President Obama seems to have a hint of President Theodore Roosevelt in him, here. President Theodore Roosevelt stood with American families and small business when he took on the monopolies and trusts. It seems that President Obama is doing the same with health insurance companies. We must hold these companies accountable
If you are the CEO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and you want to increase premiums 10% or more, you are going to have to answer to the people in 2011.
President Obama and many others know that health insurance premiums are hindering growth in our economy more than any other cost of doing business. This is why he has taken the steps to ensure we hold them accountable when they decide to jack up the rates on our families and small businesses.
According to Kathleen Sebelius, Sec. of health and human services, health insurance premiums for a family has increased 131% since 1999.
With the year drawing to a close, Media Matters remembered some of Glenn Beck’s low points for 2010. They’re pretty low; after all, Beck was Media Matters’ “Misinformer of the Year” for 2009. Unfortunately, he seemed more than equal to the task:
Claiming that “We are headed towards a thugocracy.” Glenn Beck has likened the Obama administration and progressives to Mussolini, Stalin, Nazis, Al Qaeda, and vampires. He insists that a cabal of radicals who hate the country is operating out of the White House.
Describing progressive policies as murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial. Beck called a proposed food safety bill a “perfect storm” that was about “control and eventually starvation.” He called net neutrality a “hostile takeover” and said health care reform amounted to “pulling the plug” on seniors.
They started me thinking, these absurdist claims.
Violence is in the rhetoric of the right-wing, in Tea Party and the Republican Party. It is notably absent in left-wing rhetoric. It is the conservatives who are pro-gun, pro-secession, armed, and forming militia units and talking about asserting Second Amendment rights. The allusion to Oklahoma City is especially ironical since that terrorist act was the work of a right-wing bomber, not a progressive.
Thugocracy, if this charge can be taken seriously at all, thugocracy came about when Bush won in 2001, immediately setting about plundering not only the United States but Iraq when it was conquered. Halliburton is only the tip of the iceberg. The real threat at this point is from theocracy, which Republicans, Tea Partiers and Beck all seem to support. Of course, this theocracy will support a right-wing thugocracy as a matter of course, especially if in the control of Grifterella herself, Sarah Palin.
The TSA reference is fascinating, since it is Republicans who want to outsource the TSA’s job to some private firm, which would make it a private army in the same way Blackwater became a private army for President Bush. But they won’t just peek through you clothes, they will rape you, and you won’t have a right to complain. We’ve seen how Republican-sponsored private security firms behave.
Progressive policies are murderous, apocalyptic and conspiratorial? Yes, Glenn, and your Christian fundamentalism is not at all apocalyptic, or don’t you share the beliefs of your close friend Sarah Palin? Fundamentalist Christianity is all about the apocalypse. And murderous? It was a Republican administration that invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and brutalized and tortured others in violation of International Law and the Constitution. And conspiratorial? Really? It’s the corporations who want to take over the Internet, Glenn, not the government.
And Glenn won’t tell you how he’s profiting from selling the Glenn Beck apocalypse:
Glenn has taken everything conservatives have done and want to do (publicly) and leveled them at the door of the left. It isn’t the work of a few minutes to show what he has done. Google or Bing it, and see for yourself.
There is no more substance to Beck’s rants than there were to Coulter’s. And what’s going on anyway, has there been some passing of the torch? Or did they agree that Coulter would condemn liberals while Beck took care of progressives? Whatever happened, they are both consistently and diligently avoiding facts in their nasty, fantastic narratives.
Beck is a purveyor of fiction, and poor fiction at that. Good fiction, at least is believable. But Beck can’t offer us anything of the sort. His blackboard can’t conjure anything remotely believable. He invents things, yet constantly complains that nobody is talking about it. “Why isn’t anyone talking about it?” he shrieks.
There is nobody talking about it because it is untrue, Glenn. You made it up. Until you lied about it on your show today, nobody had even heard of it. You might as well start your show by saying a dragon ate your underwear. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?
Oh that’s right: it didn’t happen.
Sadly, all too many people do believe Glenn, including people who go on to murder others, inspired to do so by his lies. People gather around the radio to eagerly take in his most salacious gossip, all too willing to believe it because it feeds their fear and their suspicions. This is how Hitler worked too, sowing doubt and fear, feeding paranoia and suspicion and xenophobia and homophobia. Little separates them in terms of what they say and how they say it. And that’s not Godwin’s Law; it’s a fact.
