Archive for: January, 2010

Writers Wanted

Jan 31 2010 Published by under Featured News

Politicususa is looking for some new liberal writers to join our staff. Previous blogging experience is not necessary, but is a plus. Writers must be able to submit at least one original post a week of at least 500 words.

All interested persons should send a writing sample to politicususa@gmail.com Please use the title writing sample in the subject line of the email. Sorry but this position is not paid

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Impress Your Friends on Super Sunday with Prop 8

Jan 31 2010 Published by under Featured News

Learn how to amaze your friends at next week’s Super Bowl party in one easy lesson. When the subject of the Prop. 8 trial comes up between Super Bowl commercials, be able to look the host(ess) right in the eye and say, “If the plaintiffs prevail, same-sex marriage restrictions are toast just like Jim Crow after Brown v. Board of Education.” (It’s always a good idea to pay the host(ess) special attention, at least till you can’t eat or drink any more.) Interested? Read on.

You shouldn’t have to remind anyone that two weeks of testimony in the federal court case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger just concluded. Nor that the lawyers that opposed each other in Bush v. Gore have teamed up on the side of the gay and lesbian couples that brought the Prop. 8 case. (Talk about strange bedfellows.)

Nor even that the Prop. 8 case has its roots in the Marriage Cases (PDF). There, the California Supreme Court struck down a state law that forbade same-sex marriage. While dipping a chip into the guacamole, you should blithely observe, “Of course, that case was decided under California’s constitution, not the federal constitution.” Explain, if necessary, that the federal constitution establishes our minimum civil rights. A state constitution may go above and beyond that floor. The California Constitution does indeed protect some rights more than the U.S. Constitution. This may have affected the result in the Marriage Cases.

Especially if you know some guy who might be offended by the term, wait for the quiet following an insignificant incomplete pass to posit, “So, what’s a hateful homophobe to do? Change the state constitution, of course.” In November 2008, Californians approved Proposition 8, which amends the state constitution to read, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” This overturned the Marriage Cases.

The plaintiffs in the Prop. 8 case, to no one’s surprise, were refused marriage licenses pursuant to the newly amended state constitution. So they filed suit under the federal constitution. Specifically, they allege that California’s ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process and equal protection guarantees.

Here’s where your preparation pays off. Call out from the kitchen, “Anyone else need a brewsky? Of course, the court’s decision whether to apply strict scrutiny is awfully important.” Under the Due Process clause, a law restricting a “fundamental” right is subject to “strict scrutiny.” Under the equal protection clause, a law that discriminates against a “suspect” class, one that has historically suffered discrimination for what we now acknowledge to have been no good reason, is subject to “strict scrutiny.”

Under strict scrutiny, a discriminatory law survives only if it furthers a truly compelling public interest via the narrowest possible means. Few laws survive strict scrutiny. Under the lesser “rational” level of scrutiny, where the right at stake is not fundamental, or the classification is not suspect, a discriminatory law survives if there’s merely the off chance that it serves some half-plausible purpose.

“Few rights are more fundamental than the right to get married, right?” (Tailor any follow-up quips based upon whether the crowd is mostly single, first-timers, divorced, or mulligan spouses.) Plaintiffs argue that the right of consenting adults to marry is fundamental because it’s deeply rooted in our nation’s heritage, and substantive state interference just seems wrong. If the court agrees, then the ban probably is unconstitutional.

Prop. 8 proponents respond that, “until this decade marriage has always been limited to opposite-sex unions[.]” Thus, at least for same-sex couples, marriage was never a right, let alone a fundamental one. Waiving a weenie on a toothpick, exclaim, “What – like same-sex marriages haven’t gone on since ancient Greece and Rome, in parts of China, the Middle East, hell, throughout ancient European history?”

To invoke strict scrutiny for their equal protection claim, the plaintiffs point out that distinctions based upon same-sex attraction are impermissible because gays and lesbians are a suspect class. Explain that, in this context, “gays and lesbians are ‘suspect’ because they’ve always suffered discrimination and violence. Not only that, but homosexuality isn’t a voluntary choice, and gays and lesbians add every bit as much to society as straights.”

