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Marion On April - 4 - 2010

I feel curiously vindicated after reading Frank Rich’s column:-

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/opinion/04rich.html?hp

My cognitive dissonance theory of the unreasonable attitudes towards the Obama Presidency by some quarters on the Left (notably the base) is entirely justified in one paragraph:-

“… a friend who is a prominent liberal Obama supporter sent me an e-mail flipping my point. He theorized that race also plays a role in ‘the often angry and intemperate talk’ he has been hearing from ‘left-liberal friends for the past many months about what a failure and a disappointment’ the president has been. In his view, ‘Obama never said anything, while running, to give anyone the idea’ that he was other than a ‘deliberate, compromise-seeking bipartisan moderate.’ My friend wondered if white liberals who voted for Obama expected a ‘sweeping Republicans-be-damned kind of agenda’ in part — and he emphasized ‘in part!’ — because ‘they expect a black guy to be intemperate, impetuous, impatient” rather than ‘measured, deliberate, patient.’ ”

There you have it! It’s official, or quasi-so. Many of the so-called Progressive Left, hovering around the base of the Democratic Party assumed they were getting a jive-talking, street-suss black dude, who’d kick ass six ways til Sunday amongst the recalcitrant and hideously white Republicans. They thought they were getting Shaft and Cleopatra Jones sashaying into the Blue Room, and they’re disappointed to find out (in their own estimation), that they’ve ended up with Johnny Mathis and Leslie Uggams.

The whole of the Obama-bashin’ fashion has been a lesson in cognitive dissonance at its best and a veritable example of the sort of narrow-mindedness that’s been allowed to develop over the years on what is normally assumed to be the all-embracing, ueber-tolerant Left … and that’s a bit of cognitive dissonance too.

According to Rich, Obama is a Rorschach test – as a candidate and, subsequently, as a President. According to Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in their best-selling work, Game Change, Obama was the ultimate tabula rasa. Either way, it amounted to the way the Left’s base perceived Obama: Basically, he was everything to everybody. He was what we wanted him to be. Whatever hopes, dreams and encouragements we fostered, we projected on Candidate, and then President, Obama.

In a curious way, this justifies John McCain’s campaign interpretation of Obama as the celebrity, the rock-star. How many of us harboured adolescent fantasies of a singer or an actor, projecting whatever puerile views we held at the time onto the fragile shoulders of a Jagger, a McCartney or even an Elvis? Thus, we stared in utter amazement and wonder whenever Obama gave a major speech … and never heard a word he said.

The television in my British office, the day after Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, tuned to the BBC, replayed the speech, the cameras lingering on the upturned faces of the faithful in the crowd, each and every one smiling beatifically. A colleague of mine noted wryly: “They look like they’re in some sort of a religious trance.”

So it was easy to be disappointed, once the deed was done, for many, when Obama set about fulfilling what, essentially, were campaign promises.

Healthcare?

“He promised single-payer! He did! I heard him!”

(Sorry, love, no, he didn’t. He actually said that single-payer would be ideal, if we were starting from scratch with a total reform of health services in general. That’s not a promise).

Afghanistan?

“He promised to end the war!”

(Yes. He promised to bring the troops back from Iraq and concentrate, instead, on the so-called “good” war, Afghanistan – you know, the one we were well on our way to winning and stabilising before George Bush got addicted to Iraq and non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction).

It didn’t help matters that the Left’s base were led in song by totally irresponsible reporting and comment by so-called celebrity pundits, who deliberately misinformed them and kept them in a perpetual state of bickering, second-guessing and discontent.

I have to cite Bill Maher, who started the cognitive dissonance ball rolling down the precipice with his “Patriot Editorial” of November 14, 2008, when he made a comparison between the newly-elected Obama and Canadian premier, Stephen Harper, in totally ghetto-esque terminology, exclaiming, “Take that, Canada! You’ve got some boring white dude named Stephen Harper, while my President is a kickass, black ninja named Barack Hus-SEIN Obama!”

By June 16, 2009, Maher was forging the path of Obama-bashing, getting his oar in with the first overtly critical editorial of the President, basically criticizing nothing of policy, except the fact that, in Maher’s view, Obama had done nothing since entering office, except buy a dog for his kids. Had he bothered to do proper research, instead of currying a reaction which would lead to various appearances on other pundits’ shows (and thus garner some publicity for his own program), he would learned from Poltifact that Obama, actually, was doing really rather well in keeping a lot of his promises and accomplishing that which he’d set about to achieve. Instead, this started a litany of lament from the base of the Left, who took Maher’s word almost as law, and carried the crescendo of complaint to a new level, which remained continuous until the end of the year and beyond.

In hindsight, and compared to the damage limitation that’s been one of the key elements of Real Time since it began its new season, it’s now easy to see how Bill Maher was a victim of his own cognitive dissonance – he voted for Samuel L Jackson and got Bill Cosby. “Is this as good as it gets?” he wailed in November of last year, all the time wanting Obama to assume the mantle and mantra, the swagger of Bush, which, in Obama, would have translated into the angry, black man.

Now that the President has achieved what he sought, with healthcare reform, and in the way he wanted to achieve it, to Maher and the other capricious pundits such as Ed Schultz, he’s got his mojo back; he’s punching his weight and upwards. This is behaviour which they’ve cognitively associated with a black man from Chicago, street-suss and sassy; it’s familiar to them and identifiable with their assumption of what the behaviour of a successful black man should be, as summed up in Bill Maher’s most recent editorial in which he hoped for the President to deliver a message to the GOP that they should “kick his black ass.”

Taken further, we have the collective year-long critiques and moanings of Arianna Huffington about Obama’s ineptitude, his mishandling of the economy, his sell-out to Wall Street, his lassitude, his kowtowing to the Right in every way to please them. She went as far as to exhort Joe Biden to resign as Vice-President and lead an open revolt against the President and his Afghan policy, weeks before it was even decided and announced what the President was going to do.

