Obama: One Year On

Media Matters samples various “conservative” tropes from the past year.

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” — Edmund Burke.

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49 Comments

Filed under Media Bias, Obama Administration, Right-Wing Haters

49 responses to “Obama: One Year On

  1. Feyenoord

    Media Matters is upset that Fox doesn’t toe the left wing line of MSNBC, CNN,PBS, ABC,CBS,NBC,NYT,WP,LAT…….etc.

    How dare the American people be exposed to a more conservative view.

    Thank God for Fox, talk radio,and the Internet.

    Media Matters did not exist 20 years ago because the left had near total media control. Anything less then that irritates them to no end.

  2. The hystrionics coming from the hard right in the U.S. is beyond hypocritical. All the talk about “fascism” under Obama and so on is so much fear-mongering..

    I think he’s paying a price for not being genuine, and for not working to honestly deliver a more responsible government, to borrow a phrase “of the people by the people and for the people”.

    That being said.. the Republican party has pissed upon the constitituion of the United States under every Republican President since and including Nixon.. so this bombast about how “dangerous” Barack Obama is coming from these talking heads is pretty rich, considering:

    – Richard Nixon advocating criminal interference with the Democratic party in the Watergate break-in;

    – Ronald Reagan either being complicit or at least being wilfully ignorant of the actions of his Vice President, George Bush, Sr., and senior military persons including Oliver North, in ignoring the will of the people and in selling weapons to Iran (ironically enough) to obtain cash to fund Nicaraguan guerilla fighters

    – George H. Bush, then, no suprise, providing a pardon to all of those who so clearly breached their duty to the American people and who were properly convicted of those crimes, including Caspar Wienberger;

    – George W. Bush so clearly misleading the American people in pushing America into a war in Iraq where there was no demonstrated evidence of either WMD or Al Qaeda operations in that country.. then leading to wide-spread abandonment of rights of judicially supervised search and seizure and civil liberties to enhance his so-called “war on terror”.

    So.

    Those of us who still consider ourselves “conservatives” should be very wary of where we align ourselves relative to these either ignorant or, worse, dishonest talking heads.

  3. What about Senator-elect Scott Brown pimping-out his Daughters in his Victory Speech?

  4. Ti-Guy

    Anything less then that irritates them to no end.

    Less than that, you illiterate cretin.

  5. billg

    Pimping out his daughter? WTF?? I’ve never understood bitching and moaning over the results of an election. I have no idea why people vote for who they vote for, but, they do and you either respect the results of Democracy or find another hobby. I have no clue why Heddy Fry is a lock every election, and, I would assume the left find it mind boggling why Cheryl Gallant is a shoe in for the next 50 years if she likes…maybe they do a good job for their constituants and actually represent them, there’s a novelty.

  6. billg.

    Bang-on.

    That sort of hyper-partisan bullshit is pretty typical. Who knows if this Brown guy will turn out to be as “real” as he’s suggesting, but his speech was, imho, the speech of someone shocked and surprised and very proud to have his beautiful daughters there by his side.

    This “pimping out his daughter” or “using his daughter” garbage is just that.

    Meanwhile, however, the partisan hacks do what they do.. the dem supporters attack the result as a campaign of homophobia and bigotry (ignoring the rank stupidity of their own candidate and the falling popularity of their President) and the rep supporters all drooling overthemselves over how this is a “mandate” for a return to “traditional values”, whatever the fuck that means.

    The message is, the people in power are screwing us. This guy is new, we’ll give him a chance. And if he doesn’t do better, we’ll elect a democrat NEXT time around.

  7. I cannot be partisan to anything in foreign politics. As a Canadian I care not for the obscene machinations of American (foreign) politics.

    I do find his ineptitude on the lectern to be amusing in a pathetic sort-of-a-way – much like I find any Canadian obsessed with American domestic politics of pathetically amusing.

    I am Canadian after all.

  8. Ti-Guy

    I would assume the left find it mind boggling why Cheryl Gallant is a shoe in for the next 50 years if she likes…

    Have you ever been to the area covered by the riding of Renfrew-Nippissing=Pembroke? The median age is 107. Twice the median IQ. It really is the most backward part of Ontario. Very pretty though. Too good for the people who live there.

  9. “shoe in”?

    I think that was meant to be “shoo-in”.

  10. Rob — This “pimping out his daughter” or “using his daughter” garbage is just that.

    I thought it was a weird, maladroit thing to say, that’s all. At least that’s the reason I posted the clip on the other thread. It really had nothing to do with the guy’s political views (whatever they may be).

