September 8, 2008

Barack Obama appears -- simultaneously -- on Olbermann and O'Reilly and I have some advice for Obama.

Obama! Listen to me! You are at your best when you have somebody to push up against! You were so much better on O'Reilly.

O'Reilly was bloviating and interrupting, but really engaged and not unfair, just setting up opportunities and keeping it sharp and lively. Obama kept his cool and his good humor and got all his points in. It was fun to watch them spar. Obama even got O'Reilly to agree with him that the rich need to pay a higher tax rate, and the key is to get the rate at the right level so that you preserve incentives while helping out the disadvantaged.

By contrast, Olbermann was insipid, feeding Obama overstated arguments, and leaving Obama struggling to seem appropriately well-modulated and ending up insipidly nodding and smiling. Olbermann showed a McCain/Palin ad -- this one -- and exploded about all the "lies" and insisted that Obama agree that these were lies. Ugh. Olbermann was rude to people who weren't there to defend themselves and wanted to buddy up to Obama and get Obama to act like Olbermann and condemn McCain and Palin. Olbermann was annoying and Obama seemed trapped.

O'Reilly was rude to Obama face to face, which was nervy but it gave Obama a chance to stand his ground. O'Reilly was acting like the neighborhood blowhard, spouting folksy right-wing economic theories, and Obama was hearing him out up to a point and then coming back and proving him wrong. I really liked Obama in this setting.

Do more of that!

ADDED: Do those town hall meetings with McCain, why don't you? Stop protecting yourself so much. Get out there and fight with people who don't particularly like you. Expose yourself to disagreement.

UPDATE: That Olberman appearance was much worse than I'd thought.

64 comments:

Revenant said...

Obama even got O'Reilly to agree with him that the rich need to pay a higher tax rate

That's not much of a stretch. Lefties complain about O'Reilly being a right-wing extremist, but that's because they never actually watch anything on Fox. O'Reilly is more a populist than an ideological conservative; he is fond of attacking the rich, businesses, et al.

Ron said...

If only the right could get Dan Patrick on their side...and then have him appear with Olbermann!

"I'm sorry, Keith, but that argument is...the whiff!" said as only Patrick can!

Olbermann should have stuck talking to Mookie Wilson, instead of thinking he'd be talking to people like Woodrow Wilson...

Trooper York said...

Mookie Wilson is a communist.

EnigmatiCore said...

He should debate Palin.

You know he wants to.

Meade said...

"Expose yourself to disagreement."

Yeah. Quit being such a little hothouse orchid.

E-ho said...

Obama grants Olbermann an interview.
Olbermann.
But when McCain asks for more debates - Obama says no.

Windbag said...

Obama even got O'Reilly to agree with him that the rich need to pay a higher tax rate...

O'Reilly was acting like the neighborhood blowhard, spouting folksy right-wing economic theories...


Fair and balanced. Communism and folksy right-wing all in one interview.

Seven Machos said...

If I may try to get into the subconscious mind of Althouse, I'd say that at this point she is searching for reasons to vote for Obama because Obama is the candidate she'd like to vote for.

Sadly, there really are few good ones and they seem to be dissipating.

David said...

Yeah, I agree.

This is the best Obama has looked in a long time. He likes to debate issues, loves the clash of ideas.

Now if only he could convince us that his "new politics" isn't just a more articulate version of conventional academic liberalism.

The Dems are at least as much a party of special interest as the Republicans, but many of the Democrats interest groups pose as public interest groups. Does Obama have the guts to take them on? So far, the answer seems to be no.

Seven Machos said...

He likes to debate issues, loves the clash of ideas.

Then he would better serve the country in the Senate.

Zeb Quinn said...

Get out there and fight with people who don't particularly like you. Expose yourself to disagreement

From what I've seen of Obama thus far, when he is working without a scripted and/or telepromptered presentation is when things get dicey for him. In a confrontation, the wheels are apt to go off. He could easily say something wrong and self destruct, and I suspect he or someone in his inner circle thinks that too.