Every move the man made or didn’t make was open to pejorative comment from Ms Huffington; his State of the Union was seen by her to be an artfully constructed sell-out to big business and the banks too big to fail. Every word of criticism, every second-guessed opinion, every time after endless time she appeared on the rounds of commentary shows from This Week to Wolf Blitzer to Olbermann to countless, countless appearances on the ubiquitous Ed Schultz, she prefaced her incendiary remarks with a pithy little sigh,  taken straight from the repository of sounds made by white-gloved Southern ladies of the Junior League variety in the early days of racial equality … the sigh that implied, “Well, what did you expect … from a BLACK man?” As far as Huffington was concerned, this Presidency was seminal in that it was the first (and, Huffington hoped, only) affirmative action Presidency.

The blogosphere, weaned on a diet of infotainment, cleverly disguised as cherry-picked news, lapped this up and spewed it out until it became viral. They looked for any elected official from the Democratic Party to break rank and criticize Obama, they plotted primary challenges, threatened to sulk out a vote, some even teamed up with Teabaggers. In fact, Huffington did much and is still doing much in the way of trying to emphasize that the Progressive Left really does have a lot in common with the Teabaggers, considering their anti-Wall Street stance, and that similarity should be cultivated – when in fact, the only thing the extreme bases of the two parties have in common is that they’re being manipulated and misinformed by people whose only agenda is furthering their own publicity and professional careers.

The base of the Right is laughed at by its seemingly superior counterpart on the Left, because they take to the streets with pictures of Obama sporting a Hitler moustache, calling him a Nazi; because they depict him as a witch doctor and call him a communist; because they fear he’s a socialist, that he wasn’t born in America, that he’s sinister … when anyone with half a brain knows they cannot accept the fact that a black man is in the Big Chair.

Yet their brothers encompassing the base of the Left protest this President because they don’t understand why he’s doing literally everything he said he’d do, when, in reality, the black man in the White House isn’t black enough to fit their perceived stereotype.

And I don’t know which is the more insulting viewpoint.

Categories: News & Politics

152 Responses so far.

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  1. nellie says:

    Marion, to be brutally frank, I think most people in this country are simply unaware of what a person of color has to go through to be sane and successful in this country -- the many masks one has to wear, the armour one has to don in the morning and shed at night in order to be human again with one’s family. The barbs one endures from one’s closest friends. And the level of accomplishment necessary to be noticed.

    People who are Barack’s age and older, at any rate, have lived this way. I hope things are changing.

    To me, Barack is no mystery. He’s no mystery to my family, either — an accomplished group of people of color who have had life experiences as varied as our president’s. I think the mystery to mainstream America is really the unfamiliarity. And the constant effort to understand this man through the wrong prism.

    I think Rich touches on an important point when he talks about the mystery of the president — but even he, apparently, is not equipped to understand why this man is an enigma to so much of the country. And I have to wonder if this is again a function of age. We are moving out of an era. And the remnants are simply out of step with the future.

  2. AdLib says:

    Once again Marion, bravo on another thought-provoking and challenging article.

    I wonder if the case for many liberals is as far in the direction you describe or a bit more superficial.

    It was a reality that Dems, especially the most liberal Dems wanted huge change in the course of this nation after 8 years of Bush. Certainly, the first black president symbolized that and Obama’s campaign contained many statements describing aggressive change (such as HCR, DADT, Climate Change, etc.).

    Was it not simply human nature that the expectations exceeded the reality?

    My proposition is that it may be just as wrongly race-focused to blame complaining liberals as being race-focused because they are complaining.

    It seems more like a somewhat unrealistic desire for wish-fulfillment going unfulfilled. And those Dems have been whipped up by the MSM and other blog sites that validate such a self-centered, spoiled sensibility.

    Did some people think electing Obama would make all of their long denied hopes and dreams about our society come true? I think that’s a big fat yes. Did some of those people respond with temper tantrums, like children who got many of the gifts they wanted for Xmas but not all of them? Yes.

    Is racial stereotyping responsible? Maybe for a “minority” (heh!) but I don’t know that it is for a majority. Obama’s race may have been symbolic for the desire for big change but the racial factor may end there for many of those who are dissatisfied.

    • KQ says:

      I always wonder how past campaigns may have affected people’s thinking. I think allot on the left thought Obama was saying things like he would add more troops to Afghanistan and strive to be partisan just to get elected. I mean Bush ran in his first race to be the bipartisan president and then the day after the election dropped the act. Bush said he was not a nation builder and tried to build two other countries. Maybe the progressive base thought Obama was playing wink nod politics when he was sincere.

      The other day I read someone’s article on another website say when Obama said he was thinking about looking into offshore drilling he thought he was only saying it to get elected. Now he’s mad that he was sincere. Huh so you want politicians to lie?

      • whatsthatsound says:

        I think there’s a lot of truth to that. But I think it’s also true that a lot of the loudest complaints are coming from people who voted for Obama only after their favorite candidates, Richardson, Kucinich, and Edwards, fell to the wayside. It wasn’t so much what they wanted/hoped/expected from HIM as it was from a Democratic administration working with majorities in both houses.

        • Marion says:

          Can you imagine, however, what would have transpired if any of those three had got the nomination? Richardson, of course, would have been just as seminal as Obama or Clinton -- the first Latino President, representative of a demographic that’s fast becoming the identifiable ethnic majority in the country; but Richardson, as we were to find out in his vetting for a Cabinet position, came with a lot of dodgy baggage, which would have stigmatised his Presidency from the beginning.

          I don’t think a Kucinich, quite frankly, would have won, nor do I think he’s got the temperament to be President. I could, however, see Congress a lot more polarized, if that be imaginable, and I can see him alienating a big tranche of his own political party.

          And Edwards? Well, we would be sitting through a lame ducker (or a lame fucker) right now and wondering who to get to run in 2012.