Sadly, Glenn Beck is living proof that dishonesty pays. There is such a thing as a perfect crime, and Glenn Beck is committing it.
The left and the left of left are at each other’s throats, locked in a battle of high minded principles versus bread and butter pragmatism. Divided over whether President Obama is a skilled negotiator who had to make a bad deal in order to protect the unemployed and the middle class, or a weak leader who caved in to hostage takers.
If there was ever a time when we could use a common enemy, it’s now. Oh sure, Sarah Palin is still out there, fluttering and twittering around. But with her book sales flagging and her reality show ratings down, she just isn’t the polarizing figure we need right now.
What we need is a good Tea Party rally, with gun-toting protestors carrying poorly spelled signs: “DREEM Act is Ammnesty!” “Don’t Ask to Clime in my Fox Hole and I Won’t Tell you to Go to Hell!” “Obama’s Death Tax is Sochialism!”
We need a crowd of about 5000 middle-aged white men dressed in tights and wigs, or with tea bags dangling in front of their faces. We need all-day coverage from Fox News, reporting that there were at least 100,000 in attendance.
We need Gretchen positing in her innocent voice “I just wonder how many of these protesters are actually Democrats? I mean, that’s what some people are saying and I just wonder if that’s true?” And then later Sean will report “There are reports that at least half of the 250,000 in attendance are angry Democrats, fleeing Obama in droves.” And then Glenn Beck will explain that Barack Obama split his base on purpose to purify the Democratic party, and he’ll adraw on his blackboard to show how this was George Soros’ true plan all along, since the day that Barack Obama was born in a far off land and Soros sent his minions to Hawaii to plant a false birth certificate.
But alas, the Tea Party has been laying low since the mid-term elections. Maybe they’re waiting to see whether the pets they helped elect to office are going to follow through on their Commitment to America. Maybe they’re meeting in secret, grumbling to each other about promises already broken – high power lobbyists being hired, pork barrel spending being sought, back room deals being struck with the secret Muslim Kenyan illegitimate president. Or maybe they are finding out that they were just a tool of a few billionaires and the GOP establishment, and now the funding has disappeared until the next election cycle.
So without a common enemy, we are left to work our differences out together. Those who are angry that the President negotiated with the GOP hostage takers are still angry. But the anger is less focused. Some of it is being directed at members of Congress, who had two years with a majority in both houses when they could have done something about the Bush tax cuts. And as with any form of energy, when anger is diffused it loses strength.
Those who believe the President did what he had to do, who believe that unemployment benefits and tax cuts for the working class couldn’t be risked, are beginning to speak up instead of quietly fuming in resentment. And they have found some common ground with the angry left in their admiration of Bernie Sanders’ heroic – though entirely symbolic – filibuster. And they are watching out of the corner of their eyes as House and Senate leaders quietly go to work to make sure that the President’s bill will be passed, or maybe something even better.
And through it all the real base of the Democratic Party has been simply been going on about their lives. Getting up for work every day, or getting up to look for work. Shopping for holiday gifts, or explaining to the children why there won’t be many gifts this holiday. Grocery shopping, or visiting the local food bank. Putting a little gas in the car, replacing lost mittens and scarves, sitting for hours in an emergency room because they don’t have insurance. Counting down the days until the foreclosure sale, or sucking up to the boss one more time, because they can’t afford to lose this job. And occasionally catching the news that “Obama is losing his base” and wondering who the hell the base is, if not them.
The Democratic Party will survive. President Obama will survive. We will come together to work for his reelection, and for the reelection of those members of Congress who should have extended unemployment benefits, passed the DREAM Act, repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and ended millionaire tax cuts before the mid-terms. The Democratic party will continue to refuse to adopt the lock-step tactics of the GOP, and will continue to fight a battle between high principles and bread and butter issues. We are by nature a diverse group, but also a tolerant and forgiving group. And we WILL survive.
A new McClatchy-Marist poll was released today and it contained some that should give both the White House and President a cause for concern as they implement the President’s new centrist strategy. According to the poll, Obama’s approval rating has dropped to a new low of 42%. This decline is being fueled by a near doubling in his disapproval rating among Democrats.
