I’m sure you’ve all had this experience before. You are conversing or tweeting or facebooking with someone and they characterize President Obama in a way that is so far from the truth that you wonder if the person is living in an alternate reality.
The prime purveyors of this alternate reality are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Both of those entities reach many millions of people on a daily basis and spread so much misinformation that the fact checkers and honest journalists are overwhelmed – they can’t keep up with it. If you need examples, go spend a few minutes at Media Matters for America, which does an excellent job of keeping an eye on those two propaganda machines.
I read an interesting book review in the New York Times yesterday that alluded to that alternate reality. I don’t agree with the reviewers full characterization of Obama’s first term, but he points to the above idea in a concise way in his review of Charles R. Kesler’s book I Am the Change. (emphasis is mine)
Whenever conservatives talk to me about Barack Obama, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else. But what exactly? The anger, the suspicion, the freestyle fantasizing have no perceptible object in the space-time continuum that centrist Democrats like me inhabit. What are we missing? Seen from our perspective, the country elected a moderate and cautious straight shooter committed to getting things right and giving the United States its self-respect back after the Bush-Cheney years. Unlike the crybabies at MSNBC and Harper’s Magazine, we never bought into the campaign’s hollow “hope and change” rhetoric, so aren’t crushed that, well, life got in the way. At most we hoped for a sensible health care program to end the scandal of America’s uninsured, and were relieved that Obama proposed no other grand schemes of Nixonian scale. We liked him for his political liberalism and instinctual conservatism. And we still like him. […]
The Claremont Review doesn’t like Obama one bit. But it has usually taken the slightly higher road in criticizing him, and when Kesler begins his book by dismissing those who portray the president as “a third-world daddy’s boy, Alinskyist agitator, deep-cover Muslim or undocumented alien” the reader is relieved to know that “I Am the Change” won’t be another cheap, deflationary takedown. Instead, it is that rarest of things, a cheap inflationary takedown — a book that so exaggerates the historical significance of this four-year senator from Illinois, who’s been at his new job even less time, that he becomes both Alien and Predator.
It isn’t just Republicans who have this mindset, I hear very similar “inflations” from the libertarian trolls on Twitter and in the blogosphere. They seem to have molded their reality to fit their perceptions and of course take in any information that agrees with it and reject any that runs counter to it. This next passage is particularly good.
But his systematic exaggerations demonstrate that the right’s rage against Obama, which has seeped out into the general public, has very little to do with anything the president has or hasn’t done. It’s really directed against the historical process they believe has made America what it is today. The conservative mind, a repository of fresh ideas just two decades ago, is now little more than a click-click slide projector holding a tray of apocalyptic images of modern life that keeps spinning around, raising the viewer’s fever with every rotation. If you want to experience what it’s like to be within that mind on a better day, then you need to visit “I Am the Change.”
The reviewer doesn’t mention what I think has a lot to do with that rage, RACISM! I don’t, however, attribute all of it to racism. Having been an observer of politics for many decades, I know that at least some of it is rage against “liberals” in general. President Clinton had people accusing him of murder and all sorts of other batshit crazy stuff and of course you don’t get any whiter than Bill, at least on the surface.
So to me, it’s a combination of deep seated racism bubbling to the surface, the vilification of all “liberals” in the style of Frank Luntz and the effect of the Fox News/Limbaugh projects that have misinformed millions of Americans for right-wing political gain.
I miss the Republican party that used to be based on real ideas, as stupid and misguided as they were. It’s nearly impossible to debate a right-winger these days, because you can’t even get them to agree to objective facts and instead have to spend your time trying to educate them about reality.
On November 6, 2012, we can all do the country and our discourse a favor by sending every Republican packing.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I wish more Americans could turn off their hatred and watch this clip with open eyes. It’s a reminder to me why President Obama is ultimately qualified to be president. I couldn’t be more proud of him for staying a class act in the midst of the craziest election season in our history. Below the clip is a guide to my favorite moments in this “presser”. Enjoy!
