If you have "no place to go," come here!

"Serious people" defense narratives needed

vastleft's picture

With Obama's brand flagging, it will be necessary for his former supporters, soon-to-be-former supporters, and retroactive non-supporters to have bushels of reasons why they shouldn't credit Obama's skeptics -- and critics of the process that made him POTUS -- with getting it right.

For starters, there's, of course, "Hillary / McCain would have been even worse."

What else you got to help keep the unacceptable sting, crow-eating, and learning at bay?

No votes yet


dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

"Say hello to President Palin"

"What would YOU have him do?"

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

They're trying to suddenly position themselves as Obama's savvy and timely critics. They just don't want anyone who was two-years-plus ahead to seize their savvy birthright. No doubt they'll succeed, just like no one to this day gives the DFHs or the French any credit for getting the Iraq War right.

scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

I have thought about your question before. There are no rebuttals to their blind defense of Obama. Nothing outside will change their feelings. And that's what it is, feelings.

I say this by judging my own epiphany and willingness to say that I was wrong.

Just 3 years ago I simplistically thought that Republicans were evil. Truly evil. I decided my business partner was a racist and my father in law was a selfish man.

Democrats were good to the core. And while they didn't do everything I wanted them to, it was because of the evil Republicans and idiot red staters. I was emotionally invested in that narrative. I read Lakoff's "Moral Politics" because I was so troubled by the thought that someone could even be a Republican. I totally got off on my inherent desire to be good and nuturing (Lakoff's description).

I think most people that read this blog organized politics similarly and experienced a complete and disorienting disruption during the primaries. The debate became a nasty, hateful onslaught from Obama supporters and the media. Our own tribe turned on us. Because of this, I no longer looked at my own tribe the same way. (confession - I am irrationally tied to Hillary and against Obama...I know this and try not to feed it or rebuild my own political perspective from this toxic pool).

My point is that Obama fans will only make a substantial break from the Obama tribe by having other members attack them when they express doubt. In time, perhaps they will be able to listen to opinions from what they once considered the enemy (Hillary supporters).

I wouldn't wait or hope for it though. My impulse is to jump in and argue but I find it less stressful to just say nothing. I don't need them to change their opinions anymore. Better for all of us to just let their words hang in the air.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I think there's another big -- and very well-placed -- contingent that's wired quite differently. The career "progressives" and their sycophants.

Being playas, Serious People, and Creative Class members in good standing is what motivates them, and riding the Obama train and not bucking the system mattered more to them than any policy goals.

Ian Welsh often makes the point that the big shots weren't fooled, they just knew their bread wouldn't be buttered if they dropped a dime on Obama. Hanging those who knew better out to dry -- and condemning the party and country to the bad process and outcome -- were of little concern to them.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

It's hard to remember, even though I have a son, that other people haven't lived through the same things I have - that they have lived through a different set of experiences. I need to be woken up to that even though I kind of know it, abstractly.

I love to hear how people have thought and changed their thinking over time.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Thank you, scoutt.

Now, if only we could get people to give up their cult memberships FASTER. We are sooooo running out of time. Just ask the people of the Gulf Coast, and the wildlife, if it could speak.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

if you don't appreciate everything Obama is doing for you. In fact, He is dying inside for your sins. He would do more, but you aren't letting him.

Whoa! Psych!

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Now, we're heading into the phase where they don't want to defend Obama. They just don't want anyone getting away with looking back.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I agree what you say is part of it

I jjust think we are now entering the "Well, what could he have done? It was IMPOSSIBLE!" phase, rather than the "He is trying everything he can, it is hard work" phase. There is a difference, because while they can admit he is a failure (for any of a host of reasons for why it was impossible for him to succeed), it still let's them off the hook, because it still assumes he was "the best" choice and in fact a "great" choice. Obama couldn't fail, he could only be failed, and he was. We let him down.

So now they can look forward by looking backward, as in "Tell us someone who could have been better!". The beauty of that construction is that no matter who you mention they can give a reason why that would not have worked, leaving only their brilliance.

Admittedly, this is only one of many self-justifying mechanisms that will be employed.

Submitted by jawbone on

to get around having to explain things to people, but had not realized he'd used the "it's complicated" evasion about so many issues. Yikes.

Stewart tied so many important issues together for the audience, which seemed to really get it. IIRC, Stewart's demo is pretty much what Obama younger demo was (still is in lower numbers)? Gonna be a big "uh oh" time ahead, Mr. President.

It's complicated. It's difficult. Well, as I tell myself, if I can't explain something in my own words, I don't understand it. I may be in the early stages of beginning to comprehend the idea, but I'm not there yet.

