January 27, 2014

Sad-eyed President of the Lowlands.

I'm reading this Juan Williams column at The Hill because it's titled "Williams: Time for Obama to punch hard," mainly because I'm interested in the phrase "punch back twice as hard," which the headline invokes.

Do you remember the origin of the phrase ? Obama opponents have been quoting it for a long time. Who started it? Obama, when first running for office, said "I want you to argue with them and get in their face," which isn't the same as a punch in the face, though it does recommend aggression (of the verbal kind). Of course, "punch back twice as hard" is also only a recommendation of verbal aggression, delivered with the verbal aggression of a physical violence metaphor.

But "Punch back twice as hard" came from deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, and the whole quote was: "If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard." So within the metaphor, the other side has hit you first.

And, indeed, Williams does portray the President as having been hit.
He tells him to "get off the mat and fight." That's a boxing metaphor — Williams tells us his "dad trained professional fighters" — and you're only on the mat, if you've been punched hard. Williams parlays the boxing metaphor into a fire metaphor, telling us that his father used to tell boxers that "fear is like fire": "It can burn your house down, but if you take control it can keep you warm, cook your food and show you the way to victory."

Williams ends the article: "Time to start your fire, Mr. President."

Which is funny — at least for metaphor fans — because the Williams column begins not with fire but water, lots of water, as Williams bemoans the weak, enervated, passive, sad-eyed President:
In his recent, lengthy interview with the New Yorker magazine, the president comes across as passive... The president all but confirms this sad-eyed portrait when he is quoted as saying that after five years in the White House he feels as helpless as a “relay swimmer in a river full of rapids and that river is history.” Poor Barack.

Later he continues his “one man in a little boat lost in the endless sea” analogy by saying he has tried to move forward but he is thwarted by having to “take into account winds and currents and occasionally the lack of any wind, so that you’re just sitting there for awhile and sometimes you’re being blown all over the place.”...

What happened to the inspirational candidate of 2008 who confidently told people that history will record his victorious run for president as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal?
Obama's sport is not boxing. It's swimming, or perhaps boating. He's out, lost, in a little boat or immersed in the rapids and struggling to swim. And once there was an ocean that he thought he could control.

With the sea at your feet....

77 comments:

Big Mike said...

The problem for Williams is that he views everything from the perspective of whether Obama has won or has lost. Is there a point at which he considers the good of the ordinary people of the United States?

Skeptical Voter said...

It is not time for Obama to "punch back twice as hard" or to "bring a gun to a knife fight" or any other bit of that Chicago political thug talk favored by the bedwetters and poseurs who surround Obama.

Rather it's time for Obama to put on a dunce's cap, go sit in a corner and quietly reflect on his failures and flaws.

Indeed the state of the union would be vastly improved if that "timeout" in the corner were to last for three years.

Brando said...

Big Mike--Williams and his ilk take it for a given that what is good for Obama is good for America.

damikesc said...

Scratch a Progressive, find a Fascist.

hawkeyedjb said...

The president's punch, no matter where it is aimed, will land as it always does on the ordinary citizen. As long as he hits somebody, he'll be happy. Weak men are like that.

Fen said...

Juan, agitating for a Strong Hand, gives us a glimpse into the mindset of the Left:

They start with rainbows and unicorns... and always end with violence and concentration camps

PB Reader said...

The current intolerant democrat thinks that anyone who disagrees or opposes them has injured them and that calls for retaliation.

rehajm said...

Stoners aren't good fighters.

Hagar said...

For Williams, it is about tribal loyalty, not reason.

paminwi said...

Do I feel one bit sorry for this pathetic excuse of a President? Not one tiny, itty, bitty bit.

He has actually found out there are many other opinions than his and he doesn't have the first clue on how to deal with the rejection of his opinions.

No sympathy for him in any way way, shape or form. And poor Michelle, she must be soooo disappointed once again in her country since we just don't get what a wonderful person her husband really is.

rehajm said...

Hasn't punching hard been his problem all along?

How about you come out cooperating?

damikesc said...

Again, it's sad that I smile when Putin thumbs my country in our eye and treats our President with blatant disrespect.

Hagar said...

