October 29, 2009

Dithering Obama.

The word "dithering" has really attached itself to Obama.

Remember the way Bush opponents tried to get the word "quagmire" stuck on him? It's an interesting political strategy, sticking a word on a guy.

161 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

Dithering is not something you want to get known for.

If that sticks it leaves a mark.

m00se said...

Sully say Dithering good! Dithering mean Obama thoughtful!

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/10/what-dithering-means.html

former law student said...

It's an interesting political strategy, sticking a word on a guy.

Give it time. Some words have proven staying power:

Results 1 - 10 of about 4,890 for "dithering obama"

Results 1 - 10 of about 99,600 for "war criminal cheney"

former law student said...

Oh, I forgot this other meme:

Results 1 - 10 of about 14,500 for "traitor cheney"

MadisonMan said...

Quagmire: Everyone knows its meaning.

Dithering: Not everyone knows its meaning.

So as an interesting strategy, I'd say this particular one doesn't have staying power.

Fred4Pres said...

So I guess when Bush dithered on Iraq and the surge, that was good too?

Oh wait, while Obama dithers, things in Iraq are going the other way. As Andrew Sullivan says: "See it is all messed up and never would have worked, so it is Bush's fault. Just wait till I prove Sarah Palin is not Trig Palin's mother and you will see how smart I really am!"

The problem is when does dithering of Barack Obama just prove itself to be poor leadership? How about now?

AllenS said...

From my dictionary:

dither: 1. a trembling; vibration. 2. a state of flustered excitement or fear. 3. inability to finish his waffle.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 236,000 for "sarah palin milf"

Fred4Pres said...

Obama Supporters will have a group chant repeating the mantra "War Criminal Cheney" to fight off the negative karma of "Dithering Obama."

Quayle said...

If Obama isn't careful he's going to have to start adding Packstan to the list of things over which he dithers.

If only Obama could find Bin Laden and sit down and talk it over, this whole middle-east thing could be solved, and the left could get back to the pressing matters of nationalizing other huge swaths of America.

Maguro said...

Can we just call him Mr. Dithers? Or would that be racist?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

This game is kinda fun.

Search Results 1 - 10 of about 75,400 for barack obama traitor

ark said...

Dithering is a fundamental technique in computer audio. It's a shame to see such an important word debased this way.

rollingdivision said...

Dithering sticks so well to obama because it is so accurate. Nervous indecisiveness: nervously confused indecisiveness in the face of alternative possible actions. It may not be perfect but it extremely close.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Give it time. Some words have proven staying power:


Results 1 - 10 of about 1,340,000 for obama marxist

You're right. Wow.

chickenlittle said...

Dithering suggests diddling.

Bissage said...

(1) “August 18th. Fell off near Bovey Tracey. The pump caught in my trouser leg, and my sandwiches were badly crushed.”

(2) The internet is an amazing thing.

AJ Lynch said...

Good one Hoosier!

Go Phils!

TosaGuy said...

Hillary Clinton Supermodel 1-10 of 460,000 (BING)

Does this support or refute the theory?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 2,190,000 for "bush shaved"

TosaGuy said...

"Quagmire: Everyone knows its meaning."

Giggity!

Comrade X said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 8,760,000 for traitor kerry

Results 1 - 10 of about 8,930,000 for traitor arnold


someone is closing the gap!

Original Mike said...

I can't imagine what would possess anyone to tag Obama with the dithering meme.

former law student said...

12,700 results for
"barack obama marxist"

Ignorance is Bliss said...

He seemed pretty decisive about which pill grandma should take.

TosaGuy said...

Axelrod is president 1 of 10 of about 834,000

Rahm is president 1 of 10 of 2,700,000

Obama is president 1 of 10 of 404,000

(BING)

Bissage said...

"Your search - Bissage 'huge dong' - did not match any documents"

* sads *

mrs whatsit said...

Ron Gibbs did a wonderful job of helping to stick the "dithering" label on his boss when he repeated the word to the White House press corps: "What Vice President Cheney calls dithering, President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public."

Cheney's comment never would have gotten so much mileage in the media without Gibbs' assistance. What a pro, huh?

Ann Althouse said...

"Results 1 - 10 of about 4,890 for "dithering obama""

Go to my link. I got 1,040,000. Without the quotes. Your search wouldn't even turn up "Obama is dithering"!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bissage- You need to switch to Google:

Results 1 - 9 of 9 for Bissage 'huge dong'

AJ Lynch said...

Obama Wrecks Economy got ........1,070,000 hits!

Pogo said...

"What Vice President Cheney calls dithering, President Obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the American public."

You can put a cat in an oven, but that don't make it a biscuit.

Whatever BHO calls it, he needs to stop.

John Lynch said...

"Miserable failure" google bomb. Remember that?

Using cliches doesn't really change minds. They are a good reason to stop reading. My eyes slide away from writers who use loaded, partisan terms constantly.

traditionalguy said...

A good leader never makes a descision before it's time. He first gets counsel and facts and takes time to think about possibilities. But then an Executive has to execute and risk being told that he/she did not fear doing anything wrong like Monday morning QBs always tell him he should hane done. The clear reason Obama is avoiding a descision (a/k/a dithering)is that he has to chose among the lesser of two or three evils. He therefore refuses to commit himself until has reached his two real goals here at home which are: Nationalized Health Service and a USA economy Destroying/World Gvt. Funding Tax on oil, coal, and natural gas use. Frankly, he doesn't seem to give a damn about the outcome of the Afghan/Pakistan War. No wonder Mathew Hoh resigned.He is smart enough to see the real hopeless situation there rather than only seeing the political drama playing out here in the USA.

Bissage said...

All Right!!!

Thanks, IiB!

Levi Johnston better watch his back!

Playgirl, here I come!!!

Pogo said...

'Dithering Obama' is putting U.S troops in danger, accuses former vice president Dick Cheney"

"Solemn-responsibility-to-the-men-and-women-in-uniform-and-to-the-American-public Obama is putting U.S troops in danger, accuses former vice president Dick Cheney."

yeah, I guess that does sound a lot better.

