathetic. Leaders don’t whine; they don’t blame everyone else when they fail, they don’t duck accountability. There’s a reason why articles on the left and the right have questioned this President’s leadership. Cites? There’s no authority, you know it when you see it or you don’t I guess you don’t, or don’t want to. I do. Obviously judging leadership is to a great extent subjective…Thomas Jefferson was an awful leader, and he’s on Mt. Rushmore. I think most people know what a real leader feels, sounds and acts like, and that Obama just doesn’t have it, You can shout “Cites!” all you want.

              • tgt

                I judge it by experience, history, and because it is my field, and because I’ve studied it and am a leader by profession and inclination myself.

                Appeal to authority. Appeal to generalization.

                the fact is, good leaders are usually successful, so you have a difficult burden of proof.

                Bull. Either that, or this is another circular argument.

                Leaders have followers…Obama has apologists.

                By this logic, Bill Clinton was a horrible leader but H.W. Bush was a great one. Democrats get lableled apologists; Republicans get labeled followers. This doesn’t have much to do with the actual heads.

                You want more details, I supplied them.

                You didn’t supply anything useful. Just general platitudes.

                Leaders don’t bark “pass this bill now.”

                I can’t find that direct quote, but I can find the same sentiment out of the W whitehouse. Clearly, he was also not a leader.

                Leaders don’t make absolute demands and then back down on them.

                No, they stick to them even when it will damage the nation.

                Leaders don’t promise major philosophical change, and fall back on stale old politics. Pathetic.

                When the opposition refuses to go along, this kind of has to happen. You’re referencing the obstructionism as pathetic, right? Oh wait, you think that’s just politics as usual, but basing the ideas of your bill on the oppositions best ideas is politics as usual.

                Leaders don’t whine; they don’t blame everyone else when they fail, they don’t duck accountability

                Whining? You see what you expect to see. Leaders don’t lie about what occurred.

                There’s a reason why articles on the left and the right have questioned this President’s leadership.

                Because the republicans are going all in to destroy him and the far left doesn’t like that he’s centrist?

                Cites? There’s no authority, you know it when you see it or you don’t I guess you don’t, or don’t want to. I do. Obviously judging leadership is to a great extent subjective…Thomas Jefferson was an awful leader, and he’s on Mt. Rushmore. I think most people know what a real leader feels, sounds and acts like, and that Obama just doesn’t have it, You can shout “Cites!” all you want.

                Why did I bother with the rest of this post. This chunk shows the error of your ways. First, I asked for a citation about the incompetent staff he doesn’t get rid of. You know….the only factual statement you made. If you can’t back that one up, your argument was worthless.

                Past that, we see what is really happening here. You can just tell when some one is guilty. I think most people know what a real innocent person feels, sounds and acts like, and that defendent X doesn’t have it, You can shout “no evidence!” all you want.

                • “Appeal to authority. Appeal to generalization”.

                  Baloney. I am not appealing to authority, and specifically said otherwise. It is impossible to “prove” a subjective judgment. All I was pointing out is that I have a solid basis for making one.

                  the fact is, good leaders are usually successful, so you have a difficult burden of proof. Bull. Either that, or this is another circular argument.

                  Your comment is just silly. If good leaders are not successful, then we wouldn’t want good leaders.

                  Leaders have followers…Obama has apologists.

                  By this logic, Bill Clinton was a horrible leader but H.W. Bush was a great one. Democrats get lableled apologists; Republicans get labeled followers. This doesn’t have much to do with the actual heads.

                  A pure, unadulterated, partisan statement. Clinton had plenty of followers–it was the reason why he wasn’t convicted in the Senate. He was a talented leader who misused his talents. Who was a follower of H.W. Bush? He was elected by followers of Ronald Reagan, and didn’t lead them or anyone else.

                  You want more details, I supplied them.

                  You didn’t supply anything useful. Just general platitudes

                  Useful to you is “cites”, which you then dismiss as “appeals to authority.” I gave details about the leadership deficits of the President. I don’t have time to write a book on a blof comment..

                  Leaders don’t bark “pass this bill now.”

                  I can’t find that direct quote, but I can find the same sentiment out of the W whitehouse. Clearly, he was also not a leader.

                  No you cannot. I have never seen or heard any President command the Congress, over and over, “pass this bill now!” Of course other presidents have said they wanted a bill passed. W, is not my template for superior leadership skills, in any event. He was a stronger leader than Obama. Everyone is.