According to McClatchy, Obama is struggling because Democrats are rebelling against his move to the middle. Obama’s approval rating dropped among Democrats from 82% last month to 74% in December. More troubling than the decline in approval is the increase in disapproval. Obama’s disapproval rating with Democrats has jumped from 11% in November to 21% in December. Obama’s rating has also dropped with liberals. He has gone from 78% to 69%, and his disapproval rating has jumped from 14% to 22%. This entire shift can be attributed to Obama’s compromise on the Bush tax cuts, and his base’s outrage and rejection of the deal.
The President could compensate for the loss of some Democrats if his move to the middle was gaining him support with Independents, but as of right now this is not happening. Obama’s approval rating remains flat lined at 39% and his disapproval ratings is stuck at 52%. This White House made the mistake of believing that their base was different from that of the GOP. It isn’t. A significant piece of the Democratic base does not want a compromiser president. They want a fighter. What has most angered the part of the base that is upset is that Obama appeared to quickly give in to the Republican demands on the Bush tax cuts.
The appearance of a quick acquiescence returns us to what I see as the biggest problem this administration has. They don’t understand or engage in the theater of politics. Much of what we see in politics every day is a show designed for the media and the base. The problem for this administration is that they don’t want to engage in the presidential showmanship. For example, let’s take look at what Obama could have done on the issue of the Bush tax cuts. Obama could have come out right away and said, “I am going to be sitting down and engaging in tough negotiations with the Republican leadership. They are going to have to meet certain demands of mine before any deal is reached, and my top demand is good faith gesture of passage of an extension of unemployment benefits.”
Instead of rushing into a deal with Republicans, the White House could have taken couple of weeks to update America on the progress of the meetings. Even if they would have had the framework of a deal hammered out, Obama could have continued to lobby for his priorities. That’s part of the showmanship of politics. Obama could have announced an 11th hour deal on Christmas Eve to extend unemployment benefits and a temporary extension of the tax cuts. The President would have avoided looking like someone who weakly gave in to GOP demands. He would have appeared to a fighter who went tooth and nail with the Republicans and took it down to the wire. With a little patience and few strong public statements, Obama would have avoided a rebellion by his base.
The deal Obama made was good practical politics, but it has been an emotional disaster for some on the left. Much of this backlash is Obama’s own creation. The President spent six weeks campaigning all across America on the issue of no additional tax cuts for the top 2% only to quickly reverse himself a month after Democrats lost the 2010 elections. To the base, this about face is hurtful and confusing. There are some on the left who don’t trust Obama anymore.
The White House needs to start understanding the emotional component of governing. Their statements and decisions have emotional consequences. Obama’s base isn’t as logical and rational as he is. Obama needs to emotionally reconnect, and understand that some on the left want a fighter, not just a decider. The good news is that one strong battle with Republicans will get the base back. They aren’t gone forever. Deep down inside they still support Obama. They just need to see that Obama supports them too.
President Obama was on NPR’s Morning Edition Friday discussing the compromise on the Bush tax cuts when in response to a listener’s question about how keeping the tax cut for the rich will create jobs Obama said, “It doesn’t, which is why I was opposed to it — and I’m still opposed to it.” Obama admitted that he had to compromise because if he didn’t he felt that the economic recovery would be endangered.”
When asked about the role of the Bush tax cuts in terms of job creation Obama said, “It doesn’t, which is why I was opposed to it — and I’m still opposed to it. The issue here is not whether I think that the tax cuts for the wealthy are a good or smart thing to do. I’ve said repeatedly that I think they’re not a smart thing to do, particularly because we’ve got to borrow money, essentially, to pay for them.”
Obama framed the tax cuts as the first shot in a battle over the tax code, “The problem is, is that this is the single issue that the Republicans are willing to scotch the entire deal for. And in that circumstances — in that circumstance, we’ve got, basically, a very simple choice: Either I allow 2 million people who are currently getting unemployment insurance not to get it, either I allow the recovery that we’re on to be endangered or we make a compromise now, understanding that for the next two years this is going to be a central battle as part of a larger discussion about how do we reform our tax code so that it’s fair and how do we make sure that we actually are dealing with the deficit and debt in an intelligent way?”
