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tsuomela : obama   55

David Bromwich: Symptoms of the Bush-Obama Presidency
Obama’s pragmatism comes down to a series of maxims that can be relied on to ratify the existing order -- any order, however recent its advent and however repulsive its effects. You must stay in power in order to go on “seeking.” Therefore, in “the world as it is,” you must requite evil with lesser evil. You do so to prevent your replacement by fanatics: people, for example, like those who invented the means you began by deploring but ended by adopting. Their difference from you is that they lack the vision of the seeker. Finally, in the world as it is, to retain your hold on power you must keep in place the sort of people who are normally found in places of power.
obama  politics  president  pragmatism  ideology  failure 
august 2011 by tsuomela
Obama: The Accidental Conservative Liberals Have to Love
"No doubt, many of these conservatives would say today that they are disappointed that Obama didn’t follow through on his centrist promise. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Obama’s conservatism, which I believe is fully evident in his policies as president, has long been there to see by those willing to be honest with themselves."
obama  conservative  politics 
august 2011 by tsuomela
David Bromwich: Why Has Obama Never Recognized the Tea Party?
"We mistook Obama for a man of strong convictions. Why? Because he has an aesthetic admiration for people with strong convictions, people with names like Gandhi and King. Yet the emotion of conviction -- a feeling that will not let you go -- is foreign to him now and probably always was."
obama  politics  tea-party  rhetoric  language  failure  conviction  belief 
august 2011 by tsuomela
Barack Obama: The Democrats’ Richard Nixon?
"Conservatives will, of course, scoff at the idea of Obama being any sort of conservative, just as liberals scoffed at Nixon being any kind of liberal. But with the benefit of historical hindsight, it’s now obvious that Nixon was indeed a moderate liberal in practice. And with the passage of time, it’s increasingly obvious that Clinton was essentially an Eisenhower Republican. It may take 20 years before Obama’s basic conservatism is widely accepted as well, but it’s a fact."
obama  conservative  politics  ideology 
july 2011 by tsuomela
U.S. Intellectual History: Book Review: Summers on Kloppenberg's READING OBAMA
"James Kloppenberg has written a substantial book with a serious limitation, serious because the suave unfolding of the argument depends on his refusal to test it. President Obama is the product of democracy, and his pragmatic writings and speeches do suggest a sophisticated understanding of how the American experiment was designed. Yet his opponents are also the product of democracy
book  review  political-science  politics  obama  pragmatism  ideology 
may 2011 by tsuomela
Tomgram: David Bromwich, Superpower Bypassed by History | TomDispatch
"Even in the depths of mortification, a lower depth still threatens Washington, thanks to our double image of ourselves. As the sole superpower, we want to be everywhere (and everywhere in charge)
america  wikileaks  foreign-affairs  foreign-policy  middle-east  war  rhetoric  obama 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Shibboleths — Crooked Timber
"My feeling (derived largely from observations on climate change and creationism, which raise similar questions) is that we can distinguish numerous different belief states that go along with birtherist answers to opinion poll questions."
agnotology  ignorance  politics  epistemology  epistemic-closure  conservatism  opinion  obama 
february 2011 by tsuomela
State of the Union Highlights | Notes From NAP
2010 state of the union with links to relevant National Academies publications.
obama  president  transcript  commentary  2011 
january 2011 by tsuomela
The President's Movie | The American Prospect
"President Obama has been especially disinclined to enter the darkened theater, play actor-in-chief, and replace policy with national therapy. One suspects that he thinks it is demeaning and demagogic -- beneath him and the office. The presidency should be substantive. It should be about serious stuff. It should tackle problems, not pretend that they don't exist or that they will disappear if we just put ourselves in the proper frame of mind. All of which places him at a tremendous disadvantage in the contemporary politics of theatricality. One reason for Reagan's success as a communicator is that he actually believed in his own cheery message. He truly believed the cliches, the simplifications, the optimism. For Obama, as for many liberals, it is all hooey.

