Al Giordano over at The Field has an excellent piece that I HAVE to share with you even if you are growing tired of me bitching about Glenn Greenwald and Janey Hamsher, two opportunistic “self-labeled” progressives who really just have a joint hatred for Barack Obama that binds them together. The topic, of course, is the appointment of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Al gives us this excellent paragraph to chew on….
Now, it has been entirely predictable that the board members of Poutrage, Inc. – those self-proclaimed “progressive” pundits who have never been community organizers and resent Obama and all the rest of us that have actually done that work and won political battles because they keep failing at it – are caught up in their cyclical careerist protagonism over the Kagan nomination. I won’t mention any names, but of course Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher are up to their Johnny-one-note tricks of getting their faces on the cable talk shows and in the media by proclaiming themselves “progressives against an Obama proposal” on any particular policy. They are as predictable as they are unconvincing, and although they always lose, they never change their bumbling tactics, I conclude that they are not interested in winning the issues they claim to care about. They are only interested in their own careers and egos and in fooling the gullible to send donations to their projects of self-enrichment. The issues are merely the means to try to make themselves relevant to the national discourse.
Did you see Glenn Greenwald on “Press the Meat” Sunday? You could see the foam coming out of his rabid mouth, I swear. His kind, and I include Hamsher and Uygur in that grouping, are using the same tactics as the Republicans and Tea Partiers, taking a sliver of truth and misrepresenting, exaggerating and twisting it to fit their own narrow interpretation. The most glaring example of his exaggerations came when he made the comment something to the effect…”The Obama Administration wants to take away Miranda rights” “wanting to rewrite our core protections of Miranda and being brought before a judge” or some sort of horseshit like that. They have taken what Attorney General Eric Holder alluded to in an interview and twisted it to fit with their warped world view. They seem to enjoy attacking people based on what they think might happen and of course when it doesn’t happen as they set it up, they move on to the next “poutrage”. How many true progressives are still falling for their crap? It’s no wonder they made a blatant appeal to the Tea Partiers, they are simply in it for their own egos and self-interest. As the awesome Kay in Maine pointed to in a comment on her blog, White Noise Insanity, Jane Hamsher is trying to use the Senate’s vote to audit the Fed – to raise money. No shit, she’s claiming credit for it and trying to raise money from her knuckle-dragging followers. Check out this link, but please don’t give to that opportunistic (insert your choice word here).
Al Giorgano goes on to take on Cenk Uygur, one of the Hamsher gang and VP of Poutrage Inc.
The other “Progressives Against Obama” member I’ll take to the woodshed today is radio and TV host Cenk Uygur, for whom the Kagan nomination likewise is not really about Kagan but about Obama himself. He writes:
“My problem with her is my problem with Obama. Cheney and Bush moved the ball 80 yards down-field (sic, as anyone who knows the NFL spells it downfield, without hyphen), whether that was on executive power, warrantless wiretapping, pre-emptive wars or just about any other issue you can think of. And Obama’s bold and brilliant response is to move the ball 10 yards in the opposite direction. Not good enough. Not remotely good enough…
“He is never going to throw the ball down the field. If you like two yard pick-ups by a running-back going straight up the middle, you’ll love Obama. It’s the Eddie George presidency. What he doesn’t seem to get is that the other side is eventually going to get the ball back and then it won’t seem like a major accomplishment that we went from our own two-yard line to our own twelve-yard line. It’ll be viewed as a tremendous disappointment.”
Actually, Mr. Uygur, you ought to get to know the games of football and of politics before nominating yourself as head coach or quarterback. You should at least know the rules of the game. In football, moving the ball ten yards downfield is precisely good enough. It is called gaining a first down, that which allows your team to remain in possession of the ball and keep battling downfield toward touchdowns and field goals, while denying the opposing team time on the clock to do so.
The name-dropping of running back Eddie George is also revealing as to just how greatly Uygur’s comparison fails epicly: Eddie George, at Ohio State University, won the Heisman Trophy in 1995, and he rushed for more than 10,000 yards in only eight years in the NFL (presidents, by law, can’t last more than eight) and George helped bring his middling team to the Super Bowl in just four years, one first down at a time. In his first season with the Houston Oilers-cum-Tennessee Titans franchise (when George earned the NFL’s Rookie of the Year title), the team won just eight games to eight losses. By 1999, the Titans had 13 wins to three losses and went to the Super Bowl.