The Drill SGT said...

rollingdivision said...
Dithering sticks so well to obama because it is so accurate.


obama "voting present" 1-10 of 215,000 results (bing)

The Drill SGT said...

To those of us like AllenS, Roger J and I, in other words combat veterans, the concept of your commander dithering is truly frightening. There is absolutely nothing worse than no decision. even a bad decision is likely to be better.

Terms like "Thoughtful analysis" and "considering all the facts" may sound great to academics and Lawyers, but when metal meets meat, the right mode is the 80% solution, e.g.

A good decision, made on time, aggressively executed, is infinitely better than the 100% solution, made too late, and timidly applied.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bissage-

No Problem. It's not like that's the first time I've done that search.

former law student said...

Your search wouldn't even turn up "Obama is dithering"!

Google is not precise enough to distinguish between a page containing the phrase "Obama is dithering," and one that contains "Obama says Bush is dithering."

But you, a law professor, can run a proximity search on LexisNexis for free. This should separate the coincidental uses from the deliberate ones -- without having to explain why you were wasting money goofing around.

Fred4Pres said...

A little to the South and East, Obama is fretting about Corozine and the New Jersey Governor's race (funny how Obama only dithers on Iraq and Afghanistan but acts rather decisively when the enemy are New Jersey Republicans or Fox News).

former law student said...

But I found good fodder for the professor's "Obama is like Bush" tag. In the November Progressive, editor Matthew Rothschild's comment entitled "Obama Defends Bush Policies" shows how the Obama regime has had "a surprising willingness to perpetuate Bush's policies... essentially the entire edifice of repression that Bush and Cheney erected is still standing, with Obama's support."

edutcher said...

former law student said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 4,890 for "dithering obama"

Results 1 - 10 of about 99,600 for "war criminal cheney"


One is true, the other is a left wing smear.

Henry said...

Isn't "dithering" why you voted for the guy?

I think "forgettable" may be Obama's ultimate tag.

As far as Afghanistan goes, we might as well withdraw now and stop the dithering. A hesitant decision in favor of military action is useless and ultimately destructive if the president lacks the backbone to stick with it.

Kirby Olson said...

Dithering is onomatopoetic, so it doesn't require a dictionary meaning.

Another prof said the word to me this morning and rolled his eyes. We laughed uproariously. The tables may be turning.

Obama always waits to see what others think. He can't make up his own mind about anything, and glances nervously around.

If there's no clarity, he just doesn't know what to do.

He dithers.

Kirby Olson said...

This is also the exact opposite of W. W. never dithered. He acted with dispatch like shakespeare Henry V.

Obama is Henry VI.

AllenS said...

When Obama isn't voting present he is acting like a dithering fool.

From Inwood said...

“A good catchword,” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “can obscure analysis for 50 years.”

Montagne Montaigne said...

Yes, I believe he is dithering his way to a historic victory on health care reform, a responsible, achievable strategy for Afghanistan/Pakistan; he will dither himself into a second term in 2012 and will continue to dither all over the red, weepy faces of frustrated right wingers for years to come.

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 15,600 for "traitor obama". (0.23 seconds)

Thanks Google!

Alex said...

Yes, I believe he is dithering his way to a historic victory on health care reform, a responsible, achievable strategy for Afghanistan/Pakistan; he will dither himself into a second term in 2012 and will continue to dither all over the red, weepy faces of frustrated right wingers for years to come.

Um no, the Dems will lose bad in 2010 and Obama will be thrashed out of office in 2012 by Queen Sarah.

The Drill SGT said...

Kirby Olson said...
W. never dithered. He acted with dispatch like shakespeare Henry V.


I could imagine W (when I think about the surge) saying like Henry V at Hafleur

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more"

Sometimes you need guys with more balls than brains, and I'm saying that with respect.

And to Allen S, that's why we have Rangers, but that's not me, I'm one of those guys, looking for a flank :)

miller said...

I'm not sure if he's dithering or a ditherer. There is a difference.

hdhouse said...

Ann said: "Remember the way Bush opponents tried to get the word "quagmire" stuck on him? It's an interesting political strategy, sticking a word on a guy."

Err I think it is that Mr. Bush got stuck IN the quagmire rather than it sticking on him.

Seems like the rightwing history rewrites confuse dithering with thinking....but I would also guess they are unfamiliar with the later.

Joe said...

I'm not a conspiracy, one-world nut, but if this editorial is accurate, we're about to see that the nuts are right:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703574604574500580285679074.html

Roger J. said...

What Drill Sgt said--and the sad thing about dithering is that it usually results in piecemeal commitment of military forces--great ditherers included George McClellan--which is why Lincoln chose Grant and Sherman

And for Monty: what will be the strategery be pray tell?

traditionalguy said...

The forces are already committed piecemeal, but we were not facing a larger force anywhere until the last three months. So we must reinforce with 200,000 troops and support personel spread out among each separate valley battle area, or we must consolidate into the urban areas with a surrounding perimeter. This is Ft Apache style guerilla fighting, not large forces on an open plain.

AllenS said...

These people who want to kill us are not stupid, at least in the sense that they can smell weakness. I'm sure that they believe, and I tend to think that they are right, any increase in casualties to our forces will lead to the likelihood that we will quit and run. Meanwhile, Obama is going to contemplate contemplation.

Bruce Hayden said...

Montagne Montaigne almost thinks that Obama's dithering is a good thing. I think the ex military here know differently.

That said, my guess to the reason for his dithering is that President Obama has really never had to make a hard decision in his lifetime. Now he is being required to put American lives on the line with imperfect information.

What scares me, and I think a lot of people, is that that emboldens our enemies. Bush (43) was the "decider", and made bold decisions, based on, again, imperfect information. But, from 9/11/01 until he left office, we were safe, and part of the reason that we were safe from our enemies is that they knew that attacking us would lead to swift retribution with overwhelming force.

One problem with Obama dithering is that the last President who dithered at this level was Jimmy Carter, and our enemies seeing him as Carter II is not what we want.