Everyone who isn’t a blind right wing ideologue who isn’t in total denial of economic reality knows that extending the Bush tax cuts is not going to spur job creation. It is not logical to believe that keeping taxes at their current levels is going to have some sort of magical effect on job creation, but Republicans have long been believers in the dream of trickle down fairy dust. The myth of the magic of trickledown economics is a whimsical cover to story to hide the redistribution of wealth in this country from the bottom to the top. Trickledown economics is behind the Republican rationale for keeping the Bush tax cuts, and Obama is essentially saying that he made the choice to save the fragile economic recovery by giving the Republicans something that he knows is an expensive fool’s errand.
While the President’s consideration of those in the direst of need is commendable, it will not be easy for him to argue that these tax cuts are unnecessary now that he has agreed to extend them. If the economy starts humming along again, Republicans will ignore reality and give all the credit to the tax cuts. Democrats and Obama will give credit the stimulus and the traditional increase in government spending during a recession.
The point is that that this compromise likely will make Obama’s future battle with the Republicans on taxes and tax cuts even more difficult. The threat to the economic survival of two million Americans forced Obama to make this deal, but both he and the Republicans are gearing up for a total war on the issues of taxes, the tax code, and the deficit. While America is thinking short term, Obama is focusing on the long term big picture. A president’s time in office is so limited that long term thinking presidents are rare. It will be interesting to see if America will accept a president that has a long term strategy in this age of instant gratification politics.
President Obama made a statement today on the White House South Lawn blasting Senate Republicans for obstructing aid to small businesses. Obama said, “When Congress reconvenes, this jobs bill will be the first business out of the gate. And the Senate Republican leadership needs to stop its efforts to block it.”
Obama stressed why the small business jobs bill is so critical, “A report yesterday from the Labor Department underscores why this is so critical. In the final few months of last year, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees accounted for more than 60 percent of the job losses in America — more than 60 percent. These are the businesses that usually create most of the jobs in this country. And this report, combined with this morning’s news that unemployment claims rose again, compels us to act. It compels us to stand with the small businessmen and women who are trying to grow their companies and make payroll and hire new workers.”
He then explained the jobs bill, “The jobs bill that is stalled in Congress would completely eliminate taxes on key investments in small businesses. It would allow small business owners to write off more expenses. And it would make it easier for community banks to do more lending to small businesses, while allowing small firms to take out larger SBA loans with fewer fees, which countless entrepreneurs have told me would make a big difference in their companies. I’d also like to point out this legislation is fully paid for and will not add one single dime to our deficit.”
Obama urged Republicans to stop playing politics while small business people are in desperate straits, “So let me just make this simple point. There will be plenty of time between now and November to play politics. But the small business owners I met with this week, the ones that I’ve met with across the country this year, they don’t have time for political games. They’re not interested in what’s best for a political party. They’re interested in what’s best for the country.”
The President then urged Senate Republicans to stop blocking the bill, “When Congress reconvenes, this jobs bill will be the first business out of the gate. And the Senate Republican leadership needs to stop its efforts to block it. Let’s put aside the partisanship for awhile and work together for small businesses, for employees, and the communities that depend on them across this great country.”
In my opinion, Republicans are starting to overplay their hand here. By blocking things like the jobs bill and unemployment benefits, they are allowing Obama and the Democrats to seize the populist message of fighting for the common man. In an election year when Republicans should be blowing Democrats out of the water, key races remain close, without the Democrats starting to spend money yet, because Republicans can’t get out of their own way.
The message that Obama has been sending, will be sending, and will continue to send is that the Democratic Party is trying to overcome Republican obstruction to help average Americans. You can count on this message being echoed by Democrats all across the country, as they try to localize every single race and make the central question, who do you trust to fight for you? While Republicans are wasting their time talking about “anchor babies” and “Ground Zero mosques,” Democrats will focus in on the economy and jobs.
One of the favorite tent poles of Republican politics is small business. When anything business related is discussed the GOP always frames the issue in terms of the small businessperson on Main Street America, but with their obstruction on the small business jobs bill, Republicans have left that pretense behind in an effort to stoke the flames of anger that are consuming the American electorate.
“Liberal Elite” Washington Post Selling the Right’s Lies About Miranda Rights
Liberal Elite Washing Post Advancing Right's Miranda Lies
There is only one sacred amendment in the world of the Right, apparently, and that’s the 2nd amendment. All those other pesky amendments were meant to be optional, depending on the circumstances. Anyone who is dressed in founding father costumes with tea bags dangling in their face knows this. Doh.