It's a little odd because being a fast thinker on your feet in verbal jousting is at the heart of what lawyers are supposed to be good at. But, then, I suppose Barack hasn't much experience as a lawyer.

Sloanasaurus said...

O'Reilly is more a populist than an ideological conservative; he is fond of attacking the rich, businesses, et al.

Rev is totally right. Obama is an economic populist. His economic views are left leaning. They make me cringe. He also hates big oil big pharm and any corporation.

O'reilly is a "cultural" conservative from an anti-poltical correctness, rather than a social conservitive. He is also conservative when it comes to law and order.

Still, Oreilly really got Obama on the surge. Obama doesn't have a good answer for what was his blowing the biggest foreign policy decision of the last 10 years.

Sloanasaurus said...

Then he would better serve the country in the Senate.

Excellent point. We need a leader as President, not someone who weighs the nuances of every choice. Debaters are not leaders. Debaters persuade through logic and reasoning. However, logic and reasoning don't get you very far in this world. Leadership requires much more.

veni vidi vici said...

Is it just me, or has a yellow stripe become visible down Obama's back in the past week or so?

What kind of weaktit pantywaist is this guy, anyway, and why does he think his claim to having jaw-jaw skillz so mad that he'll be able to fell Putin and Ahmedinikzhad in a single breath is still working, in light of his and his campaign's reaction to the GOP ticket?

It's becoming embarrassing. To think that he's got a content-free gasbag like Biden "backstopping" him is depressing, actually. Someone please bring back the "gravitas" meme from 2000.

WAmom said...

I thought the same thing as Ann. I sympathized with Obama, as I do with everyone debating the boorish bullying O'Rielly. They were SO wrong not to do the town meetings. When he's up against it, you can't help but like the guy.

Lem said...

Obama! Listen to me! You are at your best when you have somebody to push up against!

I think Obama would be great up against Fred Thompson on Law and Order ;)

reader_iam said...
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AJ Lynch said...

Ann:

Under Obama's plan you (self-employed entrepreneur) will pay more than 53%(FIT and payroll-taxes for self-employed) on every dollar you earn over what $250K. It is more than 53% when you add state and local income taxes.

Is that a level of taxation that incents you to make more money?

And that is just for starters- who knows how high his taxes will be by the time he leaves office?

Peter V. Bella said...

Obama is a real tool and he got another tool to agree with him. Raising taxes helps no one except the government. The poor stay poor and the disadvanted stay disadvantaged.

Raising taxes helps no one except the government and they do not need any more help.

reader_iam said...

Heh. I was totally (TOTALLY!) doing the flipping-back-and-forth, comparing-and-contrasting thing, as well. (Except--maybe you weren't doing it real time, since you have TIVO and I don't, though I hope to have that issue addressed in short order, when we make a switch in technology.) Anyway, yeah! So right.

Early today--or was it yesterday?--I said that I sometimes have to wonder if Palin supporters really have the faith in her that they say they do, since they advocate so much control. Well, now I'm thinking the same thing, about Obama supporters.

Let 'em loose, folks. (Let'em be loose.) All the candidates, all of 'em. Let the chips fall where they may.

What about a real race, a real contest, is so scary to people? Not just campaign operatives; hell, especially not them. I mean: All of us!

PatCA said...

"He likes to debate issues, loves the clash of ideas."

I don't understand that comment. When has he debated any issue of substance, when he wasn't forced to by running in the primaries? He voted present over 130 times in the Illinois legislature, even when he was the only one to do so. He backed down on his promise to debate McCain in townhalls.

As I say, I don't see it.

garage mahal said...

Yea OBAMA. Open yourself to more interrogative interviews! Like.....well....um, just do it!

AJ Lynch said...

Seven has you pegged Ann. You are grasping at thin almost invisible threads. Obama was stumbling thruout most every interview he has given lately.

I can't wait to hear who received the biggest chunks of the $120 Million in the Annenberg Challenge grants... Rev Wright or Pfleger are on the list I bet.

I hear the list will be in the NYT in its November 5th edition.