What got them there? First downs and ball possession, largely thanks to Eddie George: That team won by running the ball up the field three or four yards per play.
Guys like Solomon and probably Uygur (the jury is still out on the latter) are a bit distinct from pond scum like Greenwald and Hamsher, who are only in it for their own protagonist careers. The former are more akin to those fans in the bleachers always screaming at the quarterback to throw the long ball even against teams skilled at interceptions.
The football metaphor gets a little tiring, but the idea that President Obama needs to go for the long ball instead of chipping away at the opposition to me is short-sighted. The health care reform package is a great analogy for this. Had Obama gone for the public option or single payer, we would have gotten “jack shit” out of the whole process. I’m glad he took the tactful route and made some incremental change which can be built upon in the future. Kind of like getting a first down or running a screen pass that gets you 40 yards. We still have the ball and we’re heading down field. Ugh, enough of the football metaphor.
I think it is incumbent upon us true progressives (I’m a liberal, damn it) to drive these posers from our party. There is nothing worse than someone who claims to be on your team but wants everything done the way they want it done – or else. These assholes are doing nothing but helping Republicans take control of our government again, I guess so they have something to raise money off. If we go back and see how they used Bush/Cheney to further their own self interests, it looks like they’ve just changed their target and are now shooting at their own, kind of a “friendly fire” incident. It’s at this point that I would love to launch into a tirade of expletives, but I’ll keep it family friendly.
The attacks on Elena Kagan about her not hiring many minorities when she was Dean of the Harvard Law School are stupid in many ways. One of her professors at Harvard, Randall L. Kennedy (a black man), has written a post over at Huffington Post telling why this is so wrong. A piece from that piece….(emphasis mine)
She was in one of the first classes on race relations law that I taught at Harvard Law school. I recall vividly that she was an outstanding student — so much so that I recommended her with superlatives to my former boss Justice Thurgood Marshall. I thought that she would be an excellent clerk for him partly because she was so able analytically and also because her quiet but passionate commitment to equality before the law would fit in so well with “Mr. Civil Rights.” I was delighted when Justice Marshall offered her the clerkship and was unsurprised later when the Justice told me that her work for him had been exemplary.
Now really, with that kind of cred on civil rights, someone is going to accuse her of not being sensitive to minorities? Give me a break, please. This next bit reminded me of my first thought when I heard the criticism about who was hired while she was the Dean at Harvard Law. I work at a university and have been on selection committees for faculty, certainly not Harvard type faculty. But my first thought was, the Dean doesn’t freakin interview anyone. They certainly can if they want, but usually the Dean will just meet the candidates and weigh in with the committee with his thoughts. From Randall’s post…
First, it is mistaken to suggest, as some have, that the Dean of Harvard Law School is responsible for all that happens or does not happen with respect to hiring. The Dean is the single most influential member of the faculty. One does not get hired at the law school without the Dean’s blessing. At the same time, the Dean does not have the power on her own to hire someone to the faculty. To be hired, a candidate must receive at least a majority, usually a super-majority, of votes. The Dean can seek to persuade, but the Dean at Harvard Law School cannot force professors to move when it comes to faculty hiring, traditionally the most contentious arena of struggle at a famously contentious institution.
Second, Kagan was attentive to issues of race in faculty hiring. I say this on the basis of what I observed as the Chair of the Harvard Law School’s Entry Level Appointments Committee, a Committee on which, as Dean, Kagan also sat. I often agreed with her assessments of candidates but sometimes disagreed. Even when I did disagree, however, I found her judgments to be eminently sensible. She evaluated candidates carefully and generously, deploying her tough-minded independence but also paying close attention to the opinions of her colleagues.
So really now, you liberals who are looking for reasons to reject her, find something else. Or better yet, come to your senses and help us win in 2010 and 2012 instead of undermining our elected leader.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the President gets to pick the nominees for the Supreme Court, right? Did I miss some new law that makes Glenn Greenwald the person who gets to pick the nominees? Glenn Greenwald is one of those bloggers that often has very great stuff to say, he was particularly good during the Bush years but after seeing him on the Teevee recently and reading some of his writings about the nomination of Elena Kagan, I’m second guessing whether he was making shit up about Bush too. There are many examples of his misleading, mischaracterizing and in some cases lying about Elena Kagan’s record. I’ve gone out and looked at some of his stuff and found some pretty over the top hyperbole, here is one example…(emphasis is mine)
Well, I think that, to begin with, it’s very difficult to know what it would mean, because she’s somebody who has managed to avoid taking a position on virtually every single issue of importance over the last two decades.