        • Kiba says:

          I supported Kucinich until he dropped out because he’s closer to me on the political spectrum. MUCH closer. When I do so, I criticize this administration because it is too conservative. I criticize any Third Way/New Democrat for the same reason. It don’t care one whit about the color of their skin. I criticize the war in Afghanistan because it’s wrong. I criticize burdening the taxpayers with bailing out Wall Street fat cats for their crimes because it’s wrong. I criticize failing to regulate those fat cats and break up their monopolized power structures because it’s wrong. I criticize the lack of a public option in health care and handing the insurance companies a huge windfall because it’s wrong. I criticize Obama’s support of FISA because it’s wrong. I criticize Obama’s appointment of nothing but Rubinites to his economic team — the very people who created the economic debacle — because it is wrong.

          I criticize the policy. My criticism would be the same no matter who is in office. Indeed, it was the same when Clinton was in office. Obama is clearly very intelligent and very capable, but also way too conservative for me.

          I tend to view politics not from an American perspective, but a larger one that includes Europe and Asia. Kucinich is perceived in America as a far left liberal, but in the international context he’s simply a mainstream social democrat. Hillary is seen as very liberal in America, but in the view of the rest of the world she’s a conservative.

          The Democratic party has shifted way to the right in the last few decades. The same problem exists in England, where New Labour is more conservative in policy than the pre-Thatcher Conservative Party.

          A major problem that I see in America is that the two parties we have left are the Batshit Insane Conservative Party and the Slightly Moderate Conservative Party.

          • choicelady says:

            Kiba -- I agree with the policy positions, but I am watching this president move steadily BY LAW on these issues. He is restoring policy control to Congress because too many presidents have ignored the division of power. On issues such as warrantless wiretapping and torture he has let the courts rule, thereby grounding the changes in solid law, not relying on cheesy Executive Orders that won’t stand past his administration.

            His way is slower. But it is far more steady. Health care? We NEVER could have passed single payer -- could not originally get the votes for a public option. But we WILL now that the groundwork is done, and NO other president has done that since Medicare.

            I don’t see him as Cosby or whoever -- I see him as precisely what I thought he was: a Constitutional scholar and a statesman. I am in awe of the care he takes with policy and crafting long-lasting rather than spectacular but short lived positions.

            We have radically changed the Cold War principles. We have dramatically altered our approach to Israel and the Palestinians. Most important, we have abandoned the knee-jerk responses that have existed since 1950; for 60 years we have rushed into every world situation because of the National Security Council memo #68 or NSC 68. It called for us to see every world event as a catastrophe and to respond with aggression. That is -- until Obama refused to capitulate on Honduras. He did not and will not embrace the RW junta and will not respond with military force to that and many other situations -- Iran among them. MAJOR change, not just from Bush but from our own history.

            I also love Dennis Kucinich, but I think he would have been massively inflexible. Why does Obama’s outreach to various factions matter? Because, over time, it is imperative to do two things: remind us all that everyone, even Michelle Bachmann, has rights. And to show that every effort has been made to honor those rights, and that the other party is the one that refuses to cooperate. That has been done. The evidence is clear. And now Obama can move forward as he did with the recess appointments and is doing on other items. But it was essential groundwork. And civility remains in place.

            Race -- oh, yeahhhhh. Key issue. There are too many elected people who simply cannot wrap their minds around the idea that a Black man is President. It horrifies them. Too many ordinary Americans -- not the majority but too many -- feel the same.

            But I lay huge responsibility on the progressives who will not see Obama’s accomplishments at all, won’t see his work process at all, wanted someone to kick ass and can’t ever be satisfied until Bush and Cheney are clapped in irons. And they cannot forgive Obama for NOT being Superfly indeed. So I do agree that racism is just as rampant if less virulent among “our side” as within the tea party folks.

            It’s time for a deep breath. This man may become the greatest president in decades. I hope we’re not so invested in our prejudices, racial and otherwise, that we don’t notice what he is doing until he’s gone. That would be our greatest loss.

          • Questinia says:

            Well put.

          • Blues Tiger says:

            Excellent post Kiba…

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Brilliant, Kiba, and much appreciated! Complete agreement.

            • Kiba says:

              The Republicans have been very successful in shifting the Overton Window way to the right. This country needs a powerful voice on the left to shift it back to the objective center — or even better, left of that.

            • Kiba says:

              Yep, they are branding democracy as socialism, which bodes ill for democracy in this country.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              The reason Rush, Beck and Hannity, et al. are NEVER happy about ANYTHING is because that way they can keep tipping peoples’ opinions toward the extreme. They are now calling “socialism” the very parts of the healthcare plan Mitt Romney put in place as governor. If Obama was the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, they would STILL call him socialist.

        • KQ says:

          The biggest thing I learned the last year is how conservative the Senate is with all the conservadems. Face it everything Obama asked for and the House delivered has been watered down most by the Senate from the stimulus on.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Me too. “conservadems”: read “oinkers”.

            • KQ says:

              Yeah I just read where LIEberman was spouting off again how Obama was increasing the threat of terror by considering civil trials for Gitmo detainees. I guess I should have seen this coming since most Dems supported the Iraq War.

  3. Khirad says:

    Amen, Marion.

    It’s as if I witnessed a completely different campaign than they did…

    I also get a little weirded out by some of the “fired ups!” and “yes we cans” on HP. On the one hand, I’m not like most of you. I’m not above being puerile and just doing it to annoy a troll. On the other hand, it’s as if we have those operatives who whip up crowds at party rallies, only in virtual form, and it, well -- it weirds me out. The solipsistic, orthodox

    • AdLib says:

      You just described the HP game which I decided to stop playing because it was completely pointless.

      BTW, not a criticism of you or our other members who still blog there, just a personal choice thing. I started blogging at HP in the “good ol’ days” and my motivation was very specific, I wanted to meet and converse with others who were politically concerned and wanted to make this a better society.

