November 7, 2009

"Is Barack Obama’s cool style of governing fundamentally incompatible with the furnace of modern politics?"

Jennifer Rubin scoffs at Marc Ambinder's sycophantic question. (Via Instapundit, who thinks O's coolness is "a law-professor thing." By the way, that hyphen is a law[-]professor thing.)

Rubin says:
[T]he affected “cool” of the president is getting rather creepy as a style of governance.... This was on display in an unfortunate and highly visible way this week. ... [T]he president’s bizarrely inappropriate remarks after learning of the Foot Hood massacre left one puzzled, if not downright troubled. He not only didn’t seem to grasp the gravity of the situation; he didn’t seem emotionally connected to the appalling events.
That point would be stronger if Rubin hadn't called it "Foot" Hood. Anyway, yes, the President was in automaton mode, which I don't think is particularly law-professorly. What lawprofs do is ask a lot of questions to try to get you to think and to articulate your thoughts. And we don't intone the questions robotically. We tend to get pretty excited. But getting excited or remaining dispassionate is not the main thing. The main thing is to ask the questions. I don't see Obama doing that. I see him standing back and avoiding taking positions on things. I see him hoping that his mere existence is enough. He needs to get over that confidence.

By the way, "cool" is not the right word. The right word is "phlegmatic."

Now, let's give Ambinder the attention he deserves:
Bipartisan conclaves, bringing industry to the table(s), relative transparency, accommodation and consensus meetings are all ornaments of the Obama brand. But political parties, built around existing alignments of interests, tend to get excited about fighting. Base-tending is crucial to political husbandry. Obama has a gourmand's disdain for populism and picking fights.
What the hell is "a gourmand's disdain"? A gourmand is someone who loves to eat and drink. Did Ambinder trip over a thesaurus this morning? "Husbandry" isn't quite the right word either. (It's "a judicious use of resources.")
This is, in some ways, a presidential sickness (or salutation, depending on your point of view.)
Salutation? What the hell?! Ambinder did trip over a thesaurus this morning! His utterly silly use of words is a complete distraction.  I think he meant "salubriousness" — which would be correct but  intrusively professorial. Man, I was trying to get away from the topic of professors that Instapundit initiated, but Ambinder is dragging out the professor in me by writing like a bad student. I feel like printing out his post and making red check marks all over it. I don't give a damn about his purported insights into presidential style now.

***

Speaking of "salubriousness".... once I saw a play where an idiot character burst through a door and announced cheerfully "The weather is very salaboobious today." That cracked me up so bad, I thought they were going to have to usher me out of the theater so I wouldn't distract the actors who had to get on with the rest of their lines.

84 comments:

PatCA said...

He's the first post-American American president. His bond to the U.S. is to the utopian U.S. in his head, or in Alinsky's book, not to the one we live in.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Obama has a gourmand's disdain for populism and picking fights.

Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, the Chamber of Commerce, Edmunds.com; Obama picks fights with lots of people. He has throughout his entire administration.

Florida said...

Ambinder have any credibility left?

Who really gives a fuck when he fellates Barack Obama for the umpteenth time?

Quit linking these.

edutcher said...

Your distinction of phlegmatic versus cool displays your education. Cool is much more colloquial, but your point is well taken.

Obama is not there to ask questions, he is there to be the Messiah. I don't doubt he and his people see themselves as intrinsically right, so they see no need for self-review and evaluation (Chairman Mao must be spinning).

But the detachment from the event is something else. POTUS can't utter a word without TOTUS. Dubya may have tripped over his consonants, but, at least, they - and the underlying emotion - were his.

Nomilk said...

Hyphenating phrasal adjectives is a good-writer thing.

prairie wind said...

In his encounter with Joe the Plumber, Obama tried the professorial approach, asking questions, trying to get Joe to understand his point. We saw the real Obama that day, the one who wants to spread the wealth.

Sadly, in his Joe the Medicine Crow speech, we saw the real Obama again.

Andrea said...

A good editor would have crumpled up this article and thrown it in Ambinder's face and then told him to rewrite it using a dictionary this time or he's fired. Now that editors have been equated with mean teachers who hurt student self-esteem they've been effectively hamstrung and columnists get paid big bucks for something that would have earned them an "F" in sixth grade English class.

John said...

Is Ambinder illiterate? That is the most awful piece of nonsense I have ever seen.

phosphorious said...

An evil, arrogant, racist baby killing psychopath who is devoid of the basic human emotions.

