September 24, 2012

Obama on "60 Minutes": "I’m the first one to confess that the spirit that I brought to Washington, that I wanted to see instituted..."

"... where we weren’t constantly in a political slugfest but were focused more on problem-solving that, you know, I haven’t fully accomplished that, haven’t even come close in some cases."

This sentence poses an interesting rhetorical conundrum. If your goal is to avoid constantly being in a slugfest and you are ever not in a slugfest, you have achieved that goal. You could even say you have fully accomplished it, since it was such a low bar, not being constantly in a slugfest.

But obviously Obama did not mean that, since he's confessing failure, though not complete failure. He hasn't fully accomplished what he wanted. But maybe looking at that elaborate, professorily built-up sentence, I'm seeing the opposite of my first reading, and I want to say that he has completely failed. If it's an on-and-off slugfest, it's really still a slugfest. Even a real-life boxing match has rounds and little rest periods. You can't claim to have partially accomplished a change in the slugfestiveness as long as the slugfestivities keep popping up.

The thing is: Our Professor-President has a way of stringing phrases along in what actually ultimately congeals into a sentence that is weirdly arranged but completely grammatical, that conveys the feeling of intelligence and thoughtfulness but — if you pull it apart — yields no significant meaning. But you're not supposed to pull it apart. Why would you do that? It was so lovely, so lulling... so likeable.

110 comments:

m stone said...

Syntax means nothing if you lie.

the wolf said...

He also said that Bush implemented more regulations than he did, then accused Bush of deregulation.

TosaGuy said...

When you show up and the first thing you say to your political opponents is "I won,' then you really are not all that interested in working with anyone.

Ann Althouse said...

"Syntax means nothing if you lie."

Syntax means nothing if you tell the truth, either.

Unless the medium is the message.

What do you want to talk about? Be clear.

Sloanasaurus said...

Obama is the great divider. If he wanted to make a deal with Congress, he would have. Instead he blew the deal with Boehner that he had originally negotiated.

As woodward and others said in his book, Clinton would not have blown that deal... Clinton would have made a deal.

Obama is a fraud. He never wanted a deal. He just wants to it to appear like he is trying.

YoungHegelian said...

"You can't change Washington from the inside."

Then why be a politician in Washington? Isn't he now morally committed to work on changing Washington from somewhere other than the Executive Office?

Ann Althouse said...

"When you show up and the first thing you say to your political opponents is 'I won,' then you really are not all that interested in working with anyone."

Yeah, remember all that talk about "civility." It applied when he wanted the opposition to settle down and not fight too hard, but it was forgotten every time he wanted to take a shot.

Salamandyr said...

I just don't get why he's considered "likable".

rehajm said...

Some people craft in words and some people craft in numbers.

Numbers people hate this shit.

Nonapod said...

Obama constructs sentences like that so regularly that it's second nature to him. He speaks in broad generalizations and bromides that are very interpretive. All politicians do that to some extent of course but Obama seems to excel at those sorts of statements.

Seeing Red said...

Everything belongs to Uncle Sam - it seems to me he's been very successful.

dreams said...

The first thing Obama and his unpaid liberal media helpers did was to spout off that he won, the implication being that he could do whatever he wanted to so the Republicans could just shut up. He didn't try to change the tone, he exacerbated the tone and the corrupt liberal media were willing accomplices. The voting public has such a short memory and is the reason they can get away with their crooked crap.

AJ Lynch said...

Washington is broken except when it comes to providing a thriving economy to Washingtonians [per Ross Douhat's column this morning]. And of course, Obama, while he is president, scores a pretty cushy lifestyle too.

Tim said...

"This sentence an interesting rhetorical conundrum."

As it always is when he speaks without a Tele-Prompter.

I wonder who he had ask Michelle to marry him?

dreams said...

"I just don't get why he's considered "likable"."

He isn't likable, its all political correctness. The most accurate poll comes November 6.

deborah said...

Syntax that lulls is extremely useful.

rehajm said...

I just don't get why he's considered "likable"

The 'intellectual' hat doesn't fit.

Balfegor said...

One of the things I’ve realized over the last two years is that that only happens if I’m enlisting the American people much more aggressively than I did the first two years.”

I think he really believes this -- that the way forward is not to work together with people in Washington, to persuade them, to show respect for them and the process, but instead to try and get public opinion to force them to agree to things they think are stupid. I mean, obviously, moving public opinion is a key weapon in a President's political arsenal, but it says something about Obama's terribly narrow vision. He has no conception of how to govern when he's not acting from a position of overwhelming political strength, so his visions are all of talking to the Volk, who will rise up in a great mass, and regain for him that position of overwhelming political dominance that he enjoyed for a brief month or two at the start of his Presidency, when his approval ratings were like 70%.

At some point, you'd think he'd realise he needs to learn how to cut deals and not flake out on negotiations. But oh well.

EDH said...

Even Romney didn't call the 47% who support Obama -- because they are dependent on government and think of themselves as victims -- "slugs".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

sentence that is weirdly arranged but completely grammatical, that conveys the feeling of intelligence and thoughtfulness but — if you pull it apart — yields no significant meaning.