That’s weird, because just since her nomination, I’ve heard all sorts of her positions and even more about her character and some pretty awesome references too. He goes on in the same paragraph with more…
And in order to know what the impact of a Supreme Court nominee will be, it’s important not only to assess them in isolation, but also relative to who they’re replacing. And there’s a very substantial likelihood that Kagan is more conservative than the justice she’s replacing, which is John Paul Stevens, which means even if she’s a relatively decent person and a good Democrat, the effect that she would have, very likely, is to move the Court to the right.
So let’s see here, “a substantial likelihood” that Kagan is more conservative…based on what? Is it just his opinion or is there some basis for it? From all I’ve read from Mr. Greenwald, I haven’t found his specificity on why he thinks she is so conservative or moderate or not perfect in his mind. He goes on to say that she would, “very likely”, move the court to the right because she’s replacing John Paul Stevens, WHO WAS NOMINATED BY A REPUBLICAN. More hyperbole from Greenwald…
But I think the real issue is, we know virtually nothing about what she thinks about anything. She’s managed to remain a totally blank slate. She has no experience, not even just not as a judge, but even in court, in a courtroom.
Now this is where Glenn crosses the line in my opinion and begins to act like he personally should have some say in who President Obama picks “we know virtually nothing about what she thinks about anything”…as if he were on the selection committee. He sure thinks highly of his own opinion, that’s for sure. In reading a lot of his writing, you would think that he was elected president in November of 2008 and was given the right to pick the supreme court nominees. Hey Glenn, when you get elected president (cough) then you can pick a supreme court nominee. Until then, quit acting like we owe you something, it makes you look like a whiny malcontent. I suspect that if he didn’t use over-the-top rhetoric, he might be more persuasive but as it is, he looks like a jilted lover or something. He was on Rachel Maddow last night and clearly has a lot of pent-up hatred, and based on his over-the-top rhetoric on health care reform, I would say he doesn’t care for Barack Obama. Here is some more over-the-top hyperbole…
Nothing is a better fit for this White House than a blank slate, institution-loyal, seemingly principle-free careerist who spent the last 15 months as the Obama administration’s lawyer vigorously defending every one of his assertions of extremely broad executive authority.
Woe, now she is a “principle-free careerist” huh? I would say that given Glenn Greenwald’s stream of bullshit against Elena Kagan, that he is lacking in some principles too. I read on his wikipedia entry that he quit practicing constitutional law after 10 years because “I was bored with litigating full-time…”. So litigating bored him, huh, had to make a career change. So tell me why I should listen to a “quitter”? The only thing he keeps coming back to is a lack of information about her opinions, so apparently he just projects whatever the hell he wants on her and then hates her for it.
It’s even less surprising that Obama would not want to choose someone like Diane Wood. If you were Barack Obama, would you want someone on the Supreme Court who has bravely insisted on the need for Constitutional limits on executive authority, resolutely condemned the use of Terrorism fear-mongering for greater government power, explicitly argued against military commissions and indefinite detention, repeatedly applied the progressive approach to interpreting the Constitution on a wide array of issues, insisted upon the need for robust transparency and checks and balances, and demonstrated a willingness to defy institutional orthodoxies even when doing so is unpopular? Of course you wouldn’t. Why would you want someone on the Court who has expressed serious Constitutional and legal doubts about your core policies?
Ahhhhhhh, you see here where his head really is. He just plain hates Barack Obama, because he isn’t Hillary, I suspect. Claiming that Obama’s core policies are the opposite of Diane Wood’s, who was the horse he wanted in the race, is way over the top. It just reeks of “sore loser” to me. It’s so much like a jilted lover who sees everything through a veil of hatred towards that person. Like I said before, if he didn’t go so far over-the-top, he might be more convincing in his arguments, but he apparently lets his emotions take over…which lays waste to his arguments.
I don’t claim to know a shitload about Elena Kagan, but I do know a lot about the president I voted for, Barack Obama, and I certainly respect his intelligence and his respect for the constitution and I am very comfortable supporting whoever he picks to be on the SCOTUS. It isn’t blind faith, like I’m sure the trolls will put in their comments, but living in the real world where people vote, lawmakers make laws, presidents get to nominate people and sore losers get to whine like little children.