Posts Tagged ‘Coates

15
Sep
11

‘the limbaugh, moore, maher convergence on obama and race’

Adam Serwer (Mother Jones): On Wednesday, I noted that Rush Limbaugh’s latest stereotypical race parody featured President Barack Obama as blaxploitation detective John Shaft, even though just about the only two things they have in common is that they’re both black.

Ta-Nehisi Coates observes that Michael Moore and Bill Maher, in expressing their disappointment with Obama, embrace the same basic idea.

Unable to limit their criticisms to Obama’s politics, on The View, Moore repeated Maher’s statement that “I went into the polls voting for the black guy, and what I got was the white guy.”

Coates writes: I know Michael Moore and Bill Maher think this is a great line…But it really isn’t. In fact, it’s racist, and Michael Moore would do well to stop repeating it. It really is no better than the Kenyan anti-colonial bit, and in fact is good deal worse ….

What Limbaugh, Moore and Maher all have in common is a common, reductive expectation of what a “black man” is supposed to be – aggressive, belligerent, intimidating – and Obama doesn’t fit the bill…..

…. If you’re president, though, it’s much easier to just brush your shoulders off—dealing with those kind of expectations when you’re an average person is considerably more difficult. Especially when the “liberals” are the ones saying stuff like this.

Full post here

Thank you ‘africa’

15
Sep
11

‘liberal sorcery’

Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): I want to double (or triple) down on these posts by Yglesias ….  As Matt rightly notes, this obsession with the president’s want of liberalism really needs to confront the hard facts of Senators and congressmen who say things like this:

“Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told POLITICO when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.”

“That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that,” said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu from the energy-producing Louisiana, referring to Obama’s elimination of oil and gas subsidies. “Maybe it’s just for his election, which I hope isn’t the case.”…

Matt: … Webb and Landrieu … what strikes me about their remarks is that they’re being mean. Webb isn’t respectfully disagreeing with the administration’s proposed offsets, he’s calling them “terrible”. Landrieu is calling the sincerity of the president’s motives into question. For me, it’s difficult to imagine parallel behavior on the other side……

Coates: ….. it’s healthy, legitimate, essential and fair to ask, “What would make more progressive legislation possible?” That line of thinking has to confront the kind of statements and action by Democratic Senators who evidently feel little or no pressure from their progressive base.

…. I think liberals are much more comfortable attacking whoever seems to hold the most power ….. it’s comforting to believe in a narrative of liberal “betrayal,” to argue that the game is rigged in such a way that the Hippie-punchers always win.

It’s also pretty cynical.

Full post here

Thank you ‘africa’

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You can contact Landrieu here and Webb here - you’ll also get their office phone numbers at the list at What Is Working

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Jonathan Cohn (TNR): If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ve read a lot of criticism of Republicans for talking economic nonsense, placing their political fortunes ahead of the country’s good, or some combination of the two. But sometimes Democrats, particularly conservative Democrats, do the same things. And now is one of those times.

Mary Landrieu and Jim Webb – I’m looking at you.

…. Landrieu represents Louisiana, a very conservative state, and plans to seek reelection – so there’s some political logic to her position. Webb is another story: He’s retiring. The feeling seems to be genuine. And, as Brian Beutler reports, plenty of other conservative Democrats seem to have similar feelings.

For what it’s worth, the substantive case for this point of view is exceptionally weak. Most mainstream economists would say what Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, have been saying: Deficit spending now, to boost the economy, combined with deficit reduction later, to make federal budgets sustainable, is pretty much the ideal policy.

But put that aside. Go back and read those quotes closely: Can you imagine Republicans speaking out against their leadership, on such a top priority, in such brazen terms?

…. Fellow liberals criticize to flay President Obama for avoiding fights – and, sometimes, they are right. But they also underestimate the obstacles Obama faces because of the divided Democratic caucus.

It’s not just that conservative Democrats wield an effective veto in Congress; it’s that they are constantly, almost compulsively, disagreeing with the president and undermining the party’s message discipline……

Full article here

An update from Cohn here: Democratic sources in and around Capitol Hill say the press reports overstate the disunity.

06
May
11

morning everyone

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Rachael makes the same great point as Jonathan Freedland in the UK Guardian earlier this week: “…One former foreign minister who has seen the president up close believes that Bin Laden’s scalp will lead other world leaders to conclude that, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, “Obama may speak softly – but he carries a big stick”…”

Thank you Dorothy ;-)

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Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): Ground Zero’s Politics Are Over – Obama’s low-key appearance at the Twin Towers site today has finally neutralized the area blatantly politicized by the GOP.

Without saying a single word, but in the simple act of showing up … silently laying a wreath, and respectfully speaking with dress-uniformed officers flanking him, Barack Obama managed to neutralize what has arguably been the most potent piece of Republican iconography of the last decade: its total political ownership of 9/11, and of Ground Zero itself.

….Starting today, they can’t use it anymore. How it must grate their cheese that it was Barack Obama – crypto-Kenyan, effete urbanite, paller-around-with-terrorists – who turned these tables! What’s been playing out in the four days since the killing of Osama bin Laden – the Republican insistence that Bush deserves credit too, the claim that torture must be given its due, and all the rest – is equivalent to, and about as charming as, a bully’s incredulity that a smaller but nimbler foe has bested him.

….Today’s appearance by Obama simply provides the symbolic capstone. It’s no wonder that Bush snappishly sees today’s event, according to a New York Daily News story, as an Obama “victory lap.” Ground Zero was his. Now it’s not. (Imagine the ceremonial orgiastics we’d probably be enduring right now if Bush or John McCain had brought OBL to justice.)