How could anyone have ever voted for him?

vbspurs said...

Salutation? What the hell?! Ambinder did trip over a thesaurus this morning! His utterly silly use of words is a complete distraction. I think he meant "salubriousness" — which would be correct but intrusively professorial. Man, I was trying to get away from the topic of professors that Instapundit initiated, but Ambinder is dragging out the professor in me by writing like a bad student. I feel like printing out his post and making red check marks all over it. I don't give a damn about his purported insights into presidential style now.

Of all the cockamamie posts, in all the blogs, in all the world, I have to walk into this one.

Hello Professor! Guys!

I just wanted to say that I was pried out of lurkdom, for one brief moment at least, because I wanted to thank Ann for providing the best belly laugh online that I've had in yonks. I laughed like a loon for 5 minutes straight after salutation and salooboobieness (whatever, they're all good).

This post is classic, old school Althouse and I'm the better for having read it.

Oh, another good one is that takedown post on why that murderer-psychiatrist* wasn't dealt with more severely by brass, was minty-fresh. It expresses all my sentiments exactly.

*Glad to see no "alleged" in front of "murderer-psychiatrist", unlike what another prominent, once-considered-rightie and anti-Muslim, now very much leftie blogger showing incredible sensitivity about the ROP, wrote in his post on the topic.

I feel, for the first time in a year of reading blogs lurkingly, that the political realignment in the Blogosphere hasn't left me quite the orphan I thought I was.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Victoria! Thanks for lurking (rather than being gone) all this time and thanks for surfacing today. I hope things are going well for you. We've missed your spritely comments.

William said...

It's good to see vbspurs is back in town. I hope that she is none the worse for her months in guerrilla captivity, and it's none of our business what she did to regain her freedom. Survival is the highest virtue.

The Drill SGT said...

Hugs and Kisses Vbspurs.

There's another Victoria around now that you're not going to like. Trust me :)

exhelodrvr1 said...

"relative transparency" ??

Jason (the commenter) said...

phosphorious: An evil, arrogant, racist baby killing psychopath who is devoid of the basic human emotions.

I don't see any of the positives qualities others did (what were they again?) and he doesn't seem to be doing a very good at on-the job training, but he's pretty average as people go, at worst I'd call him mediocre.

How could anyone have ever voted for him?

We were coming off of Bush. He was running against McCain.

glam1931 said...

It's a relief to see Victoria again...she's always been one of my favorite posters, and I enjoyed her currently defunct blog as well. Hope to see more of her.

Joan said...

Victoria in the house! So good to see you!

This post is classic, old school Althouse and I'm the better for having read it.

Exactly. The Professor has been on fire on this week, as you noted.

What a pleasant way to start the weekend.

Re the substance of the post: Obama never struck me as cool so much as clueless, and his behavior in office continues to confirm my initial impression. As for Ambinder: what a maroon.

Ann Althouse said...

Since I'm being the pedant... I should have written "sprightly."

Cedarford said...

I see Althouse woke up in a feisty, take-down sorta mood. And there was Marc Ambinder, a plump inviting target.

It wasn't hard, given the pretentious syncophantic crap Ambinder wrote, but Althouse skewered him well, and had me laughing.

As for Obama, I want him to be a good President. The sickness of hoping a President would fail and hurt the country just so "our people will get the power next" is a poison that started with LBJ, intensified more during Nixon's time, then throbbed in dull pain for 30 years like an untreated chancre (my ode to Armbinder), until it flared up again at maximum under Dubya. You even had Lefties and progressive Jews writing they hoped that the 3,000 dead!! in Iraq would happen soon because it would be really damaging to Bush's popularity.

Now you have Obama. Not living up to anyone's expectations. Even independents, who thought he was a weak pick, but McCain was guaranteed to be a bad President. But he's the guy we elected, and we should no more root for him to fail than the nation rooting for Congress, the lawyers in robes, or our Governors to fail.

veni vidi vici said...

As they say, better a pedant than a pederast!

Or a horsefucker, as it were...




wv: inshes -- what Hedwig wishes he had more of.

Bender said...

What is amazing is how someone can type out of his ass like this.

Really? How is it physically possible for him to type out of his ass?

It's enough to want to wipe the screen when you're done reading it.

Paul said...

"But he's the guy we elected, and we should no more root for him to fail than the nation rooting for Congress, the lawyers in robes, or our Governors to fail."

Unless of course he was a Joo...