                  Leaders don’t make absolute demands and then back down on them.

                  No, they stick to them even when it will damage the nation.

                  NO, they don’t make threats they can’t or won’t back up, because then they have no credibility or power to persuade. Small wonder you think Obama is a grand leader—you don’t understand Leadership 101!

                  Leaders don’t promise major philosophical change, and fall back on stale old politics. Pathetic.

                  When the opposition refuses to go along, this kind of has to happen. You’re referencing the obstructionism as pathetic, right? Oh wait, you think that’s just politics as usual, but basing the ideas of your bill on the oppositions best ideas is politics as usual.

                  Again, a pure partisan statement alibi, and beneath you. Weak leaders are “obstructed.” Strong ones get around the obstructions. Obama acts like, and has spun the myth that this opposition has been unusually unreasonable, when he’s been unusually inept at creating cooperation. Again, 101.

                  Leaders don’t whine; they don’t blame everyone else when they fail, they don’t duck accountability

                  Whining? You see what you expect to see. Leaders don’t lie about what occurred

                  The leaders is accountable. If he cannot overcome his opposition, he is accountable. “Oooh, that mean old army fought so hard! How were we supposed to beat it?” Truth, or admission of failure?

                  There’s a reason why articles on the left and the right have questioned this President’s leadership.

                  Because the republicans are going all in to destroy him and the far left doesn’t like that he’s centrist?

                  “all in to destroy him”–laughable characterization. Republicans are doing their best to block policies they philosophically oppose and believe are bad for the country. The Horror. That’s their job.

                  Cites? There’s no authority, you know it when you see it or you don’t I guess you don’t, or don’t want to. I do. Obviously judging leadership is to a great extent subjective…Thomas Jefferson was an awful leader, and he’s on Mt. Rushmore. I think most people know what a real leader feels, sounds and acts like, and that Obama just doesn’t have it, You can shout “Cites!” all you want.

                  Why did I bother with the rest of this post. This chunk shows the error of your ways. First, I asked for a citation about the incompetent staff he doesn’t get rid of. You know….the only factual statement you made. If you can’t back that one up, your argument was worthless.

                  I have given numerous cites on this topic, and you should know them yourself. His head of Homeland Security described the underwear bomber fiasco as a “success.” She’s disgrace and a liar. His General Counsel lied before Congress and/or admitted that he doesn’t keep up with the work under his supervision. His handling of the on-again, off-again terrorist trials in NYC was an embarrassment. His Energy Secretary was every bit as incompetent in the BP fiasco as FEMA was during Katrina. Both of his White House Spokesmen have been disingenuous, incredible, adversarial, evasive weasels.

                  Past that, we see what is really happening here. You can just tell when some one is guilty. I think most people know what a real innocent person feels, sounds and acts like, and that defendent X doesn’t have it, You can shout “no evidence!” all you want.

                  I said it before…if you want to insist that the sky is green and shout “prove it” when someone says it’s blue, there;s not much I can do about it. Obama has almost none of the markers of a talented and effective leader, and piles of the characteristics of a weak one. You can find both described in The Art of War, in Plutarch, in Grant’s superb autobiography, in Eisenhower’s memoirs, in the Kearns analysis of the Lincoln presidency, in the Leuchtenburg FDR bio, in “Profiles in Courage,” in the military manuals on leadership. They can’t convince someone who wants to say that none of it is persuasive or proves anything, it’s true: it is all accumulated wisdom. If dithering and leading from behind, promising what you don’t have the ability to deliver, refusing to set priorities, letting subordinates dictate them, and blaming others for your failures leads the nation out of the Wilderness, I’m sure Obama-style leadership will become the rage.

                  • tgt

                    “Appeal to authority. Appeal to generalization”.

                    Baloney. I am not appealing to authority, and specifically said otherwise. It is impossible to “prove” a subjective judgment. All I was pointing out is that I have a solid basis for making one.

                    So, you’re saying “I know what I’m talking about. Trust me.” That’s exactly what I rail about in reference to relgion.

                    Your comment is just silly. If good leaders are not successful, then we wouldn’t want good leaders.

                    Argh. How many good leaders are there on Football teams? How often are they successful? Outside factors actually matter.