Glittering Generalities.

Hagar said...

I think he has accomplished plenty of what he wanted. Jimmy Carter still thinks he was a very successful president, and Obama will to - even if he loses big in November.

As for the tone, he set it. Axelrod, Reid, and Pelosi are his people.

Tim said...

"All politicians do that to some extent of course but Obama seems to excel at those sorts of statements."

When what you have to offer is really *nothing*, platitudes are the way to go.

In the end, you can't blame Obama. He is who he is, and speaks the way he speaks because audiences respond(ed) to him. He sells them shit because they buy shit. If they hadn't bought shit, he would have had to sell something better. But they always bought shit. So that's what he sells.

Speaking of shit, whatever happened to that historic "Obama on Race" speech? Pffft. Like morning fog, burned off by mere sunlight.

dreams said...

Am I the only person who remembers how often Obama and the Dems told us he won, meaning he could do whatever he wanted to?

Nichevo said...

Before you waste valuable electrons, Professor, would you please just (re?)read George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language." (And perhaps "1984" again if you have the time, but "Politics" will suffice.)

Then, perhaps, you will understand that what you are hearing is, no more and no less, Newspeak, spoken by Obama instead of O'Brien.

Incidentally, this is as good a forum as any to remark on how Bush was always accused of intellectual incuriosity, when Obama really seems to exemplify it despite all his pretensions of intellectualism.

Big Mike said...

Our Professor-President has a way of stringing phrases along in what actually ultimately congeals into a sentence that is weirdly arranged but completely grammatical, that conveys the feeling of intelligence and thoughtfulness but — if you pull it apart — yields no significant meaning.

You broke the code, Professor. You broke the code.

Balfegor said...

Re: Sloanasaurus:

Obama is a fraud. He never wanted a deal. He just wants to it to appear like he is trying.

I think he wanted a budget deal -- some kind of grand bargain -- he just flaked. He got scared he was being outmaneuvered so he tried to change the deal. So Congressional leaders -- including the Democrats -- had to cut him out of the process entirely.

Tank said...

The whole thing is a lie. He did not bring the spirit to Wash at all. From the very beginning he has set one group against another, dividing us, and only seeking compromise consisting of agreement with him.

Con man.

deborah said...

No, he's likeable except when he's a maddening ass.

A little known fact: the complete phrase was, "You're likeable enough, Hillary, no doubt about it." I thought then and now he was being sincere, that is, he was trying to soften the blow of the harshness of the question.

Seeing Red said...

Well, Fauxahontas just admitted she's not licensed by the State of MA.

kcom said...

He's been a dick far too many times to be likeable, unless your bar for likeable is incredibly low.

MikeDC said...

The President is professorially clueless about the designed function of the government he's supposed to be running.

Relatively major policy changes have, by design, generally required true consensus and negotiation between the sides.

Some members of each party will come away unhappy, but fundamentally you can go back and see how every president with an opposing congress got things done by negotiation.

Regan got foreign policy support to crush the USSR and give tax cuts in return for giving a blank check on social programs.

Bush gave on tax increases and got hammered for it, but it was a policy he pursed and negotiated.

Clinton gave on social spending and accomplished welfare reform

Bush got a foreign policy blank check after 911 and a republican version of medicare D by allowing DHS to be a bureaucratic thugocracy, engaging on the medicare debate,and letting the Dems do things like hike the minimum wage.

In other words, presidents who successfully accomplish their goals (that's not to say their goals are good or bad) do so by working with the other side.

President Obama has notably done the opposite of this at every turn. He used his majority to ram the stimulus and health care bills through congress, and after 2010 was such an utter failure in negotiating with the Republican majority that the Congressional parties on both sides eventually ignored him and struck their own deal. Which he threatened to veto even while saying not getting a deal done was a reckless act.

Put bluntly, his foolish answer is what one would expect from an ivory-towered fool who isn't willing to work with or even hear out people with different views.

He needs to go.

The Drill SGT said...

Looking back from 2012 to 2008, If 2012 represents a partial failure to accomplish all he set out to do, how much worse would success have been.

After all, we saved GM, passed universal healthcare, stimulated the economy, created 4.6 million good jobs, repaired our relations around the world, reformed the financial system, created a new regulatory empire, reduced racial injustice, reset our relations with Britian, Poland Israel, Russia, Egypt, Iran, China, etc, lowered the seas, lowered the deficits, and allowed the earth to begin healing...

We need more time.

Seeing Red said...

--Regan got foreign policy support to crush the USSR and give tax cuts in return for giving a blank check on social programs.---

Was that before or after, as Mr. Tingles admitted, Tip told the Commies to ignore Ronnie?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Self-serving twaddle from the Obfuscator-in-Chief. He wanted to avoid the political slugfest, huh? I guess that's why he told Republicans "I won". That is the true "spirit" he brought to Washington.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Con men project likability. That is how they con you. Underneath the veneer of likeability lurks a sociopath.