Sorry but I want any agent working to destroy our nation and our way of life to fail. That means each and every devotee of Saul Alinsky, POTUS included.

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse,

I think this post deserves a vbspurs tag to welcome her back :)

all in favor?

chickenlittle said...

Hello Professor! Guys!

Victoria, good to see you around. I missed you.

This makes my day. I hope you start blogging again!

Paddy O. said...

Victorian and Palladian both popping in to say hi this week.

It's like a Thanksgiving homecoming episode here on Althouse!

Jon said...

Ambinder once praised someone for having "the intellectual honesty of Andrew Sullivan". He meant it as a compliment. That tells you all you need to know about whether he should be taken seriously.

Clyde said...

I don't think it's so much that Obama has a "cool style" that causes such inappropriately dissonant reactions, like his "Shout out to Dr. Joe Medicine Crow" speech. I'm not a Birther; I don't really doubt that he was born in Hawaii, but he spent several of his formative years living in Indonesia. He didn't grow up with the same influences we did in our schools, churches and society. He doesn't really feel at a gut level what the natural American reaction would be to an atrocity like what happened at Fort Hood, so he has to fake it. Most of the time, he's been able to fake it well enough to get by, but this time, he hit a real clinker.

Chip Ahoy said...

I'm ashamed. I got sycophantic mixed up with syncophonic.

Joan said...

Oy. C4: The sickness of hoping a President would fail and hurt the country just so "our people will get the power next" [big snip]
[W]e should no more root for [Obama] to fail than the nation rooting for Congress, the lawyers in robes, or our Governors to fail.


Cedarford, I want our country to succeed, therefore I want Obama's policies to fail. I want health care "reform" to fail. I want cap & trade to fail. I want to repeal the worse-than-useless stimulus bill. Those of us who want Obama to fail aren't motivated by the hope of getting "our guys" in at the next election; we're just as pissed at our guys for helping to get us into this mess. What we want is preserve what little is left of America and prevent it from becoming yet another country where every moment of your life is government managed.

Why should I want destructive policies enacted? It's not like you to champion such misplaced "patriotism." The most patriotic thing we can do right now is lean on our Congress-critters to stop screwing around with the fundamentals of our society.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Hey, Victoria! Nice to have you back again, even if it's only for a brief moment.

Mark me down as "aye" in the vbspurs tag roll call vote.

By the way Victoria, while you were away, Althouse, Meade and Titus all got married, some of them to each other.

EDH said...

Ambinder is dragging out the professor in me by writing like a bad student.

I thought that was Meade's role-play?

Kinky, on a Saturday afternoon.

Shanna said...

I think these types of posts are my favorites. I love when people try to sound smart and end up sounding stupid.

EDH said...

BTW, boobalicious is a word.

The act of having excellent breasts and displaying them in such a manner as to make all lovers of boobs desire to feel and taste the delicious qualities of the boobs.

A definition that could have been written by Titus, no?

wv-"droti" = after healthcare reform, what you manage to blurt-out before your doctor leaves to see the next patient

Paul said...

"Cedarford, I want our country to succeed, therefore I want Obama's policies to fail. I want health care "reform" to fail. I want cap & trade to fail. I want to repeal the worse-than-useless stimulus bill. Those of us who want Obama to fail aren't motivated by the hope of getting "our guys" in at the next election; we're just as pissed at our guys for helping to get us into this mess. What we want is preserve what little is left of America and prevent it from becoming yet another country where every moment of your life is government managed."

Word.

Some of us just want to be free and left alone and we don't care what party is in power as long as that is the outcome.

Right now neither party looks good but the democrats are full speed ahead on the crazy train to tyranny and poverty.

rhhardin said...

Mens sana in corpore salubri.

daubiere said...

wow. ambinder. talk about fried mush for breakfast...

elHombre said...

As an aside, picture the scene outside the building during the shooting at Fort Hood, but without Sgt. Munley.

Who would you rather have standing there armed with a 9mm handgun, the phlegmatic Barack Obama or Sarah Palin?

Who would you rather have overseeing the policy decisions intended to prevent a repeat of the incident, the "gourmand," Obama, or Palin?

Just askin'.

William said...

Until this day I was confused as to the difference between a gourmand and a gourmet. I like to eat fried food with my fingers. I am gratified to know that this preference is consistent with being a gourmand. All these years of pigging out, I was being a gourmand and didn't even know it.

Chip Ahoy said...

gourmand's disdain for populism and picking fights.