:16 seconds – Facts about Medicare
1:30 Question on Todd Akins “legitimate rape” comment. POTUS: “Rape is rape!”, “men making decisions for women”
5:56 On Romney releasing his taxes, this is priceless.
7:05 Calling out Romney for the liar that he is in response to a Q about the Priorities USA ad that’s been distorted by the right.
9:00 “You can’t just make stuff up!”
15:40 Chuck Todd follows up on the Romney tax question. President Obama makes the Republican compliant media look foolish and brings it back to reality. Great moment.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
The Washington Post reported on the independent analysis of Governor Romney’s proposed tax plan…
Mitt Romney’s plan to overhaul the tax code would produce cuts for the richest 5 percent of Americans — and bigger bills for everybody else, according to an independent analysis set for release Wednesday.
The study was conducted by researchers at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, who seem to bend over backward to be fair to the Republican presidential candidate. To cover the cost of his plan — which would reduce tax rates by 20 percent, repeal the estate tax and eliminate taxes on investment income for middle-class taxpayers — the researchers assume that Romney would go after breaks for the richest taxpayers first.
The awesome Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog put together this lovely chart, as only he can do. It gives us a nice visual of who benefits from Romney’s plan and who pays for the new yachts and summer homes for the rich.
The chart breaks down the tax burdens starting at the bottom 20% of wage earners and ends with the 99 – 99.9 group. He left off the top .1% because it would be “off the charts”, so to speak. You may notice that everyone pays more in taxes right up until you get to the top 5% of the population. According to the analysis, those who make $3 million dollars a year would get a TAX CUT of $250,000.
The President didn’t waste any time in letting people know how he feels about Governor Romney’s plan.
We tried that whole giving massive tax breaks to the rich during the Bush administration, it helped bring us to the brink of a depression. Let’s not go there again, please!
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
David Maraniss wrote a book about President Obama called Barack Obama: The Story. I haven’t read it yet, but I did see Maraniss on several shows discussing the book and it has caused a stir on both the left and the right. I’ve always thought he was a straight shooter and about as objective as any writer of politics can be.
I think a lot of the negative reaction from the left towards his book was because of the way the crazy right was spinning it, which has become the norm for the right these days. They take one little kernel of information (or plucked sentence) and manufacture a massive lie, complete with conspiracies and dire implications and then push it out into the public sphere through surrogates, including “respected” Senators, Representatives, Governors, pundits, bloggers and radio blowhards. And of course, network and cable talking heads then dutifully pick it up and further pound it into the public consciousness. A perfect example of this was seen when Donald Trump, or as I called him at the time, “Balloon Boy”, was appearing on the half hour at MSNBC to blow his birth certificate dog whistle.
David Maraniss wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post that is worth a read. It disproves some of the craziness floating around in right wing circles with actual facts, history and truth…what a concept. Here is a snippet…
Not all of them are “birthers,” but the notion that the president was not born in the United States remains at the epicenter of the anti-Obama mythology. Here is the conspiracy that would have had to exist if Barack Hussein Obama II were not born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961:
First, the local newspapers would have had to have been in on the scheme, because they ran notices of his birth among all the other local births that week. Second, the Immigration and Naturalization Service would have had to have been covering something up, because INS officials were closely tracking Barack Obama Sr. when he was at the University of Hawaii on a student visa from Kenya. They thought that he was a bigamist — which he was, having married a woman in Kenya before coming to the States — and a womanizer, which he also was. INS documents in the weeks and months before and after the son’s birth clearly establish the father’s whereabouts and the birth of his son. Finally, the name of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, was unusual enough that doctors and nurses in Honolulu remembered it and her giving birth. One prominent doctor was asked by a young journalist if anything interesting had happened in the medical world that week, and he responded, “Well, Stanley had a baby!”