We deserve the government we elect. If people, (yes I'm talking to you Althouse), want to be conned and are conned into electing a sociopath, you need to own it.

Seeing Red said...

--Clinton gave on social spending and accomplished welfare reform--


HUH????


His feet were held to the fire, he had no choice.

Seeing Red said...

I refinanced and my house is owned by the King - the bank is an illusion.

lemondog said...

I just don't get why he's considered "likable".

Ya got me.......

He is a thug. He brought the Alinsky mentality to Washington.

This is a democracy and I run it!

Lem said...

The spirit must have been on vaca with Michele, when he chastised Jack Ryan... I mean Paul Ryan.

Jack Ryan was the political opponent Obama used divorce documents against.

Again.. the spirit was away on convention or something that time.

carrie said...

I just finished the "Amateur" and I really ". . . don't get why he's considered "likable"." Like someone else said, it must be because it wouldn't be PC to consider him unlikable.

carrie said...

I just finished the "Amateur" and I really ". . . don't get why he's considered "likable"." Like someone else said, it must be because it wouldn't be PC to consider him unlikable.

rasqual said...

A succinct analysis -- anecdotal but representative -- of what we've all known for a long time.

Well, not all of us. Half the population's IQ, alas, remains below 100. And Obama seems to think his noblesse oblige above that mark is to demagogue those below it.

50% is 3% more than 47%, Mr. President.

Matthew Sablan said...

If he didn't want a slugfest, he could try compromising more.

Matthew Sablan said...

Or, like my mother always told me: It takes two people to fight. Well, maybe more, you know, like a battle royal, but whatever.

edutcher said...

He was rated the most partisan voter in the Senate.

So he was just being true to form.

The rest was all Hopenchange.

Larry J said...

I get the impression that Obama believed the job of president was to make a speech and problems would instantly be solved. The Congress would do whatever he wanted because he's Obama damnit! Then he could hit the golf course or watch TV. He's said more than once that they need to improve their messaging, as if he only gave more speeches then everyone would agree with him.

I can't count the number of times we were told about Obama's intelligence but frankly, the evidence is lacking. he may be "book smart" (so long as the books are leftist dogma) but he shows few signs of intelligence. One of the key aspects of intelligence is to learn from failure. One definition of wisdom is the ability to learn from the failures of others. Obama keeps promoting socialist policies that've failed repeatedly. That shows he isn't intelligent about real world economics and most definitely isn't wise.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I don't get this "likability" the President is supposed to possess in spades. I find the man cold and superficial. If I had to work with him, I think I would find him tolerable, but not enjoyable. When he tries to be funny, I don't feel a genuine sense of humor like I did with W, or even Clinton. In any case, likability never could trump disastrous policies.

Balfegor said...

Re: Seeing Red:

--Clinton gave on social spending and accomplished welfare reform--


HUH????


His feet were held to the fire, he had no choice
.

Up to a point. Before Welfare Reform (late 1996), Clinton had pronounced "the era of big government is over" (in his SOTU). More generally, he represented a more pragmatic, centrist strain in the Democratic party.

Paul said...

He reminds me of so many "smart" leftists whose only skill seems to be rote memorization.

Has he ever uttered an original thought? I don't think so. That is the real measure of intelligence...the critical thinking that leads to discovery and enlightenment.

And even as "smart" lefties go he's fair to middling at best. A smarter man would never speak of the Austrian language for example.

Joe Schmoe said...

I don't think he's that elusive. His first statement alone is a farce: "I'm the first one to confess...I haven't fully accomplished that."

All I've read from him (I have to say when you get your news from websites, and you can't blare video in your office, you don't really 'hear' much from Barry) is about Republican obstructionism. He's never confessed to being at fault for anything.

EMD said...

I recall Bush saying the same stupid things about bi-partisanship and changing the tenor, etc.

Marshal said...

Balfegor said...
His feet were held to the fire, he had no choice.

Up to a point. Before Welfare Reform (late 1996), Clinton had pronounced "the era of big government is over" (in his SOTU). More generally, he represented a more pragmatic, centrist strain in the Democratic party.


Clinton ran as a moderate, but his first act when elected was pushing Hillarycare. His sloganeering was merely a subterfuge. Welfare reform was forced on him, and the success he is credited with is largely a result of divided government. His moderation was entirely a practical priority choice: he preferred being president to being the unelected leader of leftism.

He does deserve credit for NAFTA, but that is essentially the only non-leftist position he holds.

Christopher in MA said...

Half the population's IQ, alas, remains below 100.

Bill Clinton certainly thinks so, as expressed in comments to CNN fellator Fareed Zakaria:

. . .but the American people can be easily misled - it may be too strong a word - confused now. . .

I expect the same whiners who screech "We're the 47%!" and think Romney insulted half the country will now sagely stroke their chins and agree with the Syphilitic Hillbilly that too many Americans are morons who can't appreciate the brilliance of the One.

Comanche Voter said...

Two takes on that sentence. Airy sentences are what an airhead makes.

