Obama triumphans Archives

November 11, 2008

Obama: Soft on welfare queens

-- No, no, not those welfare queens, a different bunch:

President-elect Barack Obama yesterday urged President Bush to support immediate aid for struggling automakers and back a new stimulus package, even as congressional Democrats began drafting legislation to give the Detroit automakers quick access to $25 billion by adding them to the Treasury Department's $700 billion economic rescue program.
I've always been very amused by the contrast between the self-representation of business folk, and the actuality. Some years ago, a couple of other propellerheads and I had quite a good idea -- an idea which some other propellerheads ended up making a lot of money with -- and we went with our begging bowls to various venture-capital folk (this was when that unamiable species was as thick on the ground as bison were, before the railroads came). The first question the VC guys asked (and they were guys, every time, so cool your jets there, Ms Steinem) was this: "What are the barriers to entry for potential competitors?" The Grail they were seeking, you see, was quite simply monopoly. Competition is for losers.

Representation: risk-taking; self-made; beholden to no one; bold; unafraid of possible failure; eager to compete on the level playing field, may the best man win, et cetera, et cetera -- one has heard all this piffle a million times, right?

Reality: they hate competition worse than cholera, and when they fail, they run to Uncle for a handout.

And Uncle, with both halves of his bicameral, bipartisan brain, feels their pain.


From the Washington Post:

President-elect Barack Obama ... intends to renew the U.S. commitment to the hunt for Osama bin Laden [and] intends to move ahead with a planned deployment of thousands of additional U.S. troops [in Afghanistan, which is] likely to be welcomed by a number of senior U.S. military officials who advocate a more aggressive... course for the deteriorating conflict.

...[C]onversations with several Obama advisers and a number of senior military strategists ... reveal a shared sense that the Afghan effort under the Bush administration has been hampered by ... an unrealistic commitment to the goal of building a modern democracy....

Some European and NATO officials have suggested that an assembly of tribal elders should select the country's next leader.

Sounds like the Bush Iraq "surge" redivivus: find the right warlords and bribe 'em. But keep the boots on the ground.

Smart 'Bama

I happened to overhear an elevator conversation recently, between two of my neighbors. They were talking about the election -- when, I wonder, will anybody on the West Side start to talk about anything else?

Neighbor A: "At least Obama is intelligent. Bush was such a... dummy."
Neighbor B: "That is SO true. Thank God!"

Got me thinking. I've heard this intelligence trope a lot. What does it presuppose?

You want your lawyer to be smart. If you hire a computer programmer, you want him or her to be smart (unless the job includes Javascript, which a smart person won't write). And so on.

Wanting a smart president, then, goes along with another trope: that the presidency is a "job." And of course (unlike people who actually make hiring decisions, in the real world) we want the best man -- or woman, as the case may be -- for the job.

What exactly is the job description? Administrator of the global empire, right? Required skills: bland hypocrisy, experience with mass murder....

All of which makes me think I'd rather have a "dummy" in the job. It's not, actually, a job I want to see done well.

I made this point recently to another neighbor of mine -- call her Lyle. West Siders are nothing if not quick. Lyle shot back, "You just had eight years of the biggest dummy in US history. Did that make you happy?"

Now factually, I don't think she's right about Bush. She's deceived -- as New Yorkers often are -- by the hick accent. Who knows what Bush is really like? But the carefully-contrived persona to which both she, and the people who voted for him, are responding, is not that of a dummy, but of a sly and crafty peckerwood anti-intellectual, quite a different matter. Lyle mistakenly believes that a peckerwood anti-intellectual must be dumb -- it's her New York provincialism coming out. And it must be noted that if this Administration was run by dummies, it nevertheless strangely succeeded -- with a good deal of help from the Democrats, to be sure -- in doing exactly what it wanted to do.

Still. Let's grant Lyle's point, arguendo. I didn't have a response ready at the time, but pondering the matter later, I realized that I wasn't all that happy after the presidencies of the two officially-certified Brainiac presidents in my lifetime, Carter and Clinton. (Nixon was smart too, but poorly educated and crazy as a bedbug, so he's in a class by himself.)

Smart as they undoubtedly were, they left very unsatisfactory records behind them -- unsatisfactory to me, anyway, happy though others may have been -- and more to the point, these two mighty intellects paved the way for Reagan and Bush II respectively.