The Washington Post, that “liberal elite” paper, is following in Fox’s footsteps by regurgitating false Miranda information, suggesting that Miranda rights are optional and should not be employed with suspected terrorists, even if said suspect is an American citizen.
Fox News has long advanced the claim that reading Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights compromised the government’s ability to get information. This, of course, was not an issue for Fox when the Bush administration handled suspected terrorists the exact same way. On the May 4th edition of Fox News’ America Live, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr said:
(the) “Christmas bomber “clammed up” after being Mirandized. He further suggested that there “was a sense of cooperation at the beginning,” with Abdulmutallab, but “after the Miranda rights were read, that he clammed up.”
“The Washington Post reported that there was controversy over whether to read the suspected Times Square bomber his Miranda rights after suspected Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab “stopped cooperating with authorities after being read his rights.” In fact, intelligence and law enforcement officials stated that Abdulmutallab cooperated both before and after he was Mirandized, as the Post itself reported previously.”
Gosh, I hate it when those liberal facts get in the way of advancing an authoritarian agenda to scare us into giving away more rights.
“Washington Post: Abdulmutallab was “initially responsive” but “stopped cooperating with authorities after being read his rights.”
Also triggering debate was the decision to read [suspected Times Square bomber Faisal] Shahzad his “Miranda” rights against self-incrimination. The Miranda issue rose to prominence after the Nigerian suspect in the Christmas Day incident, Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, stopped cooperating with authorities after being read his rights. Some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said Shahzad should not have been afforded that constitutional right “until we find out what it’s all about.”
But administration officials said Shahzad, who, like Abdulmutallab, was initially responsive to questioning under a “public safety exception” to the Miranda rule, continued to cooperate after his rights were read to him. They also pointed out that Shahzad is a U.S. citizen and must be tried in civilian, not military, court.”
Oh, John McCain, that bastion of freedom and liberty who also too thinks we should torture people, thinks American citizens should not be given Miranda rights until “we find out what it’s all about”. Yup. The founding fathers intended for men like McCain to politicize our rights and hold them hostage until the royal, privileged “we” determines what exactly is going on. And while we wait, show us your papers, boy.
Welcome to the Right’s America, where reading Miranda rights compromises intelligence and thus shouldn’t be done (not only a false conclusion, but a false premise) and suspected terrorists shouldn’t be treated as citizens. Yes, we should give up all of our rights in order to fight those who hate us for our freedoms.
The bitter irony never quite leaves your mouth, does it?
This is not just about the authoritarian platform of the Republican Party, but about insinuating that the Democratic President is weak on terror. At every turn, Republicans are inserting into the national dialogue falsehoods about Obama’s administration not keeping America safe. They’re amping this up now especially in light of the economic recovery signs, which do not bode well for them in the 2010 elections.
When they’re not trying to terrorize Americans into voting for them, the Right is trying to terrorize Americans into giving away all of their freedoms. We remember the falsely elevated terror alert levels during the Bush administration – especially right before elections. And now we’re being treated to a constant barrage of lies about how best to deal with terrorism. Politicizing terror is what the Republican Party does best. They know how to use it and it has been their weapon of mass deception since 9/11. Nothing advances an authoritarian agenda more than a terrified constituency.
The truth is the Obama administration has dealt more successfully with suspected terrorists than the Bush administration. Furthermore, Obama has yet to ignore intel for months and allow terrorists to attack this country and kill 4000 people. This is a fact the Right does not want Americans to remember, hence their Big Lie, “Bush kept America safe.”
What exactly does the modern day conservative stand for? They’ve got a lot of confusion going on there, and not too many solid, consistent values. We’ve got regression, rage, and stupidity as an on-going theme, and the omni-present hatred of the “other”.
According to the latest Daily Kos poll, they don’t stand for much. These folks think Obama should be impeached, they think he’s a socialist, they think Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Obama. They are not sure (oh, poor dears) if Obama wants the terrorists to win or if Acorn stole the 2008 election. They’re not sure if Obama is a racist, but they do know they don’t really want to secede (one clear goal is always good). They don’t like unions or illegal immigrants. They don’t want openly gay people to serve in the military or marry or receive any federal or state bennies, or to teach in our schools, but they do want creationism taught in schools (another value! That’s two). They think marriage is an “equal partnership” (but Sarah Palin, who is more qualified to run country, can’t even read a book without permission from her husband…is this more separate but equal?). They think contraception should be outlawed, birth control pill is abortion, and abortion is murder. They’re “pro-life” but support death penalty. They do think women should work outside of home (oh, happy progress!). They are sure that Jesus is the only way to get to heaven. Phew.