And Obama has not failed in one mission. He's got things screwed up to a faretheewell. Or is that fare thee well? Machts nichts--my old drill sarge would say it in a more sarcastic way. But the message is still the same.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Joe Schmoe said...

He's never confessed to being at fault for anything.



That's a great catch, Joe, and absolutely accurate. He is still blaming Bush for his failures with the economy. A grown-up would have taken a little responsibility.

Balfegor said...

Re: Larry J:

I get the impression that Obama believed the job of president was to make a speech and problems would instantly be solved. The Congress would do whatever he wanted because he's Obama damnit!

I think this is more or less correct -- I don't think Obama has a very sophisticated understanding of political power. From his perspective -- largely as a back-bencher -- he'd probably seen that when the movers and shakers, the Mayor Daleys of the Illinois political world, wanted something done, it got done, whether it was a particular policy that needed enacting or a turbulent priests that needed to be got rid of. From his vantage point, he probably didn't see all the effort that went into their building up their political positions -- the favours and cajolery and the longstanding relationships of trust that were all necessary preconditions to exercising that kind of power. And so he expected that once he was President, he would be able to will that this or that be done, and it would be done. But of course, it's not like that at all. And the activities necessary to build up that kind of power are not activities he is any good at.

So he's been drawn to the kinds of presidential activities where his word is transformed directly into action -- personally signing off on the drone target lists, and stuff like that. And he's comforted himself with this fantasy that if he spent more time talking to the people, the people would force his political opponents to knuckle under to him.

PatCA said...

"It was so lovely, so lulling... so likeable."

That was the end game of the interview, and Kroft aced it.

Main questions:

"How can you stand those mean Republicans?"
"How can you stand those pushy Israelis?"

No mention of Obama's super majority and how he squandered it, no mention of his failed Mr. Nice Guy policy in the ME or of Stevens' murder.

I must be the only one who thinks so, but I think Obama won some voters last night.

Marshal said...

EMD said...
I recall Bush saying the same stupid things about bi-partisanship and changing the tenor, etc.


The primary difference was that Bush meant it. He worked with the left on NCLB and on Medicare Drug reform. Of course the left betrayed bipartisanship in the end, with Kennedy repudiating the NCLB bill his staffers wrote so the media could attack Bush without hurting the Democratic Party.

Issob Morocco said...

Like cotton candy hitting the mouth, poof! Gone.

So fitting for this empty suit/chair of a President.

Nov. 6th.

Issob Morocco said...

Like cotton candy hitting the mouth, poof! Gone.

So fitting for this empty suit/chair of a President.

Nov. 6th.

traditionalguy said...

Mr Liar-in-Chief knows that fundamentally changing a social order requires a state of chaos be created followed by a Caesar's offer to restore order in a "re-formed" Imperium that has no need of an historically outmoded Covenant (Constitution) document that set the Republic's accepted boundaries.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Professor:

I disagree with both your assertions.

First, the sentence is barely grammatical. When he should bring the point home, after "problem-solving," he shifts awkwardly from his original referent, the "spirit" he brought, to himself.

Second, I think it does yield significant meaning -- although I think you are correct in saying there is, on second thought, less there than meets the eye. I took it to the "third-thought": he is complaining about the very essential features of our much-distorted Republic. If only everyone would just share his vision and work cooperatively toward solutions? He's either being naive (no, I don't believe it either) or counting on listeners to be that naive. But the only way he gets what he proposes is the obliteration of the sort of roadblocks our Founders built into our system.

I didn't see the interview; did the interviewer have the sense to follow up on that very point? I doubt it.

CWJ said...

I think Obama has one of my own weaknesses - in extreme form. I believe he is shocked when he encounters opposition to any of his proposals. So normal give and take is perceived as a slugfest.

He was bound to be disillusioned, and hope and change was bound to fail. If he had any effective negotiating skills, he might have recovered. But he has none.

Christopher in MA said...

I believe he is shocked when he encounters opposition to any of his proposals. So normal give and take is perceived as a slugfest.

I don't think he's so much shocked as he is infuriated. Witness his very public dressing-down of Ryan after being told that his budget numbers were basically pulled out of his ass.

The one thing we know for a certainty about the SCOAMF is that he always - always - considers himself the smartest man in the room. Therefore, anyone who objects to his ideas is, obviously, ignorant.

Those people have to learn their place. They have to be degraded for presuming they know more about anything than Obama does.

Emotionally, he's still a colicky five-year old soiling his pants.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I see the President as likeable. I liked him, despite utterly opposing all he stands for, until he decided to make war on my Church. I take that very personally.

And it is obvious to me what his game is, there, and it's insidious. He realizes that a lot of Catholics can be divided from their Church when it comes to the government giving them goodies, or protecting their ability to do immoral things.

A lot of Catholics get the true nature of what he's doing, including those who disagree with Church teaching on marriage and sexuality.

However, he's counting on a lot of Catholics only caring about "free" stuff, and not caring about any other consequences, which -- whether you are merely concerned about church-state relations, or whether you are concerned about social survival and the eternal fate of souls as well -- are no less than alarming.

EMD said...

The primary difference was that Bush meant it.