Elliott A said...

Three items Obama didn't have an answer for: The 20% increase in revenues by the federal govt during the Bush Administration, a result of tax cuts, the overspending in addition to Iraq which devoured it all, and that the 10 million or so illegals skewed down the average wages since they get next to nothing. He didn't ahve a good answer for why it is ever right to forcibly remove money from one person and then give it to another.

Michael_H said...

"He likes to debate issues, loves the clash of ideas."

Uh huh. Well, except for those 140+ times he voted 'present'. In those instances, he seemed to love not the clash of ideas but fear the political cost of accountability.

Peter V. Bella said...

Going on Olbermann is another reason not to vote for Obama. If Palin goes on, she would probably shoot him and put MSNBC out of its misery. It is the humane thing to do to a rabid dog.

chickenlittle said...

In order gain more voters, Obama should first turn to his grandparent's generation-the greatest generation archetype-particularly, the white rural and suburban variety. Unfortunately, he forgot about them early on, targeting Biden-Belt whites instead.
In generational terms, he needs to ditch the bond with his own mother (who probably would have considered Cindy Sheehan a fellow traveler) and pull his own grandmother back out from under the bus. But whether his "closest advisor" would approve is another issue.

Obama needs to stop courting urban elitists of every stripe and color- stop that-right now. They polarize him, plus they're already in the bag for him already and should be grown up enough to stomach a little coalition with fly-over state people.

John said...

I say this as a McCain voter. Part of the reason that Obama looked good on O'Reilly is that Obama is a lot smarter than O'Reilly. O'Reilly is a dolt. If I were a liberal candidate I would go on O'Reilly every night if I could. How can you not look good debating a complete imbicile for the other side?

David said...

Hey, talking points boys. The "present" criticism isn't real strong. The guy is a law prof, and was by all accounts a good one. He is interested in the clash of ideas.

As the Palin reaction shows, it's a bad idea to underestimate your opposition.

Eric said...

Let 'em loose, folks. (Let'em be loose.) All the candidates, all of 'em. Let the chips fall where they may.

That's the temptation, but it's not good political strategy. If your guy is winning you want to freeze things just like they are until the race is over. Moves with high risk/reward are for candidates that are on track to lose.

Lem said...

Barack Obama appears simultaneously on Olberman and O'Reilly.

If he truly is the one as signaled by the end of the house of Clintonia.

We should not be surprised at his prodigious omnipresence.

Glen said...

Obama even got O'Reilly to agree with him that the rich need to pay a higher tax rate, and the key is to get the rate at the right level so that you preserve incentives while helping out the disadvantaged.

Olbermann and O'Reilly. Just two more examples of how the Press fails this country at every level and occasion.

What is rich? Is it the 250k figure Obama offered up during his interview at Saddleback? Is 250K rich if you are filing jointly while running a small business that employs both partners 12+ hours a day? What if you have 3 children to put through college? Is 250k still rich if you live in NYC? Boise, Idaho? Plano, Texas?

What is disadvantaged? What exactly does that constitute? Oppressed minorities? Those with incomes below the poverty line? Struggling middle class families?
The weak, the lame, the blind?

Why does the Press fail to ask these questions? And how can you be impressed with any candidate who fails to thoroughly define them?

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

The Warren Buffets of the world don't seem to mind more taxes. The main issue here is that what they have is wealth and capital gains more than income. So Obama's plan is more a 'surgeon tax' than a tax on Buffet. I don't know if the AMT captures this. A progressivity in tax rate in the capital gains tax might be in order. In Texas the capital issue is addressed by having property taxes rather than an income tax but I don't believe you can do that on a federal level.

The Drill SGT said...

Then he would better serve the country in the Senate.

Excellent point. We need a leader as President, not someone who weighs the nuances of every choice. Debaters are not leaders. Debaters persuade through logic and reasoning. However, logic and reasoning don't get you very far in this world. Leadership requires much more.


