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Obama’s “Professional Critics” And Their Political Immaturity! (Updated)

I’m all for young people getting involved in politics, but the downside to it is the utter lack of historical perspective and understanding of the way our government functions. I remember being that way when I was younger, but I learned quickly because of my very wise mother and my intense curiosity. Even brilliant people like Rachel Maddow fall into that rut and then have trouble getting themselves out of it. She is the one who has elevated the latest MSNBC “Balloon Boy” Lt. Daniel Choi to a position where he gets to spout his half truths, hyperbole and ignorance for the world to see. I was going to write about Choi, but instead I will steer you to others who have covered what I think about it very well. Here, here and here.

Instead, I want to rant about the broader issue of who gets to be the pundits on our televisions and in our major publications. A while back, Ezra Klein, one of the young guns in the media, 27 years old as I type, penned a very snarky response to a Ben Bernanke speech with an arrogance that made me wonder how someone of those tender years felt he had the authority to talk down to Mr. Bernanke. Ezra is certainly very smart and a great writer, but that doesn’t necessarily make him qualified to speak on all issues. I tweeted this when Klein penned this post “What Bernanke Should Have Said”…

Ezra Klein BA in political science, 27 yrs old. Bernanke, BA-econ Harvard, Ph.D-econ MIT, 57 yrs old. Chairmen of Fed, I pick Ben

That tweet pretty much sums up how I feel about that one. Don’t get my wrong, I like Ezra and think he did great work during the health care debate. He is very smart when it comes to politics and unlike a lot of the younger pundits, he has a much greater understanding of the politics of Washington. He was a pol-sci major after all. But no matter how bright he is, I don’t know how much time he has really spent on economics policy. I tend to think Ben Bernanke has a bit more experience and moves in the top circles of economic thinkers.

Even Rachel Maddow exhibits a certain immaturity and she is 38 years old. I’ve said it many times on this blog that Rachel is a national treasure and reports about things that no one else is or will. But that doesn’t mean she is always right or understands the ways of Washington. When you think back about what administrations she has lived through as an adult and it makes more sense. When she was 20 years old, Bill Clinton was president and it was the beginning of the downward spiral of our dysfunctional government, with impeachment hearings, investigations and extreme partisan game playing. Remember Newt Gingrich? So when Rachel Maddow took issue with how President Obama approached the repeal of DADT and kept predicting over and over that it wouldn’t happen, basically calling President Obama a liar, it caused her to have to apologize and admit she was wrong when President Obama signed it. But really, after a year and a half of pounding on the President with Rachel leading the charge, the damage was already done and of course those people who used the issue the most to beat up on our Democratic president couldn’t even give him credit for it. Here is a reminder of one of Rachel’s mea culpas after passage of DADT. Rachel starts at about 1 minute…

To me, this event is a perfect example of how President Obama did what had to be done, politically, to get a permanent repeal of DADT – not an executive order that could be reversed by the next Republican president. I’m pasting a portion of her comments below, in case you can’t watch videos at work and because they spell it out rather well. But remember, this is after having beat up on the president on this issue for a long time, the damage was done at this point.

I think that politically, though, the thing to not lose touch of, to not lose touch with here, this is the President’s victory. The President took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters on this. But this is an issue on which the President did not waver. He continually insisted that this was possible. That it would get done.

It, in fact, was not possible for the President to do this through Executive action. This is something that had to happen legislatively if it was really going to happen in a definitive way.

The President did not waver. He DID work on the Senate to get this to happen. He insisted that this was possible against a lot of people, including me, saying it was not possible.

This is a difficult promise kept. It’s not just a promise that was kept. It was one that was hard to keep, that cost a lot of political capital and a lot of work and this is the President’s victory today and his base will reward him for it.

So even thought Rachel was able to see clearly in hindsight, her political immaturity led her to join in on the beating of President Obama and fed into the skepticism. She ended up being about the only critic to give the president credit. The “professional critics” like Hamsher and the gang took credit for it themselves, after all their bullshit. I think it was at that point that I became enraged at that self-serving, money and click grubbing group of asshats.