                    A pure, unadulterated, partisan statement. Clinton had plenty of followers–it was the reason why he wasn’t convicted in the Senate. He was a talented leader who misused his talents. Who was a follower of H.W. Bush? He was elected by followers of Ronald Reagan, and didn’t lead them or anyone else.

                    The point was that you don’t have any objective way to determine follower from apologist. I don’t see the difference between the apologists of Obama and the followers of Clinton.

                    No you cannot. I have never seen or heard any President command the Congress, over and over, “pass this bill now!” Of course other presidents have said they wanted a bill passed. W, is not my template for superior leadership skills, in any event. He was a stronger leader than Obama. Everyone is.

                    So, saying it instead of meaning it is new (Obama-style), but saying it instead of not actually meaning it is old (McConnell). This paragraph negates your original post.

                    Lack of consistency is another one of my pet peeves. If an argument is good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.

                    NO, they don’t make threats they can’t or won’t back up, because then they have no credibility or power to persuade. Small wonder you think Obama is a grand leader—you don’t understand Leadership 101!

                    I’ll grant you “don’t make threats you can’t back up,” but you lose them all for thinking that it’s better to keep backing a position when it will endanger the nation. A leader knows when they’re beat and doesn’t dig deeper. You’re saying they should just keep working the the shovel, no matter the consequences.

                    Again, a pure partisan statement alibi, and beneath you. Weak leaders are “obstructed.” Strong ones get around the obstructions. Obama acts like, and has spun the myth that this opposition has been unusually unreasonable, when he’s been unusually inept at creating cooperation. Again, 101.

                    Again, circular argument 101.

                    The leaders is accountable. If he cannot overcome his opposition, he is accountable. “Oooh, that mean old army fought so hard! How were we supposed to beat it?” Truth, or admission of failure?

                    I forgot, you hold the ridiculous position that pitcher wins is a useful stat. “I know you were fought 5 times in the heart, but a real fighter would have gotten past that.”

                    “all in to destroy him”–laughable characterization. Republicans are doing their best to block policies they philosophically oppose and believe are bad for the country. The Horror. That’s their job.

                    See: Gingrich supporting end of life counseling until it was in Obama’s healthcare bill, at which point it became “death panels”. When you’re blocking YOUR OWN POLICIES, i think you’ve reached the all in for destruction level.

                    I have given numerous cites on this topic, and you should know them yourself. His head of Homeland Security described the underwear bomber fiasco as a “success.” She’s disgrace and a liar. His General Counsel lied before Congress and/or admitted that he doesn’t keep up with the work under his supervision. His handling of the on-again, off-again terrorist trials in NYC was an embarrassment. His Energy Secretary was every bit as incompetent in the BP fiasco as FEMA was during Katrina. Both of his White House Spokesmen have been disingenuous, incredible, adversarial, evasive weasels.

                    Thanks. That answers my previous “citation needed” comment. Though it doesn’t explain why you think evidence shouldn’t be necessary.

                    I said it before…if you want to insist that the sky is green and shout “prove it” when someone says it’s blue, there;s not much I can do about it.

                    Strawman. I’m not saying Obama is a good leader. I’m saying you haven’t supported your statment that Obama is a bad leader. The burden of proof is on you.

                    Also, this was also a horrible example. For the color the sky, vision is evidence. For a leader? not so much. A better example would be if you claimed water freezes at 32 degrees. I say prove it, and you say “just look at it!” You very well could defend your point, but you haven’t yet.

                    Obama has almost none of the markers of a talented and effective leader, and piles of the characteristics of a weak one. You can find both described in The Art of War, in Plutarch, in Grant’s superb autobiography, in Eisenhower’s memoirs, in the Kearns analysis of the Lincoln presidency, in the Leuchtenburg FDR bio, in “Profiles in Courage,” in the military manuals on leadership.

                    We’ve been over this. Those values can help predict if someone will be a good leader, but they don’t tell if they actually are one. See crazy batting stances. See Danny Woodhead or Ray Rice in Football. The only characteristic they share with good players is drive. Size? no. Speed? no. Athletic ability? not so much.

                    They can’t convince someone who wants to say that none of it is persuasive or proves anything, it’s true: it is all accumulated wisdom.

                    Accumulated wisdom of what tends to characterize a good leader. Useful in 2008 to guess about Obama, but not in 2011. It seems like you used this information to form your opinion of Obama.