    By the way, I don’t think liberal “partisan hacks” ignored Coakley’s stupidity or the debacle that was her campaign — I mean, really… what can you say about a person who goes on a lengthy vacation in the middle of the race? She deserved to lose by an even wider margin than was the case.

  11. ..and suggesting that Curt Schilling was a “Yankee fan” wasn’t probably that helpful.. and neither was her dismissive attitude when asked about her lack of effort, eliciting the response: “As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?”

  12. Ti-Guy

    Paying attention to American politics makes you stupid.

  13. Apparently so, TG.

    So.

    Color me stupid.

    Like I give a flying.. err.. a tinkers’ damn about whether or not Anus the Younger thinks about American politics.

    Though for someone who can’t be “partisan” about American politics, comments about “pimping out his daughter” don’t sound much like aloof, disinterested commentary.

    Oh, and apparently.. “I’m Canadian” means, “I don’t have to understand or appreciate the world outside of my borders.”

    Really?

    Well, considering that we live next to the sleeping elephant, and considering that our NDP party has found it quite important to support Obama’s efforts in the U.S. regarding health care.. and considering many Canadians rely upon health care brokers to obtain care in the U.S. when they can’t access it in Canada, and considering that we have a free trade agreement that has been rumoured to be at risk under the current President.. and considering that much of the world is at war right now because of questionable U.S. policy..

    One might want to pay a little attention.

  14. I don’t know how you can really ignore American politics given the overwhelming economic influence the machinations of that country’s government has on Canada, not to mention the ideological narratives that invade our own popular discourse and are played out with so much more dramatic effect in the media. Let’s face it, American politics is a lot more entertaining than our narrowly circumscribed, home-grown version which is kind of like the crappy old Canadian game shows where the “grand prize” was $500, a sofa or a matching washer-drier as opposed to a fabulous array of prizes and… A NEW CAR!!!

  15. jkg

    Besides, in America, you can get very interesting ideological permutations like This one . Now, usually, I do allow some nuance and find the whole discrete or binary way political labeling has become, but I cannot help but wonder if they realize that in some cases, it is possible they can end up supporting someone who just might be against their own rational self-interest.

  16. jkg

    *has become irritating

  17. “it is possible they can end up supporting someone who just might be against their own rational self-interest.”

    speaking of which, pro-choice brown had the support of pro-lifers. they want him to derail the healthcare bill. they do have their priorities….

    tangentially related:

    “Behind in the polls to Republican Senate candidate Scott brown, supporters of pro-abortion candidate Martha Coakley have evidentially reached into their bag of dirty tricks.”

    KEvron

  18. JKG — Wow. I’m speechless. That blog is… weird. When I read things like that part of me can’t help but hope such folks might actually get their wish and accomplish a clean sweep of every stinkin’ liberal in Congress. And then what? Wouldn’t that be amusing? Because I’d really love to see these rabid, sociopathic nihilists spectacularly implode with all of the Jeebustastic, star-spangled glory they so richly deserve.

  19. jkg

    To top it off, RT, those bloggers are gay supporters of Hillary Clinton but are now greater admirers of Bush and Palin. Again, yes, Hillary Clinton is probably more moderate (she did manage to get Ann Coulter’s endorsement, strangely enough), but I am more fascinated as to how people deal with ideological inconsistency and nuance in the American political discourse. After all, just as you glanced at that blog, you can see it is littered with absolutist prose and terminology much less vaulting generalizations. From a cursory read, their reaction is more due to the putative bad experiences they had with Obama supporters and due to the personalities of both Hillary and Palin. Apart from that, their explanation why they can support both is using a glib analogy using Coke and Pepsi.

  20. coke being a mixer, of course, while pepsi is a beverage. don’t challenge me on this….

    KEvron

  21. jkg

    True, I would be shocked it I received a rye and pepsi from the bartender.

  22. Ti-Guy

    I don’t know how you can really ignore American politics given the overwhelming economic influence the machinations of that country’s government has on Canada, not to mention the ideological narratives that invade our own popular discourse and are played out with so much more dramatic effect in the media.

    It’s not in their elections or even in the American legislature where this influence can be divined. And as for it invading our media, that’s one part of what I mean by stupid.

  23. “Anus the Younger …”

    How very original. And yet – vapid.

    I always consider it suspect when individual Canadians care more about US domestic politics than our own. Don’t get me wrong, demonstrating interest in a variety of subjects is one fine thing.

    Blogging about it with partisan interest is a whole other matter.

    Canadian politics and ideological clefts are significantly different – as is our history, culture, capitalisation, resource base etc …

    Again, taking interest is one thing. A Canadian “conservative” demonstrating partisanship to the US Republican Party is not only philosophically obscene, but quite bizarre.