So, I do hope he gets a backbone. Because if he doesn't, those enemies are going to do to us what they did to us under Carter.

TMink said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 3,750,000 for Althouse commenters.


Trey

Chase said...

Bruce Hayden,

Once again you have nailed the entire point about Dithering Obama to the wall, taken a picture, and mounted it in a trophy frame above your marble fireplace mantle in your Hunting Trophies Game room.

Enjoy your brandy, Sir!

Roger J. said...

Bruce Hayden--I fear that mr putin and some other not so nice people have already taken his measure

The Drill SGT said...

A erudite phrasing Bruce. I'll give you 2 shortened versions:

The first from the far left:

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

- Thomas Paine

The next from the Future Right WingNut:

"No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try..."

- Yoda

Bruce Hayden said...

For a more historical perspective, today Victor Davis Hanson in the WSJ: Truman and the Principles of U.S. Foreign Policy Jimmy Carter rejected the postwar consensus - President Obama appears to be following a similar path.

Roger J. said...

Bruce Hayden--as Mr Truman said, the buck stops here--as Mr Obama has said: present

I mean this guy did have a track record.

The Drill SGT said...

Roger,

A-stan has its Grant in McCrystal,

what we lack is a Lincoln as in:

Lincoln was not a man of impulse, and did nothing upon the spur of the moment; action with him was the result of deliberation and study. He took nothing for granted; he judged men by their performances and not their speech.

If a general lost battles, Lincoln lost confidence in him; if a commander was successful, Lincoln put him where he would be of the most service to the country.

"Grant is a drunkard," asserted powerful and influential politicians to the president at the White House time after time; "he is not himself half the time; he can't be relied upon, and it is a shame to have such a man in command of an army."

"So Grant gets drunk, does he?" queried Lincoln, addresing himself to one of the particularly active detractors of the soldier, who, at that period, was inflicting heavy damage upon the Confederates.

"Yes, he does, and I can prove it," was the reply.

"Well," returned Lincoln, with the faintest suspicion of a twinkle in his eye, "you needn't waste your time getting proof; you just find out, to oblige me, what brand of whiskey Grant drinks, because I want to send a barrel of it to each one of my generals."

kentuckyliz said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 12,200 for obama permanent underclass

Results 1 - 10 of about 99,100,000 for obama death of business

Results 1 - 10 of about 97,700,000 for obama death of america

Results 1 - 10 of about 462,000,000 for obama america third world country

_______________________________

Main Entry: 1dith·er
Pronunciation: \ˈdi-thər\
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): dith·ered; dith·er·ing \-th(ə-)riŋ\
Etymology: Middle English didderen
Date: 15th century

1 : shiver, tremble
2 : to act nervously or indecisively : vacillate

— dith·er·er \-thər-ər\ noun

_________________________________

The most logical WV I have ever seen--
fired !!!!

Alex said...

kentuckyliz - you have to put double quotes around your searches to get more accurate results.

Results 1 - 10 of about 205 for "obama ditherer" with Safesearch on. (0.24 seconds)

kentuckyliz said...

For your amusement:
dithering - urban dictionary

datatroll said...

I'm thinking blithering could attach itself as well, as in blithering idiot.

Jason said...

mmm mmm mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
Last August said "the die is cast"
Move on dot org said "not so fast"...
mmm mmm mmm
Barack Hussein Obama
The Afghan plan he will not own
Joe Biden says: "Use the Drone"
mmm mmm mmm...

Don said...

The real fun with "dithering" is seeing how many times a day someone says "diddling" by mistake, as in "The President can't afford to keep diddling while soldiers are dying in Afghanistan, Keith."

cubanbob said...

Obama communist: Results 1 - 10 of about 6,620,000 for obama communist. (0.39 seconds)
Obama is an idiot: 1 - 10 of about 7,910,000 for obama is an idiot. (0.22 seconds)
Obama is a war criminal:Results 1 - 10 of about 20,100 for obam is a war criminal. (0.30 seconds)
Obama is a traitorResults 1 - 10 of about 20,100 for obam is a war criminal. (0.30 seconds)

One can spend hours doing this. The reality is the movie prop president has jumped the shark. The house has released its version of the bogus health reform bill, 1990 pages. Skimming through the proposed tax hikes and employer mandates if enacted you can forget about a recovery. It will be 10% unemployment or worse until the communists are kicked out of the congress and the white house and the entire monstrosity is repealed. Lefties enjoy your moment. You are now at your peak. The next several elections will start the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction and that will result in a substantial roll back of the Great Society programs.

rattanman said...

Obama couldn't decide between paper and plastic at the supermarket.

Jason said...

Don, the first time I heard "diddling" in that context was the lyric in Kinky Friedman's "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Any More" i.e., "You just want to diddle a Christian girl and you killed God's only son."

Jim Hu said...

"diddling" makes me think of "fiddling" as in "fiddling while Rome burns"

Wally Ballou said...

Obama/Biden:

Dithering and Blithering.

John Stodder said...

Meh. I think if any of us were president we'd be dithering over Afghanistan right now.

He is on the horns of a genuine dilemma. The safer course, politically, is to give McChrystal what he wants. If it doesn't work, he can blame the military.

His administration made a mistake in trying to blame their dithering on Bush and Cheney, and it was predictable that Cheney would strike back viciously and memorably in defense of his people both in and out of government.

But challenging the strategy and tactics for Afghanistan? I'd be doing that too. He's mishandled the optics badly -- his WH staff is incompetent, flat out -- but he needs to keep turning over this particular rock for the good of the country. It's not cut and dried that what McChrystal wants to do is the best course. Biden being extremely wrong (blithering applies here) doesn't make McChrystal right.

c3 said...

Can we call him the "decider" when he announces his decision after the group's deliberations?

Cedarford said...

MadisonMan said...
Quagmire: Everyone knows its meaning.
Dithering: Not everyone knows its meaning.

So as an interesting strategy, I'd say this particular one doesn't have staying power.


Disagree. Because everyone knows a "ditherer" in their lives. Some call them procrastinators, a slacker, others say a "manana" Mexican, and so on.