                    If dithering and leading from behind, promising what you don’t have the ability to deliver, refusing to set priorities, letting subordinates dictate them, and blaming others for your failures leads the nation out of the Wilderness, I’m sure Obama-style leadership will become the rage.

                    Overall, this is an appeal to belief and a post hoc ergo proctor hoc.

                    Individually:

                    – Dithering? What has he dithered on. You mean acting deliberately instead of charging into things?

                    – Promising what you don’t have the power to deliver? No presidential candidate has had the power to deliver on any of their substantive promises. Why single out Obama?

                    – refusing to set priorities? This is counterfactual.

                    – letting subordinates dictate [the priorities]? How has Obama been any different than any other president?

                    – blaming others for your failures? Again, the republican intransigence is not Obama’s failure.

                    Now, if you want to redefine “leader” to mean “successful”, you actually have some points. Of course, we already have the word “success” to cover that.

          • Eric Monkman

            “[A] guy named Robby Robinson was the worst leader I ever knew, but he was a scout leader…”

            Is there an interesting story here? Was he never prepared?

            • He was never prepared, he was a boob, he let his juvenile delinquent sons ruin the troop, and basically turned a huge and thriving troop into pathetic shell in record time.

              • Eric Monkman

                He sounds pretty bad. Are you sure Obama is worse than this guy? I bet Obama would make a decent Scout leader (he’s pretty cerebral and athletic, good things for Scouts).

                • No, I specifically said that he was WORSE than Obama. Though frankly, I can’t picture the President camping…can you?

                  • Eric Monkman

                    “I thought that George H.W. Bush was the weakest president I ever saw or would live to see—a guy named Robby Robinson was the worst leader I ever knew, but he was a scout leader—but Obama is worse by a lap.”

                    Ah, you mean Obama was worse than a lap compared to George H.W. Bush, not compared to Robinson. I get it now.

                    I could picture Obama camping, but probably for a movie premiere or something, not in the woods. It would have to be an urban Scout troop.

                    • Yes–the dash bracketing functions like parentheses, so what is after them modifies what was before them. Worse BY a lap (as in a horse race or car race), not THAN a lap, which implies a different kind of lap.

                      Boy, you had all KINDS of trouble with that sentence. Are you OK?

                    • H.W. only wanted you to THINK he was weak – as a matter of fact he cultivated that image, actually – Magog is probably one of the most evil jackbats of all time, who wielded ( and probably has immense say so still ) power – over the direction of the entire ruling class and the dreaded non-existing secret societies, government, etc etc. If Evil is genetic, the Bush family is the poster family of it.

                    • tgt

                      *sigh*

                      At least he admitted the evil secret societies don’t exist.

      • Barry

        “I agree that the statement is unprecedented. The sentiment and goal just isn’t. ”

        So when were the sentiment and goal ‘precedented’ on the liberal side?

        • What? Every opposing party is determined to see the President of the other party fail so that they can get their own President elected. The opposition to Bush by the Democrats was, if anything, more determined and more toxic than opposition to Obama by the GOP. The Democrats insisted throughout his first term that he was “illegitimate” and that the election has been “stolen.” How quickly you forget…