Maybe he has one such as Jeffrey Steingarten in mind. Apparently he's famous but I only know him by his judging on Iron Chef, peevish, a bit slobbish, picayune, prone to pick minor unnecessary disputes with other judges over small matters. I hated him. Until I read reviews of his book The Man Who Ate Everything on Amazon. Reviewers found him hilarious (except for the few who think he's a boor) and that changed my mind. Not enough to buy his book, but enough to see him differently.

But speaking of peevish disdainful gourmands, I read something I found amusing about Rayond Thuilier, owner chef of famed L'Oustau de Baumanière. After a customer suggested to the chef his haricots were not fresh, the chef disappeared to the kitchen, returned with a crate of very fresh green beans and dumped the whole lot onto the customer's table, shouting, "GET OUT OF MY RESTAURANT AND DON'T EVER COME BACK HERE AGAIN! And your little dog too." <--- True story, except for that last part.

Paddy O. said...

I bet we'll see Simon back here too before long.

Though, I suspect he'll be played by a different actor but we'll all just play along like nothing has changed.

Zach said...

Being on autopilot is not the same thing as being cool.

What I noticed about the speech was the emotional disconnect between the two halves. The second half was ok, if a little bit cold and unemotional, but there was no lead in from the first part. It's as though he literally swapped out the cue cards for the second half of the speech for a generic expression of concern, but kept the two minutes of "warm up the crowd" material unchanged.

Also, I wish he would learn a style of public speaking that doesn't sound like "President drops pearls of wisdom to awed peons."

phosphorious said...

Jason (the commentator).

I don't see any of the positives qualities others did (what were they again?) and he doesn't seem to be doing a very good at on-the job training, but he's pretty average as people go, at worst I'd call him mediocre.

You really thnk baby-killing is a sign of "mediocrity"? Or the fa t that his presidency is "crumbling" within one year of his election?

Or the fact that he has destroyed the economy, and is set to do worse, that we will destroy our freedom and that he hates us all. . . to say nothing of his racism?

And he's only mediocre?

Boy, you conservatives are jaded.

Zokar said...

Here's something that I tried to post on Ambinder's blog, but it likely won't get approved, if only because of the needlessly provocative 1st line:

______________

I'd like to take this opportunity to insult Marc Ambinder personally, if I may. Marc Ambinder uses words, whose meanings he does not understand, as a device to show that what he has to say is interesting or important.

1) On October 31st, Mr. Ambinder said:

"Hoffman has harnessed several shoots of energy, including anti-incumbent sentiment, conservative opposition to liberal Republicans, and the iatropic excitement that's generated when conservative activists suddenly coalesce around a candidate."

I pointed out in the 1st comment (and subsequent comments seconded): "Marc Ambinder doesn't know what the word "iatropic" means." Over at Balloon Juice, DougJ couldn't figure out what Ambinder was talking about, and 141 comments to his blog post failed to solve the mystery.

2) Yesterday, Ambinder offered these gems:

a) "Obama has a gourmand's disdain for populism and picking fights."

The very first commenter, AdamK, had the say what? response typical of literate people when reading nonsense, and offered: "I don't think that word means what you think it means." And today, Wisconsin Law School professor Ann Althouse responded:"What the hell is 'a gourmand's disdain'? A gourmand is someone who loves to eat and drink. Did Ambinder trip over a thesaurus this morning?"

b) "This is, in some ways, a presidential sickness (or salutation, depending on your point of view.)"

Ann Althouse again, in the same blog post: "Salutation? What the hell?! Ambinder did trip over a thesaurus this morning! His utterly silly use of words is a complete distraction...Ambinder is dragging out the professor in me by writing like a bad student. I feel like printing out his post and making red check marks all over it. I don't give a damn about his purported insights into presidential style now."

________________

So these are 3 examples of Marc Ambinder trying to sound erudite, by using words he does not understand (I remember at least 1 more, but I don't time to pin it down by searching through the archives. But I'm sure other have or will find further examples.) Maybe Ambinder has something to contribute on the substance of the issues he writes about. But it looks as if Marc Ambinder does not think so, else he wouldn't employ a comically pompous writing style.

Michael McNeil said...

I agree with most of Althouse's points in this posting, but am not sure her critique of Ambinder's use of a “gourmand's disdain for populism and picking fights” is really all that well taken. “Gourmand” means much the same thing as “epicure,” and one of the side meanings of the latter is that it “implies fastidiousness and voluptuousness of taste” (Merriam-Webster's dictionary), whereas “gourmand” “implies a hearty appetite for good food and drink, not without discernment, but with less than a gourmet's” (ditto) — and it's “discernment” or “fastidiousness of taste” that's relevant I think to Ambinder's use of the term.

