Monday, September 19, 2011

Rainy Days and Mondays

President Obama is on the campaign trail for sure now, as he makes populist noises about raising taxes on the rich. See Whatever It Is I'm Against It for the usual dissection of Obama's incoherent rhetoric, though not if you're prone to motion sickness.

As Glenn Greenwald wrote today,
He does that precisely because everyone -- especially the rich -- knows it will not and cannot happen. We're now formally in (re-)election season, so it's time again to haul out the progressive music. Some Democrats are honest and cynical enough to acknowledge that Obama is doing all these things purely for political gain and -- because his re-election is their top priority -- to celebrate it even while acknowledging it will never become reality ...
I wouldn't mind Obama's talking like this purely to improve his chances if he really tried to get those tax increases through. Politics is politics, and everything a national politician does is done with an eye on the next election. But we've been through this before, since Obama played the same game in 2008, and we know what happened once he was in office. Remember too that in the spirit of compromise, Obama will find it politically necessary to give up all of his demands and concede most of the Republicans'. As Whatever It Is I'm Against It once wrote about a December 2010 press conference:
WHAT SOME WOULD HAVE PREFERRED: “Now, I know there are some who would have preferred a protracted political fight, even if it had meant higher taxes for all Americans, even if it had meant an end to unemployment insurance for those who are desperately looking for work.” The assumption here is that he would have lost the fight. It’s pretty much always Obama’s working assumption that he will lose any fight. And then, funnily enough, he does.
As noted there, the outcome of a "protracted political fight" would (according to Obama) have been pretty much the same as the outcome of Obama's prompt surrender. (That's assuming, of course, that Obama doesn't want the outcomes he gets.)

When one of my lefty-lib Facebook friends linked to a Huffington Post article about Obama's "deficit reduction plan," I posted a comment to the same effect, that Obama is only saying such things because he's in campaign mode. Someone else commented, not unreasonably, that "the funny thing about doing what people want is, it's automatically a re-election plan. Yknow, because people want it." Again, my complaint isn't that Obama is floating this plan just in hopes of ensuring his re-election -- "playing politics" with it is the usual label -- it's that, given his record, there's no good reason to believe he'll try very hard to get his plan through. He's not "doing what people want" -- he's saying what people want to hear. Talking and doing are two different things. Obama only fights for bills and policies that will please his big corporate contributors. It's up to him to prove me wrong; I wouldn't mind if he did, but I'm not holding my breath.

Another of my lefty-lib Facebook friends (who nonetheless still keeps the Obama faith most of the time) posted a link to a Rachel Maddow video on "moderate" Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, soldiering on despite "dismal numbers." Why liberals would concern-troll for a Republican candidate, as though they want any Republican to have a fighting chance against their God-King, baffles me. Maddow laments that Huntsman has avoided serious gaffes in the Republican debates, but hasn't said anything memorable either -- like exulting in the number of people he's killed, presumably.

Maddow mentions that Huntsman's staff have misspelled his name twice on his press materials, but herself confuses the meaning of "bisect" early in the video: she says that a video clip shows Huntsman's head "bisected" by a tugboat in the background, when it is Huntsman's head that bisects the tugboat. She later misuses the term "open question", which she seems to think means "a question I'm asking to everybody," instead to "a question that hasn't been answered yet." It's stuff like this that confirms my feeling that I needn't waste my money on cable or satellite to watch TV news.