Now having read all that or watched the Youtube clip, does it surprise anyone that Rachel has turned on the president again and joined with that same chorus of critics with respect to gay marriage. Last week, New York passed and the governor signed a law allowing gay marriage (wooo hooo) and in the process of celebrating and pontificating, Rachel has shown once again that although brilliant, she often goes over the edge. In the midst of celebrating, she couldn’t help but inject this into the mix, which of course is what all the professional Obama critics and MSM picked up on and used to bludgeon the President with this weekend. So, the man who has done more for gay rights than all previous presidents combined, gets attacked on a day of celebration. What in the fuck is wrong with that picture. She couldn’t find one Republican to attack, but instead turns her focus on the President. This is what she said that became the big story.

“President Obama is against what just happened.”

She basically handed the professional critics exactly what they needed to continue their assault on President Obama. And the worse part is she fucking got it wrong again. Mischaracterizing what President Obama said in her very myopic way. Ugh. From a post by TimT at The People’s View entitled “A Great Day for NY LGBTQ Community But Rachel Maddow Is A Effing Liar“…

On a day where we should be embracing and celebrating this decision, for Rachel to make this issue about the President is dumbfounding but what was surprising is that I never knew she is just a FUCKING LIAR!

Rewind
A must see position of the President on Gay Marriage during the campaign trail when asked about

Transcript:
I would have supported and would continued to support a civil union that provides benefits that are available for a legally sanctioned marriage and then as I said it is up to religious denominations to make a determination as to whether they want to recognize that as marriage or not.

Question: On the ground of civil marriage, can you see to our community where that comes across as sounding like separate but equal?

Obama: When my parents got married in 1960-61, it would have been illegal for them to be married in a number of States in the south. So obviously, this is something I understand intimately and something I care about but i would also say this that if I was advising the civil rights movement back in 1961 about its approach to civil rights, I would have probably said, it is less important that we focus on anti-miscegenation law than focus on voting rights law, a non-discrimination employment law and all the legal rights that are confirmed by the State.

Now, it is not for me to suggest that you should not be troubled by this issues. I understand that and I am sympathetic to it. But, my job as President is going to be to make sure that the legal rights that has consequences on a day to day basis for loving same sex couples are all across the country, those rights are recognized and enforced by my White House and Justice Department.

Something I haven’t heard anyone else say, and I may have just missed it, is that giving the LGBT community the right to marry wouldn’t change much for them when it comes to day to day life. What President Obama has done will have a direct effect on their day to day lives and that is why so many in the LGBT community support President Obama, although they don’t have a cable network to get their support out like Rachel Maddow, Lt. Dan Choi and all the others who want the world to think that President Obama is somehow the enemy. Nothing like being ungrateful. The Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT rights group, does get it. (emphasis mine)

On LGBT issues, President Obama’s signature achievement has been passage of the law to repeal the odious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that cost our nation thousands of patriotic Americans willing to put their lives on the line. The president stood up before the country in his State of the Union address and promised he would work with Congress to end DADT. And he delivered. Behind the scenes and in public, he worked with advocates to put together all of the pieces — not the least of which was getting senior military leadership to be repeal’s biggest champions.

It was also President Obama who signed the first federal law explicitly protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people — the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. And when the president read the story of Janice Langbehn, who along with her children was shut out of the emergency room as her partner lay dying of a brain aneurysm, he put his administration into action. Mandating that every hospital receiving Medicaid or Medicare funds adopt new visitation policies, the president’s directive means that nearly every hospital in the country is a significant step closer to treating our families as equals.

So yea, let’s beat up on the guy who has done more for your community than all other presidents combined. What a great fucking idea.

I personally have stopped watching all MSNBC shows for now. The turn that the “Comcastic” cable network has taken in the last year is atrocious, from promoting Donald Trump’s racist brand to employing the likes of Cenk Uygur, Dylan Ratigan and countless pundits such as Jane Hamsher, Adam Green and David Sirota, all political neophytes with chips on their shoulders against our Democratic president. Anyone who says MSNBC is a left leaning cable network is blowing smoke up your ass, and we all know how painful that can be.

