Free Markets, Free People

Another lefty journalist confesses he doesn’t know "who" Barack Obama is

Richard Cohen finds the apogee of hypocrisy with a op/ed penned today which is entitled "Barack Obama, introduce yourself".

Er, Mr. Cohen, that was the job of you and your ilk years ago – to introduce us to the man who would be president by doing your job of digging into his background and laying out the pros and cons of his qualifications – or in the case of Mr. Obama, lack thereof.

Anyway Cohen takes on the pundits and their suggestions about what Obama should do to recover from his tanking poll numbers.  After mentioning quite a few, he says something that actually struck me as a good point, something many of us have said for a while:

All these are nifty suggestions and some could make a really exciting panel discussion at Brookings.

Or a late night discussion in a dorm room somewhere among idealist kids who’ve never really had to deal with the real world.  As I listen to some of the nonsense spouted and written by the punditocracy, that’s the impression I’m constantly left with.

But back to the point – Cohen takes on the usual comparison that eventually wends its way into the “Brookings” like discussion – Obama v Reagan at the same time in their presidency and with basically the same poll numbers.  For a change, that comparison is rejected and Cohen explains his reasons – most of them make sense.

However, what I am again left with is the obvious feeling that we should have known all of this well before the man in office won that office and that people like Cohen are to blame for that not being the case.  Cohen reminds us that even Reagan’s political enemies found him likeable and a man of consistent principle.  Obama, on the other hand, isn’t “unlikable”, but he doesn’t have the depth, warmth or history that Reagan had at this point in his presidency.

To that point, Cohen says:

What has come to be called the Obama Paradox is not a paradox at all.  Voters lack faith in him making the right economic decisions, as far as they’re concerned, he hasn’t.  He went for health care reform, not jobs.  He supported the public option, then he didn’t.  He’s been cold to Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu and then all over him like a cheap suit.  American’s know Obama’s smart.  But we still don’t know him.  Before Americans can give him credit for what he’s done, they have to know who he is.  We’re waiting.

What an incredible confession.  Who is “we” Mr. Cohen?  And where were you and your kind when the vetting process was supposed to take place.  Why are you still waiting for an introduction?  Why didn’t you do your job?

We’re waiting as well – still waiting – for an answer to that last question.



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55 Responses to Another lefty journalist confesses he doesn’t know "who" Barack Obama is

  • American’s know Obama’s smart.

    I’ve seen no proof of this. In fact, if you examine his Presidency, Obama could have spent the entire time on the golf course, leaving Congressional liasioning to his staff, and we would not have seen any difference.

    • Cunning, yes. Sly, yes. Irresponsible, yes. Narcissistic, yes. Delusional, yes. Monomaniacal, yes. Tyrannical, yes. Corrupt, yes. Juvenile, yes. And on and on.
      Smart? By what definition?

    • I agree with Sharpshooter.  I have seen no evidence that the Obamessiah is particularly intelligent.  His treating his academic records like a state secret suggests to me that his grades were not particularly remarkable.  The only time he sounds ‘smart’ is when he’s reading from his TelePromTer.  The rest of the time he sounds of average intelligence at best.

  • I wonder if this guy was a member of the Journolist that actively conspired to protect Obama from the Wright stories back during the campaign?

    Man, there’s gonna be a lot more fun things coming out of that one.

  • But we still don’t know him.  Before Americans can give him credit for what he’s done, they have to know who he is.  We’re waiting.

    Ew, ew… I know!!!  Call on me!!!
    Cohen is a useless idiot.  One of a herd.

  • {eyes rolling} You dense righties are so easily taken in when my comrades ideological brothers-in-arms write pieces like this. This is just another multiple truth exposition, so that whatever happens in the future, this fine journalist will be able to point to something and say he was on top of it.

    Goodness, you’ve seen me use this same technique so many times, I would have thought even thick righties would have figured it out by now. See, we needed to ensure that Obama, PBUH, won during the election, so we had a set of truths that we made sure were repeated over and over again. And those truths certainly didn’t need to include anything damaging about his minister, so we made sure that stuff was thoroughly dismissed as unimportant. Why, surely you remember me doing my part right here to tell you how unimportant the whole Jeremiah Wright thing was.

    However, that opens us up to accusations of bias. Naturally, those accusations are not true. In the post-modern world of multiple truths, it’s not bias to campaign for the salvation of leftist utopia, it’s just acknowledging reality.

    However, to maintain a proper image for you dense righties who don’t yet accept post-modernism as the defining philosophy in your lives, we put up these kind of chin-pulling pieces. They show you that we’ve considered both sides and we’re not really just mindless drones who rubber stamp anything Obama says and does.

    See, that way when we come back and double down on the important issues, we can refer back to these meaningless chin-pullers to assure you that we’ve really thought things through and have something wise and considered to say. And that we’re not just parroting leftist talking points, which you guys falsely accuse me of all the time.

    Personally, I thought this was one of the best chin pullers I’ve read in a long time. It manages to imply that maybe Obama isn’t perfect (even though we know he’s pretty close) without ever really saying there’s anything wrong with him. A pro at work!

    Now you’ll have to excuse me as I get ready for the next session in my online course where I use my vast knowledge of foreign affairs to explain why everything Bush did was wrong, except for the bit at the end where he was leading into successes by Obama. Plus, I’ve really got to do something about the magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face. Some of them have grown full lips and an ample bosom, and I can barely open a drawer without confronting three or four of them. I’ve called exterminators to deal with them but for some reason they just keep blowing me off. Probably because they’re grunt engineer, dense rightie types like the people around here.

    • One of your best!

    • Ott, perhaps it’s time to embrace the caterillars.  Think of the rewards of a few residing in you trousers, with their full lips and ample boszoooms…

    • Yes, I agree with docjim, another diamond in the Scerb collection.

      The scary part is that Scerb is taking on a whole life of his own, even as the thing being parodied seems to fade into slow motion. I see Erb now and think, “Oh, good, Scerb will be along shortly!”

      Can “The Diaries of Ott Scerb” be far behind?

    • I am saving some of these best Ott Scerb lampoons in a special folder, then several years from now when the economy is totally wrecked, I can pull it out and at least have a chuckle or two.

    • I can’t tell if when the real McClown uses the phrase “methinks you doth protest too much” if he’s being himself, or doing a parody of you doing a parody of him.  I finally saw him use the line the other day, it was puzzling.

      • That’s the beauty — there really is no practical difference between the output of the two, only in the intent.  That’s what make it so entertaining and scary all at the same time.

    • Thanks, Ott! I can give up my Lithium now! 🙂

  • Barack Obama does not even get credit for the right decisions he’s already made. The bank bailout averted a financial crackup and the stimulus package pulled the economy back from the abyss. Along with reform of the financial industry and health care, these are considerable achievements. Only the voters disagree.

    A couple of points:

    1.  IIRC, it was Bush who started the whole bailout gravy train.  I’m guessing that this is a piece of history that Cohen has no desire to remember in his rush to prove how savvy and successful The Dear Golfer has been;

    2.  Gosh, Dick, here’s a thought: maybe “voters disagree” because the bank bailouts and the stimulus were NOT “right decisions”.  If you take off your Washington-elite-we-know-better-than-you blinkers, perhaps you’ll stop to consider that the feds spent hundreds of billions (trillions?)… and unemployment is still higher than they promised, jobs don’t look to be coming back, banks are still failing, people are still losing their houses, credit is tight, and the economy is looking to go into a double-dip.  Now, do you still claim that putting all that money on the national credit card was a good idea?

    Why? Some of the answers are apparent. The economy remains sluggish and unemployment remains high. The effects of the health care act have yet to be felt and the ink is hardly dry on financial reform.

    The Dear Golfer had better thank his lucky stars about that, because I’m guessing that when people REALLY start to see what these new laws are going to do to their health care and the economy, their opinion of TDG will likely change from “we don’t trust him” to “I’ve got the torches; who’s bringing the pitchforks and rope?”

    Until these measures prove popular, they can be mischaracterized by Republicans and other evil-doers.

    Well, I guess dissent isn’t patriotic any more.  Indeed, disagreeing with The Dear Golfer is now “evil”.

    Say, Dick, here’s another thought: maybe a lot of voters suspect (know?) that The Dear Golfer, like you, thinks of them NOT as fellow Americans who have doubts about his policies or simply disagree with him, but rather as “evil-doers”.  It’s a little hard to like somebody who thinks that you are evil, wouldn’t you say?  Oh, and racist, ignorant, spoiled, nazi… I’m sure you know all the adjectives that apply to us “tea baggers”.

    This isn’t a “likability” problem, Dick.  This is a pathological issue: The Dear Golfer and his partisans are so brimming with hatred that they inspire it in other people.  The Dear Golfer isn’t “unlikable” because people don’t know him or because he doesn’t tell Irish jokes: he’s unlikable to many people because he leads them to think that he dislikes them, the values they cherish, and the country they love.  The more they get to know him, the more they believe this.

    Americans know Obama’s smart.