And it is personal. Even ditherers profess exasperation, frustration about people they know whose dithering is inconvenient for them.

That said, many people elected Obama on the premise that he wouldn't be like LBJ or Dubya - rushing to escalate a war (LBJ), or rushing to broaden the mission past anything his military planned for or his allies consented to when they 1st joined a coalition (Dubya) "We will rebuild Iraq into a pro-Israel, pro-West nation the noble purple-fingered freedom loving Iraqis will love us for. And spare no amount of lives or costs to give them this gift.."

We had McCain, running on how he wanted to immediately escalate Afghanistan, openly talking about Joe Lieberman's and the Neocon's idea of "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran", even sending our troops to where the Germans last trod in the Caucuses for confronting Russia over thrashing "our freedom-loving Georgian friends" (after Georgia started a war with a Russian ally).

The dithering label may stick, but for now the people are OK with the President not blundering into what could be a repeat of Vietnam, the Soviet disaster in Afghanistan without a lot of thought and a lot of debate, 1st.

Even Iraq.
Iraq was pretty bad for America - we ended Dubya's time with no allies left there, the Neocons slithering under their rocks, the Iraqi populace hating us, 1 trillion and 38,000 casualties spent, and the most popular Iraqi the guy who threw shit-smeared shoes at the clueless Bush.

There is good dithering and bad dithering. Nixon began de-escalating Vietnam about 9 months into office. Casualties went from tens of thousands to a few thousand in the next year, then down to hundreds, then dozens in the last year. Meanwhile, he did dither about forcing the Vietnamese who everyone knew were lying about Peace negotiations (and later admitted they were under orders to lie and stall) to consent to a Peace Treaty and release our POWs. Only after Nixon had realigned the Soviets and Chinese with diplomacy did he bomb the hell out of N Vietnam and force them to end the war and release our guys.
He avoided the "humbling" the Democrat Congress did by stabbing S Vietnam in the back after Nixon was forced from office, or what humiliation Iranians inflicted on America 5 years later.

Nixon did good dithering.
Carter did bad dithering.
Lets hope Obama is like Nixon.

sauer38h said...

Well, The Won has already been declared the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. Now we see him as the most dramatic ditherer since Fabius Maximus Cunctator. Can't go wrong with the classics.

elHombre said...

'"diddling" makes me think of "fiddling" as in "fiddling while Rome burns"'

Nerobama!

Oxbay said...

Dithering = voting present.

Patm said...

The "dithering" label is one of the reasons Obama went to Dover today and allowed himself to be photographed saluting a coffin. (Say what you want, Bush never made a photoop out of his meetings with parents of dead soldiers). He's dithering on Afghanistan, his numbers are tumbling and he needs to do something. A picture is powerful. It replaces the word "dither" with "caring and honorable." I'd like to give the prez the benefit of a doubt, that he actually does care about his dead troops, but nothing about him has indicated he cares about anything but himself, up to now...so it's hard.

Maguro said...

Biden being extremely wrong (blithering applies here) doesn't make McChrystal right.

While there are troubling aspects to McChrystal's strategy, at least he's got a plan. Biden has a plan, too. Kind of.

My concern is that Obama will just split the difference between McChrystal and Biden rather than settle on a single coherent strategy, which would be the worst of all possible worlds.

For example, the idea that's being floated out there of abandoning the countryside in order to protect the top 10 cities would be disastrous. Better to abandon the the whole country than attempt a half-measure like that.

Roger J. said...

Drill--don't know McChrystal--the current crop of CINCs is after my time--My inclination is to trust him--we will know in a hurry if the strategy is right and if it isnt Obama can be Lincoln and fire him--or conversely send him a barrel of whiskey if he's right.

Honestly I have no idea what I would do in A-stan--its a different animal than iraq--I would just like to see a decision rather than what impresses me as cheap photo ops at the expense of our dead soldiers. If the president had a sense of decency he would have gone to Dover without the phalanx of photographers. Would have meant much more to the families, I think. But thats just me.

booger said...

"Tricky Dick" Nixon
"Slick Willy" Clinton
"Dithering" Obama

jaycurrie said...

Well, former Canadian Prime Minister - for less than a year as I recall - began to be referred to as Mr. Dithers...He was doomed.

bagoh20 said...

Like many poor or inexperienced leaders on tough decisions, he is waiting for a better option to appear. It's like a gambler thinking the big win is just around the corner. In both cases it sometimes pays off, but the odds are strongly against it.

The value of a good ideology (based on history) is that it informs decisions when the information or options are insufficient to know you will be right. Obama's ideology is his failing.

Oxbay said...

Ha Ha, if Cheney is what you said Obama is a war criminal and he sought the position. Obama volunteered to be a war criminal. Wow, who'd a thunk it. Obama a war criminal. I don't think he minds though. I mean he is friends with terrorists Ayers and Dohrn. So no only did Obama volunteer to be a war criminal he is friends with terrorists.

This is so much fun. Obama a war criminal.

elHombre said...

Meh. I think if any of us were president we'd be dithering over Afghanistan right now.

Perhaps, but some of us might have been cautious about creating the illusion of decisiveness and competence where they didn't exist.

Spam31415 said...

Dithering

http://www.pentdego.com/prentjes/393a57.jpg

Oxbay said...

Wow. More fun to be had. If fls is right then Obama is even more of a traitor. Why? We know he hates America and we know Cheney loves America. Wow. Traitor Obama. This is more fun than I thought it would be. Traitor Obama, the president who hates America. Obama a war criminal. Fun!

From Inwood said...

Hail to thee blithe ditherer!
Man that art undone,
This from heaven is no myth-erer:
Not enough profuse preening as The One
All things must end that have begun.

(Apologies to Shelley)

Clerihew:

Barack Hussein Obama
Hated Man & Arm-a
He lived in the myth-er
Of being able to dither.

elHombre said...

So no only did Obama volunteer to be a war criminal he is friends with terrorists.

Okay then.

Results 1-10 for "Obama the Muslim terrorist," 197,000.

This is fun!

From Inwood said...

33,900 for dithering & nuance.