UPDATE: From John Cole at Balloon Juice. A very specific example of the political immaturity of a few of the loudest voices in our media. Go over to Balloon Juice to see the writing he is referring to from the immature fainting couch folks. Go John! (emphasis mine)

Who writes this nonsense? Seriously?

Cuomo and the NY politicians were very carefully advancing the issue in a delicate manner, allowing this to be a vote of conscience for the Senators, free from the usual heightened levels of partisan rancor. Things were proceeding nicely, everything pointed to a win for gay rights the next night, and Obama didn’t need to do anything to “lead.” In fact, if Obama had gone up there and delivered what these clowns wanted, and gave a rousing speech claiming he had changed his mind, it would have done nothing but blown up the current negotiations. How many Republicans who were supporting the vote would have backed away, simply because Republicans could not give Obama a “win.” The vote of conscience would be gone, and it would become a partisan battle and the vote would probably have failed.

I swear, it is almost like these idiots don’t understand politics, don’t understand risk and reward, and do not understand strategic thinking. The vote was going to pass- why would Obama do anything to insert himself into the issue and possibly blow things up? Hell, I was worried that just him appearing at the fundraiser would blow things up.

It’s almost like they just want to cheer and feel good about themselves rather than have good legislation pass.

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June 27, 2011 - Posted by | 2012 Election, Democratic Party, Politics, President Barack Obama | , ,

14 Comments »

  1. You are so right. I had to turn Rachel off last week again and did not even watch her the night NY passed their marriage law. I got tired of the every night about Wiener, I started to check in on Morning Joke and took 3 minutes and turned if off. That station is just a joke anymore.
    Thanks for the write up.
    Your Grand Daughter is adorable. I would take the day off too, :)

    Comment by Roberta in MN | June 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Since they made Cenk a full time host I haven’t watch MSNBC like I used to. I guess having Firebaggers on serve a purpose for the ultra right leaning Comcast. Sure firebaggers criticized the Republicans but they’re going after Obama harder.

      And they pollute the waters for viewers who don’t follow politics.

      Comment by Johnny C | June 27, 2011 | Reply

  2. I had my doubts about CurrentTV becoming a real contender, a real “liberal” news outlet, but MSNBC is certainly making it more possible every day. I like Keith, I don’t adore or worship him as some apparently do, but I found his show being livestreamed at ReadyTV. I’m looking forward to the addition of more shows. I’d like to see a show that features viewpoints from “The Nation” for example. Katrina and crew do a good job of presenting a liberal “bias” you really won’t find anywhere else.
    As for Ezra, I happen to be a big proponent of his. Why? To me, he represents a new generation of economic thought balanced with the realities of politics. I don’t always agree with him, but he does an excellent job of turning “wonk” into common-sense dialog.
    With regard to Maddow, I’ll be interested in seeing how she handles her unfortunate response. Will she double-down? I’ve always appreciated her willingness to really dig into the issues and give some background. It would be hard to just “quit Maddow” with so few options available right now. But if she insists on continuing the false narrative that President Obama is “against” the LGBT community, it’s adios.

    Comment by BlueTrooth | June 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Maureen Dowd echos the sentiments of the “professional” gay left today in the New York Times:

      Obama is “evolving” on the issue of gay marriage, which, as any girl will tell you, is the first sign of a commitment-phobe.

      Maybe, given all his economic and war woes as he heads into 2012, Obama fears the disapproval of the homophobic elements within his own party. But he has tried to explain his reluctance on gay marriage as an expression of his Christianity, even though he rarely goes to church and is the picture of a secular humanist. [That statement should turn off more Christian voters, thanks MoDo!]

      While picking up more than three-quarters of a million dollars from 600 guests at a gay and lesbian fund-raising gala in Manhattan on Thursday night, the president declared, “I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country,” even as he held to his position that the issue should be left to the states to decide.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/opinion/sunday/26dowd.html?ref=maureendowd

      In case Dowd doesn’t know it, marriage has always been a STATE FUNCTION. But Christian wingers like Michelle Bachmann want to take that right away from the states. Bachmann says that if she becomes president, she will push for a FEDERAL Constitutional Amendment to outlaw states legalizing gay marriage.