    I agree with Neo: there is no evidence of this.  We have been TOLD (repeatedly) by people like Cohen that The Dear Golfer is smart, but we haven’t SEEN evidence (transcripts, anyone?).  To the contrary, the evidence that we have seen is of a man who needs a teleprompter to order his wagyu steak, sent DVD’s that can’t be played on a British DVD player to the nearly-blind PM, seems to just make up numbers about his policies, laments that he doesn’t know whose ass to kick, wants to sue a state for enforcing the law, and is so stupidly arrogant that he has to ram through legislation by trickery and razor-thin margins in the dead of night.

    Before Americans can give him credit for what he’s done they have to know who he is. We’re waiting.

    OMG!  Dick, are you seriously trying to claim that we don’t KNOW who The Dear Golfer is???  The man who is CONSTANTLY on TV, the covers of magazines (usually with a halo), etc???  Or that his policies would be more popular if HE was more popular???

    This is a common lefty lament: The Dear Golfer is like Spock.  Yessir, he’s TOTALLY competent and cool and smart and logical, but all that mighty intellect makes him seem aloof.  Distant.  Above it all.  Unlikable.  Even uncaring.  The ignorant rabble can’t connect with somebody so much smarter than they are, so they don’t like him and that spills over into his policies.  Darn it!  How can we convince them that The Dear Golfer, godlike though he may be, is a likable guy with likable policies???


    N.B., back during the health care takeover debate, Cohen wrote an op-ed grousing about the stupidity and inefficiency of the Army and used this as a vehicle for why the government should take over health care.  He’s sort of a dim bulb.  No wonder he’s an Obama supporter.

    • Americans in all 57 states just know it to be true

    • Dear Golfer

      >>> Fair warning…..I’m gonna swpie this   😉

    • There is evidence Obama’s smart. He finished law school and passed the bar. We haven’t seen his transcripts or his college writings, so he might be at the lower end of law school smarts, but I have yet to meet a stupid lawyer.
      Of course Obama’s smart. He’s probably not smart in any impressive way, and it appears to be more book smart. But he’s smart.

      Likewise, Palin is smart. She did finish college. She ran a small buisness. She was mayor, head of the AK energy comission, and then governor. Stupid people don’t have that sort of resume. She has the advantage of having the right type of smarts, the type of smarts that work in buisness and leadership roles, the type of smarts Obama has yet to demonstrate.

      • ” but I have yet to meet a stupid lawyer.”
        “Stupid people don’t have that sort of resume”

        Don’t get out much, eh?

        • smart does not equal wise
          or should it be intelligent does not equal smart?
          Lots of intelligent people get fooled all the time.

  • Barack Obama is a character out of a novel that Orwell didn’t live to write.

  • I have a question, sort of off topic, but related to the stimulus.
    If we had sent checks to every American instead of doing a stimulus, the theory says that money would have been saved or spent paying down debt instead of spent. Assuming this is true, isn’t one of the drags on consumer spending the fact that everyone has too much debt? So paying down some debt would actually help. Yes, traditionally, you are looking for quick hit for demand, but in this case of a serious debt hangover, would this be a good medium term stimulus?
    I am not saying this is a good idea – just thinking about this versus infrastructure/paying state workers, etc.

    • Rush Limbaugh suggested something along these lines LONGGGG ago.
      Leaving people with their money…including our grandchildren…always has a lot of merit, both practically and morally.

    • I think that was the idea behind Bernake’s “helicopter” quip.

      The Dear Golfer and his gang were really talking out of both sides of their mouths (surprise, surprise): on the one hand, it was all about spending scads of money so people would have jobs and turn around and spend the money boosting the consumer economy.  On the other, it was about “targetted” stimulus, as if spending here was somehow more economically stimulating than spending there.  O’ course, we all understand what was really going on: it was a giant slush fund / payoff for democrats.  TDG thought (hoped) that the economy would rebound on its own as the CBO predicted.  What he didn’t realize (or really care about) was the debilitating effects his own policies would have on the recovery.  If I may employ a homely phrase, he sh*t in his own Wheaties.

      Had the stimulus been smaller (i.e. less debt), truly targetted at actual infrastructure jobs instead of at phantom jobs in non-existent ZIP codes, and had TDG not embarked on his anti-business crusade, Porkulus MIGHT have done some good.  At the very least, it wouldn’t have hurt.  As it was, however, he spent a lot of our children’s money and we got nothing in return.

      Aside from the satisfaction of enriching a lot of democrat donors, that is.

      • Geez, doc…

        Porkulus MIGHT have done some good.  At the very least, it wouldn’t have hurt.

        Both those statements are wrong.  Any time you have government spending like this…quantitatively and qualitatively…totally outside any Constitutional mandate, you have ENORMOUS harm done.  Again, that harm is both pragmatic and philosophical…practical and moral.