47,700 for fiddling while Rome burns.

2,960 for dithering while Rome burns.

5,270 for nuanced while Rome burns.

36,400 for dithering & Obama golfing.

494,000 for nuanced & Obama golfing.

Peg C. said...

Dithering reminds one of blithering. There is only 1 word in the English language that ever follows "blithering." Just sayin'.

Of course the opposite of "dithering" is "decisive." Obama need not worry that will ever attach itself to his keister.

Triangle Man said...

I think I would have gone with "wavering" or "quavering", but I suppose that "dithering" did better in the focus groups and polls.

Triangle Man said...

Of course the opposite of "dithering" is "decisive."

Obama is the decider now. Isn't everything he does decisive by definition?

Cedarford said...

The Drill SGT said...
To those of us like AllenS, Roger J and I, in other words combat veterans, the concept of your commander dithering is truly frightening. There is absolutely nothing worse than no decision. even a bad decision is likely to be better...


This Vet disagrees.

Sometimes the worst decisions in warfare are those of a bold, decisive leader like Haig, Hitler, Jap militarists infatuated with success. Or Churchill, or Dubya and the Neocon Cabal.

Haig gave us the Somme. 80,000 casualties in one day alone because Haig was in too much of a rush to deal with facts of previous battles the French had suffered had shown Haig's tactics of mass troops in the open against machine guns were bound to lead to mass butchery.
So getting nuggets of gold from shit, we have the narrative of what heroes the Brits who were slaughtered without any chance of success were. Some nice poems, and the symbol of red poppies of Flanders. (and the beginning of the end of the British Empire as the best colonial troops were butchered.)

Churchill's bold decisive idea resulted in Gallipoli, another supreme fiasco.

When Hitler was paying bitter fruit on his all or nothing gamble of Operation Barbarossa..as bold and decisive an example of military leadership as had been seen since Napoleon nearly wrecked Europe...all he could do was make worship of the heroism of the troops a near-obligatory thing for every citizen under National Socialism. Tojo and pals also had to resort to "troop veneration" when Yamoto's warning to them came true.

Bush and the Neocons - determined to get into Iraq ASAP - even without any plan for a postwar even considered - had to quickly embrace the "hero narrative". Using it indiscriminantly for hero government employees in uniform, hero passengers who tried to fight for their lives as cancer victims do, and of course the "hero troops" being butchered by the IEDs of the "freedom-lovers!!" they were there to save, whether the "freedom-lovers!!" wanted to be Occupied or not.

Or people who urged LBJ to be "bold and decisive" after the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Of course, some leaders have dithered when there is no option but taking urgent, prompt action. The Politburos dithering for three months after Hitler invaded almost cost them the war - until the Soviets agreed where and how to make their stands. There was really no choice but to take action after Iranians invaded our Embassy, but Carter decided he could do nothing to assert America because "that might mean more risk of harm to our Hero Hostages".

A good example of bold decisive leadership when no choice was there but to leave or fight was Reagan electing to leave Lebanon a month after we began shelling Shiite positions at the behest of Israel, and the Shiites then retaliated and butchered 240 Marines like helpless sheep.

Or Bush I, who had no choice but to push Saddam out of Kuwait. And put together a masterful coalition. And who wisely did not succumb to mission creep and "liberate the freedom-lovers!!" of Iraq or invade Lebanon and "deal with Our Special Friend's undemocratc enemies" - as some hawks urged..

Hoosier Daddy said...

This is why I call him President Shortpants. Make a fucking decision already. Either listen to the expert, the one YOU appointed to the job and give him what he needs.

Or

Realize that trying to pacify and bring 'democracy' to an 11th century tribal society is a losing proposition and just get us the hell out of there.

Some things in life aren't that difficult. Then again I remind myself this guy took months to name his frigging dog.

AllenS said...

Cedarford, it's shit or get off the pot.

July 15, 2008, Obama:

"If another attack on our homeland comes, it will likely come from the same region where 9/11 was planned," he said in a speech in Washington. "And yet today, we have five times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan."

Make a fucking decision. Can you grasp that? If Obama is going to keep troops in that shit hole, provide the military with what they think they need to complete the operation. What's going on at the present time, ain't cuttin it. I want Obama to stand up and act like he's got a pair.

John Stodder said...

What's difficult about Afghanistan is the current conventional wisdom about American involvement in foreign wars doesn't apply there. We're never going to "win." At some point, we're going to have to make a judgment that we've buried the Taliban deeply enough that they won't spring back to life as soon as we leave. And we'll probably always have some forces there. Very different situation than Iraq. But there are also short-run considerations that argue for a surge to regain momentum.

Very tough. Like I said, Obama has handled it poorly, like an amateur, but that doesn't change the fact that even an ideally suited president would find this much simpler.

Hoosier Daddy said...

This Vet disagrees.

You make good points but I think what Drill is getting at is we're there now, McChrystal has made his recommendation and its either shit or get off the pot time. Yeah Haig gave us the Somme because he acted boldly but Clark gave us Anzio cause he sat on his ass.

McChrystal could do a reversal of Lincoln-McClellan meeting and ask Obama if he could borrow some of the Army for awhile.

Cedarford said...

Hoosier - Some things in life aren't that difficult. Then again I remind myself this guy took months to name his frigging dog.

It is funny, but the whole rigamarole about selecting what kind of dog he'd get, then naming the poor beast will actually end up impacting people's perception of Obama as he weighs the awful perception of being a ditherer against being seen as a reckless idiot who takes bold decisive action.

"I will suspend my campaign and return to DC to help straighten out this mess. This is a time for John McCain's bold decisive leadership. What will I do? I dunno - math and economic stuff is hard, you know.."

"Hey, I am the Deciderer! Let's stay and nation-build so the noble Iraqis will love us! No debate! I've decided we will!"

Hoosier Daddy said...

We're never going to "win." At some point, we're going to have to make a judgment that we've buried the Taliban deeply enough that they won't spring back to life as soon as we leave.

We'll win when we finally realize that the nation is a polyglot of tribes who aside from knowing how to use 21st century weaponry, still have an 11th century mindset and treat them accordingly.