  8. Michael Boyd

    Like I said “opinions vary”. Lots of confirmation bias. Lots of just plain bias. I’ve seen every single president since I’ve been alive do as bad if not worse as Mr. Obama. I believe there are different styles of leadership. Perhaps you are comparing to another president or another leader? Is that fair? I have seen the historical rankings of presidents through scholars and historians. Are they accurate? I also have read that some presidents were not popular during their term but history and historians treated them fair years later. How is that?
    I heard the other day that the Majority of Americans want 3 things. 1) For the wealthy to pay their fair share. Maybe their taxes need to be raised. Maybe the loopholes have to be closed. Anyway, they have paid more in the past, so what’s wrong with them going back to previous rates? 2) They don’t want to lose their entitlements such as S.S., Medicaid, and Medicare. Many of them didn’t make enough to be able to afford insurance when they did work and had to use the emergency room to get their care and pay the hospital directly at a lower rate than what insurance would have paid. Many of them would have a heck of a time trying to figure out how to work S.S. if privatized. And if it was privatized under the previous administration, how many people would have the rug pulled out from under them at the end of 2008? And 3) They want to get out of the wars we are in and start taking care of our country instead of everyone else. I don’t think it was necessary to put boots on the ground in any of the situations. With intellegence, drones, special ops, cruise missles, and air superiority, I believe we would have sooner or later eliminated the leadership of the terrorist that were responsible for 9/11 with less loss of American life. As far as terrorism, it will always be around. I also read somewhere, President Bush had promised to bring the troops out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. So why is Mr. Obama getting criticism for accomplishing what Mr. Bush had promised?
    The Tea Party campaigned in 2010 on how they were going to do something on job creation. I’m waiting. I haven’t even heard of any legislation brought into committees. Why has there been no attempts? Nothing has been brought to the American people that I know of? I haven’t heard of congress on either side really campaign or rally for support for any bill. (Let the bills die on the merits in a vote.) That is, with the exception of the American Job Act. All I have heard as a goal on either side is to make Mr. Obama a one term president. That’s fine. They can say it or do what they can to accomplish that goal, but at the same time we need to get people back to work and figure how to get the debt under control. If the president is guilty of campaigning for the next election, then the republicans are equally guilty of campaigning to get rid of him.
    President on Jay. Wow! Really? What’s the difference between that and throwing the first pitch? Or going to Olympic events? Or going to inaugural balls? Or going to Camp David? Or going back to the ranch? Or going to a broadcast booth during a sporting event? Or talking to Barbara Walters, 60 Minutes, or Bill O’Reilly during the Super Bowl? Or playing golf with the enemy? Or watching little kids play little league on the White House lawn?

    So what is the criteria? Or whom are we comparing Mr. Obama to?

    • Michael, this is so far off topic that I can’t do it justice, nor do I want to get into a political debate. Leaders lead. What the American people ‘want” is not irrelevant, but it is not informed, consistent or entirely rational, either. A leader doesn’t just follow what people “want, ” though that seems to be part of Obama’s version of leadership.

      All rankings are subjective, of course. Presidential rankings are also based on results, not purely leadership—if Jefferson hadn’t lucked into the Louisianna Purchase, he’d be way down the list. There is confirmation bias, of course, when someone, like me, makes the call that Obama is hopeless as a leader. It’s very difficult to see his Republican-bashing in his campaign tour, for example, as anything but just blame-shifting because he couldn’t get his own Democratic Senate to pass his bill. And he should have been able to do that, not that it mattered.

      I’m afraid I can’t argue, or won’t, with anyone who takes the position that the US shouldn’t have “put boots on the ground ” in Afghanistan, which is saying that an act of war on US soil killing 3000 civilians should be just shrugged off. It is an ahistorical, pacifist, illogical and dangerous position, but I think that’s where Obama might well have come out had he been in the White House in 2001, and I am convinced that there is a 50-50 chance that my family would be dead now if he were. Also off topic.

      I have studied presidential leadership my whole life, and watched a lot of it. I’ve read the definitive biographies of every one of the Presidents (yes, I really have), and several works on many of them. I’ve read every presidential autobiography and set of memoirs, and many, many treatises and books on presidential power, including Richard Neustadt’s classic. (Guess what it’s called!) I took the college course based on that book, taught by Doris Kearns. I wrote my honors thesis on the topic. Which isn’t to say that my opinion is definitive or correct, just to point out that it is based on more than just whim and bias.

      I have great respect for every single one of these men—it’s probably the hardest job in the world. By no means am I an authority, but I’m an informed amateur, and it is a topic I think about and care about. I have leadership models that I think work and have worked; I have my own personal leadership model. I believe that if a leader gets results, there is a prima facie case that he or she is an effective leader, whether I like his/her style personally or not.

      I work hard at being fair to Obama. I don’t think, at this stage, appearing on “The Tonight Show” is inappropriate. I think it diminishes the office, but that horse left the barn long ago, before Barack

      There is a recent biography of Warren G. Harding that argues that he was a much stronger leader than most believe. Another bio of Grant, who is regarded as a weak President, makes the case for him. Who’s “right?” These authors are a lot more credentialed than I am. It’s impossible to tell. I can back up my opinion, but it’s still just an opinion. In the end, leadership qualities are a matter of taste, and whether they work or not has enough luck that a definitive judgment is unlikely.