    Can you really see Sir John A. Macdonald and Ulysses S. Grant having much in common – besides liquor, that is?

  24. jkg

    A Canadian “conservative” demonstrating partisanship to the US Republican Party is not only philosophically obscene, but quite bizarre.

    I am relieved that I am not the only who has noticed this, though the love for the Obama could qualify as equally incomprehensible. For whatever reason, it appears that there is an implicit concession that there exists a fluidity between whatever ideological dynamics exist in the U.S. and ours here in Canada. To maintain or even acknowledge such a continuity and interconnectivity would necessitate at the very least a marginalization of political thought that has risen due to our own unique historical development socially and culturally.

    What is striking is just how sinister this assimilation has become. I would submit that the putative identity-erasing caveats from our own multiculturalism are not as frightening compared to the erosion of Canada’s political history that should at least persist in defining the foundations of the existing political thought. It is not as if though parties cannot undergo renewal, but this supposed renewal that we see in Canada’s political scene is hardly endogenous. It is for this reason why I find the Mark Steyns of the world either disingenuous or woefully naive when they lament Canada’s descent into loss of cultural identity only to jump the border and freely embrace the discourse and thought that is hardly grounded in Canada’s own history.

  25. Drake

    Cap and trade is now dead as a doornail.

    Americans, even the blue state ones, have flipped Obama’s socialistic agenda the bird.

  26. OK.

    “Aeneas”.

    Seeking to be, well, responsive to your point, rather than just dismissive..

    The development of democracy in North America, globally, is an amazing phenomenon. The development of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, with the establishment of a government being subservient to the people is quite unique in the development of democracy.

    And the strength with which the rights of the individual in the U.S. has been protected against the tyranny of the state is also quite unique.

    Now.. to get to the point.

    In Canada, for obvious reasons, we have inherited our political systems from England, and have to a great extent, also inherited our political sensibilities – but not completely.

    For us to pretend that we are an island unto ourselves, with a unique cultural and in fact moral identity which has not been borrowed from others would be naive. We have borrowed from England, and elsewhere, but, because of the sheer proximity and enormity of the American experience, we have also greatly borrowed from the U.S.

    So.

    When I watch what happens in the U.S., it is more than just passing curiousity.

    What they do impacts, in a very real way, on our financial and in fact upon our social welfare. It does.

    At a minimum, business is fluid, as are our citizens, and whether it is the relocation of a parts factory or a teacher, we live in a mobile society where policy there can influence life here.

    Beyond that sort of immediate impact, however, there is more subtle social and, I suppose, moral impact.

    The broad history of humanity shows that we all borrow and lean on other cultures and other philosophies as we develop our own. And the American experiment continues to have profound influence, not only in Canada, but elsewhere, as states everywhere grapple with the balance between, for example, individual rights and collective rights.

    And something I’m very proud of, in fact, is that the Canadian willingness to be secure in our identity by not seeking to constantly “identify” our identity, is what makes us great. We don’t rely upon political jingoism to affirm our worth, we don’t worry if other countries aren’t seeking to emulate us, and we don’t worry about “imprinting” our vision on others.

    And without being dispectful, if I understand your point, you are somewhat concerned that we lack attention to our own political and social history. Maybe. But so what? This is, as alluded to above, perhaps what makes our country what it is.

    I don’t think that because we examine with more than passing interest what is happening south of the border it, by necessity, implies that we are engaging in “a marginalization of political thought that has risen due to our own unique historical development socially and culturally.”

    On a personal level, I am involved in a small way in politics. And, frankly, I’m more than a little disspointed in the Canadian experience, which, on the other hand, I still find to be significantly better than the American experience. So. I watch and I think – with a view to formulating my own view of, I guess, “what we need to do to make things better.”

    So.

    There.

    Without insult or sarcasm, this is why I think having opinions and thoughts about U.S. politics is, I guess, a worthwhile endeavor.

    And, anyway, R/Tis the one who raised the whole issue of U.S. political interests.

    So blame him.

  27. Ti-Guy

    Rob, the origins of the American Republic aren’t sui generis; they’re represent an evolution of trends that had begun long before, in Britain.

    And Canada’s evolution into a democracy has its own unique history, not all of it borrowed, but a lot of it reflective of the its own climate and geography, settlement, economic development, relationship to dominant powers and, most importantly, the treaties and partnerships established between both the French and native people (which are in fact, quite unique).