You find the biggest tribe and bribe them. Tell Mustapha that we'll keep him in greenbacks as long as he stays our bought bitch, sends us scalps of verified Islamofascist terrorists and don't harbor anyone that wants to attack us. Step off and we bankroll Mohammed over there and back him up with some nice hi tech weaponry and you end up as a brown stain on a cave wall. Did it before, can do it again. Rinse and repeat.

That's the Afghan way and that's how you beat the Taliban.

The Drill SGT said...

C4,

Those examples were generally, high diddle diddle straight up the middle sorts of attacks. that didn't have to be made.

The situation in A-stan is more like reaction after ambush. We are in a killing zone. Most any decision has a chance of being better than dithering under fire.

The A-stan call is a tough one. I don't think its really a country, just a collection of tribes, but Obama campaigned on his secret plan and announced it in March. Its time to implement a plan or surrender the country to the Taliban or be prepared to accept that it is "Obama's Quagmire". It isn't Bush's any longer.

The Drill SGT said...

Hoosier said...You find the biggest tribe and bribe them.

AKA the British Raj approach, though your second phase was called "Butcher and Bolt".

if the tribes got uppity and attacked the lowlanders, you marhed up, slaughtered the families, and burned villages, then marched out again. 20 more years of peace until the tribe bred up again, unless their neighbors decided it was time to exterminate them of course.

It was a passable soution for its time. CNN unfortunately would not let you do it this time, so your method might work instead.

Maguro said...

Cedarford - Somme, an operation that was planned over the course of 6 months by the combined British and French general staffs, was hardly an example of impetuous decision-making on Haig's part. The fact that it failed can be attributed to just about everything but hasty decision-making.

As to your larger point - How long do you think Obama can let the situation drift before he decides what he wants to do? Would there ever be a point where ihis thoughtfulness becomes a negative? I think we're already there, but I'm curious what your timetable would look like.

Cedarford said...

AllenS said...
Cedarford, it's shit or get off the pot.

July 15, 2008, Obama:

"If another attack on our homeland comes, it will likely come from the same region where 9/11 was planned," he said in a speech in Washington. "And yet today, we have five times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan."


The problem is a lot has changed in 1 year. Major concerns have arisen about the corruption of the Potemkin regime we installed 8 years ago that has little influence outside Kabul, where they are protected by US troops and Afghans on the US payroll.

Plus - There are 3 logistics paths into Afghanistan if Obama decides to escalate. Needed so our troops are not cut off, then destroyed. One path in Pakistan is compromised as Taliban are decimating supply convoys in. And by a populace of growing anti-Americanism that may reach a political point where they will have the power to refuse US access through Pakistan. The other two are Iran and Russia, nations that McCain wanted to escalate conflict with. One, Iran, is impossible for logistics even under Obama. The other puts the entire war effort at Putin's mercy if Pakistan goes sour.

In a sense, this is far worse than Vietnam, at least from a logistics standpoint. And logistics wins or loses wars. With Vietnam, we had stable sea lane access, air bases ringing Vietnam in friendly countries. Allies in Australia, S Korea, the Philippines - that gave us material support and tens of thousands of troops.

Do we really want to be in a position of having 100,000 or so of our troops at the mercy of Putin and Daddy Bhutto whims? With no reliable local troops and Euro-weenies whining about adding even a few thousand extra troops and then only committing to another year there?
This adds to how difficult a decision this will be for Obama...and what gain do we expect? Creation of Afghans into a modern nation of Freedom-Lovers?? Keep AQ from being as safe there as they could be in a dozen other failed Muslim countries we aren't talking about invading and nation-building?

rdasher said...

former law student said...

It's an interesting political strategy, sticking a word on a guy.

Give it time. Some words have proven staying power:

Results 1 - 10 of about 4,890 for "dithering obama"

Results 1 - 10 of about 99,600 for "war criminal cheney"

And 1 - 10 5,400,000 for "socialist Obama"

cf said...

Thank you, Drill Sgt: "'considering all the facts' may sound great to academics and Lawyers, but when metal meets meat, the right mode is the 80% solution, e.g.

A good decision, made on time, aggressively executed, is infinitely better than the 100% solution, made too late, and timidly applied."

This discussion reminds me of the chapter in "Band Of Brothers" where the sarge with connections but no experience is the one that has to lead his men into battle. Once he gets them out there, he freezes and has to think, as "metal meets meat" all around him. In the show, the troops are lucky that THAT ditherer quickly gets replaced.
Will 2012 get here fast enough?

Bruce Hayden said...

It was a passable soution for its time. CNN unfortunately would not let you do it this time, so your method might work instead.

That may not be a problem for all that much longer though, given how CNN's ratings continue to plummet. It seems that there is really only room for one cable news network beholden to a Democratic President, and MSNBC seems to have that sewn up, due to their obsequious coverage of anything Obama (including Chris Matthews' tingle). CNN had that role sewn up with Clinton, but almost seemed like tried to be a little less in the tank for the President, and got beat out by the competition. No wonder Ted Turner is trying to get control back to turn his baby around.

mccullough said...

Cedarford:

Your arguments are cogent. But they don't show that Obama is not a ditherer. If we should pull back from Afghanistan, then do it.

We've been there 8 years and Obama was elected a year ago. He took 5 minutes to pass a stimulus to an economic situation that started one year ago (a little dithering there might have been helpful).

He cannot make up his mind. He is not a great thinker. Great thinkers know that you will never know all the variables

exhelodrvr1 said...

Bruce Hayden,
"That said, my guess to the reason for his dithering is that President Obama has really never had to make a hard decision in his lifetime."

I hope it's because he is carefully weighing all the factors before coming to a logical conclusion. But based on what I have observed so far, I fear that you are correct.

elHombre said...

CNN had that role sewn up with Clinton, but almost seemed like tried to be a little less in the tank for the President, and got beat out by the competition.

CNN is no less in the tank for Nerobama. MSNBC just upped the ante.

Iapetus said...

Obama is caught in the Taliban's OODA Loop.