That's our prez??? And he uses others' words to give explanations, but "it's difficutl" when on his own? Just words? Yep, just words.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Obama fancies himself a poker player, and should know that if you have to ask who the mark is....

I take your point about Jon Stewart, and maybe "Serious" people are getting to the point of admitting that their left [insert respective genitalia part] could have done a better job (at whatever) than Obama, but that doesn't stop them from saying their left [insert respective genitalia part] wouldn't have done a better job than whoever else you would have wanted.

But who gives a shit what "Serious" people want or say anyway? They just view Obama as a less than competent vehicle to effect the neo-liberal Creative Class venture. And maybe that's my point. Obama is a symptom, not the illness. The illness is found in the soulless bastards who are running the neo-liberal "progressive" corporate agenda.

So (for a certain subset) it may be it isn't that "Obama couldn't fail, he was failed", maybe it is more that "The "progressive" creative class can't fail, it can only be failed", and in this case, it was failed by Obama.

Don't worry though, they aren't going to be supporting universal health care, or unionism, or ending wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iran any time soon.

three wickets's picture
Submitted by three wickets on

We thought we were voting for peace and post racial goodness..but then the economy could we have known.

Anyhoo, Independents are skewing heavily right for 2012. A vote for a Ron Paul Libertarian in the next general will be a Republican carve out vote for Obama. A vote for a Naderite Green will be a Democratic carve out vote for the Republican nominee. No doubt Obama's campaign machine understands this and will be happier to see the Randites flourish ahead of the Naderites. The feckless progressives in the meantime could put some pressure on Obama to come left, especially on basic economic issues..but then again, the economy was never their specialty.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

"Obama promised bi-partisanship, but he didn't give it to us." I've already seen this one in US News, so I'll bet it's the way they're going to go.

As we know, what's wrong with America is that the two Parties, which are supposed to represent opposite viewpoints, do not agree with each other enough.


MoveThatBus's picture
Submitted by MoveThatBus on

They heard the buzz after the 2004 convention speech and started dreaming. Obama and his Chicago political style was just what they needed from the Dems. He would give them everything they wanted, and they could blame the Democrats with little room to argue in defense. They guy could be bought, had no conscience over cheating to win, and loved the limelight.

They couldn't have gotten more.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

not being conservative enough, which paints every reactionary policy of his as the extreme of leftwing excess. A very sweet deal.

Submitted by gob on

It's all part of the Great Spirit's plan.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

In 2004, when Big0 gave the speech at the Democratic Convention (?) that gave him national name recognition, I was very impressed. When the 2008 campaign started (in 2006, wasn't it?), I thought we had three good candidates. Then I started looking more closely.

Big0 was pro-coal, pro-nuke, anti-impeachment "except for serious crimes" (Wow. I mean, just, Wow.) etc., etc., etc. Info about how he handled state health insurance votes in Illinois (which exactly mirrored what he did later for the country), and about how he "won" his first election against Alice (last name??) -- that was all out there in late 2007.

Hillary showed astonishing ability both to think on her feet and to keep cool in the debates. There were no new scandals the Repugs could dig up on her.

Seemed like an open and shut case. And then the sexism started.

I literally could not believe it. This was my side, behaving like pieces of absolute snot. It took about six months, during which I felt sick, for them to cease to be my side.

It's not only an intellectual exercise to abandon the people you thought you were fighting with. The betrayal I felt has calcified now, but it's still there, a knot of fury and resentment that's not good.

Some people chose the other path: instead of pain and the knowledge of betrayal, they edited reality. Which, like it always does, is now coming back to bite them.

I guess the point to this long rambling comment is that realizing they made the wrong choice involves a lot more than just the shame of having been dumb, which is bad enough all by itself. There's also the betrayal, and the loss of good feelings towards practically everyone they used to have faith in. Trying to heal the hopium is a bigger job than just pointing out what's real.

And I don't think our group is big enough, or snotty enough, to make any kind of replacement for them.

Submitted by lambert on

If you take polling that says 13% of Americans think that HCR isn't liberal enough, that's a good proxy for the size of our group -- and assume bias toward the right, so we're a bit bigger. That makes us about the size of the tea partiers.

Who get all the coverage. Both from our famously free press and the access bloggers, oddly. Or not.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Bush, Cheney, & Co. The thought that anyone could think that crew had committed nothing more than minor peccadilloes did, and still does, just blow me away.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Bush never got a blow job in the Oval Office from a woman who wasn't his wife. As we know, lying about adultery is now the only acceptable metric for impeachment.