And that reluctance to embrace the presidency as a feel-good movie-dream may be the real answer to why the candidate who entered the nation's emotional life became a president who retreated from it."
communication  metaphor  politics  politicians  obama 
january 2011 by tsuomela
Ezra Klein - How the White House cut its deal and lost its base
Instead, the White House disappeared into a closed room with the Republicans and cut a deal that they'd made no effort to sell to progressives. When the deal was cut, the president took an oblique shot at their preferences, saying "the American people didn’t send us here to wage symbolic battles or win symbolic victories." And this came a mere week or two after the White House announced a federal pay freeze. The pattern, for progressives, seems clear: The White House uses them during elections, but doesn't listen to, or consult them, while governing. In fact, it insults them, and then tells them to quiet down, they got the best bargain possible, even if it wasn't the one they'd asked for, or been promised.
politics  progressive  obama  style  negotiating  republicans  taxes  democrats  economics 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Open Left:: Suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, Obama is in no position to be lecturing progressives
The problem with Obama has never been what he's portrayed it as.  It's not that people are purists, turning up their noses at less-than-perfect results.  It's not that they scorn any sort of compromise.  It's not that they insist on "making the perfect the enemy of the good" or any of the other cliched Versailles rationalizations.  The problem with Obama has always been that he won't fight for what he says he believes in.  But he will at least lash out at those who are frustrated, disappointed, or angry with him, when he capitulates without a real fight.  Which raises an increasingly troubling question: Is that the one thing he really believes in?  Attacking those who want him to actually stand for something?
politics  obama  progressive 
december 2010 by tsuomela
LRB · David Bromwich · The Fastidious President
His eloquence finds its natural key not in explanations but in statements of purpose. Obama wants credit for the highest intentions even when conceding that he lacks the will to fulfil them. The trouble is that a politician who says what he would like to do and then fails to do it leaves himself open to attack on both counts. You disappoint your supporters and at the same time give notice to your enemies that the thing they stopped you from doing was the thing you would have liked to do.
politics  obama  rhetoric  speech  speaking  action  eloquence  explanation  purpose  intention  policies  fastidious  power 
november 2010 by tsuomela
Interview with Paul Street, author of “The Empire’s New Clothes” (Part I) | Corrente
Paul Street’s The Empire's New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power lays out a well-organized and solidly reasoned case for considering Obama “deeply conservative” (as Street quotes Larissa MacFarquhar saying in The New Yorker in mid-2007), rather than “deeply progressive” (as George Lakoff, along with most everyone else who identifies as left-of-center insisted a few months later).
book  review  politics  obama 
november 2010 by tsuomela
David Bromwich: The Dying Art of Political Explanation
A middle layer of explanation has certainly been lacking from the start: the effort of persuasion that is neither inspirational nor tactical, where a leader tries to convert people to his side. This is the level at which one must articulate the reasons for a policy, along with the understanding of the public good from which the policy has issued and the historical context that makes it necessary and desirable.
obama  rhetoric  explanation  politics  persuasion 
october 2010 by tsuomela
David Bromwich: One More War, Please
Something is rotten in our democracy. Like a family where everything goes wrong and nobody says a word, we suffer a load of unasked questions that have under them still more questions. Do Americans always need a war? That is a first question. It did not seem so before 2001. And the attacks that America endured then, attacks whose misery we have returned a hundredfold against actual and imagined enemies -- did those events and the interpretation put on them by Cheney and Bush (and ratified, with an agreeable change of tone, by Barack Obama ) trigger a mutation in the American character? In relation to the Constitution and our place in the world of nations, 2001 in that case must have assumed the status of the Big Bang in the universe of politics. Useless even to think of anything that came before.