AllenS said...

Cedarford: "The problem is a lot has changed in 1 year. Major concerns have arisen about the corruption of the Potemkin regime we installed 8 years ago that has little influence outside Kabul, where they are protected by US troops and Afghans on the US payroll."

Corruption? Are you serious? Anyone who has looked at that shit hole of a country, a country, by the way that a foreign entity created, should have known that they are not virtuous, and least of all democratic. That does not give Obama a pass. Obama was the one who wanted to give the appearance that he had a yard of dick, and a bag full of balls. People are now calling his bluff, and he doesn't look good.

M. Simon said...

Dithering can get you more bits if you have time to do the averaging.

So what bits does Obama want?

M. Simon said...

1,860 for simon "huge dong"

AllenS said...

I just Googled "a yard of dick, and a bag full of balls" and the results came up with me saying that before.

AllenS said...

Results 1 - 2 of 2 for "a yard of dick, and a bag full of balls". (0.15 seconds)

I'm not well known, evidently. But, wait! Tomorrow's another day.

Bob said...

Cedarford, your suggestion that the fact there are three (actually four as we have airlift) routes into Afghanistan is moot. We have 68,000 troops now in the fight and Obama added 20,000.

Obama sacked a 4-star and installed McChrystal while publicly supporting the proposed, but then unwritten, COIN strategy. Now he's "considering or dithering" (take your choice) on supporting the COIN strategy. The time for all his serious thinking was back in April. The delay is he's painted into a corner and there's no way he can choose "present".

M. Simon said...

28,600 for Most althouse commenters very smart.

And the very first page linked?

At the Cupcake Cleavage Café...

I'm down with Cleavage of which my mate has an abundance.

cameron said...

But dithering doesn't cover it. This is not a tricky choice. There's no excuse to feel tempted by Biden and Axelrod. No one who cares about Afghanistan would listen to what they have to say.

Bob said...

Cedarford, you choose an interesting set of campaigns to highlight the pros/cons of taking one's time in decision-making. Gallipoli, the invasion of Russia, the Somme, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 - all those were made in deliberate manner over a matter of months. And each proved expensive or disasters. That supports Obama's "deliberate approach" how?

Bob said...

Cameron, Axelrod and Biden counsel the newbie. What they say may matter. Be afraid...

Pogo said...

Sun Tzu: "Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war,
cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays."

Buford Gooch said...

Results 1 - 10 of about 429,000 for obama blithering. (0.57 seconds)

Buford Gooch said...

Tricky Dick" Nixon
"Slick Willy" Clinton
"Dithering" Obama

Let's try
"Bumbling Barry" Obama

Salt Lick said...

"obama misogynist" -- 3,300,000

Cedarford said...

AllenS - That does not give Obama a pass. Obama was the one who wanted to give the appearance that he had a yard of dick, and a bag full of balls. People are now calling his bluff, and he doesn't look good.

The problem is that the possibility of another Vietnam trumps WANTING another Vietnam just so a slick-talking guy in the Oval Office will look bad from it.

====================
Bob - Bob said...
Cedarford, your suggestion that the fact there are three (actually four as we have airlift) routes into Afghanistan is moot. We have 68,000 troops now in the fight and Obama added 20,000.


No, because your 4th logistics path involves getting overflight permission from either Russia, Pakistan, or (theoretically) Iran.

That we managed to put just short of 100,000 troops there and barely support them adequately at huge cost (burning out airframe life of thousands of transport planes, costing us billions extra to use air or Pakistani ground supply) does not mean it is wise to keep them there as danger of cut off supply paths mount...and you are effectively tossing the whole prospect of success or failure onto the whim of Vladimir Putin or Pakistan's unstable "husband of Bhutto" regime.

Before "things changed" it was possible for the Japs to place several hundred thousand troops, well supplied, in places thousands of miles from the Japanese Archipelago. Once we cut their logistics by sea power and island-hopping air base interdiction of sea lanes - those hundreds of thousands of troops went unsupplied and became royally fucked.

And if logistics did get cut off with Pakistan, what would Obama have to do? He needs to weigh the possibilities of that, the collapse of the Karzai Kleptocracy, and many other factors...begining with "Why are we there?"

John said...

SAUER,

Way unfair to Fabius the Cunctator. He had clear strategy of slow-bleeding Hannibal rather than accepting a battle he would lose.. He stuck to it when it was unpopular and he was very successful with it.

If Obama wins on healthcare with his slow non-proposal strategy then maybe you could compare that. But I kind of doubt that will happen.

Penny said...

In Myers Briggs Personality Tests, I would venture a guess that Obama would be an ENTP. That is the pattern of those who would "Imagine the possibilities"! Or so say their detractors.

Basically, this personality type is always looking for more data to evaluate before they make the BIG decision. When they make a decision, it is usually well thought out and reasoned six ways to Sunday.

People with this pattern are valuable members of anyone's team, but are not likely to end up in a position that requires fast decisions. For example, they would make poor first line supervisors or small business owners. On the other hand, they would be EXCELLENT community organizers.

Penny said...

Oh, I forgot to mention. They make excellent leaders, with a capital "L".

They are ALL about the "Big Picture".

bagoh20 said...

A right decision made too late is a bad decision.

A wrong decision made too late is a bad decision.

A wrong decision made in a timely manner is a mistakes fixed early

A right decision made timely is a great leader.

Our military knows what the options are and what the odds of success are. The only reasons to avoid deciding now are, in increasing order of likelihood:

1) Critical info is likely to appear soon
2) He is gambling that it will get better by itself
3) He's just scared to own any any decision.

avwh said...

What's really changed since Obama and all his lefty crew crowed while campaigning & protesting that A-stan was "the right war" which was being under-resourced, and Iraq was "the wrong war"?

Other than, the surge worked in Iraq, and Obama's crew is now in charge and responsible for the decision he isn't willing to make, I mean?

This guy was an empty suit when he was nominated and he's proving to be even less than that in office.

Bruce Hayden said...