        • I agree with your point, but I suggest that HAD the spending been limited to constitutional projects (for example, both the I-40 and the I-85 in much of No. Carolina could really use some work, and defense spending is NEVER wasted in my opinion), it might have done some good by putting people to work actually doing things that ought to be done.  Whether “shovel ready” projects actually spur long-term economic growth is another question, but I’d sure rather my tax dollars pay for something a little more tangible and useful than merely keeping some state employee warming his chair.

    • Sending a “stimulus” check to every American and passing the debt to the government is a bit analogous to playing Monopoly and having the “bank get generous“.

      • The proposal had American PRODUCERS keeping their money, and using it as they deemed best.
        Fundamentally different than sending a check from government to every American.
        The government HAS NO DEBT.  It all belongaus.

      • Yes, I agree that it would shift debt from some consumers (profligate or not) to the US government, and would be inflationary. This is why I am not sure its a good idea. I am mainly asking if it would help the debt overhang much or not.
        Also, everyone would get a check. If you had no debt you could save it or buy an Iphone.

    • you are putting too much effort into trying to understand it.  Leftienomics is supposed to work like this, (1) The government spends money, preferably on government workers or unions but unemployment and welfare work too.

      (2) Since spending has a stimulative effect it will stimulate the economy and it doesn’t matter where the money comes from.

      (3) And since taxes have no effect on business or hireing we can pay for it with higher taxes.

      (4) The result is the magic of the invidious hand which supernaturally allows us to borrow, spend, and tax our way into prosperity.

      • OK, but here is my problem. Imagine you live in a rural county in Africa. There are no paved roads. You sell your crop to the local market town as you cannot sell it farther away than that. Then the government builds a paved road to your market town, enabling you to sell your crop to more buyers farther away. So, it seems that some investment in public goods spurs economic growth and are good investments.
        So, I would think Keynesism, in theory, sounds workable. Now, if you already have enough roads, and the road built does nothing, well, now in practice Keyneism fails. For example, dog parks do not spur growth beyond the simple expenditure minus the “missing funds.”
        This is why tax cuts are more powerful, because the individual usually spends them on what they really want.
        The problem we have now is that we are not in good shape to hand out goodies, cut spending, etc. We should have saved for a rainy day, but we did not. I am saying, would money that ended up as debt relief for individuals (supposed to be a bad outcome by Keynesians) really be a bad outcome, assuming you had to spend the money.
        Personally, the only thing that could spur growth without affecting spending, would be cutting red tape and freezing new laws…you could maybe eke out some growth without any “pain” that way.

  • One small quibble, McQ…
    Cohen is not a journalist.  Never was, as far as I know.  He’s just a commentator.

  • Who is “we” Mr. Cohen?  And where were you and your kind when the vetting process was supposed to take place.

    They were vetting the living daylights out of Sarah Palin.

  • There’s no news value to Cohen’s story.  Anyone paying attention knows the media gave Obama a free pass all the way to the Presidency.  They hyped negative stories about competitors and insured against even the possibility of having to report an anti-Obama story by not doing any investigative reporting on Obama at all.  Now the right doesn’t trust the media AT ALL.  And righties go to political rallies with video cameras – if the media can smear Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, they can smear you too.

    That said, Cohen is late to the game but he, more than most on the left, at least gets there.  In 2000, Cohen saw the Florida fiasco and said that Gore should concede.  The ‘cost’ to the country of Gore winning Florida would simply be too great (cost as in lost trust of the electoral process).  Cohen’s no EJ Dionne.  After the 2008 election Dionne announced that capitalism was now dead, killed off by the need for TARP apparently, and we had to find something to replace it.   

    • “They hyped negative stories about competitors and insured against even the possibility of having to report an anti-Obama story by not doing any investigative reporting on Obama at all.  Now the right doesn’t trust the media AT ALL.  And righties go to political rallies with video cameras – if the media can smear Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber, they can smear you too.”
      Amen brother. Its going to get very interesting from here on out. And for all the folks saying Breitbart nailed an innocent: well, you know, the left better get more careful about what they say. The right has to resign for far less than Sherrod did. Until the right gets some leeway, I’m afraid this is the new reality. I don’t like it, but they made their bed.

  • Obama was in Holland to tout the benefits of an $862 billion emergency program he signed last year. Government spending has contributed to worry among voters about the country’s deficit, but Obama pointed to the benefits.

    “We’re leveraging nearly three private dollars for every public dollar. That’s an incredible bang for our buck.”

    Now THAT is a truly gobsmacking piece of delusion.
    The flight of capital…meanwhile and back in reality…continues unabated…

  • So what is the consensus folks?: Incompetent, or deliberately destructive?
    My vote is for the latter.