To say we now act as if we need a war may underrate the syndrome. We seem to require three wars at a given time: a war to be getting out of, a war we're in the middle of, and a war we aim to
america  war  military  foreign-policy  empire  decline  politics  Obama  Barack 
august 2010 by tsuomela
Open Left:: Barack Obama & the neoliberal embrace of the American way of continual war
The neoliberal way is one that "goes meta" by treating everything as a process to be analyzed considering all the variables (including moral considerations), tweaking them here and there, and then coming up with a supposedly "optimum" solution. At least that's the aspiration. This contrasts sharply with leftist traditions that "go meta" by adopting religious, philosophical or scientific frameworks that are inherently skeptical of and stand apart from the everyday discourse used to discuss a given subject.
neoliberalism  politics  meta-analysis  obama  war  militarism  america 
august 2010 by tsuomela
Elena Kagan, Barack Obama, and the American Establishment : Lawyers, Guns & Money
For Elena Kagan presents a particular kind of blank slate to the world: one that appears to have been the product of, among other things, exquisitely calculated careerism. And that sort of careerism is by necessity always grounded in the relentless pursuit of the approval of the legal and political and economic establishment — something that itself is always inimical to significant legal, political, or economic change. Kagan, in short, is the kind of candidate who is most popular with admirers of the status quo. Indeed, Obama’s nomination of Kagan suggests that, for all his talk of “change,” he is himself at heart a comfortable denizen of Establishment America – that place where people with the right sorts of resumes rotate profitably between Wall Street, Washington, and the Ivy League, while praising each other for having “good judgment,” and being “reasonable” and “non-partisan.”
politics  obama  privilege  power  establishment  ivy-league  success  america  status-quo 
july 2010 by tsuomela
Shirley Sherrod and the shame of conservative media - The Week
There will be no apology or statement of regret for distributing a doctored tape to defame and destroy someone. There will be not even a flutter of interest among conservatives in discussing Breitbart’s role. By the morning of July 21, the Fox & Friends morning show could devote a segment to the Sherrod case without so much as a mention of Breitbart’s role. The central fact of the Sherrod story has been edited out of the conservative narrative, just as it was edited out of the tape itself.

When people talk of the "closing of the conservative mind" this is what they mean: not that conservatives are more narrow-minded than other people — everybody can be narrow minded — but that conservatives have a unique capacity to ignore unwelcome fact.
race  racism  obama  scandal  conservative  fox-news  leadership  media 
july 2010 by tsuomela
On Lacking All Conviction - National - The Atlantic
The tone that Obama has set, in regards to race, is to retreat with great velocity in the face of anything that can be defined as "racial." Granted, this has been politically smart. Also granted, Obama has done it with nuance. But it can not be expected that the president's subordinates will share that nuance.
race  racism  obama  scandal  conservative  fox-news  leadership  media 
july 2010 by tsuomela
Peter Beinart On Why Liberals are Down on Obama - The Daily Beast
The more fundamental difference between the Obama era and its New Deal and Great Society predecessors is this: Back then, progressives did not define the left end of the political spectrum. In the 1930s and 1960s, America featured honest-to-goodness alternatives to capitalism, home-grown radical movements that scared the crap out of the American establishment and sent some of its denizens scurrying into arms of reformers like FDR and LBJ. Because our entire ideological spectrum has shifted right since communism’s collapse, reforms that once looked like centrist compromises now look like the brainchild of Chairman Mao.
politics  new-deal  overton-window  extreme  failure  obama  progressive 
july 2010 by tsuomela
LRB · David Bromwich · Diary
Bromwich essay of 13 May 2010
"Off-script, Obama speaks so deliberately – with such compunction lest a misjudged word escape – that he seems a lucid expositor of sentiments and intentions. Yet he lacks the ad lib skill of the born politician, skill at making the explanation that actually explains. He has not yet given an entire speech that unfolds a coherent policy in any area of governance; and all of his speeches bear the impress of his belief in the transparent soundness of his own position. He talks as if by full certification of the relevant establishment, corporate, financial, military, medical, and he never takes the trouble to imagine a strong opponent. He is, by nature, a man of tendencies rather than commitments."
