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« A Not So Brilliant Britain (Sujatha) | Main | Midnight’s problem child (Omar) »

August 15, 2011

Comments

Principles, schminciples. I don't expect any POTUS to have any deep affection for principles. But even if I did, I would not suspect Obama of harboring them. Glenn Greenwald has noted many times the deceptive facade that Weiner takes for face value. His Salon colleague, David Sirota, makes the same point today: "As the single most powerful political actor on the planet, he is actively complicit in every political outcome of his term -- and, as the Washington Post shows, he's quite deliberately choosing to avoid trying to change the definition of what's politically possible/passable."

@ Dean:

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm surprised at the number of people who have the same view as yourself. Not that I am going to argue against it, but my first impulse is to speak to naive idealism, or inexperience, or not really understanding what is required of him in the job. I am also disposed to see an insidious and insinuated racism at play in the politics.

I wonder, also, where is Joe Biden in all of this? He brings an enormous trove of experience into the administration. Is he unable to whisper into the President's ear?

I really liked your opening.

Norm: I certainly am politically inexperienced, nor do I pretend to understand what is required of POTUS. I do understand the relentlessly vacuous rhetoric about "opportunity," and "merit," and "hope," and "change." There's all the blather about "interests" and "incentives," too. None of it means much to me. If that makes me naively idealistic, so be it. Still, I wouldn't mind watching the sausage being made.

Racism? Yes. It's inescapable in America, as is sexism with respect to Hillary, and I was inclined to argue as much here at AB back in '08 or so. But...Obama is not so stupid as to fail to recognize the limitations of pragmatism. Yet he acts as if he does fail to do so. Isn't that what you're saying? Then what's so surprising about the accusation that he is complicit? If we credit his intelligence and Biden's experience, then doesn't their complicity seem a more plausible explanation than the vapors, Weiner's "emotional state of mind"?


@ Dean:

I may not have been clear. The naive idealism etc. refers to Obama. Sorry.

@ Dean:

Complicit? I don't know. You may be right. I just can't figure out what the hell he's doing. In the midst of the debt ceiling negotiations, he cautioned Eric Cantor, "Don't try to call my bluff!" The wording is interesting because it is an admission of a bluff. Of course, that is not what he meant. However, Cantor did call his bluff and, in fact, he was only bluffing. Go figure.

Norm: No apology required. I assumed you meant me in part because I couldn't imagine leveling the epithet against Obama. He is naive in certain respects, literary, for instance. Nobody with a mature literary sensibility would title a book Audacity of Hope. But he doesn't care about literary sensibilities or, for that matter, about hope. I bet he thought his finger wag at Cantor was audacious, too, bluff or not.

Now I am completely puzzled by what Obama meant when he cautioned Cantor about 'Don't try to call my bluff'. Is he warning Cantor not to make him show all his cards, as is done when playing poker and calling a bluff?
I never believed that Obama wanted anything other than a simple straightforward debt ceiling increase that would last past the 2012 elections. Despite all the posturing and preening indulged in by Congress as they arrived at the final bill, I think that is in effect what he got. None of the cuts translate to anything, nor do the 'revenues'.The Super toothless infighting congressional committee has a snowball's chance in hell of agreeing on anything.
Maybe that's what the whole bluff was about.

According to Huffington Post's report, he said:

"Eric, don't call my bluff. I'm going to the American people on this. This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington: that everyone is more interested in posturing, political positioning, and protecting their base, than in resolving real problems."

The bluff, then, would seem to be that he would go to the American people. Oh, brother. But perhaps it was his threat to veto Cantor's effort to allow a short-term debt increase. In any event, "Don't call my bluff" sounds a lot like posturing to me.

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