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WaPo's Sally Quinn calls Barack Obama "Boy"

In the nicest possible way, of course.

But she certainly lets Barack know that he's going to be dealing with His Betters if he ever makes it up to the big house. Quinn doesn't work nearly as fast as Modo, and she only slips in the shiv ten paragraphs down. The money quote:

The biggest problem that Obama has is this: We don't know who he is. Who are his people? Whom does he surround himself with? Whom does he listen to? Who gives him advice? He's so new to the national political scene that he hasn't had time to choose the team that would be with him in the White House. The more we see him in action, he's still just campaigning. He still has the quality of an unknown. And as attractive and likable as Obama is, we still need references.

What you mean "we," Sally? Or is another bootlicker in Versailles on the Potomac presuming to speak for the American people again?

The guy's a United States Senator, and you don't know "Who he is?" WTF? I keep being told that D.C. is really a small town; doesn't everybody know each other in a small town?

There's a history here, of course; Ben Bradley's wife is a fully paid-up member of the Beltway Aristrocracy and wrote the famous piece explaining how those vulgar enough to be actually elected need to comport themselves in the presence of Their Betters back in 1998:

"This beautiful capital," President Clinton said in his first inaugural address, "is often a place of intrigue and calculation. Powerful people maneuver for position and worry endlessly about who is in and who is out, who is up and who is down, forgetting those people whose toil and sweat sends us here and pays our way." With that, the new president sent a clear challenge to an already suspicious Washington Establishment.

They can't handle the truth. Then or now.

Actually, it wasn't extraordinary. When Establishment Washingtonians of all persuasions gather to support their own, they are not unlike any other small community in the country.

But this particular community happens to be in the nation's capital. And the people in it are the so-called Beltway Insiders -- the high-level members of Congress, policymakers, lawyers, military brass, diplomats and journalists who have a proprietary interest in Washington and identify with it.

"Proprietary interest" is rich, isn't it?

They call the capital city their "town."

Not our town, note well.

"[Clinton] came in here and he trashed the place," says Washington Post columnist David Broder, "and it's not his place."

No, it wasn't, was it? And not ours either. What we have in the Beltway is a permanent ruling class that's gradually morphing into an aristocracy to support a government that's rapidly changing into an authoritarian regime.

This column from Quinn is a warning shot to Obama. The message is two-fold: (1) We own Washington, not you, and (2) when you get elected, give us control of your administration if you know what's good for you.

Of course, these people are always wrong about everything (except getting big bucks to write drivel and go on TV).

So it's an excellent sign for Barack that Quinn is taking shots at him now. In fact, it's the best reason I've heard to vote for the man.

NOTE Via Kevin Drum who gives Quinn far more credit for intellectual honesty than she deserves.

UPDATE See also TPM's Reed Hundt, who got the same vibe I did.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

It has always been and will always be about class, rich vs. poor. The playing of the race card is an attempt to disguise the real issue which is 'the cruelty of class'. It is to be hoped that greed will be the downfall of the ruling class.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Sorry, I love Obama and want to see him as a leader but I agree with Quinn. We need to know more.

Submitted by lambert on

"Leaders" are for the kind of people who read executive self-help books in airport lounges--or for authoritarians who believe in fuhrerprinzip.

We don't vote for leaders, we vote for Presidents.

Yes, I agree that "we need to know more," as citizens, but if you think that's really what Quinn is saying, read the column carefully and think about your contemporary history.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Ms. Quinn, Mr. Broder and their ilk are champions of nonsense and wasted
ink. Their attempts to define others positions in the government seem to be
rooted in their belief that these people need direction to achieve respect.
Ms. Dowd in the NYT has the same disease. These twits forget that the voters choose the winners. Mr. Clinton will never be forgiven for having
his own ideas and popularity.

Tinfoil Hat Boy's picture
Submitted by Tinfoil Hat Boy on

I stand by it.

Go read about his record in the Illinois legislature, then come back and tell me you still don't know enough.

Why do I feel like Sally knew enough about Bush without researching a damn thing about what a horrible fuckup he had been his whole life? Did she pour over his National Guard records? Read about his dealings with Arbusto? Harken? Wonder about the 152 people executed during his governorship? Question on any level the company he was keeping (with the likes of Rove, Karen Hughes, etal)?

"The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention." - Molly Ivins

References? WTF???? Seems nobody was really interested in Dubya's "references" oh, say, 7 YEARS AGO. Oh, that's right. His "references" were being an AWOL coward, being a drunk (DUI arrest) and blowing coke & whatever business deals his daddy bought for him.
Oh, nevermind. I guess Dubya's "references" were, after all, EXACTLY what Quinn wanted.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Country gal - references and bios are good and should be expected for each presidential candidate. A tirade against Bush doesn't change the fact that we need to know A LOT about who runs for president. Especially after Bush!

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

To quote from the article:

The doubts about Obama in this country are usually twofold: He's too young and he doesn't have the necessary experience. People tend to forget that in fact, if Obama were elected next year, he would be older than Teddy Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton were when they became president.

As for the inexperience, who has ever had more experience in government than Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld?

She concludes:

You can talk about age or experience or race, but in the end a president is only as good as the people around him or her. A president can't be all things to all people and can't be an expert in everything. Obama may well be the most authentic candidate in years. But what will matter more for him than for other candidates, because of his youth and inexperience, is the expertise, wisdom and decency of the administration he puts together.

Whether you see him as black, white or opaque, Obama will be the face of America. But so will be his team. It's time for him to show us who would represent him, and therefore us, to the world.

Quinn is specifically noting that Obama doesn't have a high-profile, well-known policy team. She isn't talking about his legislative record. She isn't applying a different standard than the press did to Bush in his first run (I'm not sure what Quinn said about Bush in realtime, but the press approach was generally to apply exactly the same standard to Bush as she is applying to Obama - Bush needed to find advisors that gave him gravitas).

Perhaps these are values unique to the beltway establishment, although I would think the average voter would care who a candidate's advisors are. To the extent they are beltway values, they aren't artifical or destructive.

I fail to see the problem. I think some bloggers get so livid when they come across an article in the establishment media they can't read in context anymore.

The first few paragraphs are more troubling. She asserts, without any evidence, that Obama's popularity may be due to his race, paradoxically in allowing people to forget about his race (except that they are aware they are forgetting about his race). It doesn't make much sense, and it's patronizing to his supporters and disrespectful of Obama himself.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

"proprietary interest"?????????????????????
Seriously, WTF??????????

Tinfoil Hat Boy's picture
Submitted by Tinfoil Hat Boy on

In Detroit he Criticizes Automakers on Fuel Economy. Don't mean to be pimping the big orange machine, but there you go.

Sad that calling for stricter fuel standards in Detroit should be cause for applause. But there you go.

"The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention." - Molly Ivins

Apparently Ms Quinn would not have cared for Lincoln when he ran for President in 1860. Abe was a lot less well known in Washington than Barack is in 2007. Lincoln had served one two-year term in the House of Representatives, a term that was not particularly distinguished. Barack Obama has written a number of books explaining who he is. Lincoln was well known in Illinois and perhaps in legal circles but had not written widely read books.

Many of Lincoln's opponents in 1860 were much better known than he was. I dare anyone to claim that Abraham Lincoln was not qualified to be President because the Washington insiders did not know him well enough.

I would be happy to vote for either the first woman or the first Black president before I would vote for any of the Republican candidates. And I am a middle-aged, white male WASP.