What concerns me is that many people – way too many people – when presented with these facts, still refuse to believe that he was born in Hawaii. Whether it’s because of racism, partisanship, stupidity, paranoid schizophrenia or the constant brainwashing by the above mentioned surrogates, it has gotten out of control. When the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is a couple of heartbeats away from the presidency, panders to those who believe them, it proves that the the Grand Old Party ain’t so grand anymore.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
I have to imagine that a whole lot of Republican primary voters are going to have buyers remorse once they start digesting some of the great ads that Democrats are producing. There is so much content to work this election, it’s exciting. This type of ad, real people talking about the impact of Romney’s business model on their lives, will resonate with a lot of people.
The Supreme Court yesterday made an important decision that will improve the lives of millions of people and bring stability to American families across the country.
The decision was extremely close, with Chief Justice Roberts siding with the liberals in what many think is an effort to salvage some respect for the court.
I posted President Obama’s speech yesterday and highly recommend it to you, if you still haven’t seen it. Here are some of the real effects of the Affordable Care Act. Talk to your friends, family and anyone who will listen about the real provisions in the law. The amount of misinformation in the public sphere is crazy, we must correct at least some of it.
- Insurance companies no longer have unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women more than men.
- Soon, no American will ever again be denied care or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, like cancer or even asthma.
- Preventive care will still be covered free of charge by insurance companies–including mammograms for women and wellness visits for seniors.
- By August, millions of Americans will receive a rebate because their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.
- 5.3 million seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.
- Efforts to strengthen and protect Medicare by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse will remain in place.
- 6.6 million young adults will still be able to stay on their family’s plan until they’re 26.
The court’s decision will have an impact on 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions by bringing security to their lives and comfort in knowing that they will not be left out in the cold. These families will be saved from having to liquidate their life savings, sell their homes or go bankrupt in order to get the care they need.
The reaction from some on the right illustrates how the $210 million dollar campaign of lies against the Affordable Care Act has permeated the thinking of too many people. We all must pull together to counter that misinformation and talk to people, one on one, and inform them of what is really in the bill.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
The impact of President Obama’s support for same sex marriage will be felt for years to come and in many ways.
Prior to the interview on ABC where he affirmed his support for SSM, I honestly didn’t realize just how much impact it would have. On my drive home from work, I heard Andrew Sullivan on NPR discussing his reaction and the full impact hit me hard as I began to cry.
ANDREW SULLIVAN: I did have mixed feelings, but I thought beforehand that this is a state issue. The president’s role in this is really circumscribed. One interview doesn’t make a difference. And then I watched the interview and the tears flooded. There is something about hearing your president affirm your humanity that you don’t know what effect it has until you hear it. And I think of all those gay Americans over the centuries who never heard that, never believed it could happen. And I have to say I’m immensely proud of this president for doing what he did.
I think he let go of fear today, the fear that somehow by embracing this natural, obvious and I would say conservative development he was sometimes – somehow embracing political calamity. He wasn’t, he isn’t, he won’t. And exchanging fears for hope on this and affirming what we all know who have met him and seen him that he thinks of gay people exactly as he thinks of straight people, as human beings and Americans first. That’s a great moment. (emphasis mine)
Hearing Andrew’s words brought home to me how important this is for the LGBT community.
The President’s words also went a long way towards strengthening the institution of marriage. I know that is the opposite of what you will read today in most publications that are mining the religious community for hyperbolic quotes and trying to create some controversy. But in my mind, there is no way it can do anything but strengthen it.
News flash – Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people aren’t going away and thank god, they help make our communities rich. The idea that preventing loving, committed couples from marrying will somehow weaken the institution of marriage makes absolutely no sense. In reality, allowing same sex couples to marry can only strengthen that institution. It promotes commitment, stability and family by giving security and a sense of belonging to a group that for far too long has been forced to live on the outside of the circle.
In a world where young people are becoming more promiscuous and the role models for our youth in many instances are the cast of the Jersey Shore, the Kardashians and misogynistic musicians, having two loving adults making a commitment to each other should be welcomed, regardless of their gender.