Sloan had it right, and so did GW (the Decider line)

Presidents are effectively combat leaders whether in peace or war. They have to make good tough decisions with insufficent data, but need to make them regardless. And regardless of which way you decide, your people are at risk, some more than others.

You need to make good decisions Now, rather than wait and see in order to make a better decision too late.

I see nothing in Obama's character or history (e.g. the 130 present votes) that indicates that he is a person who can make tough decisions under pressure.

mcg said...

What is rich? Is it the 250k figure Obama offered up during his interview at Saddleback? Is 250K rich if you are filing jointly while running a small business that employs both partners 12+ hours a day? What if you have 3 children to put through college? Is 250k still rich if you live in NYC? Boise, Idaho? Plano, Texas?

How about Palin's answer to this same question, offered back in February?

I mean, McCain's soundbite was a genuine gaffe, but at least he was trying to be flippant. Obama was being serious.

Fen said...

ADDED: Do those town hall meetings with McCain, why don't you? Stop protecting yourself so much. Get out there and fight with people who don't particularly like you. Expose yourself to disagreement.

Ha. Obama's Handlers won't allow that, the strings don't reach that far.

Brendan Steinhauser said...

Check out the latest book about Barack Obama:

http://www.amazon.com/Who-REAL-Barack-Obama-generation/dp/1438906056/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220927361&sr=1-14

George said...

Just as 'e' was the hot letter of the 1990s, what with e-commerce 'n' all, and the '70s were the 'me' decade (It's all about 'u') I predict that 'o' will be the hot letter for the 'ought decade....

Olbermann..O'Reilly...Oprah...Obama...OMG

This leaves vowels 'a' and 'i' for the next decades, unless we have a return to syllabically coded decades (ala the '60s which were the days of smoking 'j's') in which case the 2010s could be the "Rrrrr" decade of piratic upheavals or the "Zzzz Years," the forgotten decade. Worse would be a shift to a decade made famous by obscure punctuation marks, such as the interrobang or virgule.

reader_iam said...

'ave a' i'.

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wendell said...

Keith Olbermann must have some tired kneecaps indeed. That was no interview, that was a 'good cop, good cop' piece of fluff. In fact, half of Olbermann's questions were not even answered by Senator Obama, who simply used them to hammer home his 'message,' which, in my view, is that there is no reason to have to work for anything in the United States; let your government 'take care' of you, free everything, no taxes. Olbermann and his colleagues in the media love this message, because most of them haven't done an honest day's work in their lives. Senator Obama has never been scrutinized regarding the huge mistake of not naming Senator Clinton his running mate. At at critical time when that choice could have solidified the campaign and virtually guaranteed the Dems a win, he chose to allow his negative emotions rule his decision-making and now he risks the very real chance that he has passed on the White House. When the next time he has a chance to serve his subjects with the right decision, will he choose to allow his personal emotions to override his sense of reason?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'd say that at this point she is searching for reasons to vote for Obama because Obama is the candidate she'd like to vote for.

Yep. My ex is a manic depressive alcoholic loser but.....he is a really good dancer and can tell a heck of a joke. So, maybe he's not such a bad guy and we should let him be in charge. Um......

Ann is quite right. Obama needs to get out from behind his handlers (kind of like a zoo animal on a tether) and show what he has to offer without being cocooned. Face the nasty Republicans face to face... mano a mano!! If he can't do THIS how in the world can he possibly be the President. Wimp.

Danny said...

For crying out loud, Obama volunteered to spend a night getting grilled by Rick Warren and pals at Saddleback Church! That's like McCain holding a "town hall" at the Barrymore, with that fallopian tube Amy Goodman of democracynow as the moderator.

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter V. Bella said...

And how can you be impressed with any candidate who fails to thoroughly define them?

Hey, He is a a Hope peddler. He peddles that junk called Hopium. It is extremely addictive and there is no treatment for it yet. It has been known to turn women into Hope Whores. They will do anyting and everything for their Hopium.

It is sold in Hope Houses, which were set up by community organizers he trained to keep the trade out of sight of the police. The community organizers also provide pro bono lawyers to any arrested for the posession of Hopium.