      So, the whole trumped up adversarial thing there which ended up taking over the course of blogging there appeared to me as a distraction from what my original purpose was in blogging.

      Thus, I beamed over to another Planet.

    • KQ says:

      I never understood the high expectations of people. Do people really not remember how fucked up things were by the end of 2008?

      I read some dude on OpenLeft complaining that Obama is watching Rome burning with the economy because the recovery is taking too long. Rome was friggin’ burnt down when Obama arrived in office. Now like the right the left are acting like this is just another dip in the economic cycle. This is Great Depression Lite folks. The only difference is this time the Feds came along and stopped the collapse when it started. The fundamentals of the economy have been living on a bubble for almost thirty years now.

      I always knew Obama’s biggest problem would be dealing with the high expectations in our short attention span society. It’s going to take years if not decades to drag up the US Titanic from the bottom of the ocean. Frankly I’m amazed at what he has accomplished since he lost his so called base.

  4. Questinia says:

    The only cognitive dissonance I see is on the parts of groups who probably tend to see things in black and white anyway, looking at a man who sees gray; each group incensed at seeing too much black in its white or too much white in its black.

    Obama was not elected to assure their cognitive consonance.

    • AdLib says:

      I’m surprised by people being surprised that people on the left can be as narrow-minded as people on the right.

      The whole political correctness movement came from the left. Many stories came out about about zero tolerance on that which led to huge travesties.

      Self-righteousness crosses all political lines and is as unflattering and nonconstructive no matter what party you’re in.

    • LiseLives says:

      Agree, Q (hi !) ….knee-jerk, radical b&w reactions usually make me want to back away ….I have a tendency to be drawn toward authentic, smooth, temperate dialogue -- anything less than that has a tendency to bring out the worst in us.
      Obama’s temperance is a good guide & that guide should be capitalized upon, emulated.

  5. LiseLives says:

    Slightly O/T apologies :

    • AdLib says:

      Lise, thanks so much for the kind words about the community here.

      The core goal from the start was to have a blog that truly respected Freedom of Expression, showing that people can disagree and have a wide variety of opinions while still showing respect for each other. Those who have joined here have insured that it is indeed such a place.

      Two things The Planet is not, is an echo chamber or a boxing ring. People here have decidedly independent minds and views, we agree often but I never sense a hesitation from anyone to disagree on issues. In an atmosphere of respect, where disagreements are not personalized, there is no pressure, stigma, concern or any other reason that might dissuade people from honestly expressing themselves.

      Thus, as you note, people are comfortable to genuinely and freely express themselves.

      Though I am far from objective, I think this is indeed a singular community and I feel fortunate every day to be a part of it.

    • PepeLepew says:

      Who are you calling beautiful? You take that back. You lib!

    • KQ says:

      nellie talked about the degeneration of progressive media on another great post. There still are some great sources nellie listed.

      http://planetpov.com/2010/03/31/progressive-medias-wrong-turn-advocacy-vs-adversary/

      Me I’ve been getting most of my news from the services for basic stuff and more traditional sources like the NY Times and WashPo. For international news the BBC is great along with The Guardian.

      Personally I’ve totally given up on TV news it’s just a constant freak show. Sure I watch KO and Rachel when stuff is happening but otherwise it’s all noise to me.

      • LiseLives says:

        I’ll check nellie’s post when I (hopefully) have some time tomorrow --
        Yeah, “noise” -- first they referred to Fox Noise -- then it became Faux, Fux etc., “also, too” < that expression repeated ad infinitum ….
        I watch the news every day (BBC too) & now I gauge myself.
        If it feels like noise & if a blog feels like (silent) noise, I don't want any part of it.

        • LiseLives says:

          I’m boycotting any HatePalin blogs or voicing out there -- again, IMO, that’s where political satire has its place, but hate ? No thx --

          • nellie says:

            I’ll join you, Lise. I actually understand why people like Sarah Palin. I also think she can be despicable. But I find the glee with which people despise her — uncomfortable.

            I’m hoping she loves her reality show and that it’s a smashing success — to the point where she stays out of politics. She’s too ignorant of the world and its issues to be influencing people. I can be an elitist when it comes to our leadership in that I want them to be informed. Or should I say, INFROMED.

            • LiseLives says:

              & very aptly put nellie :
              “the glee with which people despise her” --
              Being the recipient of that is what’s cautioned me that I could be going in an unhealthy direction ….

            • LiseLives says:

              I’ll admit I don’t like Palin, I have zero respect nor admiration for her & find her crass, narcissistic & yes uninfromed (spelling like a Teabagger) -- but that’s stuff I can laugh at or poke at, not hate nor despise.
              Her show (watched 10 minutes) is quite dull btw :mrgreen:

  6. whatsthatsound says:

    At a speech to the AFL-CIO, he said that three things were necessary to get single payer health insurance. Majorities in both houses of Congress, and the presidency. It’s on record. It’s on YOUTUBE, fercryinouloud!
    Okay, so it wasn’t a promise, it was just a “campaign promise”, and we all know how those generally work out. Or it was an advertisement for the Democratic Party (certainly it was that).

    Although there are no doubt a few people for whom race plays a big role in the disappointment, I think it is a gross mischaracterization to say that it lies at the heart of liberal dissatisfaction with this administration. The nature of his victory was such that it was an obvious and cathartic repudiation of the Bush years, and people felt that with the mandate that he had, he could have done much more to dismantle the systemic unfairness of this top heavy country.

    He’s doing the best he can; I see that and I’m coming around to having a lot of optimism about what he can do in four, and hopefully eight years. And, I hasten to add, I’m no racist, thank you.

    • KQ says:

      WTS you might appreciate this it’s a fair take on the “Did Obama support single payer?” question. They gave it a “Half Flip” which I would not argue with based on a pretty informative breakdown on his thoughts as a candidate and quote from one of his books.