He shouldn't have even bothered. Bi-partisanship makes for the most horrible "solutions" to the least pressing problems.

The Crack Emcee said...

Our Professor-President has a way of stringing phrases along in what actually ultimately congeals into a sentence that is weirdly arranged but completely grammatical, that conveys the feeling of intelligence and thoughtfulness but — if you pull it apart — yields no significant meaning.

Hey - you made a "rational decision" to vote for the guy based on that.

In the study of NewAge cultism, we call this "thought-stopping" language, and, of course, Obama's far from alone in this ability or the frequency of it's usage.

What's really bizarre is when we compare the different treatment of an Obama with the so-called "stupid" people - like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin - who those enthralled with "thought-stopping" language can't abide, because under the mangled english is a message that actually makes sense.

That's what's got "significant meaning" for me,...

Michael said...

Professor: A very interesting and insightful analysis. I would submit that articulate people, when they have opened their mouths but realize they are in over their heads, are able to mush together any number of non-sequiturs which, linked, can actually be diagrammed. The result, as you observe, is a pretty sounding but meaningless sentence that can, and often does, go unchallenged.

Community organizers are unlikely to be well schooled in negotiations or are accustomed to have a compliant counterpart willing to capitulate. Bad negotiators never know when to quit and are known for trying to change the deal at the deadline.

All of this was predicted.

Beldar said...

I stopped believing Obama was likable on the day I learned that his 2008 campaign had disabled the anti-fraud zip-code check on its campaign website credit-card donations page. That was something that could only have been done for the purpose of facilitating campaign finance fraud, certainly including some volume of illegal foreign contributions (which are easy to make on pre-authorized debit cards that can be bought anywhere worldwide for local cash, and the ZIP-code antifraud software is intended to screen out).

elkh1 said...

"Our Professor-President"

Er, should be "Our Lecturer-President"

Texan99 said...

I think this comment is exactly right:

I think this is more or less correct -- I don't think Obama has a very sophisticated understanding of political power. From his perspective -- largely as a back-bencher -- he'd probably seen that when the movers and shakers, the Mayor Daleys of the Illinois political world, wanted something done, it got done, whether it was a particular policy that needed enacting or a turbulent priests that needed to be got rid of. From his vantage point, he probably didn't see all the effort that went into their building up their political positions -- the favours and cajolery and the longstanding relationships of trust that were all necessary preconditions to exercising that kind of power. And so he expected that once he was President, he would be able to will that this or that be done, and it would be done. But of course, it's not like that at all. And the activities necessary to build up that kind of power are not activities he is any good at.

He likes to be "in" with the "in" crowd, but has neither talent nor training in leading or forging compromises. He doesn't really know anything about where his ideological opponents are coming from, and tends to react with shocked irritation to find they don't agree with him. Then he's out of ideas and sulks.

Texan99 said...

I think this comment is exactly right:

I think this is more or less correct -- I don't think Obama has a very sophisticated understanding of political power. From his perspective -- largely as a back-bencher -- he'd probably seen that when the movers and shakers, the Mayor Daleys of the Illinois political world, wanted something done, it got done, whether it was a particular policy that needed enacting or a turbulent priests that needed to be got rid of. From his vantage point, he probably didn't see all the effort that went into their building up their political positions -- the favours and cajolery and the longstanding relationships of trust that were all necessary preconditions to exercising that kind of power. And so he expected that once he was President, he would be able to will that this or that be done, and it would be done. But of course, it's not like that at all. And the activities necessary to build up that kind of power are not activities he is any good at.

He likes to be "in" with the "in" crowd, but has neither talent nor training in leading or forging compromises. He doesn't really know anything about where his ideological opponents are coming from, and tends to react with shocked irritation to find they don't agree with him. Then he's out of ideas and sulks.

dreams said...

I see that my original comment had already been made early on and even commented on by Althouse.

roesch/voltaire said...

In linguistics it is called "negative scope" which generally pushes forward to determine the negation, but this case projects negatively back to problem-solving, which I think is clear.

bagoh20 said...

This always happens in a cult of personality. After getting power and failing to deliver, the leader always pits his lap dog followers against everyone who he shares any power with to shift blame and hold on to the source of HIS power. If he was in the right country, at the right time, this guy would be running scourges about now. He's all about the Kim Jong Style. This dammed democracy bullshit is crimping that.

PWS said...

Ann I know you've built up as your meme and MO to be a little contrarian, to post things with a little "gotcha" feel, to point out what you think the MSM missed.

Usually you do a good job in your own way; it's hard to say something original.

But this post and the one on Romney today feel like you're stretching a bit. You're not being cruelly neutral but struggling to find something to fit in with your narrative--kind of like you accuse the MSM of doing with Obama.

I'm cringing a little.

Brennan said...

If you are now just coming to understand what Obama learned as a State Senator from Illinois, then I can tell you that when was a Senator in the minority he did nothing to work with the majority Republicans to pass anything. He stumped out the base of the base of the left and planted his flag. That is how he came to vote present on votes on "Born Alive" legislation.

