Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Autumn of Love

I thought I'd be able to embed this Fox News video from Facebook, but evidently not, so you'll just have to use the link. At least one of my Facebook Friends, someone I went to high school with, thinks it's just the bee's knees, but that's just evidence of how damn dumb you have to be to believe what you see on Fox News.

First off, Fox's pundits think that a satirical sketch about a sitting President on Saturday Night Live is a sign that the liberal media's "love fest" with Obama is over. All it really means is that Saturday Night Live routinely does satirical sketches about sitting Presidents, regardless of their party affiliation. Fox's misreading is not surprising, though: the Right has always missed the jabs that liberal humorists direct at Democratic Presidents. Consider the Onion, which has been sniping at Obama as well as Republicans all along. Take Doonesbury: Garry Trudeau always has made fun of Democratic politicians, including Presidents, and liberals and leftists generally, ever since the early days of his comic strip. Following the American tendency to mistake politics for a sporting event where you cheer only for your team, conservatives have a great deal of trouble recognizing this. Then compare the Right's contender for an anti-Doonesbury, snoozefest Mallard Fillmore. How often I read it depends on how many discarded copies of the local newspaper I encounter, but I have never seen Bruce Tinsley make fun of Republicans or conservatives; that's one reason Mallard Fillmore is no threat to Doonesbury's hegemony.

Second, what liberal media love fest? The New York Times and the Washington Post have been fussing about Obama ever since he became a contender for the nomination, and they always gave George W. Bush an easy ride (though not as easy as Dubya's fans wanted, it's true -- that would be impossible). FAIR has been covering this: see their articles on alleged pro-Obama bias in the corporate media, for example.

Third, Fox's commentators are a bit confused about the political spectrum. The "left" has been skeptical, and harshly critical, of Obama all along. It's the center-right that loves him, though I know that "center-right" looks like "radical left" to Fox News and its audience. If the leftward wing of the center-right, roughly liberal Democrats, are starting to fall out of love with Obama, it's because they've begun to realize just how right-wing he is -- not, as the Fox pundits and their fans have it, because they've realized he's really a Socialist. Hence the GLBT Equality March from last weekend, a grassroots event very different from Obama's astroturfing, and therefore dismissed by Obama's partisans along with the Right. Roy Edroso had a good post pointing out Teabag Nation's general hostility to the gay movement -- not exactly surprising, but a useful reminder.

If the government has been interfering with big business and the banking/finance sector as the Fox pundits complain, that was 1) a bipartisan move initiated by Bush and embraced by both Obama and McCain, 2) at the insistence of big business and the banking sector. Those big players just wanted billions upon billions of taxpayers' dollars, of course, not any restrictions on their irresponsible behavior, and that was pretty much what they got. Like government involvement in Americans' health care, government interference with outrageous executive salaries and reckless financial practices was just what most Americans wanted.

It's really hard to make any sense out of this clip, because the pundits are grasping desperately to see Obama brought down. It doesn't really matter why someone -- anyone! -- is criticizing Obama, as long as it's someone outside their own narrow ambit. Are gays criticizing Obama? Good! Do many Americans distrust Obama's commitment to public health care? Well, they should, because he's not really committed to it, and that's a good thing, so what the public is wrong in wanting it, but let's not go there, because this is the American People we're talking about. The Fox pundits, and Teabag Nation generally, are just as incoherent as their allegedly more liberal counterparts on CNN, or elsewhere in the corporate media; but also as incoherent as the more genuinely liberal commentators who want to believe that Obama is a closet progressive, and have to do a lot of fancy footwork to make a case for that.