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!
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.