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/jul/16/barack-obama/obama-statements-single-payer-have-changed-bit/

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Thanks, KQ! I agree with the half-flip argument. I am shocked, SHOCKED to learn that a politician has semi-flipped on an important issue while campaigning!

        • KQ says:

          The funny part is Obama totally flipped on mandates but I think it was more an evolution on the issue. Because when you look at universal healthcare no mandates makes the universal part impossible when you have any private healthcare components. It’s funny how the whole mandates thing went from a Republican idea during the HillaryCare fight to a Democrat idea during the election back to a Republican idea to make ObamaCare sound like RomneyCare to put Republicans on the spot. The fact is if you are going to use private coverage in any hybrid system you need mandates. If anything mandates are a European idea because European hybrid systems like the Netherlands and Switzerland used them years ago.

    • KQ says:

      Yes I remember that and every single payer only advocate points out that one video. But you can’t honestly say campaigning for president he constantly campaigned on single payer. You can say he flip flopped during the campaign but saying he campaigned on single payer is conveniently ignoring the rest of his campaign from that moment on. Quite the opposite he constantly backed off that very speech saying that if he started a system from scratch he would choose single payer.

      Again this is politics and campaigning not an exact science but c’mon saying his campaign was constantly pushing single payer is just not accurate.

      • dildenusa says:

        Agreed. It’s obvious that the current system would have to be retained in any health care reform. I think Obama did a good job holding up a mirror and using the push back of the republicans who would be against any reform, into the issue.

      • Marion says:

        When Obama was a State Senator for Illinois, he investigated the feasibility of single-payer for that state and came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t work. But he never, NEVER campaigned for single-payer, saying that it was ideal ONLY if they were starting from scratch.

        I live under single-payer. It’s not the be-all and the end-all of healthcare, I can assure you. And it’s expensive -- realistically, you will pay, in taxes, almost as much as you pay for private healthcare. My husband and I pay the equivalent of $1400 monthly in contributions/payroll taxes, and that’s just the National Insurance contribution, that doesn’t count income tax. Plus, whenever ANYTHING needs paring in a budget, it’s always health and education.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Well, that’s fine, KQ, but it still counts as a more weighted piece of evidence on the “liberal dissatisfaction” side than all the assumptions put together that people on the left would be complaining less and supporting more if Obama were white. Your evidence is……?

        • KQ says:

          For one thing I think race is only part of it like I said in my comments. My biggest contention was liberals saw Obama as being much more progressive than he was because that’s what they wanted to see. Look at his positions on the issues Rich talked about they have not changed.

          My point is their “liberal dissatisfaction” should have came during the campaign and some of it did for the record as well. The tone is the problem I have with the “liberal dissatisfaction” because liberals feel betrayed by an ideal, not the person that ran for president.

        • nellie says:

          I don’t remember this kind of vitriol from the left against Clinton when he signed NAFTA. That’s one example.

          Geraldine Ferraro was not a figment of our imagination.

          • Marion says:

            Exactly. And there was Bob Reich, bold as brass, criticising Obama’s proposed banking regulations as insufficient. Pardon me, but didn’t he sit on the Clinton cabinet at a time when Glass-Steagall was being repealed?

          • whatsthatsound says:

            We had not just come through eight years of a presidency that disgusted and shocked many on the left. Yes, many were hoping for a “savior” from that. They wouldn’t have cared if he were black, white or purple, when it became clear that things weren’t going to shift dramatically, and include decisive, sweeping repudiations of the Bush years, the complaints started.
            The climate, and the buildup, were not the same as the NAFTA signing.

            • nellie says:

              Then it’s impossible to give you an example, because you’ll just say — the climate is different.

              The vitriol from the left is completely irrational. That’s the difference.

            • KQ says:

              I admitted I was a Red Neckist a few weeks ago. 😉

            • nellie says:

              Guilty! :mrgreen:

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Ageist! 😉

            • nellie says:

              IMHO, wts, thats not “come to Jesus” kind of thinking.

              There’s no shield of protection over the left on this issue just because it’s the “Left.”

              I will say, younger folks don’t seem to have this problem. They are cool about race for the most part. The older folks, they’re tainted. And they’ll be gone in 50 years, so not to worry. 😆

            • KQ says:

              It’s impossible to read into one person intentions let many people’s. The right is easy to read their intentions with their signs and despicable actions. On the left I can suspect from the heightened level of vitriol but never prove. In fact much of it can be subconscious feelings. I’ll just leave it at that.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Absolutely it needs to be recognized, but in individual instances. Every time a person makes a racist remark, (and in a nod to Marion, Bill Maher has made them against President Obama) it should be pointed out and censured. But until liberal protesters start walking around with the same grotesque signs the Tea Baggers wave proudly, I’ll steer clear of calling progressivism itself tainted.

            • nellie says:

              There are racists on the left. That needs to be recognized — whether in this context or not. Any person of color can tell you that. Whether the left wants to admit it or not doesn’t change the reality.

              I have so many friends who have foot in mouth disease when it comes to race. It shows exactly what they’re thinking — the narrow expectations, the false expectations, the ignorance of reality. And these are not right wingnuts.

              The left needs a “come to Jesus” moment about this — excuse the expression. Whether Obama is our president or not.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              I agree with your two latter causes. As to “racial stereotyping”, I concede that it may be a contributing factor, but I doubt it is a major one. I’m more concerned about painting a large number of people with whom we all here have aligned much of our thinking over the years with a “closet racist” paintbrush.

            • KQ says:

              I just tend to think in arguments like these it’s all of the above. Whether one reason dominates the others who knows? We live in a complex world.

              I think we can easily assume much of the OTT criticism coming from the right is based on race. So it’s not a leap to say some on the left had stereotypes in their minds as well. Cher admited as such. Now the level of vitriol on the left is much more complicated but I would say the too biggest reasons are a sense of betrayal based on expectations what ever they were based on, overlapping angst from the Bush years and current economic conditions.