I am kind of curious to see what the reaction in Congress - on the Democratic side, the Republican response is predictable - is going to be to to the White House trial balloon, "We don't need no steenkin' Congress - we are going to do it all by executive orders!"

And of course by the voters in November.

Saint Croix said...

Obama's sport is not boxing. It's swimming, or perhaps boating. He's out, lost, in a little boat or immersed in the rapids and struggling to swim. And once there was an ocean that he thought he could control.

The left is so dominated by feminism it can't adopt masculine tactics (like boxing). It's so violent! It's so wrong! Leftists are stuck complaining about how they have no access to birth control. Playing victim politics, that's the left for you.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I didn't think Obama liked the "the little man in the boat".

Fen said...

They start with rainbows and unicorns... and always end with violence and concentration camps

I think thats an actual quote of someone. Anyone know?

Bob Ellison said...

I like Juan Williams. He's a good writer and an even-handed analyst, and an honest liberal.

It's not really about tribalism with him. He really believes in this stuff. Lots of people do.

Mixing metaphors is a primary-school taunt. Our English teachers told us it was bad, and it's not great, but separated by a few hundred words, it's not exactly a writing sin.

By the way (way off-topic): Carol Herman appears to be active over at Legal Insurrection.

Fen said...

If the president was a Republican, Juan and his MSM sycophants would be all: "when is the president going to reach across the aisle and start cooperating with Congress?"

They're such intellectual whores.

Big Mike said...

@Brando, of course they have. And that's what they need to rethink.

virgil xenophon said...

WRONGO! Hagar. The Donkeys will be the proverbial "pleased as punch" bunch at the thought of Obama doing what they cannot--or will not--do because of both constitutional strictures or the need to answer voters back home in conservative districts. This way they can have their proverbial cake and eat it too--see their leftist, statist utopian dreams installed without their fingerprints on it when it all goes terribly wrong. Obamacare, if nothing else, has taught them that lesson already even in its early stages of implemintation..

EDH said...

When liberals finally realize they can't change the world, they decide they have to change people, whether those people like it or not.

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

Williams wrote -

"What happened to the inspirational candidate of 2008 who confidently told people that history will record his victorious run for president as 'the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal'?"

Well that's the problem in a nutshell, isn't it? No thought, consideration, reflection, analysis, or evidence whatsoever that "inspirational candidate" bore any relationship to competent executive.

damikesc said...

Out of curiosity, wasn't the "unitary executive" a bad thing?

Henry said...

Despite all the idiotic talk about political bullying it's worth noting that the glorious time in the past when Obama supposedly punched hard was when he already had a huge advantage.

What Juan Williams doesn't understand is that if this is a boxing movie, then we're watching
the best shot clip and the left is Lasky.

MadisonMan said...

I am kind of curious to see what the reaction in Congress - on the Democratic side, the Republican response is predictable - is going to be to to the White House trial balloon, "We don't need no steenkin' Congress - we are going to do it all by executive orders!"

Congress has ceded authority to the executive branch for years now. I don't expect that to change given the present "Leadership" in the legislative branch.

Bob Boyd said...

We made the ship's sea lawyer the captain of the ship.
Result? About what you'd expect. Looming rocks.
Williams advice? Sea lawyer should order flogging of any crewmen who call for changing course.

Paco Wové said...

"It's not really about tribalism with him. He really believes in this stuff."

I don't see how these are mutually exclusive.

exhelodrvr1 said...

You could also be on the mat because your corner tied your shoes together thinking it would save time to just tie one knot, and because you weren't paying attention to what they were doing, you didn't realize it, and tripped.

Tom Gallagher said...

The president doesn't need advice from williams, no matter how sincere and heartfelt. Obama's role and mission is to keep the "con" going till his second term is over.

SteveR said...

Williams gets paid to write stuff. As much as I dislike Obama's methods and utter lack of qualifications for executive office, I take no pleasure in the sad face and metaphors of failure. But its something to write about.

KLH said...

This is really terrible advice and will not be productive. "Tough guy" Obama just causes the opposition to mock him and dig in. Better advice would be to explore these bipartisan ideas Williams mentioned and try to get those done. Try to work with the opposition. What a novel concept.

CWJ said...

There really is a deep set childishness to all of this.

But Daddy, you promised! Daddy, make it better!