The religious objections to this idea are rooted in centuries old biases and cultural influence. When I read the Bible years ago, the cultural influences on each writer was very apparent to me. A friend of mine who studied the Bible extensively, pointed out that many stories are repeated in the Bible and each version of the story was different, based on who was writing it and the culture that influenced him. The writers were humans – imperfect humans who brought opinions and biases to what they wrote. So when religious folks refer back to a book written thousands of years ago in a completely different age, I have to wonder why it is they feel the need to live by the biases of a long ago people. In effect, they are ignoring everything that humans have learned since then.
The idea that allowing LGBT people to marry somehow hurts heterosexual marriages is just a mystery to me. I can’t seem to connect the dots of their argument and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen anything but platitudes when it comes to this idea. There is no argument to be made other than an appeal to emotions, fear and homophobia. My wife and I spent a couple minutes trying to figure out how it has anything to do with our marriage. We basically just shook our heads back and forth and said, WTF.
President Obama’s interview with Robin Roberts where he affirmed the humanity of LGBT people was an important moment in our history. And even though the Federal government has a limited role in defining marriage, the courage of President Obama to speak honestly about his feelings and to speak up for equality for all people can not be diminished, no matter how hard people try.
OK, here’s the deal. There are a whole lot of us liberals/progressives/Democrats who support President Obama and NO, it isn’t some hero-worship or cult-like bullshit that frequently gets thrown in our face. We are supporting a President that is working his ass off to try to repair the damage left behind by the previous 4 presidents.
We support a president that is interested in making progress and moving the ball down the field, whether it’s huge gains like reforming health care or small gains like signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
And we don’t think President Obama can do no wrong, that is something that gets projected upon us constantly. It is the knee-jerk reaction of many of the “pundits of perpetual disappointment” who spend all their time splitting hairs and searching for something to whine about. And of course, they never give credit for any advancements, nothing is ever good enough for them.
So you folks on the left who continue to snipe, attack, antagonize and otherwise act like petulant, whiny little children…..GIVE IT UP! You aren’t going to convince us that it’s in our own best interests to help the Republicans take EVEN MORE control over our country. It ain’t going to fucking happen, sorry. No matter what President Obama might do that I disagree with, I’m not so naive to think that ANY Republican would even come close to representing me better than President Obama does.
If you are one of those people who thinks “both parties are the same”, I’m sorry, you are suffering from delusions. To me, that is one of the stupidest fucking things you can say in politics. What comes to my mind when I hear people trot out the “both sides” meme is that the person saying it has some other motivation. If they are willing to ignore things such as who gets to pick Supreme Court nominees, an impact that will be felt for decades to come, then they are clearly motivated by something other than principles. Or, how can someone who passionately supports people less fortunate than themselves ignore the Paul Ryan/Republican budget plan, which in effect says “you’re on your own buddy, but here’s a lovely parting gift…your voucher.”
To my fellow pragmatic liberals and progressives, we need to focus on fighting back against the powerful, well-funded right that is determined to completely turn our country over to big money interests. Too much of our time is wasted fighting the malcontents on the left.
Don’t let the hate driven left set the agenda, learn to ignore them. When you engage them, you are only encouraging them. Their goals aren’t to win elections or change things, because as I’ve said, if they are willing to ignore so many important differences between Democrats and Republicans and choose to spend their time blogging, tweeting, Facebooking and talking about what isn’t good about Democrats, then clearly they have different goals and the greater good of their fellow women and men isn’t one of them.
Those who claim to simply be holding politicians feet to the fire with their criticism, need to step back and see exactly which politicians are most deserving of burnt feet. By only criticizing President Obama, while letting Republicans get away with the most extreme agenda in our history, I have to question the sincerity of the principles they wrap themselves in like a Snuggie. By ignoring the much more egregious actions of Republicans, they are clearly making a choice.