Hopium is a threat to the fabric of America. It is a threat to our young people, especially those voting for the first time. Hopium turns them into drooling idiots who will do anything to keep the Hopium alive.

It is the promise of everything for everybody and destroys all it touches.

Dogwood said...

What is rich? Is it the 250k figure Obama offered up during his interview at Saddleback? Is 250K rich if you are filing jointly while running a small business that employs both partners 12+ hours a day? What if you have 3 children to put through college? Is 250k still rich if you live in NYC? Boise, Idaho? Plano, Texas?

The problem with this line of discussion is it does not differentiate between income and wealth.

Someone making $250,000 has a high income, but that does not mean they are wealthy, especially if they spend every dollar they make.

Someone making $75,000 who has lived below their means, invested wisely, built a business, and has liquid assets worth $5 million is, in my opinion, rich.

Income and wealth are two entirely different things.

Also, I hate class warfare with a passion and immediately tune out any candidate who plays that card. It just pisses me off. And no, I'm not even close to being wealthy or high income.

Wendell said...

"For crying out loud, Obama volunteered to spend a night getting grilled by Rick Warren and pals at Saddleback Church!"

Was the best forum many have ever seen for a candidate's debate. Same exact questions, only Senator Obama's ambivalence and mealy-mouthing prevented him, for time considerations, from getting all the questions.

Chet said...

I gather there's a couple of readers on this blog who won't be paying $28,500.00 for the privilege of dining with Ms. Streisand to discuss her political beliefs.

Cedarford said...

WAmom said...
I thought the same thing as Ann. I sympathized with Obama, as I do with everyone debating the boorish bullying O'Rielly. They were SO wrong not to do the town meetings. When he's up against it, you can't help but like the guy.


Agree. Obama is a very likable guy when he is in an argument. He did pretty good on O'Reilly and as Althouse said, even got O'Reilly to agree the rich were skating out of paying their fair share of taxes on each dollar they get with too low a cap gains rate.

(O'Reilly has also been pissed over the years at the even lower hedge fund tax rate plutocrats bribed Congress to give them, Fed pork for the wealthy, use of shelters and foreign tax havens the middleclass has no access to.)

ajlynch - Under Obama's plan you (self-employed entrepreneur) will pay more than 53%(FIT and payroll-taxes for self-employed) on every dollar you earn over what $250K. It is more than 53% when you add state and local income taxes.
Is that a level of taxation that incents you to make more money?


Lynch neglects to say that any rich business owner that is milking business proceeds for person income greater than 250K a year have decided NOT to use the HUGE tax breaks rich and almost-rich business owners have to shield business revenue from taxes.

By exactly the same investment back into the business that aj is so concerned about, apparantly. Which shelters the money then when value is "harvested" later for income - is treated at a lower tax rate than the average cop pays on straight income.

Not to mention all the nifty writeoffs you get as a member of Bush's "Ownership Society".

As for Olbermann - there is nothing worse for showing you can lead and take the heat than waste your time on an insipid, fawning worshipper pretending to be an objective journalist (or in most cases, masking your bias better than Olbermann)

Chip Ahoy said...

Your many varied percepts have cheered me greatly this evening.

William said...

Obama is a decent, intelligent man of considerable charm. He accepted Olbermann's curtsies with tacit grace and O'Reilly's belligerencies with amused forebearance. I agree with the poster-- Brent I think-- who pointed out that Obama always seems likable and promising but never quite Presidential....Later in the program, Doberman blew the lid off Palin's bizarre religious beliefs. She has a son going to Iraq. She got up in her church and said that God is on our side. Obama has more to fear from supporters like Doberman than opponents like O'Reilly.

vbspurs said...

Is it just me, or has a yellow stripe become visible down Obama's back in the past week or so?

It's not just you. Never one for stupid nicknames like Obambi and the Obamessiah, I've started referring to Obama in my head as O'Pussy.

In a junkyard fight, I think Palin mauls him.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The problem with this line of discussion is it does not differentiate between income and wealth.