politics  america  obama  personality  character  rhetoric  style  speech  persuasion  power 
june 2010 by tsuomela
Open Left:: Lakoff hits the nail on the head re Obama--but misses the heart
That's the fundamental reason why Obama hit dribblers in the press conference: because neo-liberalism is all about the dribblers. Don't swing for the fences, it says. Don't go for single-payer--or even for a robust public option that would lead to single-payer over time--even though it's what's needed to dramatically cut the over-priced costs of healthcare "system".
neoliberalism  obama  politics  rhetoric  lakoff  george  language  metaphor  third-way  liberalism  empathy 
may 2010 by tsuomela
The Death Of Conservatism, Ctd - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
In some ways, I believe, the pinnacle of this conservative achievement came in the presidency of George H W Bush and the premiership of John Major. They both solidified the reforms of their predecessors, were the final forces that reformed the left, and made hard decisions - like raising taxes, entrenching international law in the liberation of Kuwait, or staying out of the euro - that look better and better the more time goes by. That the first Bush is so widely reviled by the "movement" that passes for conservatism in America today, in favor of the brain-dead ressentiment of Palin or the philistine pseudo-intellectualism of Gingrich or the neo-imperial radicalism of the neoconservatives, is the smell of a decomposing corpse, not a newborn child.
politics  conservatism  obama 
march 2010 by tsuomela
FT.com / Comment / Analysis - America: A fearsome foursome
In dozens of interviews with his closest allies and friends in Washington – most of them given unattributably in order to protect their access to the Oval Office – each observes that the president draws on the advice of a very tight circle. The inner core consists of just four people – Rahm Emanuel, the pugnacious chief of staff; David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisers; and Robert Gibbs, his communications chief.
politics  obama  president  analysis  government  assesment 
february 2010 by tsuomela
The Quiet Revolution | The New Republic
on Obama restoring the regulatory agencies of the federal government: EPA, OSHA, SEC, FDA
politics  government  regulation  obama  administration  federal 
february 2010 by tsuomela
Pearls Before Swine | TPMCafe
What has changed for me, though, is my growing (hardening) conviction that the chamber he was speaking to is stuffed to its gills with frauds. (There are exceptions.) Beyond the few measures on which there is a rare alignment of stars, nothing he called for will happen, unless his road trip unleashes a firestorm in the American people against Congress for the systemic sins mentioned above.
politics  obama  state-of-the-union  speech  progressive  congress  reform  government  federal 
january 2010 by tsuomela
The Party of Obama - Charles Homans
About party-building by Obama and other presidents.
obama  politics  democrats  party  partisanship  history  activism 
january 2010 by tsuomela
David Bromwich: Maybe You Can
Audacity is not one of his qualities, and the hope he inspires in others, he expects others to fulfill. He agrees to watch and approve in case of success, but not to lead and support in the event of a protracted struggle for reform. His courage is real but limited, and not built for loneliness -- it demands rings of visible layers of protection with names like Gates, Clinton, Summers, Geithner.
obama  politics  ambition 
january 2010 by tsuomela
Inch by inch, Barack Obama is moving mountains - Times Online
Andrew Sullivan assesses the first year of the Obama administration.
obama  politics  commentary  2009 
january 2010 by tsuomela
Lance Mannion: When oh when did we ever have a better press corps?
Well-done thoughts on the remembered wit of JFK press conferences is an artifact of editing and mythologizing.
history  media  press-conference  about(JohnFKennedy)  obama  perception  memory 
may 2009 by tsuomela
Interfluidity :: Dark musings, 2009-03-24
I am filled with despair, not because what we are doing cannot "work", but because it is too unjust. This is not my country.

The news of today is the Geithner plan. I think this plan might work very well in terms of repairing bank balance sheets.