He likes golf and poker. Let's do everything we can to make sure he can play both of these games for a long time without having to deplete the United States economy.

bagoh20 said...

"I see the President as likeable. I liked him, despite utterly opposing all he stands for, until he decided to make war on my Church. I take that very personally"

I actually find him most unlikable for how he treats those on his side, including how he won his early elections, then in 2008, how he fed his followers that basket of shit, knowing full well what was in it. It's gotten worse now, with his constant begging for their last dime, and raffling off a lottery chance of meeting him or one of his wealthy cosmetic-surgery-enhanced friends. It's really sickening. Likeable? Yea, I never got that either.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

roesch/voltaire said...

In linguistics it is called "negative scope" which generally pushes forward to determine the negation, but this case projects negatively back to problem-solving, which I think is clear.



Is there some kind of unclear speaking class that only liberals take, where you learn to hide ignorance behind gobbledegook?

Mick said...

I pegged him as a slimy liar from the get go. Don't know what movie you're watchin' law prof! But then you, a law prof, don't even know that Obama is a Usurper., even after you posted Federalist #68--- where it says that a natural born Citizen is a "CREATURE OF OUR OWN", and that we must eschew "IMPROPER ASCENDANTS" (ancestors). Now how could one born a British subject (admittedly-- and still likely IS a British subject) of a Kenyan Communist British subject father, "raised" by an absent, anti-American mother, mentored by an avowed Communist, and financed by a known and convicted home grown America hating domestic terrorist, be a "CREATURE OF OUR OWN"? Maybe it's just me, but I always consider the source.

Appeal filed in Fla.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/106514978/Voeltz-Appellate-Brief

bagoh20 said...

Tyrone,

I like how it ends with "which I think is clear."

It's like when a battered spouse is telling the cops: "You just don't understand him!"

yashu said...

“One of the things I’ve realized over the last two years is that that only happens if I’m enlisting the American people much more aggressively than I did the first two years.”

I think he really believes this -- that the way forward is not to work together with people in Washington, to persuade them, to show respect for them and the process, but instead to try and get public opinion to force them to agree to things they think are stupid. I mean, obviously, moving public opinion is a key weapon in a President's political arsenal, but it says something about Obama's terribly narrow vision. He has no conception of how to govern when he's not acting from a position of overwhelming political strength, so his visions are all of talking to the Volk, who will rise up in a great mass, and regain for him that position of overwhelming political dominance that he enjoyed for a brief month or two at the start of his Presidency, when his approval ratings were like 70%.


Well put, Balfegor. I'm also reminded of another Obama interview not long ago, when the only mistake he acknowledged making as POTUS was not concentrating enough on "telling stories" to the American people. He was convinced his admin had gotten "all the policies right," but hadn't done enough in the telling of "stories."

That tells me that if we get a second Obama term, we Americans will be in for a constant fluking avalanche of even more, much more, sheer propaganda. If "more" is even conceivable from this current admin & MSM combo (and unfortunately, it is-- grotesquerie has no limit).

Putting everything else aside (Obamacare, foreign policy, economy, debt, etc.), this alone makes the prospect of a 2nd Obama term totally vomit-inducing.

Tim said...

CWJ said...

"I think Obama has one of my own weaknesses - in extreme form. I believe he is shocked when he encounters opposition to any of his proposals. So normal give and take is perceived as a slugfest."

This is yet another moral hazard of affirmative action.

Because it is necessary to hit and then sustain the quota (even if the quota is not published, but still known), beneficiaries of affirmative action (trust me - *everyone* who admits, teaches, hires, fires, or supervises an affirmative action beneficiary - they all know the score) go to lengths to smooth out roadblocks, gloss over arguments to the contrary, and just ease the way of the affirmative action hire.

Obama is weak for so many reasons: he got where he is not on merit (as he thinks) but because other people made it happen for him ("...you didn't build that..." applies most acutely to him); no one (of record) ever really challenged him on anything really important (e.g., McCain '08); he has been trained to expect the smooth glide path, the soft landing, the easy win (TWO biographies before 45? What on earth for, for this completely unremarkable man?).

In all practical reality, it is he, as Gov. Ann Richards said of G.H. Bush, the one born on third-base with a silver spoon in his mouth. Everything has been easy because his value a totem required others to make it easy for him - but now, there are no fixers for him, he is in over his head, and the Republic suffers.

Are there enough Obama voters smart enough to realize their mistake in '08?

We all better hope so.

AF said...

"But you're not supposed to pull it apart."

I think you pulled it apart too far. He said he hasn't succeeded in changing the tone in Washington.

Tim said...

"Is there some kind of unclear speaking class that only liberals take, where you learn to hide ignorance behind gobbledegook?"

No need for a class.

It's in their DNA - easily adapted from their surroundings - to obfuscate the inability to confess what they really believe, clearly, and to drive a wedge between themselves and the listener.

Once one understands that Liberals are Liberals because they are alienated from America, its founding principles, its traditions, its history, and seek power to remake America in their image, one never intended by the founding fathers, then it becomes clear what they are trying to do, and how they use language to help them accomplish that goal.