So how important is intelligence in a president? It depends, I suppose, on what you're looking for. Here I must return to a favorite theme: to wit, that people like Lyle and my neighbors in the elevator, when they go to vote, are mostly looking for someone they can recognize as a person like themselves. In the case of my neighbors, this would be a smart person, with a reasonably good education (as these things go), with some regard for culture, and above all -- no fucking hick accent.

November 12, 2008

The day of Jubilo

And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
The husband here would be Barack, of course.

When all else is folly, hope is best based on.... prayer.

Let us pray then.

Let us pray for a New Dealusalem.

Pray, baby, pray.


Note: Many visions, great and gauche, exist of the new Jerusalem. I picked the one above because of its Borg cube quality.

November 13, 2008

Fanship undertow

Small-boat sailors know that they should always stay well clear of large vessels. There's a very dangerous suction that a container ship, or a tanker, creates, as its enormous hull shoves through the water -- a suction that can draw a small craft right up against the behemoth's hull, with predictably unpleasant consequences.

There is a similar phenomenon in politics. It's one of the reasons I disapprove of voting -- much less working -- for Democrats. The well-meaning pwog, in his or her little coracle or catboat, ventures out into the harbor. He falls into the suction of a mighty steel-hulled commercial ship, like the SS Obama. He is drawn closer, and closer. He collides with its cold, unyielding adamantine sides. His fragile craft is smashed, and he is pulled under, and drowned -- drowned intellectually, and politically. Things that would have had him baying at the moon, if Bush had done them, he now finds excuses for -- when a Democrat does them.

I call it Fanship Undertow.

I've seen it time and time again. There's a lot of it going around just now. An occasional correspondent of mine -- let's call her Sadie -- recently wrote:

Rahm's an interesting choice- I know that there's some concern about him being a partisan figure but he's (in my view) not facilitating a partisan role. His main objective is to keep the ship in order and his experience in the Clinton administration would indicate that he knows how to navigate the waters (so to speak). Even more importantly he's ultimately pushing Obama's agenda....
Classic. This young woman would have been quite ready to agree that Rahm Emanuel was the Abomination of Desolation -- until Obama picked him.

But she has given her heart to Obama. And a heart once given is not easily taken back. So the Fanship Undertow has gripped her. Her good, well-meaning heart has been drawn under. Will she survive? I hope so. How long can she hold her breath?

Two things strike me about her ingenious, hopeful email:

1) She has become a Crackpot Realist. All of a sudden this youthful insurgent has come to value order -- experience -- knowing how to "navigate the waters."

2) She is still delirious with giddy, utterly unfounded hope. Rahm will "push Obama's agenda." From what we know about Rahm -- and we know a lot -- does he seem like the sort of guy who would push anybody's agenda but his own?

November 14, 2008

Change-y -- or mangy?

The Note says it all:

Thirty-one of the 47 people so far named [by Obama] to transition or staff posts have ties to the Clinton administration, including all but one of the members of his 12-person Transition Advisory Board and both of his White House staff choices.
They're even saying he might make Hill Secretary of State! I can't tell you how delighted I would be. The thought that we might not have her to kick around any more was too sad for words.

November 15, 2008

Hail to the Jailer-In-Chief

Looks like the Hope-'N-Change Team may be turning into the Rope-'N-Chains Team. The New York Times reports:

[A]s Mr. Obama moves closer to assuming responsibility for Guantánamo, his pledge to close the detention center is bringing to the fore thorny questions [including] a matter that people with ties to the Obama transition team say is worrying them most: What if some detainees are acquitted or cannot be prosecuted at all?
Golly, that would be terrible, wouldn't it?
[S]ome liberals are arguing that to deal realistically with terrorism, the new administration should seek Congressional authority for preventive detention of terrorism suspects ... even if they cannot be successfully prosecuted.

“You can’t be a purist and say there’s never any circumstance in which a democratic society can preventively detain someone,” said one civil liberties lawyer... who has been a critic of the Bush administration. ...Whether the Obama administration should push for a preventive detention law has inspired “a very hot and serious debate,” said Ken Gude, a national security scholar at the liberal Center for American Progress, adding, “I’ve had conversations with progressives who think it is a good idea and conservatives who think it’s a terrible idea.” ...[A] move by Mr. Obama to seek explicit authorization for indefinite detention without trial would be seen by some of his supporters as a betrayal.