      • Michael Boyd

        I didn’t say that we shouldn’t have gone to war. But did we declare war on Afghanistan? If so, what is our objective? I feel that we can and could have done things a bit different since we are much more technologically advanced than anyone. Who are we fighting in Afghanistan? If it is the terrorist, we may win the battle, but the war is going to be very, very long. So what I am asking is: Who are we fighting? and What are we fighting for?

        • You don’t remember? We were attacked by an international terrorist organization supported by Afghanistan and operating out of that country. President Bush told the Taliban that it could turn over the attackers to us, or it would be deemed as sharing in responsibility for the attack, an act of war. He issued an ultimatum. The Taliban did not comply. At that point, the US was on sound footing re international law, and as a sovereign nation had the right and duty to respond to a lethal and unprovoked attack. The objective was to drive the Taliban out; having done that, the objective was to make sure they didn’t come back. It’s not easy. Many things could have been done differently, but that is a completely different issue from whether the war was necessary and whether there had to be “boots on the ground.” You can’t drive out a terrorism-sponsoring government with bombing and drones.

  9. Michael Boyd

    I think Lincoln was an effective leader from what I learned. At the same time I learned that he had problems with depression while in the White House. Now days, there is no way people would allow someone with a mental illness to be elected President.

  10. Eric Monkman

    Re. Your last reply.

    Yes, that was a hard sentence for me. I think I’ll survive, though

  11. And, of course, I do believe that the GOP leadership believed Obama was a hard-left ideologue who was inept and feckless to boot—if they believed that, and I sure do at this point, then making him a one-term president was and IS in the best interest of the country.

    Talk about something only a right-winger could believe — not that Obama is inept (plenty of people on the left and right believe that), but that he’s “a hard-left ideologue.”

    I don’t really like talking about stuff like “leadership,” because (as you admit, to your credit) it’s totally subjective. “Leadership” is what people criticize when they hate a politician but don’t actually have a responsible policy-based critique.

    But the claim that Obama is a “hard-left ideologue” is, logically, either a statement about the policies Obama has proposed as President, or a statement about the policies Obama hasn’t proposed but would secretly like to. And in either case, it’s a ridiculous belief. Obama’s actual, proposed policies have not been “hard-left”; they’ve been centrist democrat. The Affordable Care Act is far to the right of the single-payer plan actual leftists want, for example. His position on same-sex marriage is well to the right not only of virtually all leftists, but also to the right of many centrist conservatives (including yourself). He campaigned on escalating the war in Afghanistan, and that’s what he’s done — again, far to the right of the left-wing position.

    Republicans are doing their best to block policies they philosophically oppose and believe are bad for the country

    But many of Obama’s policies have only been “philosophically opposed” by Republicans since it because useful to oppose them from a partisan perspective. The individual mandate is something that many important Republicans supported until recently, for example. Cap and Trade was a Republican policy only five years ago. Virtually all governments in power, Republican or Democrat, support stimulus during recessions that take place while they hold the White House. The START treaty, which Republicans recently filibustered, was written by the Reagan administration and signed by the first Bush administration. Deficit spending has been supported (and vastly increased) by every Republican administration in my lifetime. End-of-life counseling — which are now called “death panels” by Republicans — were originally proposed and supported by Republicans in their Medicare bill of 2003.

    A new CNN poll shows that most Republicans support some Obama policies — “58 percent of Republicans support cutting the payroll tax for all workers; 63 percent of Republicans support federal aid to states to hire teachers and first responders; 56 percent support federal spending on infrastructure; and 56 percent of Republicans support raising taxes on millionaires.” But Republicans in Congress oppose all these policies — not because there’s any core Republican philosophical objection (if there were, most Republicans wouldn’t favor them), but because of anti-Obama politics.

    On all these policies and more, Republican opposition clearly represents partisan convenience, not sincere long-held philosophical beliefs.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m not an Obama fan. He has genuinely faced greater constraints than most Presidents (that the economy was objectively in a state of collapse when Obama entered office, and that we were already in two wars, for example), but even in areas where he hasn’t been so constrained, I think he’s done a mediocre job.

    But both your claim that Obama is a hard-left ideologue, and your claim that Republican obstructionism is entirely explainable as genuine political philosophy rather than partisan politics, are contrary to observable facts.

  12. But many of Obama’s policies have only been “philosophically opposed” by Republicans since it because useful to oppose them from a partisan perspective.

    Aaargh! I apologize for the word salad this sentence became. I intended to write “since it became useful,” not “since it because useful.”

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