      Comment by grantinhouston | June 27, 2011 | Reply

  3. Bah I can’t trust Maddow anymore. I think she’s bought and paid for and doesn’t even sound like she used to sound like. That comment was very unMaddow like and many didn’t even believe or want to believe she actually said that because MSNBC website edited the remark out but I guess it was live on tv. Either way I’m not that partial to listening to the pundits anymore. I’ve stopped watching comedy central even just because of the vicious attacks against Obama and how it seems pretty much impossible to find anything good said about our president.

    It seems instead the media has been actively praising Michelle Bachman and want her to win the presidency. I just hope people don’t vote for this bitch!

    Comment by Jeff | June 27, 2011 | Reply

  4. ExtremeLiberal, Thank you for this discussion. I was, and have recently been, very disappointed in Rachel. She seems to behave very immaturely when things do not go her way. This most recently episode made me angry, and I and many others have let her know that we will not watch her show any longer. It is as if she has these moody temper tantrums. Enough Rachel.

    As to Ezra, like Rachel and the rest of the punditry, he has been successful and now sees himself as a wizard of so many things. I think Ezra has become a bit of a fool. He and Rachel have both become, to put it simply, big headed. Hey, that is what fame does to most people. They begin to see themselves as bigger than life.

    Thanks for listing TiMT’s diary. He still fights the good fight over at Kos.

    Comment by Dorothy Rissman | June 27, 2011 | Reply

  5. excellent smack down.
    I have never really liked Rachel, though I agree she’s done some good work in the past. Same with Olbermann.
    And yes, Klein is most definitely getting a tad too big for his Oshkoshes.
    At 48 I have very little patience for any smug under 30 smartass.

    Also too, your granddaughter is GORGEOUS.

    Comment by eemom | June 27, 2011 | Reply

  6. I made a comment once before here where I said that I put Rachel Maddow in the same lot as Jane Hamsher, Arianna Harrington, and some others. Exception was taken to my statement saying that Rachel was “a national treasure” and brilliant. I don’t see anything brilliant about her, Jane, Arianna, Cenk, Ezra or the rest. To me it seems if they don’t get their way when they want it, all they can do is criticize President Obama. These are not people that want to solidify the Democratic Party and make it strong. They are just trying to take it down. If they are Democrats, they are working against their own party. I quit watching Rachel, Lawrence, Cenk or Olberman. I’ll say it again, they are either basically against Obama and the Democratic Party for any reason that they can come up with that makes for sensationalism, or they are getting paid handsomely to cause dissent within the party. My guess is it’s both.

    Comment by Rita in TN | June 27, 2011 | Reply

    • eemom, I think you are right in that Rachel does fall into that group because it increases the number of viewers. I have always thought Rachel was a bit of a whiner. She never really liked Obama from the beginning. She repeated called him a left leaning centrist. There have been times when she has been the only cheerleader on msnbc. Lately, not so much. This latest temper tantrum has left me feeling I have to stop watching her for awhile.

      I saw a statement by Randi Rhodes in the last few days, and Randi said that when Rachel was on Air America, she found Rachel to be the nastiest progressive she had ever worked with. I

      Comment by Dorothy Rissman | June 27, 2011 | Reply

      • I always thought Rachel might have been a closet PUMA (Party Unity My Ass), like some feminists supporting Hillary Clinton. Many PUMAs claimed to vote for McCain/Palin after Obama sealed the nomination. Always wondered if Sarah Palin was added to the McCain ticket to help win over some disgruntled PUMAs. Can’t find anything online that Maddow backed Hillary but she seemed to take delight in 2008 when Clinton won New Hampshire and she got some digs in on Chris Matthews who she lumped in with a media that was high on Obama:

        http://www.thenation.com/article/rachel-maddows-life-and-career

        Comment by grantinhouston | June 27, 2011 | Reply

        • I happened to have been lead to Taylor Marsh’s site recently. Most of the Pumas are still whining, and they are hoping a decent republican gets the nod, so that they can vote against Obama.