Of course the whole notion of repairing bank balance sheet is a lie and misdirection. The balance sheets we should want to see repaired are household balance sheets. Banks have failed us profoundly. We want them reorganized, not repaired. A world in which the banks are all fixed but households are still broken is worse than what we have right now.
economics  crisis  about(TimothyGeithner)  obama 
march 2009 by tsuomela
Salon.com | Obama's timid liberalism
The fundamental barrier today is the way that the issues are framed, by Democrats and Republicans alike. Thus the problem is defined not as making credit available for individuals and businesses, but as saving the banks and the shadow banking system. The goal is not to provide healthcare to all citizens, but to enable all citizens to purchase private health insurance. The objective is not to ensure universal access to higher education
liberal  politics  framing  public-goods  government  obama 
march 2009 by tsuomela
The President's Budget - - washingtonpost.com
clean graphic of President Obama's overall budget proposal. No details on allocations, just taxes and spending.
graphics  budget  obama  2009  taxes  spending 
february 2009 by tsuomela
Op-Ed Columnist - Obama Riding the Wave - NYTimes.com
"My job is to help the country take the long view — to make sure that not only are we getting out of this immediate fix, but we’re not repeating the same cycle of bubble and bust over and over again.." quoting Obama.
politics  commentary  long-term  politicians  rhetoric  obama  president  american 
february 2009 by tsuomela
naked capitalism: The Bad Bank Assets Proposal: Even Worse Than You Imagined
"Dear God, let's just kiss the US economy goodbye. It may take a few years before the loyalists and permabulls throw in the towel, but the handwriting is on the wall.

The Obama Administration, if the Washington Post's latest report is accurate, is about to embark on a hugely expensive "save the banking industry at all costs" experiment"
economics  crisis  bailout  banking  finance  financial-services  obama  government  gloom-and-doom 
february 2009 by tsuomela
Smartphones | The BarackBerry | The Economist
A behind-the-scenes look at how government uses mobile phones and security.
technology  government  security  cellphone  mobile  obama 
january 2009 by tsuomela
TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Broadband Stimulus
Yochai Benkler reviews the Senate and House versions of broadband stimulus.
broadband  politics  economics  stimulus  obama  2009 
january 2009 by tsuomela
Ωφορία | The Agonist
Euphoria - title. Another lengthy essay by Stirling Newberry. Thesis: Obama's economic policies are basically Bush's policies competently managed.
politics  economics  future  obama  policy  taxes  oil  peak-oil 
january 2009 by tsuomela
Obama Should Act Like He Won - WSJ.com
Centrism is a chump's game. Democrats have massive majorities these days not because they waffle hither and yon but because their historic principles have been vindicated by events. This is their moment. Let the other side do the triangulating.
politics  obama  centrism  bipartisanship  slogans  rhetoric  cliche  triangulation 
january 2009 by tsuomela
Down the O-Hole: why the present administration's plans lead to catastrophe (and there isn't anything you can do about it.) | The Agonist
But each bubble relies upon the anti-bubble. The anti-bubble is the process of selling pain to the ordinary public, and shearing them of present real wages, while propping up present real consumption. The key then is to increase the public's marginal propensity to consume, while decreasing their income. The way this has been done is to make promises about future returns which were impossible, and to create the incentive to rely on impossible returns: the "Social Security Surplus," 401k plans, pensions, and housing values. In each case, as the cliche goes, Lucy pulls the football away.
economics  obama  policy  america  crisis  bubble  taxes  consumption 
january 2009 by tsuomela
Fafblog! the whole world's only source for Fafblog.
FACT! Barack Obama was a community organizer. ACORN is made of community organizers. Acorns come from oak trees. Oak trees belong to the genus Quercus, which includes Quercus faginea, the Portuguese oak. The prime minister of Portugal is José Sócrates, whose last name looks like Socrates, who lived in Athens, which is also a city in Georgia, whose state fruit is the peach, which is native to China, which is exactly what Osama bin Laden was eating off of while he was plotting to destroy the Twin Towers. It's all connected, people - they just don't want you to know! And they could be black.
politics  satire  humor  race  2008  obama  barack 
october 2008 by tsuomela

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