They use language as a wedge to intimidate, to imply they are smarter than you; so much smarter, they haven't the time or inclination to explain themselves when pressed - they resort to either "trust me," or "because, shut up!"

In the end, it is incoherent, but it is still code, cossetting the confirmed believers.

The Crack Emcee said...

PWS,

Usually you do a good job in your own way; it's hard to say something original.

But this post and the one on Romney today feel like you're stretching a bit. You're not being cruelly neutral but struggling to find something to fit in with your narrative--kind of like you accuse the MSM of doing with Obama.

I'm cringing a little.


If it's just "a little" then you're not looking close enough:

There has not been one (1) significant slam of the "handsome" Mitt Romney on this blog since the election began.

He's been caught lying, he's been caught changing his positions, his cult has been caught persecuting those who speak against him - a major no-no for Islam but not for the LDS - he's even said he would "replace" and not repeal ObamaCare (his mandate, which he reversed again, last night, on 60 Minutes) but has Miss Cruelly Neutral said a word?

Not one.

Ann Althouse is acting like a rube - she's giving us horserace stuff:

Here's the latest polling data, or this Democratic operative said this, that Republican operative said that, and look at this video made by a PAC.

But NOTHING that says she's capable of standing outside of the manipulative process and, either, looking at anything objectively or bringing a fresh perspective to the role of neutral observer.

Blogging is supposed to be something new and special - a bee sting on the ass of politicians and journalists alike - but, instead, most have gotten in line to join the masses of those we're supposed to be up against and competing with, who promote the very conventional thought that's led us to the mediocre results we witness daily.

I mean, come ON - Ann Althouse is being outshown by Peggy Noonan? Are you kidding me?

Blogging is supposed to be about more than merely showing up every day, but - just like her claim to have been deeply affected by a family member's involvement with homeopathy - Ann is certainly not acting like it.

Sure, the foes of whatever Garage says may be happy, but is that really what Althouse is about?

Rabel said...

I have to give the President credit. I've never seen a politician who so consistently maintained a front as well as Obama.

The mask never slips. He never reveals his true thoughts. He never speaks from the heart. It's all a pose and even in times of crisis he stays on message.

Some cite the "bitter clingers" remark as a tell, but that was just a slightly different mask intended for a specific audience.

Anyone who thinks that they know with certainty what Barack Obama truly believes about anything is fooling themselves.

You can parse. You can speculate and interpret and deduce. But the real Obama is hidden from us all.

It's an impressive talent. A very particular set of skills. And it's frighteningly effective.

caseym54 said...

"constantly in a political slugfest"?!

He had a rubber-stamp Congress for 2 years. Reagan had an opposition House for all 8 years. It's not how big a majority you have....

caseym54 said...

We've elected an internet troll as president. I used to think he was just a leftist dillettante, but I've soured on him.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Nobama has learned from watching Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian: as long as you have absolutely no shame in lying and continuing to lie no matter how many facts contradict you, you can whore it up like Mae West on an opium bender and still claim credibility.

Of course, you must be one of the designated "victim" groups of the Demon-rat party: women or black men. Bonus if you're a slutty white women who loves getting gangbanged by brothers. Then you get a lifelong series on E.

Brennan said...

Well, if you believe what Bob Woodward writes, POTUS was in a slugfest for this first two years. He was just slugging it out against Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

And by "slugging it out" I mean buying them with stimulus.

Methadras said...

AKA, I got the shit beat out of me by washington and I cried like a little bitch all the way back to the white house. That's more or less what he's saying. Pussy.

creeley23 said...

I agree with Fr. Martin. This is not a grammatical sentence. Breaking it into clauses we see:

I’m the first one to confess
that the spirit
that I brought to Washington,
that I wanted to see instituted,
where we weren’t constantly in a political slugfest
but were focused more on problem-solving
that, you know, I haven’t fully accomplished that.


Subtracting the second-level subordinate clauses yields an incomplete sentence:

I'm the first one to confess that the spirit...

It's hard to fix it with "spirit" as the subject of the first relative clause.

I'm the first one to confess that the spirit, ..., was not accomplished by me.

chickelit said...

AJ Lynch said...
Washington is broken except when it comes to providing a thriving economy to Washingtonians [per Ross Douhat's column this morning].

I noticed that bubble too beginning about 2 years ago. Douthat is spot on about the bipartisan nature of that bubble too. If anyone wonders where big chunks of that $16 trillion is going, juat visit D.C.

Nathan Alexander said...

If you parse his sentence, he is basically saying that he hasn't accomplished eliminating the conservative viewpoint from any conversation on government and society.

Because that's the only way you avoid political arguments: single-party control.

You never see political slugfests in, say, China.

Gavin Buckley said...