The proponents respond that being gay or lesbian is not hardwired, and they have plenty of political power (never mind that, as the recent mayoral election in Houston demonstrates, the election of a gay or lesbian candidate still makes national headlines for that reason alone). They argue that the plaintiffs “vastly overstate the significance of prior discrimination against gays and lesbians.” This is when the woman on the sofa who’s actually watching the game chimes in, “Two words: Matthew freakin’ Shepard.”

“Yeah,” you respond, “and gay kids commit suicide way more than straight kids because it’s FUN getting mocked, bullied and beat up.”

Here’s where you note that even if the plaintiffs’ claims are subjected to something less than strict scrutiny, the Prop. 8 proponents still should lose. “Absolutely nothing justifies the ban. Only an idiot believes we’re better off because of it, or worse off if it’s lifted.” Depending upon the quality and quantity of liquor consumed, someone may self-identify by asserting some version of, “It’ll destroy the institution of marriage,” or, “they can’t even procreate, that’s what marriage is all about.”

You’ll respond with some version of, “So the institution of marriage is strengthened by the completely unrestricted marital rights of rapists, adulterers, wife beaters, and convicted child molesters?” or, “Haven’t seen any bans on octogenarians or women with hysterectomies – you?” Now’s when the woman watching the game adds, “Ah for #^&*$’s sake, just how does someone else getting married affect your marriage? Explain that one, chump – after this third-and-goal.”

It’s your choice whether to point out that, no matter how well reasoned and factually based may be a decision striking down the ban, it has as good a chance of surviving the unabashedly agenda-driven, transparently activist, ultraconservative five-justice majority on the U.S. Supreme Court as, say, a bowl of salty cashews at a Super Bowl party.

Judge Vaughn Walker, who heard the case without a jury, will hear the attorneys’ final arguments this spring. His decision will issue some weeks or months after that.

Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

4 responses so far

The White House Defends Obama’s Supreme Court Criticism

Jan 31 2010 Published by under U.S. Supreme Court, White House

Senior White House advisor David Axelrod was on Meet the Press today, where defended Obama’s criticism of the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign finance at the State of the Union. Axelrod said, “I certainly think it was appropriate for the president to talk about the threat that this decision brings to our democracy.”

Here is the video:

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Moderator David Gregory asked, “Was it appropriate for the president to criticize the Supreme Court during the State of the Union? And do you consider Justice Alito’s response to be appropriate or inappropriate?”

Axelrod answered, “Well, I certainly think it was appropriate for the president to talk about the threat that this decision brings to our democracy. Basically, it’s going to be open season for special interest groups and big corporations to participate in our elections with all their might and all their money. And that includes foreign–domestic branches of foreign-owned businesses, even government–foreign government-owned businesses. In fact, some of the, some of those companies signaled on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal, that they’re going to lobby vigorously against any effort to rein this in.”

He continued, “One thing we ought to be able to agree on, and, and maybe we can here today, is that we shouldn’t have foreign-owned businesses and foreign–you know, Hugo Chavez should not be playing in American political campaigns. And I, for the life of me, don’t understand why we wouldn’t make that illegal.”

In an age of multinational corporate interests the scenario that Axelrod laid out is not an unrealistic possibility. Of course corporations are going to lobby against any attempts to right the wrong carried out by this decision legislatively. The ruling gave corporations, all corporations unlimited ability to influence elections.

Obama’s criticism at the State of the Union was not only justified, but the president had a moral obligation to directly address the Supreme Court. The Court has opened the door to the biggest threat to the American electoral system in our lifetime, and it is the constitutional duty of the two remaining branches of our government to protect the integrity of our electoral process.

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Arianna Huffington Confronts Roger Ailes about Glenn Beck

Jan 31 2010 Published by under Featured News

Fox News president Roger Ailes was on ABC’s This Week today, where he was confronted by Arianna Huffington about the inflammatory rhetoric that Glenn Beck uses on his show. Ailes replied, “He’s talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people so I think he was probably accurate.”

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

Arianna Huffington confronted Ailes, “But Roger it’s not a question of picking a fight and aren’t you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using which is after all, inciting the American people. Three’s a lot of suffering out there as you know and when he talks about people being slaughtered, about who is going to be on the next killing spree.”

Ailes said, “He’s talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people so I think he was probably accurate, also I think he speaks English, so I don’t misinterpret any of his words. He did say one of unfortunate thing, which he apologized for, but that happens in live television, so I think if we start going around as the word police in this business it would be.