But since Daddy can't be a fault because he's Daddy, there must be evil forces holding him back.

Daddy, work harder. You can do it! Defeat those "Republican obstructionists."

For a sizeable portion of the populace, there really is a dangerous yearning for a political strongman to rule.

Hagar said...

@VX (isn't that a nervegas?)
The MSM will no doubt cheer, but not everybody in Congress, nor in the Judiciary Branch.

Humperdink said...

"Lost at Sea" comes to mind. As does the Caine Mutiny, Mutiny on the Bounty, Captain Ahab and the great white whale.

Hagar said...

Juan Williams not only gets paid to write stuff, but the stuff is supposed to be on the left to provide for "fair and balanced reporting" for Fox News in the MSM sense.
Williams overdoes it, perhaps to compensate for usually being outnumbered 3 to 1 on whatever panel he is appearing on, but the result generally is some silly blather that it seems doubtful even Juan Williams could really believe in.

Fen said...

"As much as I dislike Obama's methods and utter lack of qualifications for executive office"

You think its bad now, what till he leaves office and all the Revisionist Historians get to work.

Quayle said...

Obama is fully stuck on what professionals call the Drama Triangle (look up Drama Triangle for more details.)

Bouncing endlessly from one corner to another, first to Rescuer, then to Persecutor, then to Victim, then back to Persecutor, then to Rescuer, then to Victim, and on and on it goes.

Now here's Juan Williams egging him on - "stronger to the Persecutor corner, while touching on the Victim corner."

virgil xenophon said...

@Hagar/

LOL. Yes it is. Guess it means I've just got a helluva lot of nerve--or am full of bloviating gas--take your pick...of course both are not mutually exclusive :)

Quayle said...

And his enablers match the other end of the transaction, bouncing around themselves.

Paco Wové said...

Interpreting policy disagreement as personal injury is probably not a good way to run a democratic republic.

tim in vermont said...

"Out of curiosity, wasn't the "unitary executive" a bad thing?"

Just like a warm day is "climate" and a cold day is "weather," it totally depends on the party holding the presidency. I mean, just how dense are you? ;)

Howard said...

Punching back twice as hard is a chickenhawk catch-phrase made popular at chickenhawk central, instapussy.

mrs. e said...

And once there was an ocean that he thought he could control.

I think he's far from unique in that regard.

Bob Ellison said...

Paco Wové said "I don't see how these are mutually exclusive", referring to my "It's not really about tribalism with [Juan Williams]. He really believes in this stuff."

If a leftist is a humanist (ha ha ha!), then he or she should care as much about the big, fat, rich white dude as the poor little brown girl. Tribalism connotes lack of concern for the members of competing tribes.

Williams seems mostly humanist to me. That would not square with tribalism. He actually believes that the things he advocates would be best for all individuals and all of humanity. He's wrong, but that's what he believes.

AJ Lynch said...

Williams is frantic and horrified that the 1st black president is such a Dunce [hattip to comment by Skeptical Voter].

Williams despairs daily that Obama will be viewed as a huge mistake and failure.

jr565 said...

This president went out of his way not to work with the other side, and demagogue his opponents. And yet he characterizes things as attacks on him. No sir, you made that bed yourself.
Way back when when discussing the economy he described it as republicans driving the economy into the ditch. Even though democrats controlled the congress for the last two years of Bush, and even though dems pushed the home ownership for poor people as hard or harder than Bush.
But he then told the crowd that after driving the economy into the ditch that he wasn't going to let them get the keys back.
So, he deliberately made it a point to freeze out his opponents. And demagogue them all the way.
Again, he made that bed. Now he can lie in it.

jr565 said...

You can see the left wing animus play out on NY now.
The governor saying that right to lifers and extremist repubicans (read, Republicans)are not welcome in the state. And then Deblasio carrying on with his tax the rich mantra to pay for his pet project of "free" day care for all. (If it's truly free why are rich people paying more. I thought free meant free?) even thought the governor said they don't have to raise taxes since they can find the program deBlasio is making the point that we Must raise taxes
Deblasio's class warfare is the same as Obama's class warfare is the same as Cuomo's class warfare. That's the democratic playbook in a nutshell.

MaxedOutMama said...

Well exactly who is Obama supposed to punch, and with what? And is that what we liked about him?

Is he supposed to step up the IRS audits of opponents? Step up NSA spying on opponents? Have the FBI take the NSA data and run with it?

The young seem rather concerned about the abuses of privacy, no one likes to see the IRS used as a political tool, and the ACA furor is self-inflicted to a large extent, and only buckling down and trying to improve his own department's performance is likely to yield much there.

To the extent that Obama is a victim, isn't he the victim of his own performance?

This theory that all of his problems are the result of a Republican Congress (it's split) are surely the stuff of fantasy?

Williams' column ignores that the polling weaknesses seem to be centered on areas in which the president has had a pretty strong hand.

Bill Harshaw said...

Isn't that Sean Connery in the Untouchables?

jacksonjay said...


Look for:

Jimmy Fallon appearance
NBA GayMan shout-out
March Madness
Golf
Jay Z and B

Relax all is well!


rhhardin said...

take into account winds and currents and occasionally the lack of any wind, so that you’re just sitting there for awhile and sometimes you’re being blown all over the place.

You'll make outward progress proportional to the square root of time.

In two dimensions you'll return to the starting place infinitely often, though. So you're certain to look helpless.

You need 3 dimensions for something you can spin as progress.

Bandit said...

Maybe slap back twice as hard?

gerry said...

To the extent that Obama is a victim, isn't he the victim of his own performance?

The classic tragedy! And, as a bonus, no one can save him since he destroys himself.

And this is a pricelss observation: In two dimensions you'll return to the starting place infinitely often, though. So you're certain to look helpless.

Obama is shallow, even though he is dangerous for liberty and security and prosperity.

Shallow, self-defeating, and doomed. What a sleeper the SOTU will be!

n.n said...

Obama's sport is golf. He should putt back twice as hard.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bob Ellison said...

Williams...actually believes that the things he advocates would be best for all individuals and all of humanity.

This is true, but the problem goes even further. Not only does he believe these things, but he thinks they are so obvious that the Republicans must realize that they are true. Therefore any Republican who opposes the liberal agenda must be doing so for partisan and/or corrupt and/or racist reasons. There can be no honest disagreement.

Seeing Red said...

Now they use the IRS. The King's Revenooers to do it.

SGT Ted said...

The "pity party" crap for the most powerful man in the nation is reminiscent of Stalinist cults of personality.

Hagar said...

Furthermore, everything in this world is not about Republicans versus righteous Progressives.

Kind of like good breeding, there are also other things in life than sex!

Kirk Parker said...

CWJ,

Re: "What happened to the inspirational candidate of 2008..."

Yes, the disconnect between inspiration and competence, sure. But even setting that aside, the complete galloping megalomania about "this is the moment when ... our planet began to heal" ought to have been a clue that the speaker was grossly unfit to hold any office whatsoever.

Wesley said...

And poor Michelle, she must be soooo disappointed

Like when she had to separate him from the Danish Prime Minister and have him sit on her other side.

What real Man would actually allow his wife to sit between him, a head of state, and another head of government?

SGT Ted said...

"What happened to the inspirational candidate of 2008..."?

Turns out he was an empty suit, that's what happened.

Big Mike said...

Therefore any Republican who opposes the liberal agenda must be doing so for partisan and/or corrupt and/or racist reasons. There can be no honest disagreement.

And when reality does not jibe with his assumptions, then there must be something wrong with reality. Strange attitude to have, but very true.

jr565 said...

THe outgoing president gives the incoming president 3 envelopes numbered 1-3. He tells him, in times of crisis open the envelopes in order.
Sure enough the president quickly hits a rough patch and decides to open the first envelope. It read "Blame problem on your predecessor".
He does this and gets on with his governing.
Soon after the country is hitting another rough patch and his approval numbers are way down. He opens the second envelope which reads "Blame the economy". He does so and continues on.
Another year goes by and another disaster strikes. He opens the last envelope which says "Get three envelopes..."
The problem with Obama is that he keeps opening envelope number 1 over and over again. He and the dems think the buck never stops with him.
But it does. It's time to get your three envelopes mr president.

jr565 said...

"What happened to the inspirational candidate of 2008..."?

