June 4, 2016

"Politicians get the most attention the more outrageous they sound. So if you’re civil and quiet and polite, nobody covers you. But if you say something crazy and rude you’re all over the news."

President Obama — answering a "town hall" question — talks about civility:



Sorry my tag for this is "civility bullshit" and I'm not changing it even though he doesn't really deserve it here. He didn't bring the subject up, and he gave a pretty balanced answer, not too much of the kind of answer that made me conclude long ago that political talk about civility is always bullshit (because it's always actually about wanting your opponents to tone it down and back off and never comes up when you're in the mood to get blunt and touch).

And I've got to admit that I found it damned pleasant to listen to Obama talking. What a break from the current cast of characters in the 2016 campaign. I even enjoyed the coffee cup.

54 comments:

rhhardin said...

Trump is getting attention not by being outrageous but by paralyzing the media PC spin of everything.

I do the same thing but get no attention because I don't affect the media. A couple of protective charges of misogyny and racism is the most I can get.

A counterexample to Obama.

Sebastian said...

"I've got to admit that I found it damned pleasant to listen to Obama talking." Appreciate the honesty, baffling though the sentiment is. But since we're not into civility here: WTF? And: OMFG.

Mark said...

I've got to admit that I found it damned pleasant to listen to Obama talking. What a break from the current cast of characters

ObamaSpeak has played a big part in the current style of political discourse with his never-ending stream of insults and slights and malice combined with infinite narcissism.

Lucien said...

This reminds one of what there was to like about Obama as a candidate. It's hard to imagine anyone else in politics giving an answer like that off the top of his or her head. It's not the startlingly erudite "I can't believe that sentence was extemporized and not carefully written & edited" statements that Glenn Loury makes every now and then (on Bloggingheads.tv), but Loury has been giving lectures for decades.

Bob Boyd said...

Obama plays the good cop and uses surrogates to play the bad cop.

Amadeus 48 said...

Althouse--watching Obama town halls so we don't have to.

I am glad to know that The Pretty Good Talker still can bring balm to your ears.

I think there is a download or CD out there with all of his best speeches. Is this a hint for an anniversary present? Meade, are you listening?

Fernandinande said...

Amadeus 48 said...
I think there is a download or CD out there with all of his best speeches.


Buncha speeches here: http://www.obamadownloads.com/

I've never listened to more than a few minutes of drivel from the mulatto shyster (e.g. the current video sounds like someone lecturing jr-high kiddies), so have no idea whether these are "his best" drivel or not.

Mary Beth said...

when you're in the mood to get blunt and touch

Are we talking about Biden now?

Michael K said...

The guy who said "Bring a gun to a knife fight."

And "Punch back twice as hard."

And "punishing our enemies."

traditionalguy said...

Trump is proved right again. We are getting tired of War Faced Trump winning all of the time. We were so used to losing gracefully all of the time under Obama's sweet Muslim smile.

Fred Drinkwater said...

"Punch back twice as hard"
Is that the same as "Redoubling your efforts"?

boycat said...

And I've got to admit that I found it damned pleasant to listen to Obama talking

This goes under the tag "Althouse trolls her own blog."

tim in vermont said...

Obama is likable enough, the problem is figuring out whether he is stupid, clueless, or mendacious when he says stuff like "if you like your plan..."

Miriam said...

"I've got to admit that I found it damned pleasant to listen to Obama talking."

Absolutely. Compare him to Trump. He will be missed. Clinton has learned from Obama, she sounds more Presidential daily, especially so after her Trump speech two days ago.

virgil xenophon said...

@tim in vermont/

Try all three..

exhelodrvr1 said...

The Chicago Way.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Tim: As many have said before, embrace the power of "and".

Hagar said...

So what about Mr. Obama's demeanor in his stump speeches?

For some reason he always makes me think of "Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous!"

tim in vermont said...

Hillary sounding presidential!

How many thousands of refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean just this past month due to Hillary's "presidential policies"? Due to the "shit show" in Libya? Oh, let's chance the subject, and if people can't get over the butt hurt of Hillary taking 100K from one of Arkansas's largest polluters, Tyson Chicken, by now! Well put some ice on it!

There is one candidate out of the three left who represents those who brought us the financial crisis, but let's talk about how smoothly she tells her lies! She is polished enough to be allowed to hang out with the billionaires, they have even adopted her and her hubby as people who stay bought!

Fred Drinkwater said...

I have always found Obama's speeches and conversation unlistenable. That constant dribble of condescension, schoolmarm hectoring, half-truths, and outright falsehoods, surrounding a core philosophy of governance so at odds with my own.
Trump and Clinton have their own problems in this area, but I'm too busy attending my elderly father-in-law right now to enumerate them.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Hagar: "Thinks too much" is not high on my list of thoughts when listening to Obama. From him I usually get the impression of a striving junior faculty member at a second-tier school. Amazing coincidence, right?

Fred Drinkwater said...

(Yes, my father in law decided to take a nap. So you all may be forced to read MY drivel now instead of reviewing our leader's speeches. Life is difficult...)

tim in vermont said...

'"Thinks too much" is not high on my list of thoughts when listening to Obama.'

My thought exactly, but I think he might indulge rumination as opposed to cogitation; nursing perceived injustices and plotting opportunities for 'revenge.' He may produce a lot of rationalizations, but few ratiocinations, is my take.

amielalune said...


You seem so sensible otherwise that it's very jarring when you throw in a comment such as you find it pleasant to listen to Obama. I can't bear to hear his voice myself, and have to mute or change the channel when he comes on as I fear for the safety of my television screen.

Hagar said...

Oh, no, Fred. Obama has thought and is thinking a lot. That does not mean he is gong to tell you or me or anyone else exactly what he has been thinking - and especially not when he gives a "serious" speech. I do think his speeches out on the stump, dropping his g's and flashing his incisors are more indicative of what he means to accomplish.

MayBee said...

Obama got a ton of coverage in 2008. A ton. Was he quiet and civil and polite or outrageous then?

R. Chatt said...

I recently saw an interview of Mitch McConnell by Katie Couric, discussing McConnell's new book, where McConnell explained that Obama was called "the professor" because he lectured people instead of engaging in conversation and that made Obama ineffective as a leader. I could see elements of that in this clip and can just imagine how infuriating that was to Senators.

buwaya puti said...

So I listened to part.
Much seems to be trying to spin the current economic situation.
And his economic record.
People complain about "lies" in politics, but in modern US politics this speech contains the biggest lies of recent times, objectively, if one considers the scale of the subject being lied about.

buwaya puti said...

I grant that Obama has a plausible air on camera, which was always his skill. I wonder though if he actually can respond to a question for which he was not previously briefed.

AprilApple said...

from the man who said "punch back twice as hard."

Achilles said...

"I don't want them punished with a baby."

"If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen."

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

One of my favorites, Obama's toast to the queen. The best part is he is looking down at his note card completely oblivious to how stupid he looks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNRXGRFJdDY

Yeah. Obama is an easy listen if you are being temporarily stupid.

David Begley said...

Barack does have a pleasant voice. A great smile. Coached by Denzel Washington on how to act like a President. A reasonable guy. Harvard Law School. The black JFK. Michelle even dresses like Jackie.

Unknown said...

"Trump defends criticism of judge with Mexican heritage"
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/03/politics/donald-trump-tapper-lead/

"CNN's Ana Navarro tears into Trump over criticism of Mexican-American judge"
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/03/politics/ana-navarro-donald-trump-mexican/

Crazy Donald's interview with Jake Tapper is a belter but even better is Ana Navarro's response (or rebuke). Both are going to be playing and playing on Hispanic media til Nov.

"Why Is Donald Trump So Angry at Judge Gonzalo Curiel?"
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/donald-trump-gonzalo-curiel/485636/

A good piece by the Atlantic which states that there are 3 separate legal cases against Crazy Donald going through the courts. The Cohen v Trump University case targets Trump against the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which federal prosecutors use to bring down mob bosses ie. Cohen alleges Trump University as a criminal enterprise headed by you know who.

No wonder Donald is ... well, going Crazy on the Judge.

Earnest Prole said...

I had the same reaction listening to this clip. Republicans may hate the man’s politics, but at least he projects a thoughtful dignity appropriate for the job, and I think we will soon come to miss that.

William Chadwick said...

Civil and polite and quiet statism. Who could possibly feel threatened by it?

M Jordan said...

Obama has certain gifts that he could have employed to truly help the country. He is articulate, his recent stuttering episode notwithstanding. He is pretty funny, at least when he's got good material. He is a low-drama person. He has a good mind.

But all these things have a dark edge and it's that edge that ruined his presidency. His articulation skills were used to demagogue. His wit was used to mock his opponents. His low-drama personality caused him to under-react to real threats like Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. And his good mind ... it prevents him from really digging into matters. He knows nothing about global warming but he argues about it as if he's the high priest.

It's a shame, really. He was truly poised to help mend some of the country's divide. Many conservatives were wooed by him. But he failed, IMHO, and failed miserably. He will leave this country in much worse shape than he inherited it, his pleas about the disaster he inherited notwithstanding.

buwaya puti said...

Obamas really important deficiency has nothing to do with his talents or lack thereof, but with his allegiances. His personal faults dont matter.
What matters is the side he is on, the tribal confederacy of the left and its allied powers. Whatever he has or has not done, himself, is as nothing beside that which his side has done, controlling the executive branch with him as figurehead.
It is very limited to see this all as being about one person or another.

coupe said...

I'm going off topic, but the Presidents (taped) speech the other day said "we've reduced the deficit 75%".

You know, people don't know this, but it's true. The President is leaving office with about the same deficit as he entered with. This is actually quite an accomplishment. I'd congratulate him if I could just stop laughing.

The problem is, there was 5 years of trillion dollar deficits. He's got that under 500 billion now.

Unless you run a surplus, that 6 or 7 trillion becomes your legacy, and "reduction by 75%" doesn't help future generations, who are paying 3 trillion a year just on the interest of the debt. We can't even pay a lousy $1 on the principle.

I'm trying to come up with a graphic for reducing something by 75%, but that something is still hemorrhaging 25% and is not quite the economics eschewed. Most are too vulgar for a Saturday...

damikesc said...

I'll note: Bush didn't have a policy of blasting his opponents.

Nor did his father.

Nor did Reagan.

Meanwhile, Clinton blamed OKC on Rush Limbaugh and Obama is forever showing those uppity whites that they are losers and the like.

mikee said...

Crazy and rude all over the news - that pretty much describes the last 8 years of Obama speaking in public.

cubanbob said...

@Unkown'
Civil fraud is one thing, treason and public corruption are another thing. When comparing horribles Hillary is still the bigger villain. You do understand the difference between having to pay a judgment award and having to go to prison?

cubanbob said...

@coupe the trick is how to cut federal spending by 501bn a year. Then the national debt will slowly reduce itself. I'm not holding my breath. I'm just hopping President Trumpy will lower my tax rates.

coupe said...

cubanbob said......the trick is how to cut federal spending by 501 bn a year.

I only know of one way that was successful: give the President a line item veto.

When the Republicans gave Clinton that power, he took it, and created a surplus.

Congress needs to partner with the court, and bring it back.

When a President draws a line through something, that's real power!

James Pawlak said...

Listening to Barrack Hussein Obama? It's OK if, and only if, you can digest a steady diet of lies.

For myself, I am tired of doing so. Now, I want only a simple "Yes" or "No" to the classical question, "Do you want a blindfold?". (The same applies to Mz. Clinton!)

Rhythm and Balls said...

Seriously. What an ignoramus that questioner is. What bullshit. It's the boringly dispassionate, supposedly perpetually undecideds in the middle who wreck this country by making all the idiotic and superficial decisions. Get passionate about something, stop fearing a contest or - FORBID - profanity! - or kindly get the fuck out of the way. This country doesn't need any more angels of idleness. Show me a crazy rabid Republican or a ridiculous lefty and at least I can understand what they're concerned about. People like this woman in the video just need to not vote. They ruin it for the rest of us, never watching the road, never reacting quickly enough to the road bumps and accidents, and steering calmly head-on into every one of this country's disasters all in the name of just wanting a nice, useless idiot at the helm. STOP VOTING IF THE ONLY THING YOU CARE ABOUT IS A KIND PERFORMANCE YOU'RE WRECKING THE COUNTRY AND MAKING THINGS WORSE NOT BETTER.

Rusty said...

I wanrt what ritmo is on. Just cut me before I statrt acting like ritmo.

Rhythm and Balls said...

I guess the fact that you've already decapitated yourself must not count as cutting, rusty knife.

Other than that, it's always nice to see you chime in, if only for the purpose of reminding everyone of what a little bitch you are.

narciso said...

actually no, clinton abused it, and the court took it away from him,

Saint Croix said...

political talk about civility is always bullshit (because it's always actually about wanting your opponents to tone it down and back off...)

The woman's question caused Obama to act civilly in the clip. It was a good talk, very polite and interesting, easy to listen to. See, you can do it, Obama! I liked that he brought up historical examples of partisan rhetoric.

It's still bullshit, of course, because Obama can be as partisan and ugly as anyone. If he was honest, he would give some examples of when he was uncivil and rude to his opponents. He never does that. He brings up evil shit that other Americans do. He goes to Hiroshima and apologizes for evil shit that other Americans do. That's his go to maneuver, to acknowledge the evil of other people and be the great uniter by apologizing for those barbaric Americans. "Oh, those crazy white people in the past, with their monkey insults, that's not me. I never do that. Everything I do is civilized and polite and nice." And then he starts saying nice things about Gwen Ifill and PBS, as opposed to that barbaric commercial television, and at that point I feel like I wandered into some Eloi scene from The Time Machine. Oh those Morlocks! Don't vote for them!

Michael Fitzgerald said...

President "get in their faces' Obama....okey-doke...

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Earnest Prole said... but at least he projects a thoughtful dignity appropriate for the job...6/4/16, 1:02 PM

"all wee-wee'd up", "okey-doke", "republicans want to serve you meanwiches and stinkburgers", "I just wanna know who's ass to kick".... LOL! "thoughtful dignity"... L-Fucking-O-fucking-L!

Rusty said...

Rhythm and Balls said...
I guess the fact that you've already decapitated yourself must not count as cutting, rusty knife.

Other than that, it's always nice to see you chime in, if only for the purpose of reminding everyone of what a little bitch you are.

Might want to add a little more mixer there champ. Slow it down a bit.

Pookie Number 2 said...

Obama got a ton of coverage in 2008. A ton. Was he quiet and civil and polite or outrageous then?

Nah, that was just the progressive, and therefore infinitely bigoted, media expressing its shock that an African American could speak in full sentences.

Bob Ellison said...

"I could probably make all the arguments for all the candidates." --Obama, in the video