            • nellie says:

              I don’t feel it’s all due to racism — that’s just inaccurate. I think some of it is due to false expectations based on racial stereotyping — if you want to call that racism, so be it. I think some of it is residual anger from the Bush administration. And some of it is adversarial broadcasting from progressive media heads — which garners higher ratings and more audience emotion.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              That’s probably true. I agree with you that the vitriol is irrational. You feel that this is due to racist tendencies, and I feel it is due to the climate the Bush years engendered. I think that Rich’s friend’s assumption that people expected Obama’s “blackness” to make him more pugnacious is risible. Who the heck is he talking about? I’ve never met these guys (okay, I live in Japan, but…).

    • nellie says:

      What he said during the campaign was that we were not in a political climate that could pass single payer. I can’t tell you how many times he said that.

      Maybe that AFLCIO speech was when he was a senator before his run for the presidency — that’s when he said he supported single payer.

      • KQ says:

        It was during the primaries technically and I remember Hillary and the media attacking him for it. Along with the “bitter” remarks Obama leaned the hard way that when you are running for president there is no such thing as a private conversation when talking to the friendliest of constituents.

        I think that video also epitomizes what Frank Rich was saying. The right uses that one video to call President Obama a Socialist and the left uses it to say he broke all his promises.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          oh, please….one video to say he broke ALL his promises? I’ll happily join with you in condemning those straw men!

        • nellie says:

          Then I stand corrected.

          It still seems to me an example of people clinging to what they want to be true rather than paying attention to reality.

          • LiseLives says:

            Exactly --
            & let’s say he had (for now) broken his campaign promise, I still can give anyone who’s never occupied the highest office in the world (really) a bit of slack for running into unforeseen opposition -- (he’s allowed in my book, to display a bit of green in his new job) ….& I still maintain that, given more time, he will fulfill his campaign promises.

  7. nellie says:

    Marion, I think you know how much I agree with you on this.

    I have a lot to say about it, but for now I’ll sum it up this way — both the right and left saw this in Candidate Obama:

    ” width=”400″ />

    • Marion says:

      Exactly. And Rich FINALLY said it. FINALLY. There is just as much subtle racism and perceived cognitive dissonance on the Left as there is on the Right. If you cannot see that in Maher, a middle-class kid from an ALL-WHITE commuter berg in northern New Jersey, who probably never came into contact with a black person until he graduated Cornell, Schultz, who was raised in gun-totin’, snake-charmin’, holy-rollin’ part of Virginia (mostly white, BTW) and Fuckington, who comes from arguably the most racist country in Europe, it’s bound to hit you!

      • WakingLife says:

        I’m not sure it’s fair to lump all Greeks together.

        One of my fondest memories of this HRC debate: I was at a diner (the owner is Greek). John Boehner was on the T.V. blathering about fighting the bill. The owner yelled at the T.V.: “WHY DIDN’T YOU FIGHT BUSH?!?!”

        • whatsthatsound says:

          I’m sure. It’s no more fair to lump all Greeks together than it is any other group or nationality. Nor to attribute the words and actions of someone you disagree with, whether it’s President Obama or Arianna Huffington, to coming as a result of their ethnicity.

      • nellie says:

        All I can say is, thank goodness for centrist America.

        But I MUST give progressives credit for getting centrists motivated to notice Barack. I don’t think he would have been seen without progressive activism. (One more plug for advocacy.) And the centrists recognized another centrist when they saw one.

        So did I, by the way, which is why I was an Edwards supporter. THANK GOODNESS HIS CAMPAIGN FAILED. 😆

      • whatsthatsound says:

        wait wait wait…you just published an article against stereotyping, and you are implying that Arianna Huffington MUST be racist because she’s Greek?

        ?????

    • KQ says:

      Actually if you want to look for historical analogues to Obama not mentioning other presidents, Jackie Robinson comes to mind. Both Robinson and Obama had and have to face unbounded racism and both handle it with grace, class and dignity.

    • KQ says:

      X’s reddish hair really freaked me out when I saw color pictures of him for the first time. His autobiography should be standard reading.

      • LiseLives says:

        I’m going to make a point of reading it --

      • nellie says:

        It’s ironic. The African American community is probably the most internally diverse in the country — in terms of income, background, ethnic mix, physical characteristics, language, lifestyle, political bent — but it probably is the most stereotyped.

        • KQ says:

          BTW my wife’s hair gets a great shade or red when she gets out in the sun allot. I swear she must have used some of those roots her Granny taught her to use from old Cherokee customs.

          • LiseLives says:

            I remember seeing a pic. you posted once, quite a while back ….(?) (hope I’m not going senile) 😉
            She’s a beautiful woman.

            • KQ says:

              I had a picture of her as my Gravatar once but got too embarrassed to keep it. 😳

            • LiseLives says:

              LOL -- well the Gravatar you’re using now still shows a somewhat handsome man 😉

        • KQ says:

          Yup like my wife who has African-Cherokee-German-Irish descendants (not in equal proportions). But then again white is a misnomer as well in the US. I love the some of the people that call themselves Aryan Nation types who would have never qualified to be Aryan by the Nazi definition.

    • SueInCa says:

      Wow amazing resemblance. Funny I never once thought that. I knew he was the “quiet, thoughtful, scholarly type” and that is exactly what I voted for.

    • LiseLives says:

      Yes, ….but replacing the anger with rationale & peaceful out-reach.

      • nellie says:

        That’s actually where Malcolm was when his life was cut short.

        • LiseLives says:

          I wasn’t aware that he’d made that ‘evolution’ towards a more peaceful approach, but the similarities between the 2 are def. there --

          • nellie says:

            His change in philosophy is probably the reason he was assassinated.