  28. jkg

    Rob,

    I, however, submit it is not entirely a passing interest that Canadians embody when looking towards the South. For some, it could be a passing interest, but for others, there is a unique desire to emulate the American political ecosystem. I do take your point that the value of the Canadian ethos is the unwillingness to anchor into specific definitions and always seek to galvanize a deterministic identity. I wasn’t suggesting that we were an island unto ourselves. In fact, one of the advantages of the Canada’s evolution was to incorporate differing philosophies but they were done in a manner such that they were modified through the existing foundations of political thought. As a result, these ideas, whatever their source, were fashioned to become part of the Canadian ideal.

    The difference is that for the last 20 years, this process of assimilation and modification has been rather non-existent. Neo-liberal concepts and neo-conservatism couched in the American philosophical and rhetorical framework never underwent an evolution of sorts that would coincide with our political environment. In this case, it is not even an assimilation nor a modification but rather a displacement that is occurring. Otherwise, Toryism would still be alive and well part of the political discourse. However, this is not the case, and while political movements come and go, it is hard to believe that Toryism should be allowed to wither away as its foundations were shaped along with Canada’s historical development.

  29. All good points, and valid.

    But I think what is interesting in the United States, and why I pay attention, is the attention paid in the U.S. more than eslewhere is the “philosophy” of politics

    As Canada, more and more, sees politics as a shifting sea of pragmatism, the U.S. still clings to notions of political philosophy – the ideological battle between the “left” and “right”. Unfortunately, it’s mostly a sort of phony lip-service to the ideals they suggest they are holding.. but even fake ideals MATTER in the U.S.

    Words like “Hope” in the U.S., to a great extent, carried an election.

    I’m not looking for the same sort of polarization in Canada by any means, but I do get the sense that in the zeal to be pragmatists in Canada (read “win elections”) our political parties – even the NDP – have really checked any notion of ideals or principals at the door.

    And, if we are going to talk about history, I think it is interesting that we have had leaders of principle, as recently as Pierre Elliot Trudeau, oddly enough as much as I disagree with much of what he did – but, at least my sense is that our most recent batches of leaders don’t stand for anything.

    And I guess, I look at the U.S. experience and I say, there is a place in politics and should be a place where the ideals of a candidate should matter.. not just the pragmatic response they have to the issues that matter to me.

    Given, that while Obama talks about his being a “voice of the people”, we find that his political funding from financial industry and defence industry exceeded that of the Republicans.. and given the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision opening the doors to even more influence by big money.. such that the ideals being sold in the U.S. are, imho, so much swamp-land in Florida.

    Still. I’m curious in seeing how ideals motivate the population.

    And I would like to see a demonstration of real ideals in my own country.

  30. Ti-Guy

    And I would like to see a demonstration of real ideals in my own country.

    And what ideals would those be?

  31. How about a commitmen to reason. To hope. To honesty. And to respect.

    Reason – by thinking before doing, by relying upon efforts that may be effective, even if not popular.

    Hope – by seeing the potential of decency in people, and not always assuming the worst in others.

    Honesty. Self explanatory, perhaps, but saying what you feel, and what you mean – and not what you think I want you to say to appease me.

    And respect. Understanding that the divergence of opinions is not an illness in society, but a great asset, which should be treated as such. We don’t need to agree with everyone else but we should be able to hear them, and to treat them with the respect we would expect to be treated with ourselves.

    That might be a short list, but it would go a long way to guide a party’s policy.

  32. Ti-Guy

    How about a commitment to reason. To hope. To honesty. And to respect.

    Gimme us a break, Rob. We’re not children here.

    You’re preaching to the wrong crowd. Go over to your Boggin’ Toree pals and give them that sermon. I’m sure that pack of irrational, dishonest cynics could benefit from a lecture on reason, honesty and hope.

  33. The Canadian ideal was:

    Queen and Country.

    Beyond that, the survival of Canada as a mid-atlantic culture was the goal.

    Becoming an ersatz United States was what the ideal was opposed to.

  34. Ti-Guy

    Queen and Country.

    I prefer Maîtres chez nous. Peace, Order and Good Government works as well.

  35. It’s essentially the same thing.

  36. Ti-Guy

    I don’t think “Queen and country” gets you anywhere these days. I understand that that imagery is important to you and that the crown embodies essential qualities of this nation that are rooted in history and are a stabilising force, but at some point reality has to be acknowledged and new approaches to talking about these things have to be taken.

    It’s precisely because these symbols no longer resonate that their constitutional power is not well understood, which is why we’re getting all of this republican/continentalist/confused clap-trap.

  37. Gimme us a break, Rob. We’re not children here.

    Oh. I guess we’re all the Hobbesian “realists”.

    And I’m not giving a sermon to anyone. I’m saying that I think politicians of any stripe can aspire to more. To something beyond ‘getting elected’.

  38. Hobbes … the original contract liberal.

  39. Ti-Guy:

    I don’t dispute what you say at all.

    The only thing I would dispute is that the position of the Crown and the teaching of Canadian History was not systematically degraded and made secondary to our current non-identity around 1968 or so.

    In the place of something, we put nothing. And thus the confusion over who we are.

  40. You know, when I cling to vestiges of our past, it is because I recognise a Burkean contract with my ancestors to uphold the best of their times, and the gifts of their provenance.

    I am becoming more agnostic by the day however, and this has been accelerating since late 2007 when I realised that the looming Banking Crisis meant that we – as a society – have not evolved much since the late Victorian-American “gilded” age.

    Avarice and stupidity remain our lot.

  41. Ti-Guy

    The only thing I would dispute is that the position of the Crown and the teaching of Canadian History was not systematically degraded and made secondary to our current non-identity around 1968 or so.

    The 60’s marked a transition away from established and usually imposed “national” identities for practically every nation on Earth. I really don’t think Canada is exceptional in that regard. For a lot of us, it marked a period in which began a long and difficult process of differentiating “civic” identities from ethno-cultural ones. It think Canada weathered that transition rather well, considering how existential the threats were for the country.

    I don’t think it was systematically degraded. I just think the old establishment had a hard time meeting the challenges and instead of engaging them, fled from them, or reacted with hostility and/or defensiveness and in so doing, were themselves responsible for the loss of tradition. None of that became evident until later; sadly, that’s how the tides of history work.

  42. Ti-Guy

    Tags. Feh.

  43. Ti-Guy

    And I’m not giving a sermon to anyone. I’m saying that I think politicians of any stripe can aspire to more. To something beyond ‘getting elected’.

    “If wishes were horses…”

  44. That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose.

    Grant contends that the “elite” was more or less co-opted by capitalism and technology into the continentalist ethos.

    To no one’s surprise, and anyone who has read Ellul, I subscribe to this view.

    Which is why Grant “lamented” the passing of Canada. You certainly couldn’t fight it, as that would require a strong sense of the pre-industrial notion of the “nation”, or an ability to think critically.

    Instead, we chose to consume.

    Ti, the reason you reject this thesis is because it is at odds with your liberal construct of rationality. That’s not your fault. You are merely one of us “modern men.”

  45. Ti-Guy

    Ti, the reason you reject this thesis is because it is at odds with your liberal construct of rationality.

    I don’t reject the thesis at all. It’s just that life goes on.

    Neither you nor I were in any position to stop what happened back then.

    I would submit I have a more personal grasp of the pre-industrial nation than you and your cohort have. That doesn’t figure in my “liberal construct of rationality” whatever that means.

    ATY (I hate to say this): I get the impression that your anomie is a result of you constructing a personal and collective identity and history entirely from reading and not from lived experience. You’re just not old enough to claim the heritage which loss you lament.

    You sound less Tory than my parents do, sometimes.

  46. jkg

    I realised that the looming Banking Crisis meant that we – as a society – have not evolved much since the late Victorian-American “gilded” age

    Heh, I wondered why I loved Victorian literature and Steampunk so much.

    Though, if we take the premise that societal inertia has prevented us from generally moving beyond the late ‘gilded age,’ I am at a loss as to how to account for the late twentieth century social transformation that you described. I would think that quite possibly the repercussions from European imperialism provided the conditions for such a transition. After all, by the second world war, America rose as a major superpower with a very definitive national identity, a structure of which can remain intact because it is based on the melting pot ideal. In a way, combining this ethos with neo-liberalism probably allowed the old establishment to withstand these changes while still maintaining influence when you consider the dynasties of some prominent Americans have lasted for generations.

    For Canada, I think Ti is correct: The old establishment in Canada had a different set of challenges and operated in different conditions. The set of choices as to weather social change for them were probably limited or there simply wasn’t an elegant solution to avoid falling into irrelevancy. It should be note that social change in Canada occurred at relatively break neck speed, considering the fact that the King Byng affair occurring in 1925, less than 60 years since Confederation.

    To no one’s surprise, and anyone who has read Ellul, I subscribe to this view.

    I was going to ask you if you read him or barring that, channeling him in a very coincidental way 🙂

  47. Ti-Guy …

    I come from a long lineage of old Upper Canadian Tories. I was not fully conscious of the implications of that until I was mid-way through my undergrad years, and became disillusioned with practical politics and the men who dominated them.

  48. Ti-Guy

    I come from a long lineage of half-breeds.

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