MnMark said...

The main thing is to ask the questions. I don't see Obama doing that. I see him standing back and avoiding taking positions on things.

Isn't that pretty much what he did as a state senator and as a U.S. senator? Didn't he vote "present" something like 163 times?

My theory is that Obama is mainly a narcissist who pursued political office for the fame. He gravitated to the Left because the whites on the left gave him lots of praise because he was an articulate black man. It was never primarily about ideas for him, it was about fame and status and praise and positive reinforcement. So the actual business of making decisions, of governing, isn't really what he got into the job for. He got into the job to make speeches, be applauded, be loved and accepted in a way he never felt he was when he was a child.

"I have a gift," he told Harry Reid.

Henry said...

By the way, "cool" is not the right word. The right word is "phlegmatic."

The right word is "clueless."

Clyde said...

In German, gift means "poison." Maybe he brought it back with him from the Victory Column.

yashu said...

"I have a gift," he told Harry Reid.

And at that lunch with TV anchors, barely a month in, tells them he likes being president-- "and it turns out I'm very good at it."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Whenever I hear the word thesaurus I think of Dennis Miller's definition.

Thesaurus = a dinosaur with a really good vocabulary.

Ralph L said...

Obama has a gourmand's disdain
Maybe he was thinking of "exquisite's" but decided it was way too gay.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

A gourmet is someone who appreciates fine food. A gourmand is someone who loves to stuff himself. It is definitely pejorative. I don't get Ambinder's meaning even if he meant to say gourmet.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

What "Drill" said, twice! Plus what "El Hombre" said too!

God Save the Queen, as long as she doesn't turn the potty over to Prince Chuck!

wv: haurav, Victoria the Great is back!

Kirk Parker said...

Victoria! Wonderful to see you here. You should note, however, that in your absence another person that shares your name has arrived, and is greatly devaluing your particular nominal brand. You really ought to stick around and show her what a real Victoria is like! :-)

And I was going to write a response to C4, too, but like Paul I think I'll just second Joan's wonderful comment.

Jason (the commenter) said...

phosphorious: Boy, you conservatives are jaded.

You Liberals just don't understand us is all. That's why when you come here, pretending to be Conservatives, and saying inflammatory things about Obama, we don't all chime in.

You think this is how we think about Obama, but we don't. We have real criticisms which you can't handle.

mariner said...

Vbspurs, good to see you're still around.

I missed Palladian?

kcom said...

Tyrone: "A gourmet is someone who appreciates fine food. A gourmand is someone who loves to stuff himself. It is definitely pejorative. I don't get Ambinder's meaning even if he meant to say gourmet.

Yes, that whole sentence was 100% ridiculous. It was the mixed-iest metaphor ever and it made absolutely no sense. Picking fights and populism are utterly unrelated to being a gourmand. A gourmand is a gluttonous lover of food. How does that relate at all?

But I also think Ann's criticism of Ambinder's use of the word "husbandry" was not quite deserved.

Ambinder: " Base-tending is crucial to political husbandry."

His full phrase was "political husbandry" which I think is an apt analogy to the phrase "animal husbandry", which means "The branch of agriculture concerned with the care and breeding of domestic animals such as cattle, hogs, sheep, and horses."

In the sense he used it, the political base is the equivalent of the cattle, hogs, sheep, etc. They need to be tended to maximize their health and usefulness to the political farmer (i.e. the politician).

wv: messest Is the economy the messest mess that we have seen for awhile?

JAL said...

Ah Vic! I'm gone for most of the day and find you have been pried from your nook or cranny by a salaboobious Althouse.

Nice to see you.

Now that the cruel neutrality has been neutered by His Coolness, maybe you'll comment from time to time?

We have missed you. Hope you are well. (There were a number of people a bit worried, you know.)

Paul said...

On the topic of successful columnists whose writing would merit an F in a freshman English class, may I suggest Victor Davis Hanson? The following complete sentence is from a recent piece he wrote on the Fort Hood massacre titled "When Anger Goes Cosmic". (The "they" refers to officials and news people commenting on such incidents.)

"Far more rarely do they ever suggest that the Islamist notion abroad that America is to blame for mostly self-induced pathologies in the Islamic world mostly goes unquestioned here at home--and as a result filters down to the lone angry and violent here as the belief that there is some sort of cosmic justification that can amplify their own outrage at a sense of personal failure or setback."