            I have to wonder — if we had had both Malcolm and Martin working together for peace and unity for 20, 30, 40 years — what a different country this would be.

            • KQ says:

              Yup add JFK and especially RFK to that pairing and it would probably be a much much better country.

            • LiseLives says:

              Yep, (and hate to have to admit it), but they, added to the other 2, would have balanced any color issues some people might have had back then --

            • LiseLives says:

              Oh my goodness, yeah ….

            • nellie says:

              Throw in a little Bobby Kennedy…

  8. SueInCa says:

    Nellie
    Did you feel the earthquake? The epicenter was just over the border in baha but it was a 6.9, felt in San Diego

    • nellie says:

      Did I ever!

      It lasted — felt like it lasted 90 seconds. The hanging lamp swung for three minutes afterward. The cat has been running around all morning like a wackadoodle. Now I know why.

      Did you feel it, too?

      • SueInCa says:

        Upgraded to a 7.2

      • KQ says:

        I don’t know how you folks out in Cali do it. I hope everyone is safe. I felt a minor tremor once and it was so disconcerting.

        Then again we had like a record half dozen or so tornado warnings last year, the most ever. Thank God climate change is not real. 😉

        • LiseLives says:

          I think we’re all used to it.
          I can remember walking across the street in Santa Barbara several years ago & having to sit on the pavement, otherwise I would have fallen down --
          & in 1994, I was in Santa Monica, sleeping.
          The building shook, bricks & furniture fell.
          I woke up & said to myself : I’m going to die now, ….very calm & ready to die LOL --
          But I didn’t 😉

        • nellie says:

          Sitting in the living room felt like being in a row boat for a while there… 😆

      • LiseLives says:

        Me too !! I’m in my office in Canoga Park & the building swayed big-time ! I just moved towards the outer wall while keeping a steady hand on my computer !
        I was more worried about my computer being damaged than my bod 😀

      • SueInCa says:

        No, we live up north in an “earthquake free” zone. We live in Rocklin about 15 miles from Sacramento. There was a small one over in lake county ca(near the coast of medocino though. I have been in enough, I was in the Joshua Tree one back in 92, that was scary. Aftershocks for days

  9. LiseLives says:

    I feel the need to add one thing :
    Libs need to watch themselves re : HatePalin etc. --
    My natural reaction to the horrid, uncivilized R’s out there is to laugh at them, would love to laugh with them, but that’s not possible.
    & IMO, that’s where Political satire comes into the picture : witty ways of laughing, without hate, without anger, without malice.
    To approach it any other way is to become FoxNews-like -- Libs can do better than that.

    • KQ says:

      Exactly going back to the primaries I could not understand all the hate even in the Democratic primaries going back and forth from the left.

      I think, especially Huffy but many in the progressive blog world now are using the same exact right wing tactics in arguing a point they said they despised.

      I tend to also agree with nellie that there is also allot of angst from the left carrying over from the Bush years.

    • nellie says:

      The key is to listen to what people say and do rather than evaluate them on looks or manner. It takes some practice — we’re encouraged to do just the opposite — but it changes everything.

      • LiseLives says:

        Yep, I agree -- I’ve had to watch myself & monitor my reactions. It’s easy to be led into a HateTeabaggeresque angry knee-jerk reaction, but ….that’s when I choose to go with humor 😉

  10. SueInCa says:

    Let’s face it, for the media the man is boring. He has a wife and two kids he adores, he thinks before he speaks, he doesn’t get up and walk out on a reporter(and I use that term very loosely) when said “reporter” interrupts him at least 15 times during just his last answer. There is no hint of scandal in the White House for reporters and politicians to grab at, Bo is not biting any reporters, the president takes his “wife” out for date nights and doesn’t forget the people on main street, like his predecessor….

    “This is an impressive crowd — the haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elite — I call you my base.” --at the 2000 Al Smith dinner

    If you look at the incredible things he has done in just a little over a year, most of what he promised in his campaign has come to pass. I listened, I heard and the President is following the agenda I heard almost to the letter.

    The only disappointment is Guatanemo and Torture Trials but he never promised the latter and I think he will find a way to close Guantanemo.

    • KQ says:

      I don’t think he was ever for prosecuting. Again why is Gitmo not closed because Congress did not want to fund it’s closing.

      The issues I think he could have acted more promptly with was ending DADT and DOMA.

      • SueInCa says:

        Probably so KQ but as far as the economy goes, it was more important to see HCR through. DADT should never have been an issue ever. And I am not sure DOMA will ever be repealed. It was put in place by a reptile controlled congress that was full of homophobes.

  11. FrankenPC says:

    Frankly I’m amazed at how much Obama and his administration have done EXACTLY what they said they would do during the campaign. Down to the last detail. It’s crazy. I love this administration.

    • LiseLives says:

      That’s the ticket ! -- I am so sick, no : SICK of the naysayers, the negative angry attitudes out there -- so far, he’s done brilliantly, given what & who he’s had to deal with & the obstacles he’s had to overcome & surpass.
      I too, love ! this administration.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Ditto, Franken!! And as I started to say earlier, I think that’s what has pundits scratching their heads: An honest politician. Unheard of!

  12. LiseLives says:

    Marion, what a fabulous piece !! I agree & commiserate with every single thing you’ve written -- only have about 2 minutes today (my co.’s busy season) but wanted to say I have a lot of admiration for your stance & for your superb writing skills --
    Maher voted for Samuel L Jackson …..but methinks we got Sydney Poitier instead, and that refinement, that intelligent civility is what I’m proudest of in our President.
    Is it remotely possible that we could invite a new civil Renaissance through our President ?
    That possibility is what keeps me cautiously hopeful.
    Great post !