Huffington fired back by bringing up Hofstadter’s concept of the danger in tapping into the paranoid style of American politics, and Ailes came back with having read a piece on her blog that was a personal attack on him. Huffington replied that it wasn’t written by someone that her site employed.

Notice how Ailes tried to direct the discussion away from Beck’s conspiracy theories and the Obama administration. Ailes wants you to believe that Beck is about historical accuracy, not the fact that he called President Obama a racist. To put this into context Ailes was saying that Beck, who on Friday, called for the rewriting of The Federalist Papers is historically accurate.

By the way, Arianna’s point that the attack on Ailes did not come from one of her employees is pretty weak. If I put something on my website, I stand behind it. If it made it on to her website, then she needs to stop parsing and either admit a mistake in putting it on the site or defend running it.

Beck is not politically, or historically accurate. I know what Ailes was trying to sell, but the point is that when Beck talks about Stalin and Hitler, he always compares the Obama administration to them. Beck’s program is not on the History Channel for a reason. It is a political show, and this sleight of hand defense of Beck does hold up beyond superficial inspection.

5 responses so far

Obama Enters the GOP Den and Slays the Dragon

Jan 30 2010 Published by under Republican Party

Yesterday, without his trusty TelePrompTer, President Barack Obama walked in to the GOP dragon’s den, made his plea and statement to the Republican Party, and then basically said “bring it on”, I’m ready for you! It was masterful. Republican House leaders were schooled by a wise and powerful leader.

First there was Obama’s State of the Union address that challenged the GOP to work with him on solving the nation’s issues while reprimanding the Supreme Court’s conservative majority on their decision to remove limits on corporate campaign contributions. Obama then entered the GOP’s lion’s den for a face to face confrontation without a TelePrompTer.

Other Presidents have addressed the GOP conference before but this was the first time it was nationally televised which I’m sure the GOP seriously regrets. The President walked in and made his plea and statement to the Republican Party and then basically said “bring it on”, I’m ready for you! It was masterful.

Obama said, “Keep your friends close and visit the GOP conference every few months!”

The President was strong, confident and well-informed beyond the attacks disguised as questions by various GOP leaders who were prepared but failed to embarrass and shut down the President. It was as if Obama was waiting for this opportunity to finally challenge the misleading claims directly for the world to see.

The GOP would rather be seen as obstructionists than to see Obama and the Democrats get any policies through congress.

First up was Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the conference, who came out attacking and accusing the President of creating the ten per cent unemployment rate after the stimulus plan.

Obama roared back that Mike is surely not trying to blame the high rate of unemployment on his administration because it took place in the quarter prior to his stimulus package. Obama admitted that his administration, along with everyone else, had under estimated how severe the job loss would be. But the fact is that the extreme growth of unemployment took place as a result of the Bush administration and prior to the approval of the stimulus package or any stimulus plan that the GOP presented as well.

Most economists understand the stimulus was a requirement to reduce the bleeding. Mike also requested “across the board” tax cuts because everyone likes them.

In regard to the attack on the stimulus, Obama had no problem in correcting the accusations with the facts and then dared the GOP to go against them right there on live TV. He was knowledgeable and fully prepared and addressed the following boldly, loudly and clearly:

Obama said, “The notion that the stimulus package was radical is just not true!” He went on to include the following.

About a third of the stimulus package were tax cuts for ninety five percent of working Americans and small businesses.

Another third of the stimulus was to assist the states in stabilizing their budgets and preventing more layoffs of the jobs of teachers, firefighters and cops or otherwise the GOP would have been going back to their constituents facing a lot more anger and despair.

A big chunk went to COBRA and Unemployment insurance to help put a floor under individual Americans who needed it and to have a little money in their pockets.

Another portion went to Infrastructure that supposedly the GOP was not against. Obama noted clearly that a lot of the GOP in the conference had gone to ribbon cutting events for Infrastructure Stimulus projects that they voted against.

Billions went to AMT (alternative minimum tax) that was not even Obama’s proposal that keeps putting potential tax hikes off that are embedded in the budget.

Obama said the components of the Recovery Act are consistent with what many of the GOP say they want to do especially when the roof was caving in. There were no credible economists who could back up what the GOP was claiming. Obama says in terms of “across the board” tax cuts, he would need to see the math that could balance the deficit at the same time. He may not be willing to give a tax cut to a billionaire like Warren Buffett or to the big banks. Obama also fires back, “in the area of deficits and debt, there has been a tendency toward inconsistent statements.”