          Jane Hampsher, and original puma is still working hard to destroy Obama.

          Comment by Dorothy Rissman | June 28, 2011 | Reply

  7. Being now nearly 12 years into a committed relationship, my partner and I would never have a marriage anyway as both of us are atheists and feel that “marriage” is primarily to get blessings from a religion. We would like a “civil union” but actually didn’t want the subject to come up before the 2012 election knowing the REICH (and maybe the left firebaggers) will use it against President Obama to defeat him. We can WAIT a bit longer.

    Like the old Virginia Slims commercial slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”…we are not there yet and there is still a long way to go. With the ERA Amendment having now been rejected for several decades, women are still second class in this nation as the Supreme Court ruling against Walmart female employees last week proves. All women, not just lesbians, deserve equality. Rachel and her lover, Susan Mikula, may be joyous thinking they will eventually be married, but legally they are still far from full equality.

    In today’s Houston Chronicle, I see my former dentist here in Houston, 16 years into a committed relationship, plans to travel to New York soon to get “married”.

    The Houstonians said they will not be moving to New York because they have their own professional practices here.

    In addition to not having their marriage recognized in Texas, the couple cannot get spouse recognition from the government for insurance, joint taxes, wills, Social Security and inheritance.

    “There is a huge number of benefits that come with legal marriage, perhaps as many as a thousand or more, that legally married couples already have,” Carroll said. “We’ve had to spend untold thousands of dollars having these documents drawn up where any other straight couple would never have to do this.”

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7628075.html

    So except for feeling better about ourselves, there are many legal issues that will not resolved by getting an inexpensive marriage license. “Marriage” isn’t the end all. In the meantime, my partner and I have our financial partnership covered by other legal means. We are listed as beneficiaries in our several insurance policies. Even with six states and D.C. legalizing “marriage”, there is still a lot not covered in a legal sense, especially when such unions will only be honored in the few states that have legalized it.

    Comment by grantinhouston | June 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for sharing your story grant. I agree with you that this is not the best time to be going after the president on this issue. He has a plate full. I think that Rachel and some others are being very childish. It is like they are stamping their feet and saying I want more.

      Perhaps it is a part of the bigger problem that afflicts so many in this country. I want mine now, and if you don’t give it to me, I am taking my vote or ball and going home.

      Comment by Dorothy Rissman | June 27, 2011 | Reply

  8. Seems journalists right and left are painting a picture of doom and gloom. Herb Asher of Ohio State University, in reference to the Wisconsin and Ohio governors, says, “Elections have consequences.”

    “That’ll be about the strongest argument Obama can make to base voters: it could, and will, be a lot worse if you don’t vote for me. That’s true, and fear is usually a pretty good motivator in politics. But it still isn’t what people were hoping for, and it seems inevitable that some percentage of the most loyal Democrats will stay home.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/2011/06/26/2012-how-obama-can-mobilize-his-liberal-base.print.html

    The opening salvos on Morning Joe Scarborough this morning were all about “Big Brother” Obama sneaking around to survey physicians’ practices on accepting insurance patients. Of course some doctors (probably all Republicans as most are) were cited as being outraged over this. The project appears to be ham-handed from the very start.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57824.html

    I think President Obama has been given some bad advice from the beginning and wonder if he has been listening maybe too much to staffers and advisers. It doesn’t make the President always look like a strong leader. I’ve always been against the President not attacking JOBS FIRST right after inauguration instead of spending (wasting?) over a year on what became a weakened healthcare plan. I wanted to see an FDR style public works program to put many of the unskilled (even skilled such as engineers) to work. Seemed like Obama wanted healthcare as his paramount accomplishment to be recorded in history. I do fear a defeat in 2012 unless the economy can be turned around. Even as an ardent supporter (even donated monthly to the 2008 campaign), I don’t feel as motivated this time around…but I never miss an election, even at the local level.

    Comment by grantinhouston | June 27, 2011 | Reply


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