    • KQ says:

      I hate to sound like a conservative because they are hypocritical about the concept but I do vote for a person’s personal characteristics as well as their policy stances. I by far saw Obama as the steadiest and most reasonable person running for president. Yeah he’s a politician, well duh anyone who ever has a realistic chance of being president has too be a good politician. I know progressives want a firebrand progressive like Kucinich to just topple the system all at once. A. it’s impossible because Kucinich would still be dealing with the same congress including conservadems and party of NO and B. toppling everything at one time would be utter chaos and make things much worse. If you impose the Pottery Barn rule sometimes you can’t put all the piece back together again. The only way things will be change is through steady progress.

      • LiseLives says:

        I completely agree & that’s why I find Obama a master strategist -- what every person (L or R) critical of where we are, so far, with Obama’s lead is not acknowledging, is that it’s Congress limiting the speed of Obama’s fulfillment of his promises.
        I do like Kucinich & would have supported him, had President Obama not run, but it’s a step by step process & President Obama is doing a highly-skilled job of ‘playing the process’, integrity intact.

        • KQ says:

          If Kucinich was running I’d vote for him in a second. I just use him as an example, probably in a not so eloquent a way, but anyone dealing with this Congress who wants big changes fast would have run into massive opposition like we both said. I mean conservatives and even many moderates say Obama is doing too much.

          The most infuriating part is come the midterms there will be millions and millions of people voting for nothing or worse going backwards. All the media supplied apathy against the very people that are trying to change things is going to result in people being elected who want to turn back the clock to the Bush years.

          • LiseLives says:

            I’m not so sure about the mid-terms, KQ -- I’m hoping that the R’s keep doing exactly what they have been --
            All we have to do is show the Independents how low the Right is capable of going -- let them keep unleashing what their true colors are.
            Kucinich : The one thing I wish someone would examine is Kucinich’s idea of dropping Income Tax -- don’t know the full implications, but taxing expenditures rather than income strikes me as a whole lot less paper-shuffling & red tape ….
            Anyone have some insight on this ?
            It’s Sunday, so I’m letting myself off the hook, work-wise, for tidbits of POV 😉

            • nellie says:

              Lise, a book you might be interested in is called “Perfectly Legal” by David Cay Johnston. It’s about how our tax system is structured wholly to benefit the wealthy.

            • LiseLives says:

              Thanks for the recommendation nellie --
              ‘tho I hardly need any reminding that the tax system benefits the wealthy.
              I was once married to one of the rare wealthy with a social conscience -- they don’t make too many of those.

            • Marion says:

              Thanks for your kind comments. I’d have to hold my nose and vote for Kucinich, but I don’t think, were he the candidate, that the Dems would get into office; and if they did, I don’t think he’d accomplish much. In actualy legislation, he’s only managed to get 1 piece of legislation past committiee satge in 14 years.

            • KQ says:

              The big problem with that is working and middle class people spend a much higher percentage of their income out of necessity than rich people who can hoard their salaries or capital gains. I don’t get it coming from Kucinich because a consumption tax is the most regressive way to tax people there is. I thought that was more a Ron Paul scheme.

              Where income taxes is based on a progressive tax code.

            • KQ says:

              One good thing the HCR bill does that people don’t talk about is raising the ceiling on payroll taxes for people making over $250K. That’s a big deal because before that change a middle manager who made $100K was paying as much payroll taxes as a CEO making $10MM.

            • KQ says:

              Ah that explains it LL. Because I know he would not be for putting more of a tax burden on working people.

              I saw some calculations and based on spending habits now they said at least he libertarian 25% rate “fair tax” they talk about that it would simply not generate enough revenue. But if you taxed luxuries much higher who knows.

            • nellie says:

              I’m starting to believe in an “assets” tax — really hard to compute, but really the only fair way to get people to contribute.

              Even w a luxury tax, the middle class gets screwed. I mean, how many yachts can a person buy?

              One thing they need to do is get the tax on capital gains up from 15%. I would exempt single family homes — maybe all residences — from any increase.

            • LiseLives says:

              How I had understood it, was that necessities would have a lower tax rate & luxuries, a higher one ….
              That & abolishing the many tax loopholes that the wealthy flagrantly exploit, seemed a good way to approach it.

  13. KQ says:

    Typical Huffy trying to rile up progressives AGAIN.

    A brief Rashomon.

    From AP

    Afghan leader seeks support for new offensive

    From Huffy

    Karzai Slams The West AGAIN

  14. dildenusa says:

    cognitive -- adj. -- describing the act of knowing.
    dissonance -- n. -- inharmonious sound, incongruity.

    It’s all part of modern life. I know that nothing is ever as it seems. Politicians, in fact, anyone who desires to be a leader is trained to never become predictable. And hopefully they will have some training or experience as a leader. Think on your feet, carpe diem, think outside the box are the leader’s mantra.

    The challenge in the age of the split second 24 hour news cycle is how do I tell the difference between cognitive dissonance and bald faced lying hypocrisy? I think this is where body language and nuance become critical. When I watched Colin Powell go before the UN secutity council and try to rationalize why we’re going to invade Iraq, I could tell he didn’t want to be there but was being sent up by Bush and Cheney to be the messenger. So what does body language and nuance tell us about President Obama? Personally, I think the jury is still out.

    • KQ says:

      You would also replace politicians with anyone who has an agenda. I’m sorry but the media apostates these days all have an agenda and practice as much hyperbole, cognitive dissonance, lying hypocrisy or what every you want to call it as politicians. Like Marion said the left is not immune from these afflictions either.

    • KQ says:

      I know what you mean. When I hear Obama talking about investing in alternative energy with enthusiasm juxtaposed with talking about offshore drilling as a compromise I see the change in him. He sincerely wants to invest huge sums in alternative energy and it’s part of his grand strategy. So when he talks about offshore drilling being a part of it you can see he’s uncomfortable about it because he knows just like we do that it’s not the real answer. Obama is pretty transparent in that way. Yes politicians always keep their options open and support things they don’t really want but at least down deep I’m pretty satisfied Obama gets it more than people think.


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