Next up:

Paul Ryan is a congressman from Wisconsin and ranking member of the budget committee. His underlying claim and premise was that the increase in budget on the past year was 84 percent. And why can’t the freeze on spending be immediate?

Obama said it was more of an automatic stabilizer to kick in before he took office.
A lot of these things are set up automatically. The freeze can’t take place immediately. The consensus among those who know the economy best, say it would have a destabilizing effect when the economy has not fully taken off. That’s why it is proposed for the next year. In regards to the line by line earmarks, those are a problem for both parties and their pet projects. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant” claims Obama. All earmarks should be transparent so the public can see who is doing what. The President appears to know a lot more than some of the people who bring up the questions.

Jason Chaffetz, freshman congressman from Utah, oversight and government reform committee questioned the CSPAN issue, lobbyists, and HCR. Obama said, first of all, in regards to CSPAN and HCR, Obama replied that overwhelmingly the truth of the matter is, the majority of it was on CSPAN because the GOP participated on several committees that helped to shape this bill. Countless hearings took place. Obama kicked it off with many of the GOP leaders. Obama takes responsibility for not structuring the messy process better logistically. Then he asked the freshman what is he doing personally to help this process along?

In terms of lobbyists, he could honestly say that no administration has been as tough on lobbyists as his administration. Those whose terms carried over, he did not get rid of but that changes as terms run out. He has been very consistent in this matter. Barack Obama is not afraid! By the way, I would like to add that this same freshman congressman from Utah was one of the GOP, along with Michelle Bachman, and (you lie) Joe Wilson who voted against the airport scanners that would have probably revealed the explosives of the underwear bomber.

The claims against the HCR bill were addressed by Obama. Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee made claims that they were not being heard. I would like to add that even though she has been in congress for eight years under the GOP leadership, that she had never pushed for healthcare reform on this level under the Bush administration. Obama acknowledged that he had reviewed their proposal before and a lot more. Some of the ideas have been embraced and incorporated. Obama said if they could show him or present something that is feasible by healthcare professionals, including doctors and nurses, who know the system and how it works, ways of reducing premiums, ways of covering those with no insurance, having more affordable plans for small businesses, insurance reforms for those with pre-existing conditions, coverage not dropped because people are sick, young people covered right out of college, choice in competition, and other components he had already discussed, then he is game!!! Obama declared that the current HCR bills that include these components had been demonized by the GOP.

I could go on and on with this televised moment in American history. Of course FOX news refused to carry the entire broadcast and decided to show sound bytes instead. They were misleading in their reports on the conference as usual. Other GOP leaders went on to question the President and one by one Obama knocked them off with the truth and a real strong and sincere fighting spirit.

They were schooled by a wise and powerful leader. If you get a chance to see this conference, please watch history in the making. The GOP talking points were meaningless without the usual media support to let their statements stand as fact.

The President was smart to challenge the GOP in their own lion’s den and to really tell the facts and go face to face against the leaders and their misleading claims. Obama exposed the GOP for who they are and for wanting all or nothing as well as being intent-fully obstructive. They are accusing Obama of some wild-eye plot that Obama declares leaves very little room for working with him by their own construction.

President Obama concludes that they were not sent to Washington to fight in some steel cage match to see who comes out alive. They were sent to Washington to work together to get things done. This current process is not healthy or productive. Obama says close the gap between rhetoric and reality and let’s get things done for the American people.

So to the GOP, walk in the room and negotiate or walk away without helping the American taxpayer. We must demand that the GOP work on behalf of the American people and not just their upcoming elections. Obama urged the GOP to work with him and not against him. Let’s sincerely solve some serious problems.

3 responses so far

Glenn Beck Explains To Us Why The Teabaggers Are So Dumb

Jan 30 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his Fox News program yesterday Glenn Beck was asking his panel for one book that is a must read. The Federalist Papers were suggested. Beck said, “The one that makes your head hurt. We need really smart people who can take The Federalist Papers and rewrite them for the common man,” so Teabaggers are so stupid because reading is hard.

Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:

Beck said, “Of course the one who makes your head hurt. The one that makes your head hurt. You know what I think the problem is, honestly, I think guys like you. I think we need really smart people that can take The Federalist Papers, and rewrite them for the common man, change the language. I read George Washington’s farewell address, which is brilliant, but I mean I don’t know how anybody listened to these guys back then because it’s really difficult. You know what I mean? If we rewrite these things in common language, people can access them again a lot easier.”

This makes my head hurt on so many levels. Beck does not understand that the way the Federalist Papers were written is the way people spoke and wrote back then. These writings would not have been difficult to understand in their time period.

The essays that make up The Federalist Papers were written for the common man of the day. They appeared in three New York newspapers, Independent Journal, the New-York Packet, and the Daily Advertiser. They were not written for the readers of today, but they were in fact written for the “common man.”

What Glenn Beck is calling for is not a rewriting, but a reinterpretation of The Federalist Papers. He wants to them to Beckenized. Beckenization is a process that involves distorting history and cherry picking quotes and facts to match a right wing ideology. Changing the language of The Federalist Papers, would change the meaning of many of the essays.

If Beck wants a modern translation of The Federalist Papers, there are plenty of them out there. A translation is different than a rewrite. What Glenn Beck really wants to do is rewrite the essays so that they can be given a far right wing slant. Glenn did provide with an answer to why teabaggers are stupid. Much like Beck, they have no idea what they are reading.

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President Obama Lays a Brutal Beat down on House Republicans

Jan 30 2010 Published by under Republican Party

President Obama took up the House Republican leadership’s invitation to speak at their annual retreat yesterday where he deftly batted away every GOP talking point and made the Republicans wish that they have never allowed cameras to film the gathering. Obama called out the Republicans for being all tactics with no problem solving.

Here is the video from CNN:

Obama dominated the room because the Republicans chose to phrase their questions as election year talking points, Rep. Jim Hensarling asked, “But this is what I don’t understand, Mr. President. After that discussion, your administration proposed a budget that would triple the national debt over the next 10 years. Surely you don’t believe 10 years from now we will still be mired in this recession. It proposed new entitlement spending and moved the — the cost of government to almost 24.5 percent of the economy…But this is what I don’t understand, Mr. President. After that discussion, your administration proposed a budget that would triple the national debt over the next 10 years. Surely you don’t believe 10 years from now we will still be mired in this recession. It proposed new entitlement spending and moved the — the cost of government to almost 24.5 percent of the economy.”

Obama destroyed Hensarling with his reply, “I’ve just got to take this last question as an example of how it’s very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we’re going to do, because the whole question was structured as a talking point for running — running a campaign. Now, look, let’s talk about the budget, once again, because I’ll go through it with you line by line.”

The president went on later to say, “Had nothing to do with anything that we had done. It had to do with the fact that in 2000, when there was a budget surplus of $200 billion, you had a Republican administration and a Republican Congress, and we had two tax cuts that weren’t paid for, you had a prescription drug plan — the biggest entitlement plan, by the way, in several decades — that was passed, without it being paid for, you had two wars that were done through supplementals, and then you had $3 trillion projected because of the lost revenue of this recession.”

It was so bad that Republicans are now regretting letting the cameras into the room. Here is the video of Luke Russert’s report on MSNBC from Think Progress:

Republicans made two huge mistakes. First, they tried to use Obama as a prop for the 2010 campaign. Secondly, they underestimated Barack Obama. I don’t know why they thought that Obama would just play along with their talking points. They must have already forgotten 2008. The Obama that we saw yesterday was vintage 2008 Obama.

This is the president that his supporters have been waiting for. The contrast was striking between the empty talking points of the GOP and facts that Obama brought to the table. Instead of being a show of GOP strength, the gathering became an exercise of presidential muscle. Obama may be invited back to the House GOP retreat, but the reporters and cameras won’t be.

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An Obviously High Rush Limbaugh Offers to Be Obama’s Father

Jan 28 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today Rush Limbaugh had a heart to heart talk with Obama where offered to guide Obama and be the father that he never had. Limbaugh said, “Let me be the father that you never had or never really knew, because I think you need some guidance.”