Full article here

Thank you LoriahR

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I know we’ve all had enough of yesterday’s man, Donald Chump, but LoriahR sent me a link to a really powerful piece by Etan Thomas on the CNN site:

Donald Trump’s most recent challenge to President Barack Obama took me back to my collegiate years at Syracuse University. I had studied for two weeks straight for a calculus class, harder than I had ever studied in my life. After I completed my exam, I was confident that all my hard work had paid off.

But the next day, my professor greeted me with accusations of cheating, saying three-fourths of the class had flunked. How could I possibly have managed to get a B minus without cheating?….

….The president should not have to prove anything to anyone. Yet, he has handled every unmerited insult with nothing but grace and class. He has risen above every act of insolence, and proved them all wrong….

….It is a sad situation that a man who has earned a degree from Columbia University, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, has been elected as president of the United States and received a Nobel Peace Prize has to continuously prove himself as a man worthy of respect. He simply shouldn’t have to.

Full piece here

Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): ….What many white people fail to realize is that though Barack Obama and his family are unique to them, they are deeply familiar to black people. …we do live next door to them … We went to church and played in summer leagues with people like them. I went to college with people like them. This is not to slight Barack Obama’s truly remarkable story, nor the indispensable labor of the people who raised him…..

To see that country manifested in the White House is the sort of boon that you can’t really attach to statistics. But for those of us who are waging the fight against a crippling cynicism, who are urging our children on, who visit schools and begin our addresses with, “I remember when I was just like you,” the First Family is perhaps the greatest weapon in our arsenal.

….when broad sections of this country foolishly follow a carnival barker in the ugly tradition of attacking black citizenship rights, when pundits shriek that Obama’s successes are simply the result of the misguided largess of white people, they undermine our most intimate war. They undermine the notion that someone familiar to that kid on the corner could legitimately reach the highest levels of the country, that someone like that kid’s Aunt could be the First Lady. They undermine this country’s social contract, and the “hard work pays” message of my parents. And to that we object.

For if they will not take as legitimate a magna cum laude from their highest institutions, if they will not accept a man who tells black kids to cut off the video games and study, who accedes to their absurd requests one week, and slays their demons the next, who will they accept? Who among us would they ever believe?

Full article here

Thank you Meta

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Andrew Romano and Daniel Klaidman (Newsweek): ….the most obvious effect of Abbottabad is that it vindicates the president’s approach to the war on terrorism, and removes from the Republican arsenal the argument that he is a weak, naive, bumbling humanitarian. It is difficult to imagine the 2012 contenders questioning Obama’s commander-in-chief chops, as Republicans have done to Democrats for decades, and were hoping to do again. Why? Because that particular line of inquiry now gives the president a priceless opportunity to remind voters that he accomplished in two years what George W. Bush was unable to accomplish in eight. As rebuttals go, it’s a good one.

Less obvious is the fact that Abbottabad might also vindicate Obama’s broader approach to presidential leadership, which has always emphasized calculating, technocratic, goal-oriented tenacity over “Mission Accomplished” theatrics.

The problem with the Obama-Carter comparisons, which have been regurgitated by 2012 hopefuls such as Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty in recent months, is that they overlook the real-world results of Obama’s supposedly knock-kneed management: universal health care, Wall Street reform, a depression-averting stimulus package, the end of the Iraq War, and now, bin Laden’s head.

As much as Pawlenty & Co. might disagree with Obama’s policies, it’s hard to deny that the president has a knack for getting (most of) what he wants …. “The way Obama made this decision was very similar to way he makes domestic decisions,” says historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. “Gathering the info, talking it out, then making the most rational call.”

Full article here

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New York Post: A few months ago, 14-year-old Payton Wall, who lost her father on 9/11, bared her grief in a 1,500-word letter to President Obama. “I never thought he’d respond,” Payton said yesterday, after she was embraced by the president at Ground Zero following the wreath-laying ceremony. “I was so shocked when the White House called! It was all a dream come true.”

In the letter, which the Rumson, NJ, teen said is “too personal” to share with the public, she told Obama about her father, Glen Wall, who was an executive at Cantor Fitzgerald when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers.

On Monday, the day after Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs, the president was given his daily handful of letters from Americans to read, and Payton’s stood out, White House officials said.

…The next day, the White House called her mother, Diane – who didn’t even know Payton had written the letter, officials said. Obama invited Payton, her mother and her sister, Avery, to yesterday’s ceremony. Payton spent days practicing a strong handshake, but in the end Obama gave her a presidential bear hug.

Full article here

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NY Daily News: Christopher Cannizzaro was still in diapers when his firefighter father was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. And Thursday the 10-year-old wanted President Obama to know his daddy died a hero.

“I was talking to him about my dad and my necklace,” said the Staten Island fifth-grader, showing a small medallion with a photo of his father, Firefighter Brian Cannizzaro, in uniform in front of an American flag. “Then he said, ‘I feel bad for your dad.’ He was being really open to me about everything,” said Christopher, who greeted Obama with a fist bump.

The boy gave Obama a prayer card with his dad’s picture and the President put it in his pocket. “He said, ‘Thank you, it was truly an honor to receive this from you,’” Christopher said. “It made me feel great; it meant the world to me that he was talking to me.”

The 6-foot-1 leader of the free world stared the pint-size kid in the eyes and solicited his opinion about a subject that has captured the attention of the world. “He asked how I felt about Osama Bin Laden being dead,” the boy said. “I said he could have done something a little less harsh to him, but it was nice to just know that after what happened to my dad, this guy was killed, too.”….

(This made me smile: “I said he could have done something a little less harsh to him, but it was nice to just know that after what happened to my dad, this guy was killed, too.” Sweet.)

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