Prior to the 2008 election (after Obama and McCain were the nominees) Armando Ianucci - the very well respected liberal British political humorist and man behind the show Veep - had a radio show in which he pointed out how weird it was that people assumed Obama was an inspiring, optimistic, intelligent speaker - but if you read his words back yourself they either meant nothing or actually made no actual sense. Aside from pointing out that he found it weird that the world seemed to cling to a man with absolutely no political experience as a reasonable choice for US President - he even went as far to say that it was almost entirely about cadence and timbre and that you could get Obama to read almost ANYTHING and it would sound good but ultimately mean nothing. At which point other radio show members read out the type of silliness you get when you call customer service on the phone in the manner of Obama to prove how empty it actually was.

A more specific example though being that even the title of his book (Audacity of Hope) sounds clever and intelligent but makes absolutely no sense when analyzed considering that the notion of "hope" is in no way audacious at all.

Seeing Red said...

--Well put, Balfegor. I'm also reminded of another Obama interview not long ago, when the only mistake he acknowledged making as POTUS was not concentrating enough on "telling stories" to the American people. He was convinced his admin had gotten "all the policies right," but hadn't done enough in the telling of "stories." --

That's the default stance, IF ONLY we had explained it more, you'd agree. Ummm, no.

Mick said...

Brennan said...

"Well, if you believe what Bob Woodward writes, POTUS was in a slugfest for this first two years. He was just slugging it out against Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."


If Woodward were competent (and the "law prof" also) he would have figured out that Obama was born British, and is not eligible, and has no allegiance or attachment to this country--- thus the chest beating over the already dead Osama Bin Laden "killing" drama that never happened-- that was all a political play to prove he was a "real merikan"--- his handlers ears are to the ground.

MarkD said...

I do believe you are catching on, professor.

Kirk Parker said...

EMD,

"I recall Bush saying the same stupid things about bi-partisanship and changing the tenor, etc."

Except Bush really meant it, and had an well-established record of working across the aisle in Texas to give it some credibility.


Rabel,

"The mask never slips. He never reveals his true thoughts. He never speaks from the heart."

Maybe there's simply no there there. Given his rejected-by-both-parents upbringing, who knows?

Revenant said...

Obama is a fraud. He never wanted a deal. He just wants to it to appear like he is trying.

I don't think the problem is that he is a fraud who never wanted a deal. The problem is that he doesn't know HOW to make deals.

He had very little political experience before coming to Washington, and all of it was as an insider in the Chicago political machine -- and in the Chicago political machine, you do what the bosses tell you. So naturally, now that he's "the boss", he thinks he calls the shots. But Washington ain't Chicago -- there are around a thousand Congressmen and high-level bureaucrats, all of whom expect to be in Washington for decades to come, and all of whom know Obama will be gone forever by 2016 at the latest.

Revenant said...

I recall Bush saying the same stupid things about bi-partisanship and changing the tenor

Yes, but he had the decency not to repeat the claims when running for re-election. :)

R. Chatt said...

He likes being self congratulatory and generous with himself. If you disagree you are obviously racist.

Balfegor said...

Re: Revenant:

He had very little political experience before coming to Washington, and all of it was as an insider in the Chicago political machine -- and in the Chicago political machine, you do what the bosses tell you.

But the thing is, the bosses cut deals with each other all the time. They're familiar with the give and take of politics. I don't think it's that Obama was part of the Chicago "machine" -- it's that he was such a nonentity in it that he never had any experience with the real business of politics. He was an "insider," sure, but at the bottom rung.

R. Chatt said...

Another Obama statement:

"Do we see sometimes, us going overboard in our campaign, the mistakes that are made or the, you know, areas where there's no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? That happens in politics," the president said. "There is a sharp contrast there. But the stakes are high." "The truth of the matter is most of the time we're having a vigorous debate about a vision for the country," he said. "Is it going to be sharp sometimes? Absolutely."

Syl said...

Richard Epstein who was a prof at the Chicago Law school with Obama, said Obama is not an intellectual he just uses intellectual language and manner to seem like one.

Ann nailed it.

CWJ said...

I hope this thread is not so dead that Balfegor sees this. I almost always stick with a thread when I see you appear. You nearly always have something of value to add.

Nearly everyone who has either quoted me or posted similar comments has got it right. If I may be so bold, all I did was post the cliff notes version.

At best, Obama understands only the surface of politics, and almost nothing else. No-one with real power ever let him drive the car. And I truly believe that those who knew real power supported him only because they thought they could run him. For the most part, they have been proved right.

Rusty said...

So what you're saying Althouse, is that the president doesn't say much, but when he does, he doesn't say much.

Dante said...

Hmm. Maybe he is revealing something. Boehner deal destroyed. Nancy P. putting him on mute. Saying "I’ve learned some lessons. Most important is that you can’t change Washington from the inside, only from the outside." Admitting he can't work with people in Congress.

Maybe he really is isolated. That does sound scary.

OK, I watched the Romney Ad with the mute button. It is something to think about.

Leslie Eastman said...

On CBS (a network not known for its conservatism): Obama said Libya and Egypt were a “bump on the road”. He said our high unemployment was also a “bump on the road”. He claimed Israel’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions were “noise”.


IF THIS WAS THE BEST MATERIAL CBS COULD OFFER OF OBAMA, WHAT THE HELL WAS LEFT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR????