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« Yesterday's Amusing Triumph of Conservatism | Main | Earnestness, Innocence and Hardball: Last Night's Rumble in S.C. »

January 21, 2008

Comments

barking up trees

except YOU forgot to mention that obama has been flirting with rightist talking pts for some time now, e.g., privatizing social security and medicare, and appearing onstage with a rightwing christianist gay-hate monger... so, as a progressive minded fellow, who also chafes at thought cops everywhere, i say strangling that flirty baby in the crib is the right thing to do...

flyerman

Obama was just trying to re-assure the extremely wealthy that he will not be doing anything to stop their continued theft from the rest of us. Clinton was just trying to re-assure the defense contractors who have given her so much money that she won't interfere with their war machine.
Taste's great or less filling?

Bearymore

You got me to listen to the Obama clip again and I have to say that you are dead wrong and Krugman hit the nail right on the head. If Obama had stopped at saying that Reagan had "changed the trajectory of America," you would be correct. However, he went on to say that the country was ready for a new path because of "the excesses of the '60s and '70s", "the government had grown and grown and grown", and "there was no sense of accountability", while Reagan offered "clarity, optimism, and dynamism." The obvious implication is that Reagan was correct in condemning the supposed growth of government, that policies of the '60s and '70s were excessive (Civil Rights act of '64, Medicare, the EPA, all excessive I guess), and that somehow Reagan was more accountable than his predecessor and opponent Mr. Carter. The very clear implication is that the problems were real and Reagan offered real solutions. That was my immediate reaction to the quote and, on seeing it again, remains my impression.

Obama certainly didn't say that Reagan "ingeniously...cultivated a national mood". He said that Reagan addressed an existing, real, and realistic national mood. Saying that Reagan "cultivated" a mood characterizes one thing -- Reagan the skilled demagogue, saying he assessed an existing mood and offered solutions is another -- Reagan the sage. Since Obama was trying to imply that he is a change agent in the mold of Reagan, I doubt he was trying to call Reagan a skilled demagogue.

What got to me, though, was the level of pandering. The statement was nothing if not a bald attempt to reach the so-called Reagan Democrats. I thought Obama was better than that.

Keith Blevins

I'm often in agreement with you, but on this one I'm with Dr. K. This statement by Obama was pure pandering to the "Reagan Democrats" and "Rockefeller Republicans". It is right in line with his "Unity-08" theme which is essentially assuring a gentler slope in our slide to full blown fascism.

Obama needs to run as a Democrat, not as Republican lite. I never thought I'd say this, but as of now I find Hillary more appealing as a nominee than Obama. (Still wish Edwards was viable though.)

Craig R. Lane

You: Wrong.
Krugman: Right.
It is so funny that you allegedly progressive columnists, and commentators, choose sides in an disagreement that is not yours. At the same time, you feel a need for name calling. So, Reagan, Mr. Fucking I can't remember Iran/Contra. Mr. Get Your Homeless Asses Out There And Get A Job. Mr. Tore down the Berlin Wall. Is now Mr. Successful President. Obama rationalizes this is true because of what he did for his party. If Obama thinks it sufficient to be a successful president by only addressing the needs of his party, he is wrong AGAIN. This country doesn't need that kind of president AGAIN. So far I, (and those like myself), have been called "un-hinged" by you, and Peter Michaelson and Bill Maher have labeled people such as myself as "crazy" for not being satisfied with our government allowing the murder of 3000 innocent civilians on 9/11, (OR OVER 1,000,000 in Iraq). You want proof? Then you have to come to Phoenix and let someone, that has spent the last 6 1/2 years trying to prove himself wrong, present his case. But no, why would I think that you would do that? Not when you can just call me nuts. So, I can just call you stupid. And why doesn't anybody get that we need to get out of Iraq TODAY? Not 3 years from now, or 3 days. Well us crazy fuckers are about ready to stop being called names any fucking day now. But not as ready as I am to never read your commentary again.