Not to worry. They'll eat it and like it. It will give them an opportunity to display their crackpot realism, like
Benjamin Wittes, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, [who has] argued... that Americans needed to cross a “psychological Rubicon” and accept the idea that preventive detention was a necessary tool for fighting terrorism.

“I’m afraid of people getting released in the name of human rights and doing terrible things,” Mr. Wittes said in an interview....

In the end, the Obama administration may conclude that it is simply not feasible to seek a new preventive detention measure. Doing so could portray the new administration as following in the footsteps of President Bush....

Meaning, I suppose, that the Obama administration will simply... maintain the status quo. No further attempt will be made to legitimize indefinite imprisonment without trial; but neither will any attempt be made to end it.

The change we can believe in, as expected, is merely a change of face, as an Obamaphile friend said with such enthusiasm on Election Day.

November 22, 2008

O Great Leader, live forever!

Jeezus H. on a Segway, how goddamn' Stalinist can you get?

NY elementary school is renamed for Obama

NEW YORK (AP) - It was only a matter of time. A New York school has been renamed in honor of President-elect Barack Obama.

The former Ludlum Elementary School, in Long Island's Hempstead Union Free School District, was renamed at a school board meeting Thursday—effective immediately.

School officials say most of the 440 students there are black or Hispanic, and Obama's victory is a source of great pride.

Ahh, well, give 'em two or three years; the kids'll be burning the goddamn' joint down.

November 24, 2008

Ain't love the sweetest thing

She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.
My liberal, Obamaphile friends are rapidly losing their sense of humor.

Oddly enough, it was more or less OK for me to be a Grinch before the election. Now, however, it seems to be in very poor taste. I'm getting a lot of sour looks and testy emails, when I chortle about Rahm Emanuel, and Tom Daschle, and Larry Summers, and Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.

My friends fell in love, it seems; and the love-object is, well, dumping them -- dumping them with almost indecent haste.

Oh yeah, sure, it's kinder to dump an ex-lover quickly and briskly, instead of drawing it out. But there's something creepy about a person whose heart is so much under his control that he can act on this undoubtedly sound principle, and never turn a hair.

The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

November 26, 2008

With friends like these....

La Huffington, Inc., reports:

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman [says] Barack Obama's actions since winning the presidency have been "just about perfect."

"Everything that President-elect Obama has done since election night has been just about perfect, both in terms of a tone and also in terms of the strength of the names that have either been announced or are being discussed to fill his administration," Lieberman said during a visit to Hartford.

... Lieberman said he believes the rift between himself and the party stemmed mainly from his support of President Bush's policy in Iraq and will close as that becomes less of an issue.

"It appears to me that the war in Iraq is coming to a successful -- I don't want to say conclusion yet, but it's moving in a way that it will not be a divisive issue either in the Democratic Party or between Democrats and Republicans in the time ahead," Lieberman said. "And therefore, I think we'll return to more normal times, which I welcome."

Joe's no fool. He loves the Iraq war like his firstborn son. When he says that the war "won't be a divisive issue," you can take that to the bank.

"Normal times" indeed -- the Democrats are only anti-war when they're in opposition.

If then.

December 4, 2008

Mission accomplished

I was talking recently with a friend of mine -- call him Matt. Matt is too old and cynical to be an Obamaniac, but he was an Obama voter.

He was just fine with Obie's cabinet and staff picks. After a certain amount of delicate probing -- at least, I hope it was delicate -- Matt finally allowed as how he really didn't care that much about the Iraq war, or about universal health care, or even about the never-specified "change" that Obie kept promising us. "Change? Come on. That was just a campaign slogan," he said.

I gingerly advanced the idea that many Obama voters might have simply been looking for a person like themselves. Matt stared at me with a look of frank incredulity. "Well, yeah," he observed, with an airy wave of the hand.

Matt -- who himself has a managerial job -- also felt that Obie would be a better "manager" than Bush, and that his appointments reflect this managerial savvy. Bush, Matt felt, has been a horrible bungler.

This line of argument interests me greatly. Were the Bush guys bad managers? This doesn't seem self-evident. They accomplished everything they wanted to accomplish. Yeah, the poor and black parts of New Orleans ended up under water -- but taking care of poor black folks was never a high-priority item for them, any more than it was for Bill Clinton. And we ended up mired to the hip in the Middle East -- which is, I think, just where they wanted us, and just where Hillary wants us too, if her record in the Senate means anything.