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

Limbaugh said, “I penned a message to Obama that I would like to deliver now, because Mr. Obama I think it’s time we had a heart to heart talk. Let me be the father that you never had or never really knew, because I think you need some guidance. It’s time to man up. It’s time to grow up. That speech last night was an embarrassment. You couldn’t focus. You lashed out in all directions. You refused to accept responsibility for your own actions, and you were angry, and he was, folks he was mad. Being president is a big job. It’s a big responsibility. You wanted the position, Barack. You campaigned for it. You told the public to trust you with it, and they elected you, and you’re now president of the greatest country mankind has ever known, and yet you act like this was all coming to you, like you deserve it, that you are better than the people you are supposed to serve, and that you have no tolerance for debate or dissent.”

What address was Limbaugh watching last night? He overlooked all of the reaching out that the president did, just so that he could label Obama the angry, unqualified, elitist, black man. Did it ever occur to Limbaugh that his message came off like an old angry white guy who was trying to put a black man in his place.

It is laughable that Limbaugh, a man who has never had the guts to run for anything thinks that he is qualified to lecture the president. We should play this rant of Limbaugh’s in schools all around America to demonstrate to children the dangers of long term drug abuse, because Rush’s mind is fried.

His message to Obama was more like a bad Saturday Night Live skit that airs after midnight than serious message to president. I am sure that President Obama would rather have no father over a drugged out sleaze ball who left the reality the rest of us know long ago.

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Rachel Maddow Examines Obama’s Quest for Political Unity

Jan 28 2010 Published by under Featured News

On MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, host Rachel Maddow traced President Barack Obama’s efforts towards political unity. She examined all of Obama’s failed bi-partisan efforts, and concluded that Obama is going to have change his strategy because he is going to get zero Republican support.

Here is the video:

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After pointing out that Republicans are changing their stated policy views to disagree with Obama, Maddow said, “Republicans have been as unanimous as they can be in opposition to every major thing this president has tried to do and they expect to continue to be as best as I can tell, calculating that the political benefit of stopping a president from accomplishing anything is worth a lot more than any risk of being seen as obstructionist.”

Maddow moved on to Obama’s first year, “Barack Obama’s first year in office has been a real challenge to his whole political brand, to his baseline appeal, to the thing that made him popular in the first place. The reason the hope slogan worked and didn’t seem cynical, and the reason for all the often difficult, but earnest discussion of whether his was a post racial candidacy is because of President Obama’s constant message of what unites us is stronger than what divides us, that may be true in the country at large. I hope it’s true. It’s really not true in Washington though.”

She concluded that in order for the Democrats to get things done, they are going to need a strategy that counts on no Republican votes. This type of maneuver goes counter what Obama built his brand on, but the fate of his presidency may rest on whether or not he can get things done.

Maddow hit the nail on the head. One of the biggest transitions that all new presidents face is move from campaigning to governing. What got Obama elected was a message of hope and bi-partisanship. He can keep the hope, but he is going to have to abandon the idea of bi-partisanship. Obama’s success or failure is going to depend on how quickly he can implement a strategy for effective governance.

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Keith Olbermann Tries to Turn Obama to the Dark Side

Jan 28 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his pre-SOTU Countdown tonight, host Keith Olbermann urged President Obama to seize the hatred of his enemies on the right. Olbermann said Obama should follow the template of FDR and, “welcome their hatred.” Olbermann is becoming very Darth Vaderish.

Here is the video:

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Olbermann played a portion of F.D.R.’s 1936 Madison Square Garden speech, “We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me‹and I welcome their hatred.”

The host added, “And there Mr. President is your template, welcome their hatred, seize the mood of this nation identical tonight to what was in 1936, nearly, as Mr. Roosevelt perfectly captured it. Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob, and aspire to what he also added, I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match.”

Is it any real surprise that Keith Olbermann would believe that the solution to Obama’s problems is to embrace hatred so that a poisoned environment becomes absolutely toxic? No, because Olbermann himself has embraced hatred when it comes to the right wing, but is there a lesson here for Obama?

I don’t think so, because of one key difference, which is context. F.D.R.’s speech was a campaign speech given as he was seeking a second term in front of a building full of supporters. Obama is a sitting president, not up for reelection yet, who is giving an address to lay out his vision of the national agenda for the year.

Obama could certainly offer a more vigorous defense to his critics, and we saw a little bit of that in his address when he referred to the obstructionism of the GOP, but the State of the Union is not the time or place for the type of stance that Olbermann advocated. In this case Olbermann is nothing more than Darth Vader trying to get Luke Skywalker to cross over to the dark side.

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