In Myers Briggs Personality Tests, I would venture a guess that Obama would be an ENTP. That is the pattern of those who would "Imagine the possibilities"! Or so say their detractors.

Hey, I am an ENTP. That apparently means that I should have been a community organizer, or, shudder, an attorney.

I might suggest though that President Obama may be actually more an INTP. For one thing ENTPs act more quickly than INTPs. He just doesn't seem to get charged up by people, but rather, seems to need alone time or time with just his wife/family. All those date nights with his wife are more an INTP thing than an ENTP thing.

bagoh20 said...

This is not being thoughtful - it just does not take that long since the military strategists have done that for years already and he would not be qualified to help with it.

Waiting for a better option to appear when there are no good ones has it's appeal, but I think in war with enemies working to deter you ,you just end up with less options, not more. Not to mention giving them time to plan and prepare.

Penny said...

You make some excellent points, Bruce. Of course Myers Briggs is a sort of sliding scale. He might be just on the line between an extrovert and introvert. Hard to imagine a true introvert, or high "I" running for the presidency. I suspect that his "P" is sky high. The man has no need for closure.

Which just might be a good thing. Especially for those of us who think politicians generally serve us best when they do nothing at all.

Nora said...

Is somebody surprised by these results:
Results 1 - 10 of about 6,110,000 for "obama is a liar"
Results 1 - 10 of about 2,410,000 for "bush is a liar" ??

miller said...

I think the initiative has been lost.

charlotte said...

To reinforce or not to reinforce-- that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The metal rings and narrows of torn pages (binder) fortune
Or to take alarms against a “B” or “D” grade of troubles
And by licking append them. To not stickie, to sleep--

Penny said...

Nora, little surprises me, but many things can make me sad.

Over 8.5 million hits on Google calling our last two presidents "liars" makes me sad.

However, I do take heart that those kind of results wouldn't have shown up if you had added the word "pathological".

charlotte said...

there once was a prez in a capital hamlet
who couldn't decide jack without an amulet
oh he rubbed it quite vigorously
usually it wouldn't guide ambiguously
well he felt good, but the decision went either way, damn it

From Inwood said...

1,120,000 for Hamlet & Obama

295,000 for Obama & Attention Deficit Disorder.

222,000 for Obama & John Alden

1 zillion for C4 & Jews.

2 zillion for C4 & neocons.

zzzzzzzz for C4 & strategy.

From Inwood said...

Thou waitest for the star from heaven! and we
Light half believers in our casual creeds...
Who hesitate and falter life away,
And lose tomorrow the ground won today.

Nagarajan Sivakumar said...

7.1 million hits for Obama communist....

MadisonMan said...

Other than, the surge worked in Iraq,

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. If you think the surge was meant to bring mostly permanent stability to Iraq, then it's too soon to tell if it worked. Certainly in the short term, it worked. Long term? Can't tell.

charlotte said...

And then he thinks he knows
The hills where his life rose,
And the sea where it goes.

From Inwood said...

Attention, Strategists

Fred4Pres @10:16AM on Wed has the careful, well-thought, decisive strategy The One has crafted for the real battle.

Forget the Military lessons of wars gone by.

What matters now

is fretting about Corzine and the New Jersey Governor's race

to which I'd add Virginia & NY-23.

If The Dems win these (I say ACORN & it’s Honor Roll of dead voters puts Corzine over the top in Jersey), The One will feel strong enough to take a decisive strike against our real enemy: Talk Radio & FOX News.

"Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honor's at the stake."

Or as someone said about Bush & Iraq, “The heat of international crises cry out for cool-headed analysis, ways of doping out the philosophic subtext beneath the furor of partisan passions; to reduce unwieldy abstractions and glittering generalities (God, National Security, Democracy, Oppression) into the lucid paradigms one encounters in the work of writers such as….”, well, if this silly were writing now I’m sure he’d say "Bill Ayres & Saul Alinsky!"

Penny said...

Don't even get me started on the NJ governor's race. Any chance that Cristie had to win was immediately dashed by the well-intentioned nice guy running as an independent.

There really are a lot of angry citizens here, but now the "angry" votes will be split between Christie and Daggett, the independent, and Corzine should win handily.

Of course it DOES help that Corzine had the money to outspend his opponent 3 to 1, that he was assisted in the campaign by Obama and a White House team, and that NJ is rapidly approaching the point of no return in the numbers of people who work for the state or federal government, or unions, when you add spouses of the above into the mix. And I am not even adding in all those independent private business owners who long ago figured out who is easier to bribe to get those lucrative government contracts. Oh! I almost forgot to add in all those who are NOT working, but live off the largess of welfare programs.

If Daggatt cared about this state, he would withdraw before the election.

gregq said...

"We" haven't stuck "dithering" on Obama. Obama has stuck it on himself, by dithering about everything where america (rather than merely Obama) stands to benefit.

Flo said...

Dithering is appropriate, but I prefer "Styrofoam"..."The Styrofoam President".

Kris said...

"a yard of dick, and a bag full of balls"

Destined to be one of the historic adjectival phrases, beating "dithering" by about three feet.

Ben (The Tiger in Exile) said...

It's been done to someone else already.

P.S. He lost.

From Inwood said...

penny

NJ is rapidly approaching the point of no return in the numbers of people who work for the state or federal government, or unions, when you add spouses of the above into the mix. And I am not even adding in all those independent private business owners who long ago figured out who is easier to bribe to get those lucrative government contracts. Oh! I almost forgot to add in all those who are NOT working, but live off the largess of welfare programs.

Alas, you've summed up Decline & Fall of Jersey in an 84 word pithy, packed paragraph.

AlphaLiberal said...

Maybe I posted this on the wrong thread. Reposting and expanding...

Jon Stewart made a great point the other night about how Cheney and Bush dithered on Afghanistan until Fall, 2008. That's SEVEN YEARS.

But the wingers are all atwitter over Obama deliberating to find the best plan and not rushing into some new foreign adventure.

Do they even hear themselves?

AlphaLiberal said...

The amazing thing is that Cheney bragged about having a plan in Fall 2008 in his dithers speech.

Stunning hypocrisy.