That’s a lot of confusion going on there, and not too many solid, consistent values.
What we’ve got here is regression, rage, and stupidity as an on-going theme, and the omni-present hatred of the “other”. But the good news is it looks like conservatives have inched their way into the 20th century, as they now think a woman should work outside the home! This is real progress. Don’t give up, people! In the 22nd century, you will finally be behind health care for all! Better late than never, eh?
These are the same folks who tout “Freedom, free market capitalism, lower taxes, and less government”, along with“Socialist! Commie! Nazi! Libtard!”. In other words, your basic rage-filled tea bagger’s cry, coming from the misinformed and left-behind “traditionalist” who doesn’t really stand for tradition at all, at least not American tradition. These “values” don’t gel with one another. At all.
Their “values” are all over the map because their words are meaningless. This is a movement of such contradiction and revisionism that it can not afford to expose its members to the President answering questions for Republicans, lest a moment of cognitive dissonance overcomes the member, which could result in thought….
Allowing constituents to think is never a good thing when you’re selling pseudo-populism with a bright red, faux-morality cherry on top. Yes, Sarah, this is your moment to shine. Sell that rage. It’s what you do.
In fact, conservatives’ words have come to mean the opposite of their dictionary definition. Conservatives recently even felt the need to rewrite the bible, history books, and encyclopedias. And now, apparently, the Federalist Papers must also be “revised” in order to fit their propaganda.
These are the folks who brought us Sarah Palin, “I’ve been exonerated of all wrong-doing” when in fact, she has been found guilty of abuse of power.
“I am not a crook”. Up is down, down is up.
Republicans never reject their liars and their thieves. In fact, they embrace them. Because if ever a movement needed pathological liars, it’s the modern day Republican Party.
The current voter can’t listen to any conservative politician and get a clear idea of what they stand for or how they’ll vote. If the policy is fiscally conservative but the President backs it, the Republican will vote against their own supposed “principles”. Why? It is because they have no real values.
Their driving force is to tax the poor, grift and graft off the people, rape the land and the workers; these are not the values of our founding fathers, Christ, or a true “conservative” movement. In fact, they are the very things we fought so hard against when we founded this country.
The fact of the matter is that conservative leaders have rebranded their most cynical, greedy policies and values, in a stunningly effective attempt to justify regression and maintenance of status quo.
Somehow, they’ve convinced the tea baggers that the founding fathers wanted the wealthy to own this country, to rule by corporate monarchy with no accountability to the people, and to base legislation on the Old Testament.
The modern day conservative leader clearly regrets the Revolutionary War, and is busy fighting the very founding premise of the United States of America. This should have become clear when they ran a secessionist as their VP, but it appears that rage travels far quicker than the truth.
And the tea baggers and “conservatives” follow blindly, screaming about freedom as they fight to kill the very premise of America.
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.
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.
The most surprising reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech came from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews who said, “I forgot that he was black tonight for an hour.” In other breaking news, President Lincoln has freed the slaves.
Matthews said, “I was trying to think about who he was tonight, and it’s interesting, he is post racial by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country and passed so much history in a year or two. I mean, it’s something we don’t even think about. I said wait a minute he is an African-America guy in front of a bunch of white people, and there he is the President of the United States.”
Of course this is not Chris’s first flirtation with Obama’s race.
Here is Matthews not surprised that Obama is good at basketball and asking if the future president can appeal to white people:
Once is a mistake, but three times is a trend. Talk about faint praise, Obama made Matthews forget that he was black. You know, because being a black president is such a problem. Chris Matthews needs to realize that most people got past the novelty of Obama’s election a year ago.
I don’t why he is still hung up on the president’s race. The fact that he sees every move Obama makes through race colored glasses has gotten very tiresome. The State of the Union speech had nothing to do with race, but yet somehow this was one of Chris Matthews’ leading points.
Chris, the Civil War is over. The slaves have been freed. Racial problems still exist in America, but progress will continue to be slow if people like you insist on seeing everything through the prism of race. Real progress will come when people see Barack Obama not as a black president, but simply as a president.
Update: Matthews went to Rachel Maddow’s show and clarified his remarks: