Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Obama Schools Republicans

Republicans let cameras roll while Obama talked to their caucus last week.  Without the echo chamber they usually exist in, Obama schooled them.

From Sam Stein over at HuffPo:

Standing on a stage, looking down at his Republican questioners, Obama assumed the role of responsible adult to the GOP children, or, at the very least, of a college professor teaching and lecturing a room full of students

He chastised Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) for calling his economic agenda radical and poked fun at the GOP's own platform. "I am not an ideologue, I'm not," he said. "It doesn't make sense if somebody could tell me, 'You could do this cheaper and get increased results,' then I would say, 'Great.' The problem is, I couldn't find credible economists who could back up the claims that you just made."

He rebuked a questioner who insisted that the monthly deficit is higher now than Bush's annual deficit. "That's factually just not true," he said. "And you know it's not true." He lampooned Republican lawmakers seated in front of him for portraying his health care legislation as "some Bolshevik plot." He mocked Republicans for railing against the stimulus package and then showing up at "the ribbon-cuttings for some of these important projects in your communities." And he did it all while calling for "a tone of civility instead of slash and burn will be helpful."

Jon Stewart also has a great segment on it:




What I thought was most telling about this is how Fox news cut away from the proceedings.  Watching Obama be reasonable and calm, and calling the Republicans out on their ridiculus talking points by using facts and logic, it was simply too much for them.  Once again, they prove they are not a news channel, but the media arm of the Republican party.

33 comments:

PG said...

You are too kind to call Fox the media arm of the Republican party. They are much more insidious than that. Although Obama was brilliant at this event, which I was glad to have caught as it happened, I think the chances of any rebound of national unity in this country are so slim, I don't expect to see anything like it in my lifetime. There is too much deliberate denial and self-deception. Even the discussions that occur -- on blogs or on the TV "news" -- are much more entertainment than actual discourse. We need a radical upheaval of consciousness. We need a movement of awakening. Where is Jerry Garcia when we need him?

brownie said...

Jerry runs a purple-cream car wash in Ft Wayne, Indiana.

Fingtree said...

Rush Limbaugh swiped all of Jerry's pills and drugs, while at the same time cracking on him for substance abuse. Jerry then pulled a Ken Ley and disappeared and is now running the "purple cream car wash" in Fort Wayne that Brownie mentioned.
On a serious note on the subject: Obama kicked the Republican's asses and made them look silly and counterproductive. As ridiculous as politics are and have been since the inception of this psuedo Christian country, for the first time in my lifetime, a sitting President put it into an honest context of; "we should work together" and grow up past these silly reindeer games and go foreward. Unfortunately, all of the Republican types like Robert only heard what Charlie Brown hears when his teacher speaks: wah wah wah wah, self-righteous bastards.

Robert Sievers said...

How about less opinion, and some more facts. Here is the straight story about this president.

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1178/polarized-partisan-gap-in-obama-approval-historic

"For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades."

Dan S said...

Yeah, that tends to happen when someone's opponents lie about his religion, birthplace, and policies and also decide that hyper-partisanship is a better strategy for returning to power than providing ideas and leadership to the country's problems.

It also doesn't hurt when the president doesn't fight back much in an effort to remain bi-partisan.

It's an odd criticism coming from you Bob. I suppose if the president were to annouce a goal of fewer fires, you would then go about lighting as many fires as you can and then criticize him for failing.

PG said...

That poll only proves what the previous posters said: Republicans are unwilling and unable to concede any fraction. They lost and, like Rush, they want Obama to fail at any cost. I just saw on TV some tea party idiots carrying signs like "Obama: Go Back to Kenya and take your Commie Friends With You." It is amazing how your mind works, Robert. I shudder to imagine.

Robert Sievers said...

I am just posting statistical numbers that illustrating that Obama is the most divisive president in the modern era.

Of course you have to find someone else to blame. You have several more years of fighting cognitive dissonance.

PG said...

He's divisive. He's being attacked by Republicans. So, he's divisive. I get it.

PG said...

Just got a tweet from Rainn Wilson (Dwight on "The Office") quoting Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh: "In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change."

Samuel said...

Robert,
Pew's number's don't claim that Obama is the most divisive president of the modern era.
That's a logical fallacy.
1) As Pew notes, this is part of a historic trend. Obama isn't divisive, the country is more divided. His popularity corresponds to the more stark divisions between the parties.
2) the article says nothing about sample size-the number of Republicans and Democrats in this country is not static. I don't know what numbers this survey uses (I couldn't find cross tabs) but many pollsters have noticed that the Republican party got smaller and more radical over the past several years. Here's a Washington Post article concerned about this very problem. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/parsing-the-polls/21-percent.html For Obama, 22% approval from the most conservative 20% of the country is actually remarkably bipartisan. (your article is from April, I suspect his numbers have dropped another 10% or so from when this survey was taken).
3) I'm a democrat for three primary reasons: Universal Health Care is a no brainer for civilized countries, Global warming is a serious problem and there should be a carbon tax or cap-and-trade, and rich people pay too little in taxes. Is it any wonder that we are divided? Why is this Obama's fault?

Fingtree said...

Samuel; I have had to read your last comment multiple times, for I find it hard to believe that Robert would read what he wants to read out of an article like that.
I have surmised that you must be quite mistaken.

Samuel said...

So, in comparison to Obama engaging in adult dialogue about the problems facing our country, at the Tea Party convention, Sarah Palin wrote notes on her hand to remember to cut the budget and lift the American spirit.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stefan-sirucek/did-palin-use-crib-notes_b_452458.html

To think that the Republicans nominated someone for vice-president who was incapable of a high school level conversation about the country remains mind blowing.

Fingtree, thanks for the chuckle.

Robert Sievers said...

Ok, Samual, since you started down this road of pointing out how dumb people are, here is how ridiculously clueless Obama is:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/obama-mispronounces-corpsman-prayer-breakfast-corpse-man-2570232.html

Maybe the commander in chief should know what a corpsman is.

Oh, that's right, he's a genius. I am not supposed to mention his gaffes that make Dan Quayle look like a Harvard professor. Oops, I forgot, this is the place where free speech only exists for those who have the "approved" values, I forgot. Keep up the hope and change guys.

PG said...

Don't you mean the "hope-y, change-y" thing, as Ms. Palin put it so eloquently?

What ARE your values, Robert? As I recall, health care was a thumbs down and war in Iraq was a thumbs up.

Obviously, really, it doesn't take that much effort to HAVE to acknowledge that Obama is smart and Palin not-so-much.

Samuel said...

Robert,
fair enough. I take your point- Obama mispronounced it, and has said some silly things at other points. On this issue in particular, I think he rightly is open to criticism. I think that the slip of the tongue here probably speaks to his less than complete comfort with military language and institutions. It is a significant and legitimate critique of the commander-in-chief to point out that he is not fully comfortable with the culture of the military.
I think its probably overstating it to suggest he doesn't know what a corpsman is-I teased Bush for not knowing how to pronounce nuclear, but it was teasing-obviously he knows what the word means.
As someone who has often found himself grossly mispronouncing words that I've read but not often heard spoken, this is exactly the kind of thing that I would do if some country foolishly voted me president, and I would deservedly be pilloried for (look at the Mennonite, he hates the military) but would not comment fundamentally on my understanding of geopolitical issues. At some level, I think, its about what we want people in power to know. I don't expect my president to know everything, but I'd like them to be able to be comfortably conversant with the major issues of the day without prompting. I don't think Obama's a genius. He makes mistakes (cling to guns and religion anyone?) and I think he's made both ethical and political miscalculations this year. But he does seem to engage fully with both sides of argument and he can have an extended conversation with the Republican caucus and Fox News in a way that seems to represent what I feel are the best arguments for the liberal position. That makes me happy.

PG said...

I pray I can be more kind. Samuel, your calmness inspires me. I think I have PTSD again from the Iraq war and incredible, venal stupidity of so many people, bred from fear. I went through the same thing post-Vietnam. I tried not to listen to what Palin said to the tea-baggers over the weekend, but failed. Her foreign policy: "They lose, we win." She invoked God as a way to defeat Obama's policies, more or less. I just don't know how to cope with such attitudes of complete non-negotiation and hubris. The Republicans shutting down entirely, refusing any possibility of change, despite 47 million of their own constituents without health insurance, is anathema to me and to every understanding I have of Christian behavior. And yet these are the people who hold highest the banner of their Christian values. I really need to live in another country, any other country. Not that life or people might be better or wiser or smarter, but I do much better as an alien.

Robert Sievers said...

samual,

It is true that the electorate puts too much pressure on the president. On this we agree, and pointing out such slips does no good. I think we agree on that too.

pg,

Jesus' message is very clear. We are to help those around us in need. We are not to advocate others more wealthy than ourselves do so.

I don't know how simpler it could be. By all means, if He says otherwise, please show me in scripture.

PG said...

OK, I'll attempt to be kind about this. Go jump in a lake, Robert. I asked you and the other Robert for help with my medical needs and you ran away faster than little girls whose braids had been pulled. Your plan is no plan. Party of no. And hypocrites, too. All you think about is money.

Maybe if I get cancer, I can hold a bake sale.

PG said...

And refresh my memory on your opinion of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, too, while we're at it.

Could anything have been more illegal and immoral? Not according to Palin.

PG said...

Robert, have you seen the movie The Hurt Locker?

Robert Sievers said...

pg,

I can assure you that I make far less than you. You should be paying my medical bills. Actually, come to think of it, you soon will be.

My opinion on Iraq is quite mixed. I recoil at the "war is bad" crowd who simplistic view dismissed the sufferings of the Iraqi people under Hussain. However, from the beginning, I doubted whether the Iraqis could even handle a democracy. Since my perspective on the Iraqi efforts is that it is one more of reconstruction and not invasion, my opinion was based on the potential positive outcome of those living in Iraq. But just as the left oversimplified the "war is bad, bush is big oil" view, so too the right oversimplified the view that such a different culture would want a government not based on fear.