Someone making $250,000 has a high income, but that does not mean they are wealthy, especially if they spend every dollar they make.


THANK YOU Dogwood!!!

Income does not equal wealth. Income is a way to build wealth if, as Dogwood wisely points out, you don't spend all of it and it isn't ripped from your fingers. 250K in San Francisco puts you into the struggling middle class. Plus... the 250K income they are want to punish, is a GROSS not NET figure. With State taxes, Local taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes not to mention mandatory insurances, people in this range are paying at least 60% of their income. That's a high amount for no return on their investment. In fact, we might all be better off on welfare....of course that IS the ultimate socialist goal you know. Why work your butt off to give to the bum down the street. No one should be better than anyone else just because you work hard and create things. Just give up....

At some point Atlas really does shrug.

vbspurs said...

Also, I hate class warfare with a passion and immediately tune out any candidate who plays that card. It just pisses me off. And no, I'm not even close to being wealthy or high income.

There is yet a third group of "rich people" - people like me.

I'm not remotely rich, even when all my investments and properties are totaled. I pay taxes in two countries, on top of everything. Sometimes, I have 20 dollars in my debit card, and I have to make do with that for that week.

But I know how to live. I was taught how to live well. I know where to hang out. I know what people to cultivate friendships with, because the single-most important aspect of being rich is having powerful, well-connected friends.

Well, there is one more important lesson that you are taught about being rich, that others seem not to understand.

You don't work for your money. Your money works for you.

That's the secret of living well anywhere.

Cheers,
Victoria

Revenant said...

The "present" criticism isn't real strong. The guy is a law prof, and was by all accounts a good one. He is interested in the clash of ideas.

He was an instructor, not a professor. His job was teaching students, not debating his peers.

PatCA said...

O'Reilly was allowed only 30 minutes for his interview. Obama can throw around enough arguments to flummox the guy for that period of time. That's not like a townhall meeting at all, or a real debate.

Revenant said...

Later in the program, Doberman blew the lid off Palin's bizarre religious beliefs. She has a son going to Iraq. She got up in her church and said that God is on our side.

No, actually, she asked for the congregation to pray that our leaders were doing God's will in sending the troops into combat.

"I hope we're doing what God wants" is not the same thing as "we're doing God's will".

rhhardin said...

Obama's economic understanding is zero, which is enough to disqualify him no matter who he debates.

Barlycorn, John said...

High tax rates have never been tried and Obama is bringing something new to the stage.... Yeah, right. There is a reason his appeal is so strong among the young. Only the young are ignorant enough to buy his arguments.

High taxes lead to a slow economy and high unemployment. Always have, always will. Sorry if this is a "folksy right wing economic theory", but the "eriudite left wing economic theories" have all been shown to be failures.

LarsPorsena said...

"Obama's economic understanding is zero, which is enough to disqualify him no matter who he debates."

That puts him way ahead of O'Reilly whose economic understanding is about a negative 3. O'Reilly has a learning disability about the supply/demand/price thing.

Rich B said...

My wife and I both thought O'Reilly was unfair to Obama - he interrupted too much and was very belligerent. On the other hand, we thought Obama was a bit weak - likeable but weak. I think William has it right.

As some others have commented, O'Reilly is a bit incoherent ideologically - not a conservative at all.

michaele said...

No surprise that Oberman toots Harry Truman's campaign message of blaming a Republican congress for hard times, but doesn't make the connection that gas prices, inflation, mortgage forclosure crisis, unemployment rising have all kicked up to concerning levels since 2006 when the Dems took over both houses. Frankly, this should be the issue all Republicans run on because facts don't lie.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
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AJ Lynch said...

Cedarford:

You are mistaken if you believe the myth that entrepreneurs have a long laundry list of "deductions" they can use to deflate their taxable income.

I have done many many reviews of small and medium size businesses and they are generally run pretty clean. I'd estimate only one out a hundred plays games.

So you are mistaken in thinking there is some big pot of deferred loot out there for an entrepreneur.