With some effort you can figure out what he's trying to say, but come on!

vbspurs said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments! Since I am in many people's debt, due to having an abandoned blog, let me reply a little more intimately to each of you:

Ann: I delurked for the first time in ages on another more conservative blog, which I mentioned previously. But I felt immediately disorientated with the blog's new political angle (competely opposite to what it had been, almost in a Twilight Zone kind of way). I thought it only fair now, to come back to check out your blog, to see what's up.

I had made a pact with myself: if after a full year of not turning on television (except for Ted Kennedy's and Michael Jackson's death coverage), so as not to constantly be attacked by the sights and sounds of new order of which I was totally opposed, the world was still mooning over the new President, I would continue my lurkdom. But the tide...it seems a-turnin'. Until now, I've been in a self-imposed cultural Siberia and you know what? I got a lot of things done, sorted out my personal life a bit, and have never felt happier in my life. I never realised how much politics could be a drain.

So you see, I was not even a true lurker. More like an alien who made flying visits to the cornfields of the Blogosphere. :D

William: Hey there, really nice to see you too -- still succinctly elegant in all you say, I see! And hehe. You make me sound like the Ingrid Betancourt of bloggers.

The Drill Sgt: Omigosh, I really hoped you were around, Drill Sgt! After this week's massacre, my thoughts flew to people like you that I had known. As for the Rogue Victoria -- I tingle in anticipation!

glam1931: Wow, I don't know what to say. I don't recall your ID, but just the same, thank you so much for your kind words. :)

Joan: Hi Joan! Ann is superb when deconstructing. And having been a regular blogger myself, I am always in awe of the effort it takes to continue blogging, in a fresh and topical way, every day. Hats off. Really.

Chickenlittle: CHICKEN, hugs! One of my best pals, and I believe me, losing touch with people like you wasn't easy. I just needed a long time-out to recompose myself. I don't know if I'm back. But it's for people like you, that would motivate me to. :)

Paddy O: Heya Paddywhack! Argh. I hadn't realised that Palladian was AWOL too. Whatever did Titus do without him?

Michael Hasenstab: I hope spelt your name right, Michael! Hah, you referenced Titus too. He's such a card, isn't he? All five of them. I DO know about Meade and the Prof. In fact, though I had already begun my self-imposed exile by the time they announced their engagement, I delurked to wish them the best of luck. Meade thanked me in that thread, so I know he knows I sent my warmest congratulations to the partners-in-crime.

Old Grouchy: Many grateful thanks for your "shoutout" (such an au courant word these days). :D

Kirk ParkerHey Kirk! My goodness, maybe my disappearing act is in some way psychological -- because one is deeply touched by the enthusiasm shown by others when one returns (my God, can you tell my mother is a shrink?). Thanks so much for your welcome back, and though I haven't met the ornery critter AKA Victoria, I look forward to the vivisection. ;)

Mariner: Another nick that doesn't automatically trigger recognition in my addled-memory banks, but I thank you very much for your greeting!

JAL

Ah Vic! I'm gone for most of the day and find you have been pried from your nook or cranny by a salaboobious Althouse.

LOL! I just literally laughed again out loud. What IS it with that word, that is so fantastically arch -- maybe it's like the writers on Sid Caesar's show once said, "some words have comedy inbuilt into them". Like "three". :D

REALLY GREAT TO SEE YOU, JAL!

Thanks everyone! Blogging, I don't know, but I'll be around more and certainly reading this thread for followups.

P.S.: I really miss Ruth Anne and Simon.

Cheers,
Victoria

Kev said...

Welcome back, Victoria! Count me among those who have missed you here as well (even as nearly four months of double-duty at work--set to revert to single-duty in three more days--have made me more of a lurker at times myself).

I bet we'll see Simon back here too before long.

Though, I suspect he'll be played by a different actor but we'll all just play along like nothing has changed.


So are you saying Simon is like James Bond, or like Darrin on Bewitched?

vbspurs said...

Heya Kev! Sounds like you have been doing yeoman's work at your job, and I'm sure your family are grateful. :)

So are you saying Simon is like James Bond, or like Darrin on Bewitched?

Ooh, I liked Dick York, but I surely hope Simon isn't homeless and living on foodstamps like I heard "Darrin" ended up doing at the end (also like Michael Moriarity of L&O).