Nothing happened to him because he never existed. The Emperor has always been naked, and the dems finding inspiration were suffering from delusion.

I mean really. "We are the change we have been waiting for". Anyone who heard that and didn't run for the hills deserves to be hoodwinked.

jr565 said...

"What happened to the inspirational candidate of 2008..."?

Nothing happened to him because he never existed. The Emperor has always been naked, and the dems finding inspiration were suffering from delusion.

I mean really. "We are the change we have been waiting for". Anyone who heard that and didn't run for the hills deserves to be hoodwinked.

Illuninati said...

"Why not get off the mat and fight, shame politicians who refuse to consider good ideas by calling them out, and let voters know some Republicans are more concerned with being the darling of right-wing talk show hosts than with doing what is right for the nation?"

Juan Williams, bless his heart, gets paid to write articles like this. What else could he say?

jr565 said...

Kirk Parker wrote:
But even setting that aside, the complete galloping megalomania about "this is the moment when ... our planet began to heal" ought to have been a clue that the speaker was grossly unfit to hold any office whatsoever.


Yes, so true! The megalomania exhibited by the candidate himself is almost unprecedented. How often do you have a candidate saying that his candidacy will usher in the healing of the world? ANd his wife saying this is the first time she's ever been proud of this country.
I'm trying to think of another candidate who ever tooted his horn about his awesomeness so loudly. And I'm drawing a blank.

I hope there is at least one person who attended his rallies and was star struck who has the wherewithal and self reflection to ask him or herself "I fainted at an Obama rally for this?!?"

jacksonjay said...

Many high-minded Obama voters sincerely believe that all of our problems are because of white-males. Just electing a Black guy, or a woman or a lesbian or an Hispanic or a trans or a ???? with end all misery and suffering. "Well they can't do any worse!"

If said misery and suffering persists, must be those damn white guys fault! Institutionalized white guy power, or something! Hegemony! Inequality! Racism!

jr565 said...

jacksonjay wrote:
If said misery and suffering persists, must be those damn white guys fault! Institutionalized white guy power, or something! Hegemony! Inequality! Racism!

some of the most strident libs are in fact white guys railing against the evilness of white guys. Just not them of course. It's just those other white guys.

Hyphenated American said...

Hopefully, our next president is a republican, and he will be as nice as Obama, and use IRS to silence liberal groups and investigate his liberal enemies. Just like Obama did. Let's give Williams try his own medicine.

Birkel said...

"...“one man in a little boat lost in the endless sea”..."

Is Juan Williams trying to make an allusion to a woman's anatomy? Is he calling the president names?

Is he saying the president is acting like a girl?

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

An informative article.

The President
..complains he is inadequate for the job;
..is detatched from reality (expectation of governing without criticism);
..responds to criticism by with anger and withdrawal;
..denies the legitimacy of other people's beliefs.

Williams
..advocates favoratism and cronyism, "pulling federal aid" as proper behavior for a public servant;
..advocates anger as an appropriate first step for improving personal relationships.

Hey, Juan, the Dude's angry enough already, and it ain't helping him.

Kirk Parker said...

jr565,

Oh, I'll give Michelle the "first time I've ever been proud" line as a freebie; if she insists, I'll concur that she's that warped.

But what about her "Barack will not allow you to" diatribe? Now that was scary!

SBG said...

Based on basketball, golf, bowling and Opening Day pitch performances viewable on Youtube Obama is a poor athlete and one suspects bad boxer.

Michael K said...

Ailes made a mistake when he rescued Juan from the trash heap that the left, meaning NPR, tossed him when he got too close to saying Muslims aren't nice. What Juan is doing with his endless excuses for Obama is driving viewers like me away from Fox. I can't watch him with that earnest stupid expression on his face.

If Obama were a white president, Juan might be more level headed but he is so in the tank for Obama that nothing shows but his earnest, puzzled expression. I turn off Fox when he appears.

cubanbob said...

"Why not get off the mat and fight, shame politicians who refuse to consider good ideas by calling them out, and let voters know some Republicans are more concerned with being the darling of right-wing talk show hosts than with doing what is right for the nation?"

Juan Williams, bless his heart, gets paid to write articles like this. What else could he say?"

Hey Juan wake me up when Obama has his first good idea.