To be sure, the "economy," as we still quaintly call it it, crawled up its own asshole and vanished like the Cheshire Cat, in the latter days of Bush's watch. But is this Bush's fault? Or is this the culmination of, what, thirty years of market-cultism, under Republicans and Democrats alike?

I suggested this thought to Matt. He didn't like it. But then, he's still employed.

In the course of our conversation, it became clear to me -- belatedly, but then I'm pretty thick -- that Matt thought I was beating a dead horse. Dude! -- his facial expression said -- the election is like, so over. We won!

On to the next thing!

February 13, 2009

A transatlantic view... of hagiography

The creator of this clip was kind enough to drop us a friendly note recently, along with the link:

Here's the URL, in case the embedding doesn't work:

February 24, 2010

Spectral Evidence

“So you can communicate, but the communications are censored,” Justice Ginsburg said. “You can be a member, you can attend meetings, you can discuss things, but there is a certain point at which the discussion must stop, right?”

Ms. Kagan responded, “The discussion must stop when you go over the line into giving valuable advice, training, support to these organizations.”

Ms. Kagan gave examples of prohibited conduct. A lawyer would commit a crime, she said, by filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a terrorist group. Helping such a group petition international bodies is also a crime, she added.

Justice John Paul Stevens asked if there was an authentic risk that Mr. Fertig would be prosecuted were he to make a presentation on behalf of the Kurdish group at the United Nations. He seemed to expect a negative answer.

But Ms. Kagan would say only that the matter would involve a “prosecutorial judgment.”

Via Who Is IOZ?

Increase Mather ultimately questioned the use of spectral evidence out of fear it could be influenced by demons. Demons being all demonic and evil and all, that makes a certain amount of sense. False witness and leading people into it are right up Satan's alley. What a pity the Obama administration is less enlightened than Increase Mather. He, at least, could find grounds to question "prosecutorial judgment".

March 31, 2010

Oil you can eat buffet

The Drunk Pundit has some appropriately derisive words for Obama and the liberal version of the "drill, baby, drill" loons.

My question regarding this is, if they plan to drill in the north eastern seaboard region where do they plan to refine it? If I may, I'd like to suggest anywhere within an hour or two's drive of any or all of the following: Hyannis Port, Martha's Vineyeard, Cape Cod, Kennebunkport, Westport and Montauk. New Jersey is already sufficiently blighted. Although Cape May holds some promise.

I think this idiot scheme of his is going to run into well-heeled NIMBYism pretty quick. But we'll see.

A little update. I see via Corrente that the plan includes the "northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida", and specifically excludes eminent domain seizure of the Kennedy compound.

November 22, 2010

Perfect consistency

On one score, at least, our legally inflicted and constitutionally imposed preznit has a perfect track record. Every kindly, well-meaning, hopeful person who supported him has received punishment for the effort. He doesn't personally micro-manage the punishment, but he's tireless in setting the conditions. The cool, rational big man on campus, the "no drama Obama", is unflinching in his resolve; a compleat dipshit.

November 24, 2010

Mickey Mouse Machiavels

Read this at M. IOZ

So.... That news makes me very happy. I'm not even going to try to sum it up—save to say that if you can read it without tears of laughter, you have no heart.

Any expat SMBIVANs? Expat life can land you at the edge of Uncle's traveling machination circus. There's no world changing perspective in it, unless you're a naif, but you can get a close look at a few of the personalities that make up the foreign policy implementation machine. They tend towards a contemptuous parochialism. Very few bother to learn the language. They have the privileged high school brat appetite for empty resume building. They're dependent on accomplished strivers who lack the connections and pathology for fighting their way up the food chain. They get sick of each other's company, and struggle between garrulity and paranoia. When garrulity is ascendant, they talk about their favorite topics, with a heavy emphasis on themselves. They'd do better to shut up. The paranoia is a fatuous, solipsistic paranoia. They're worried about threats to their careers, which makes them mistrustful of the strivers. What they do about that is classic, straight out of the General Motors or Microsoft management playbooks: they deliberately undermine the only people with any idea of what's actually going on. Then they close ranks, play stupid and wait for massive bailout intervention. And it works! Because the only serious sins of their profession are breaches of propriety.

About Obama triumphans

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Stop Me Before I Vote Again in the Obama triumphans category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Naturists is the previous category.

On, Wisconsin! is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31