Let's hope he's alive and well, and shagging some great-looking Supreme Court intern.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

BTW, of all the on point commentary about the President's style, I think Zach (is that "our" Zach?) was most insightful.

What I noticed about the speech was the emotional disconnect between the two halves. The second half was ok, if a little bit cold and unemotional, but there was no lead in from the first part. It's as though he literally swapped out the cue cards for the second half of the speech for a generic expression of concern, but kept the two minutes of "warm up the crowd" material unchanged.

Also, I wish he would learn a style of public speaking that doesn't sound like "President drops pearls of wisdom to awed peons."


Exactly, well said.

Let's face it, people. Barack Obama doesn't have another political gear other than "campaigning". He continues doing what he feels got him to where he is, because obviously, people liked it and voted him in. It may be the way he genuinely is, a cooly observant University president, like Victor Davis Hanson mentioned in his recent post, and this is something which is at odds with the impression we have of how an US President should be. But I fear that transition to the commanding yet caring leader he promised to be in his debates with John "Wildly Gesticulating" McCain, is just not going to happen.

Clinton took from JFK that roguishness which is so appealing even when you know his faults. Obama, on the other hand, just took the cool cat demeanour without the blarney.

And dare we say it, he's rather predictable. I'm bored after Year One of phoney excitement, aren't you?

Cheers,
Victoria

reader_iam said...

Good morning, Victoria! Glad to hear you're well.

(You can find both Ruth Anne and Simon on Twitter. And, no, Simon's not living on food stamps, at least not as of last week, when we spoke on the phone. That's very hard to imagine, anyway, LOL.)

John said...

Obama is cool, alright, in a Vladimir Putin sort of way.

tim maguire said...

relative transparency, accommodation and consensus meetings are all ornaments of the Obama brand

Ambinder got one word right: they ARE ornaments. Meaningless baubles used to dress up something not nearly so pretty.

Brazilian Samba Rhythm said...
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Brazilian Samba Rhythm said...

"The main thing is to ask the questions. I don't see Obama doing that."

The leader of the Althousians just feels deprived that Obama doesn't commit every detail of this process to the public/political arena.

Obama was well-known for considering a number of questions regarding policy issues before he was elected - as acknowledged by the ideologically diverse array of friends he kept. There is no real reason to assume that he has now somehow morphed into an updated version of the infamously incurious George W. Bush.

And BTW, if you're going to do a language column, devote it to the issue of language rather than to the political abstractions behind it and, if possible, a single linguistic concept. This post is all over the place! If someone aspires to become the next William Safire, a willingness to learn from the latter's style and sense of focus might be helpful.

wv: plegaric

vbspurs said...

Hello, Reader_Iam!! I hope you are well yourself. :)

Please convey my greetings in tweet form to both my chums. I'm barely online these days.

-- I have iPhone Twitter apps (like 3) but I haven't updated them in a while. I think I need to install updates since I log in but nothing happens. --

Is Trooper not around anymore? How about Ron? Thoguh I see so many recognisable IDs, and that says something about the fidelity of readers on Althouse.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Obama is cool, alright, in a Vladimir Putin sort of way.

Much as I would like to, I can't see Obama in kung-fu vestments and giving a Fonzarelli ayyy with his Ahmadinejad Member's Only collar popped next to his badass Lada Niva.

I mean, of "killer" Obama has little.

(Embora gostei do seu post)

Cheers,
Victoria

Paddy O. said...

Trooper got his own spin-off blog, filmed before a live studio audience.

Much as I would like to, I can't see Obama in kung-fu vestments and giving a Fonzarelli ayyy with his Ahmadinejad Member's Only collar popped next to his badass Lada Niva.

This kind of brilliance is why we need you around here, Victoria. Though, an online fast is so much an utterly worthwhile venture I totally understand.

I think the internet encourages a kind of acedia, an increasingly listless wandering that can exacerbate a frenetic soul. Fasting from it, whether wholly or in a lurking state that calms our need to say something to everything, can be wonderfully re-centering.

So, it's fun to have you around, but it's so nice to hear your not being around has been so fruitful.

Ralph L said...

the ideologically diverse array of friends he kept

Yes, of the Fashionable Left and of the Hard Left.

reader_iam said...

Victoria: Ron's still around. He was very, very sick and hospitalized for while (touch and go) but recovered, thank goodness. He is also on Twitter, and also comments at and occasionally blogs at the group blog Ambiance that Amba (Annie) started after leaving Ambivablog.

Phoenix said...

He also tripped over his dictionary this morning. Bipartisanship is "part of the Obama brand"? Really? When he has not met with Republicans about health care since April? Strange definition of bipartisanship.

vbspurs said...

Oh God, RIA! That's horrifying...thanks for telling me. I will try to install my Tweetie for that express purpose, but please pass him on my hugs and greetings, should you have the time.

Amba has her own blog! Nice. I think you're the only person I know that has successfully kept up a partnership with another blogger, on a dual blog.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Trooper got his own spin-off blog, filmed before a live studio audience.

But I heard Trooper's blog folded? Where IS he, if so?

This kind of brilliance is why we need you around here, Victoria. Though, an online fast is so much an utterly worthwhile venture I totally understand.

An all-encompassing cultural fast. I haven't been near a cinema in 6 months. If you remember my utter obsession with films, you'll know how out of character that is for me.

It was strangely not difficult to do. Maybe I have a bit of a Trappist monk inside me. Or maybe it helped that my dad only allowed me 1 hour of television per day -- so I didn't really miss what I never had a habit of viewing.

I think the internet encourages a kind of acedia, an increasingly listless wandering that can exacerbate a frenetic soul. Fasting from it, whether wholly or in a lurking state that calms our need to say something to everything, can be wonderfully re-centering.

What a fascinating read that was, Paddy. I feel like printing it out!

So, it's fun to have you around, but it's so nice to hear your not being around has been so fruitful.

Not in that American way of ticking off accomplishments usually tied to jobs, you understand. But yes. :P

Cheers,
Victoria

AST said...

Dictionary.com defines phlegmatic as "not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish." I really don't think his heart is into being president.

It was great when he could get crazy bills through Congress just by a word, but not he's figuring out that his world view was pretty naive. To paraphrase Talking Barbie, "Politics in hard."

chickenlittle said...
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chickenlittle said...

But I heard Trooper's blog folded? Where IS he, if so?

@Victoria: Trooper pretended to quit last spring, but he got over 200 comments and he revived. He's not around here much because he and Althouse had a falling out of sorts (or something) and they de-blogrolled each other. He still blogs daily at the same old place here.

And oh, thanks so much for the kind words earlier and *HUGS* back. It's just so good to know that you're OK.

Dewave said...

I like how Ambinder regrets that Obama isn't more interested in going it alone and throwing red meat to his base, while he castigated Bush for supposedly only catering to his base and not being bi-partisan.

Just another indication that the left is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

vbspurs said...

@Victoria: Trooper pretended to quit last spring, but he got over 200 comments and he revived. He's not around here much because he and Althouse had a falling out of sorts (or something) and they de-blogrolled each other.

Oh no...that's so unlike him. I mean, he never took anything so seriously without his sense of humour kicking in.

It's good to hear he's still around somewhere though.

I've installed Tweetie (I had to upgrade to make it work). Let's see if I can at least delurk there to say howdy to folks!

And I'll try to comment on other threads here every once in a while. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

chickenlittle said...

There was a link to Troop in my last comment but I lost it when I cut and pasted it to fix an omission. He's here

Just got an iPhone today-they're down to $99 now.

vbspurs said...

There was a link to Troop in my last comment but I lost it when I cut and pasted it to fix an omission. He's here

LOL. Laura Bush's rack. ;)

Thanks so much. I didn't delurk just yet.

Just got an iPhone today-they're down to $99 now.

OMG. That is a STEAL. I knew I should've waited. Mine was $300!

The first thing you have to do, is check out the Appstore. Go here for App pricing comparison. I have gone quite crazy over apps, but the upside is that I can share my knowledge base with friends.

I remember that I had 5 Twitter clients -- Tweetie, Twitterific, Twittereena, Lounge, and another one whose name I forget.

Today I bought "Birdfeed" alongside Tweetie 2. Frankly, I sometimes buy apps for their icons, arrayed beautifully side-by-side on the iPhone. Totally silly, and yet so typical sybaritically me.

Let me know if I can help you with this, Chicken, my love!

Cheers,
Victoria

Ron said...

Victoria! Long beloved, and much missed! I don't stray much from the House of Alt; it remains a Bellwether of Wacky! Please contact me as you will...

Don't lurk; we need as much quality as we can get around here, "here" being the Interweb.

vbspurs said...

RON!!!! Hellooooooooo, hugs, kisses, munchies from Zingerman's, and all that good stuff!!

Cheers,
Victoria