2008/11/24

Bizarre anti-Obama arguments

I had my letter published in my local newspaper and went to the letters page online to see if there had been any comments concerning it. Nope, but I was struck that there was a commenter who was obviously a conservative and/or a Republican who was very unhappy about Obama's failure to deliver "change."

Posted by bpphilly 11:03 AM, 11/24/2008
Tango: Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder, Tom Daschle, Gregory Craig and soon enough Hillary Clinton. Early on this admin reaks of the Clinton White House, and seems to offer no real "change" other than nameplates on the offices. So what again where you saying? Read a real news outlet? How's this:> Get a clue. But typical of most libs you're too busy attacking and hating the right to even notice how wrong you are.

After a liberal questioned what bpphilly meant by this he responded:

Tango: you really are a dipsh*t...Obama promised Hope and CHANGE. His admin is now full of Washington insiders...exactly what you cite is wrong with Bush's White House.

Except that nobody ever complained that Bush's government was "full of Washington insiders," we complained that Bush and his people were criminals, not that they were merely "insiders." So I responded:

Oh good grief! "Change" means Obama shouldn't have anyone in his cabinet who has any Washington DC experience? Aw dude...lemme explain something to you, I'll type slowly so you can get it, "change" means "different from the Bush Administration"!!!! OK? As long as Obama's people have a "D" after their name and not an "R," they're "change."

to which bpphilly gave a disgusted reply:

You're right...typical "do as I say, not as I do" Dems. Whodda thunk?

But Obama never ran an "anti-insider" campaign! He ran an "anti-George W. Bush" campaign. The most effective attack line of the campaign was that John McCain was planning to run "a third Bush term" The line, an entirely accurate one in my humble opinion, came from a February campaign event where a reporter asked McCain whether he “would be in effect carrying out a third Bush term.” McCain replied with warm compliments towards the President, which indicated that he'd do just that. The North Carolina Democratic Party offered the following in October:

John McCain offers nothing more than a third Bush term. On Iraq, he says that he wants to stay in Iraq for the next 100 years. On tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, he has flip-flopped and now sides with President Bush. He's the candidate of Washington lobbyists and represents the status quo.
When it comes to the economy, health care, and creating a responsible, effective exit strategy for Iraq, McCain proposes no new ideas. 

Note that these are all highly specific references to G.W. Bush/Republican Party policies. In no sense is this a general attack on "Washington" or "Babylon on the Potomac" or "pointy-headed bureaucrats" or any other Republican term of disapproval. It's impossible to read these Democratic Party attacks as meaning that former Clinton Administration people would not be welcome in an Obama Administration.

Our press corps is, of course, never satisfied. Back in 1993, the then-Political Director Rahm Emanuel and the now-Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was and is considered unsatisfactory. First because in 1993 he was "inexperienced" and now in 2008 because he's a "Washington insider." There's simply no possible way to ever satisfy some people.

In a recent National Review column, the editor there says:

And that's change you can believe in from the Democrats? Establishing the Obama administration as the voice [of the] pro-abortion [rights] Left?

Well, first of all, Obama has always been pro-abortion rights (or pro-choice) and second, yes. For a Democratic administration to favor choice IS a change from the current administration. No one ever said Obama would be different from other Democrats. Obama never claimed that he'd strike out on a course that would distinguish him not only from the current Republican administration, but from all Democrats as well.

Strangely, many people who consider themselves to be liberals have a similar complaint, that pragmatism should outweigh ideology. This is a rather strange complaint as no one can determine a person's competence unless one has some idea as to what they're trying to accomplish. Corpwatch does a report called "Casualties of Katrina" that examines the struggle that the citizens of New Orleans have had in reconstructing their lives after the disastrous 2005 hurricane. Corpwatch presents no evidence that their struggles have been made more difficult deliberately, but it does present a picture of a highly uneven recovery that's not easily explained. For instance: "...there has been a boom in the casinos of Biloxi, Mississippi, yet the local shrimping community has failed to recover."

Let's presume that these problems are due to simple factors like incompetence. We can then say that the people in charge of the reconstruction are unsuited for their jobs. But if the inconsistent nature of the recovery is deliberate, then the people in charge are splendidly competent and are doing precisely what they're supposed to be doing. It's simply impossible to determine someone's "competence" in a vacuum of purposes and intentions.

To complain that Obama's appointees are "ideological" is a rather bizarre complaint. Of course they're ideological. The thing that makes them new and good and praiseworthy is that they're ideological Democrats and not ideological Republicans.

No comments: