Sunday, December 26, 2010

Once more, with feeling!

We decided against using 'the cave that keeps on caving' as the title of our last 2010 post.  Instead, we're using this from the subject header of an email that not-so-silent Rollah sent to Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish (link on the right).  We didn't get quoted, so here's what Rollah said, more or less:

I was going to just fire off an "F U" for your condescending label of "whining left and right" ... I know you respect the office of the presidency the way I used to, maybe that is why you are so optimistic about Obama. You think it's long-game. I don't share that hope. I see a country in decline. But let's set aside for the moment any predictions on tax cuts, or the results on health care, or even an issue of extreme importance for you personally: DADT (which should be a civil rights issue for all of us). There is something fundamentally wrong with our government in terms of the way it operates. Obama comes along back in 2008 and promises change. 120 million people vote, incldg. about 55 million for McCain and Palin [whole other post there]. Yet here we are 2 years later, and most of you and your fellow blogger pundits are debating results, not process; when, to some, any change has been incremental, not transformational. The system is rigged to prevent progress, but you don't change the culture when Rahm is COS, and Timmy and Larry are giving econ advice.

OK, you are bright, well-spoken, well-written. I respect your work. You have counterparts and colleagues who are also bright, well-spoken, well-written. What has them so upset and you so upbeat about Obama? Why such contrasts? We're not talking lunatic fringe either. Krugman, Maddow, Thom Hartmann. And [today], Sen. Sanders; he did not spend all day talking so you can feel good about Obama and insult his friends and his foes alike with 1-line throwaways. I am no psychiatrist, though I should play one on TV, but I suspect that there is just so much raw emotion because there are more than just symbols at stake. There are deeply personal issues that affect our daily lives. I have concerns -- they have concerns -- that are valid and our voices need to be heard. I also recognize that not everyone's pet causes will be resolved favorably or equally. He can't please everyone.

But Obama's problem right now is that he's already looking past all of us; he won't hear me or know my opinion (doubt he would care what any 1 single voter has to say); fine. Dismissing all of us, all concerns -- as though he can't be bothered with differences of opinion -- exacerbates and enflames all the more. No one likes feeling ignored, but then to have their feelings invalidated too? Not good. He can rationalize and still be all cerebral, but how about we get a "F-in A" or "bloody well right" once in awhile first? The most emotion he's shown has been chasting "idealists" who only want him to keep the promises he made, how does that help?

Here's something from AP on Yahoo!: "Democrats and Republicans have spent two years gridlocked over the question of extending the expiring tax cuts, and Obama has characterized his compromise with Republicans as a temporary, two-year concession on a policy he opposes." If he opposes, then do something about it! He's the President. He could have had whatever he wanted. Bush got tax cuts passed through reconciliation and they were NOT PAID FOR! So again, here comes Obama now saying whatever he thinks is pragmatic... that's missing the point. People want leadership; they need empathy. That's a tough combo to sell, I admit. He hasnt addressed the real and palpable anger and frustration of a lot of us. Progressives' reaction to Obama's compromising is visceral at this point: he campaigned on these promises to close Gitmo, end war, repeal DADT, end the Bush tax cuts, get a public option. He wants the buck to stop with him. He said so.

Perception is reality. He can't say one thing in public and take action that does the opposite in private. And then when challenged, he's going to brush aside or insult his own base?  [Sorry, wrong answer]

PS, just so my cynicism doesn't bring you too far down before the holidays, I don't think Palin will run. She doesn't want to work for anything, she just wants the money and the fame. Oh, she'll milk it for as long as possible, but she has been a bully all her life. She won't start a fight she can't win. And if by some hell-swallowing nightmare on Earth she runs, wins the nomination and wins the general, then it won't matter. Because I won't survive the end times and Canada is too cold.

And I thanked him for indulging my whining.  Speaking of which, at one point do we move from whining to legitimiate concern?  What's the threshold when people's hurt feelings cross over into real differences needing real solutions?

And speaking of the great Senator Sanders from Vermont, here's this gem from Matt Taibbi.  Don't forget too, we can run to his eternal Rudeness, The Rude Pundit; go check out his entry from 12/13.  And finally, for even the smallest sliver of perspective, courtesy of Steven Weber on Bob Cesca's blog:

"...Indeed, the passing of human lives great and small throws the truth of how we lead our lives into bright relief; the profound personal impact of death should suggest that we live in observance of the lessons such profundity imparts.
But that is not the case. Rather than our mortality humbling us, it can make us arrogant, profane. It provokes a rancor and distrust in people who see life as an competition in which to seek victory rather than as an opportunity to embrace the collective, unifying reality of our brief existences.
More than that, such a result suggests the possibility that certain, if not all, our political ideologies are essentially superficial control-fantasies, frantic attempts to bat away the terrifying reality that our lives are mere, brief flickers of consciousness, mattering little. ..."
As if that needed added context, a friend of the family had to spend this Christmas in the hospital as her sister was dying, unexpectedly, at the age of 42!  For the human condition, for peace on earth, we do the best we can with what we're given:

HanuXmaKwanzaFestivus, whatever your faith, and see you next year!

Friday, December 3, 2010

the Full Cynical, 2010

Has it already been another year?  J, have you ever been as disappointed in a politician, let alone a President, as I am in this guy?  Compared to W., sure, he was going to appear more to the left, but I never expected him to be a true liberal lion.  However, not only has he shown he can't fight, he can't stand up or even clearly convey what he stands for.  And now he's already looking punch-drunk, throwing in the towel when the other side hasn't even stepped into the ring.  Michael Buffer hasn't started his catchphrase, "Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmble".  No, wait, Obama's on the canvas, spitting up blood from punches yet to be thrown from his own shadow-boxing. 

Look only at the tax-cut issue as but 1 example: a major political party is holding this hostage (can you guess which one?).  Obama is so bad at negotiating [how bad is he? ... ], he is so bad, he's telling the hostage-taker, 'stop! don't do anything rash! I'll kneecap myself first, and then you can take me instead!'  It sickens me as a citizen to see what's happening.  He reads a paper, he is not stupid or intellectually 'un-curious' (like the guy he replaced)!  There has to be a West Wing episode in all of this, where the fictional unlikely hero-candidate wins, then immediately upon taking the oath of office, sits down and says, "Alright, I can't believe we won, so how do we get re-elected in 4 years?"  Then the lackey loyalist pipes up, "What about governing?  All those campaign promises?"  And the President replies, "Say what?"  What else could possibly be going on?  Thus, we get the Full Cynical 2010.  With some Ditto, amen, yes plus, thrown in for good measure.
Happy Holidays, and good luck in 2011.

PS, this.  Money quote for me:
Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse — a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.
PPS, quick J, find us a copyright lawyer so we can trademark the Full Cynical before it's too late.  Then, we can use the money from said trademark to buy some progressives, right?  FDL certainly puts the 'en fuego' in FDL.  It's the cave that keeps on caving.  [J, maybe I should have saved that last line to title another post?]  But 1 more point here (and then I need to be finished): it takes a special kind of person to tick off both sides to the extreme as here.  The FDLs of the blogoworld are not alone in lamenting the lack of leadership, the wimpy/wussy theme; at the same time, the batshades on the right still want to call him Hitler and a secret Muslim socialist.  Even I get that socialism and fascism are on opposite sides.  But if the far-right gets to keep up the HIGHpocritical labeling, and the left gets to come at him from the other side, wow, that is one special conflation of a clusterF^&K.