PG said...

I'm sure everyone is cringing that I keep blabbering and setting you up for another reply, Robert, since this same conversation has been going nowhere for months, if not years.

Your rationale against health care reform is still economic theory, regardless of how much money you make or have -- and I wouldn't be so sure you have less money than I do. I deliver newspapers, getting up at 1 a.m., for a living, these days. No health insurance with that.

You DO have health insurance, right? So it's a typical "I've got mine, too bad about you" attitude, plus lip service to Christian charity (as long as it is some OTHER Christians providing the charity).

War IS evil and the Iraq war IS particularly evil. You can't base your opinion on the war on reconstruction efforts, since Bush -- with the supposed good intentions you bestow upon the administration -- didn't expect he'd destroy the country. They thought we'd be welcomed as saviors (or so they claimed, if there weren't any oil interests in the back of anyone's mind) and Bush told Pat Robertson there wouldn't be any casualties. One woman planned to make a quilt for everyone who died. I'm sure she gave up on that project.

Tom Ricks said on Fresh Air last week that the American people have no idea how desperate and awful the war continues to be and was a travesty it is. He said we were not halfway through our involvement there.

PG said...

I suppose it's boring to still talk about Iraq. I'm not over it.

PG said...

Obama has increased the targeted killing of al-Qaida members (in Yemen and elsewhere), something he actually boasted of doing in the State of the Union. Some of those killed are even American citizens, convicted and killed without trial, according to Nat Hentoff's recent column. Obama has increased drone planes over Pakistan and Afghanistan, where civilians often die in the attacks. He has done more of this than Bush.

Bill Clinton oversaw hundreds of executions, if I'm not mistaken, when he was governor of Arkansas.

I protest these actions. I hold Obama and Clinton accountable and believe that such methods may seem to show short-term victories, but lose in the long run.

I haven't entirely drunk the Kool-Aid of Obama, Richard. He is a smart man. I trust his intentions more than those of Bush's crew, but intentions are not enough. We know where that road leads. I believe in the ultimate power of nonviolence and nonresistance and love, but I have to make do with the politicians who get elected, and I haven't seen too many running on platforms of nonviolence, nonresistance, and love.

Palin and the Republicans insist that Obama is weak on terror and mock him. That just further pushes them down on the evolutionary ladder as far as I'm concerned. They still think "we win, they lose" is a plan for peace. They demand more guns, more violence, more aggression in the guise of defense. I do not respect that as either Christian or effective.

Given as how there is six inches of snow on the unplowed 140 miles of rural roads where I deliver newspapers, I am home. I'm sure some of my Republican customers (and most are) will complain, unable to understand why they are not being given the privilege that is their due and why I have not delivered a newspaper to them. It is what always happens.

Fingtree said...

If the Government postal system was delivering those newspapers to those fine Republicans, it be there come rain, sleet, snow etc..
That good ole' dependable socialism

Dan S said...

Jesus' message is very clear. We are to help those around us in need. We are not to advocate others more wealthy than ourselves do so.

Bob, show me the Bible verse that says we are not to advocate others more wealthy than ourselves to help people.

You are not a medical doctor and you don't have much money, so the truth is, you can't help people with medical problems. Or rather, the only way you can help them is via support of public policy that would provide medical care to everyone. But you choose to advocate against that, because of an irrational fear of the government and blind faith in the market. When you stand in the way of medical care to others like this, you are worshiping the market, not doing God's will.

Robert Sievers said...

Dan,

I think I understand what you are trying to say. For example, prayer and reading the Bible are good, and so in your mind it is ok to have the government enforce a plan to bring that good to everyone, perhaps by prayer in school, or forced Bible readings at public ceremonies. I was unaware that you felt this way.

I am more of a separationist between church and state myself, but I am willing to listen to your arguments. My ears are open. Tell me why you think it is ok to force things on people they might not want for the public good, things such as health care and prayer.

PG said...

Insincerity. Disingenuousness. Sarcasm. Incongruity. These are not fruits of the Spirit, by my reading of the Bible. These elements do, to my mind, represent a certain selfishness, a denial, a refusal to relinquish control, and a discourse that only builds barriers to actual communication.

Fingtree said...

Robert; If Sarah Palin introduced a Universal health care plan, would you be on board?

Robert Sievers said...

No, I wouldn't.

I was unhappy with many of Bush's spending policies, and there were various points of McCain's policy stances that I wasn't too fond of either.

Dan S said...

Bob, until anyone suggests that medical care be adminstered by priests and imans, I'll assume your attempt to tie this to the seperation of church and state is a tacit admission that your talking points have ceased to make sense :)

Also, still waiting on that Bible verse...

Fingtree said...

Not buying it Robert; If Fox news dressed up Universal health care as Sarah Palin swine in lipstick, you would kiss it.

PG said...

I think this thread has run its course, but I have to add that I just saw Robert's picture on his Facebook page and he's really a way lot cuter than I expected, particularly in his tie-dyed T-shirt. I'm thinking about friending you, Robert. So look out!