James Driscoll

You're wrong, P.M., old fellow! Obama has betrayed every principle of the Democratic Party, past and present, with his slobbering over the murderous, slimy, and grotesquely overblown so-caller Gipper. Go back to Reagan's first inaugural speech and you find nothing but lavish praise of - get this - Roosevelt(!), and no mention of Republicans at all.
He then went on to trash every element of the progressive Democratic programs that pulled this country out of the doldrums of the past - think Hoover - and prepared us for a war that was coming whether we were ready or not.
What I fear most, however, is the overt, probably intended, signal in Obama's campaign, aside from kissing far-right butts with his St. Reagan bullshit, that there will be no day of reckoning for the hundreds of transgressions and criminal acts of the Cheney/Dubya worse than Reagan years. Brave new world, indeed.

TahoeProgressive

Keith,
Edwards is a viable candidate. For now it doesn't look like he can win the nomination but if we, you, me and the others who like his message, cast our vote for him, his opinions on the important issues might be heard. Don't discount the power of a split in the nomination process.

SCHATSIE

The way this country is going, the only message that will matter in 5 months is jobs, jobs, jobs and out of Iraq NOW....

Alex

Well P.M. looks like the only people your article attracted in the comment section was unhinged, lefty thought policing Krugman clones! Good grief!!! Glad I'm not one of 'um!

PS. God forbid that anyone should think that some on the left are not like some on the right.

Keith Blevins

TahoeProgressive,

I have no intention of shifting my vote to either of the alternatives in the primary. Being in Oregon, I doubt that our May primary will be that important, but my plan is to vote for Edwards even if I have to write him in. And I will support the Democratic nominee in the general election without question.

I just fear that while the Democrats may be progressive enough to nominate Obama, the country is likely not progressive enough to elect him. And we simply cannot afford another GOP presidency for quite awhile.

Karl Rove is already playing on anti-black stereotypes by calling Obama lazy. If Obama gets the nomination things will get way ugly - although it will all be in dog-whistle code. Members of the Council of Conservative Citizens will have no problem interpreting. Nor will the suburban NASCAR dads who never shook off their childhood prejudices.

I wish things weren't this way, but I fear they are.

cygnusx1isahole

The stock market is closed today for the King Holiday. It looks like tomorrow when it reopens it might crash. So I don't have much time to reflect on what appears to be undigestible comments from a so-called Democratic Presidential candidate.

Economic catastrophe is approaching. The defense budget needs to be cut 25% IMMEDIATELY. Then cut again 25% in the short-term. The income tax level over $1 million dollars needs to be raised from 35% back to 90% where it once was. Hedge funds need to pay 35% in tax, not the 15% capital gains rate. Corporations need to start paying taxes again, not the 10% some pay (most pay none). They need to pay at least 40%. And the occupation of Iraq must be ended TODAY and ALL troops brought home (saving 6 billion $$ a month). If all these changes are enacted IMMEDIATELY we MAY have a chance to avoid total financial collapse.

The fact that Barack is talking about Regan is frightening indeed. The fact that he isn't sounding 5 alarm bells about the economic tsunami approaching our shores is MUCH MORE frightening.

phatkhat

Paul Krugman for President! He, at least, gets it.

Marc McDonald

I wonder if ANY Republican would EVER have any kind words to say about the Clintons.

No, they're too busy viciously attacking Bill and Hillary and making up lies and bullsh*t about them: "Bill Clinton is a rapist," "Bill Clinton is a scumbag," "Bill Clinton conspired to murder Vince Foster", "Bill Clinton conspired to murder Ron Brown" etc. etc.

But this seems to be the way the political game is played these days. The GOP viciously attacks the Dems and the wimpy Dems meekly accept it, and don't even bother to fight back. And then the Dems turn around and have kind words to say about Reagan.

Marc McDonald
BeggarsCanBeChoosers.com

Kimberly

I agree with Krugman, also. I'm sick of Obama's thinly veiled nods to the right on so many issues, including his stance on ss, and "bipartisanship" - or bending further to the right to appease their rock solid stance on virtually everything.

mickeyg

My face contorts when I think I have to vote for either Hillary or Obama.
Most of the intelligent bloggers on these sites seem to all want Edwards. WTF happened??? Well, I'm still going to get petitions signed to get him on the ballot in Pa. Home Depot, Wallmart, etc., be advised I cannot be bought, like maybe some union leaders, unless you want to give me some of your millions! (everyone has their price)....if John is not our candidate,I guess we'll all have to hold our nose & vote.

beamer

i agree with most comments and EDWARDS for prez..p.m. you are perhaps enthralled w/ the seinfield metaphor?...

travelbeagle

I too think that the majority of the contributors to comments on many sites seem to prefer Edwards. I will not pay attention to MSM and vote for one of the two candidates they are espousing. Edwards all the way.

Zee

Another stinker, pm! Maybe you'd better put down the Buzzflash koolaid and walk away. There's no saving BF from his man-crush on Obama after that barbershop interview, but you could rethink this. If anything, Krugman's expose was not harsh enough. Uncle Obama perpetuated the Reagan myth...and what were those "excesses" of the 60's and 70's that Reagan was campaigning against? Does the kickoff of his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi where the KKK murdered the civil rights workers give you any clue? Obama has to be aware of this, which makes his cynical pandering even more horrific. And just as Reagan had his Southern Strategy, Obama must be counting on his youth cult following to not know any of this (or to willfully ignore it and defend their hero as so much smarter than the people who "misinterpret" his words)...so his strategy could be called the Dumbed-down Youth Strategy. In other words, contempt for progressives is an important element in his pandering and his veiled-Liberdem campaign. His praise of Reagan in not a one-time thing, and let's not forget he endorsed Lieberman over Lamont...if you're a true progressive a fake Dem like Obama fawning over Reagan and Lieberman *should* make you "unhinged." It's sickening.

Clemsy

Gotta say, PM, I think you got it wrong this time. I understand what Obama was saying, but his comment needed to be followed by a very big BUT, as in, "I think he tapped into what people were already feeling. Which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing. BUT his rhetoric had no substance given the failure of his economic policies, the damge he did to the middle class and America's reputation around the worls. Reminds me of someone currently in the White House."

The middle class has been squeezed for 30 years now and it is profoundly time to unregulated free market capitolism in a cage. The economy of the world is riding the swirl because of it.

clemsy

Sorry for the typos! Place a 'put' before unregulated.

rhubbard

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that "your guy" can't get it wrong, lest you get it wrong, yourself. Obama has been a disappointment as a candidate, even though he is still the pick of the crop. he has failed to champion economic justice, support and development of labor unions, the dismantelment of the imperial presidency, or a myriad of other truly progressive issues. his praise of reaganomics is typical of the campaigns of this era. a great loss to us all.

LeeAnnG

Oh. My. God. Do I ever get tired of the term "politically correct." I wonder if most or even any of the users of this tired phrase actually have a clue what it means. It has so many different connotations for different people it finally means nothing at all.

People love to say "I know it's not politically correct" when they mean "I know this is really and truly insulting to someone, but I'm going to say it anyhow." And suddently, being "politically correct" sounds more offensive than actually being offensive.

By painting the lefts' criticism of Obama as excessive "politically correctness," it becomes a greater "sin" than Obama's pandering to the right. (As to which I absolutely agree with Krugman's assessment.)

I even read recently in a Card Player magazine article that being "politically correct" is a form of prejudice in which everyone has to be the same. It was referring to the notion that there are those who believe women are just like men at the poker table, and that this is forcing everyone into a mold.

In fact, "politically correct" is about ensuring that each and every person is accepted as an individual. No boxes; no gender, racial, ethnic, or political stereotypes or slurs; no preconcieved notions of how certain groups will behave or react. It means not using terms like "balls" to mean positive traits and "pussy" to mean negative traits. It means not assuming that someone can or cannot be a good leader due to race or gender. It means keeping an open mind concerning other people's political, social, and religous affiliations. To do less is offensive and insulting. When someone uses the boogeyman of "political correctness" to support an argument against fairness, equality, or progressive ideas - or simply to insult someone with impunity, it sets the stage for bogus premises. Calling someone too "politically correct" puts that person immediately in a bad light and makes whatever he or she has to say subject to skepticism.

I expect better of p m Carpenter, whose views and comments I usually enjoy.

LeeAnnG

Oh. My. God. Do I ever get tired of the term "politically correct." I wonder if most or even any of the users of this tired phrase actually have a clue what it means. It has so many different connotations for different people it finally means nothing at all.

People love to say "I know it's not politically correct" when they mean "I know this is really and truly insulting to someone, but I'm going to say it anyhow." And suddently, being "politically correct" sounds more offensive than actually being offensive.

By painting the lefts' criticism of Obama as excessive "politically correctness," it becomes a greater "sin" than Obama's pandering to the right. (As to which I absolutely agree with Krugman's assessment.)

I even read recently in a Card Player magazine article that being "politically correct" is a form of prejudice in which everyone has to be the same. It was referring to the notion that there are those who believe women are just like men at the poker table, and that this is forcing everyone into a mold.

In fact, "politically correct" is about ensuring that each and every person is accepted as an individual. No boxes; no gender, racial, ethnic, or political stereotypes or slurs; no preconcieved notions of how certain groups will behave or react. It means not using terms like "balls" to mean positive traits and "pussy" to mean negative traits. It means not assuming that someone can or cannot be a good leader due to race or gender. It means keeping an open mind concerning other people's political, social, and religous affiliations. To do less is offensive and insulting. When someone uses the boogeyman of "political correctness" to support an argument against fairness, equality, or progressive ideas - or simply to insult someone with impunity, it sets the stage for bogus premises. Calling someone too "politically correct" puts that person immediately in a bad light and makes whatever he or she has to say subject to skepticism.

I expect better of p m Carpenter, whose views and comments I usually enjoy.

PG Bowden

I actually agree with your premiss the liberals can be (and often are) as dogmatic as conservatives, but i don't think Krugman's piece is evidence of it. Narratives are indeed important, and while a democrat may state the historical fact that Reagan was a transformative president with real ideas, he damn better well state whether or not he thinks the ideas were good or bad and why. Obana did not, as he cynically curried favor with the conservative editorial board with whom he was speaking and sent out a dog-whistle to disaffected republicans that they need not fear him and may in fact seek solice in his candidacy; smart general election politics, perhaps, but not in the democratic primaries. Democrats who point these things out are not necessarily employing political correctness, but instead, are using their god-given gift of thought. P.M., I'm a tad surpeised at this line of reasoning from you.

Mo

I volunteer for Obama's campaign but I'm disappointed that he said that. It seems to feed into the "conventional wisdom" that Reagan was a great president who did great things for the economy and singlehandedly brought down the Soviet Union. I have a hard time discussing Reagan's faults with others because they hear over and over again about how great Reagan was from the media and many politicians so I must be wrong since I have a different opinion. It's time the truth came out about Reagan instead of these myths.

DonnaM

I agree with the overwhelming bulk of the commenters, here - PM is clearly showing his bias in favor of Obama, and cannot see this straight. I lived through the Reagan era - heck, I even voted for Reagan once (the first time). But I learned how mistaken I was about him, how wrong I was to believe his moderate platform in his initial campaign. For Obama to bring up Reagan as a good example of a President is positively loathsome, and clearly a pander to the right. Anyone who lived through that era as an adult (and who is honest with themselves) must admit that Reagan destroyed the previously-existing progressive student loan program, eviscerated FDR's gains for the working class, and basically initiated the mean-spirited, greedy era of "me-me-me-ism" that we have been living with for the past several decades! And BTW, I am NOT even a Democrat! I was raised by Republicans, and have always been an independent. I have been swinging farther and farther left over the past decade or so (actually, I've largely stayed put - it's politics that have swung right, thanks to Reagan's successful demagoguery, and the continuance of that strategy by Republicans) because I can see the Fascist writing on the wall. Obama praising Reagan is just a signal to right-wingers and rich, greedy Republicans that they have nothing to fear from him - he won't upset their apple-cart! To send out these kinds of signals during a Democratic Primary Campaign is positively insulting to all Democrats (and progressive independents) who really understand the Reagan Era!!!!!!! PM, you've lost your objectivity where Obama is concerned - rethink it, please!

jurassicpork

I surprise it's just a coincidence that Obama said this to a right wing journalist working for a right wing Vegas rag?

I know Obama said very much the same thing in the first chapter of AUDACITY OF HOPE but it's telling that he'd never bothered repeating that assertion until he tried currying favor from a right wing Las Vegas rag.

And why not take the opportunity to denounce Reagan's now historically-obvious devastation to the economy with his supply-side, trickle down economics?

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