Shifting Ground?

At Tapscott’s Copy Desk, DC Examiner, we find “Obama is in trouble.”

Did you feel it? The political ground shifting beneath President Barack Obama since his speech last week to Congress? It’s been downhill since and I’m not referring mainly to the Dow Jones record-setting dive. The pivot point of the shift was the speech, or rather what the speech did to the evolving public narrative of Obama.

The “evolving public narrative,” one learns, is going on entirely on right-wing public radio and Faux Nooz. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are on fire, apparently. Further, “a potentially devastating conservative case against Obama is coming together rapidly.” Wow! This could be troublesome. But yes, two columns “tell the tale.” They are:

Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal:

The Republicans have been handed on a tarnished silver platter the chance to offer the American people an alternative vision of how their economy works — and grows.

They should take political ownership of the 75% of the U.S. economy that the Democrats have abandoned — the private economy.


Over the past four decades and the decline of private-sector industrial unions, professional Democrats — politicians, intellectuals like Robert & Robert, campaign professionals, unions and satellite groups — have severed their emotional and intellectual connection with private production.

Wow, that’s so — nonsensical. OK, so what’s the other column? Why, it’s Charles Krauthammer! The same column I cited in my last post! Let’s look at Tapscott’s synopsis Krauthhammer:

Obama’s mastery of public speaking has heretofore served to deflect attention away from the details of what he is actually proposing. And there is in those details, according to Krauthammer, a fundamental deception: Obama summons visions of catastrophe that are the result of too little government regulation of the financial markets and he offers as a solution vastly more government regulation of …. health care, energy and education.

Krauthhammer and Tapscott are saying that Obama is deceiving the public by claiming the financial meltdown is the result of deregulation of financial markets and offering as the solution more regulation of health care, energy and education. Tapscott continues,

In other words, Krauthammer said, Obama tries to have it both ways, with the alleged errors of deregulation being compounded into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by America’s failure to nationalize health care, shift our economy to alternative energy sources and give everybody a free pass to college. Obama is trying to make the cause and the cure synonymous. “Clever politics, but intellectually dishonest to the core,” Krauthammer said.

I read this three times to try to see where Obama’s dishonesty lies, and it eludes me. Of course, like most righties Tapscott and Krauthammer cannot so much as breathe without being intellectually dishonest about it. For example, they are being intellectually dishonest when they say Obama’s solution is more regulation of health care, energy and education. Some regulation is needed, but even more important is more investment in health care, energy and education.

And what’s with the “free pass to college”? Exactly where do they get this stuff?

Anyway, like most right-wing arguments, it is based on ideology that is utterly unconnected to anything happening in the real world. People who are already convinced that President Obama is a radical socialist terrorist fist bumper will take this argument to their hearts and repeat it like parrots without knowing what any of it really means. Everyone else will say, “huh?”

Michael Hirsch writes at Newsweek about the shifting ground:

Despite the tumbling economy, Barack Obama continues to enjoy a honeymoon with the American public in the face of the most trying crisis any newly inaugurated president has encountered since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The GOP, meanwhile, is viewed by a majority of Americans as the party of “no,” without a plan of its own to fix the economy, and even rank-and-file Republicans are concerned about the party’s direction, according to the first NEWSWEEK Poll taken since Obama assumed office. …

… Overall, 58 percent of Americans surveyed approve of the job Obama is doing, while 26 percent disapprove and one in six (16 percent) has no opinion. Although his approval ratings are down from levels seen a few weeks ago in other polls, 72 percent of Americans still say they have a favorable opinion of Obama—a higher rating than he received in NEWSWEEK Polls during the presidential campaign last year. The president’s rating in this poll is consistent with estimates provided by other national media polls in the last week.

Many on the Right also are claiming that Obama owns the nation’s faltering economy, since he’s been POTUS for less than seven weeks and hasn’t fixed it yet. In particular, the Right is seizing the falling stock market as proof that Obama’s economic policies are already failing. Robert Reich explains why this is nonsense. See also Tom Petruno at the Los Angeles Times.

Of course, going back many years we see that righties always claim good economies as theirs and bad economies as belonging to Democrats. In rightie world, the “Reagan Recession” of 1981-1982, which began after St. Ronald of Blessed Memory took office, was Jimmy Carter’s fault. On the other hand, the strong economy of Bill Clinton’s second term was, of course, Saint Ronald’s doing, even though Reagan had been out of office for a decade.

Time has a way of strangely compressing and expanding in the rightie brain.

15 thoughts on “Shifting Ground?

  1. And, even if you DID tie GWB into this mess, it wouldn’t be the fault of conservatism. Because, (OK, eveyone, say it together) “Bush wasn’t a real Conservative!”
    Well done, everyone!!!

    When intellectual and moral bankruptcy aren’t enough, Conservatives give a reach around to one another to pull stuff out of each other’s asses. They then hold up what they pulled out of each others asses and tell everyone it’s news.
    Time to alert the media!!!

  2. Faux News likes to site the Wall Street Journal without disclosing that the WSJ like Faux News is also a Rupert Murdock owned GOP propaganda machine.

    You will never hear them disclose that fact, same goes with the Weekly Standard whom they also often mention.

    How sleazy and unethical.

  3. Glenn Greenwald wrote a lot about Bush’s inconsistent application of conservatism in his pre-Salon blog, as I remember, and at the time it pissed righties off mightily. It was only after Bush’s approval ratings were in the toilet that righties started noticing the same things.

    Many of us liberals have been pointing out, um, inconsistencies in the application of rightie ideology for some time. See, for example, an article I wrote for Democratic Underground back in 2003, “Forgetting the Alamo.” Righties are perfectly happy to jettison everything they say they believe in if there’s a political advantage in it for them. It doesn’t become “not conservatism” until it stops working.

  4. I’m sorry that’s cite, not site as in “To quote as an authority or example”.

    My salient point remains, Faux News NEVER mentions that the WSJ or the Weekly Standard, for example when the introduce Fred Barnes, are all Rupert Murdock owned.

    It’s just dishonest not to do so.

  5. One talking point I see repeated quite often over at FAUX is that the market is down over 30% since the election! No mention that Obama was not in charge until 1-20-09 or even that literally none of his “socialist” policies have even begun to play out. This is the same old tired bullshit of the wingnuts: fuck everything up blame it on the black man. I was slightly enthused yesterday, I went to lunch with one of my conservative co-workers, I’ve never heard him say anything good about Obama but he did say that he thought it was pretty ridiculous how the righties were blaming the entire economic meltdown on Obama. I was slightly enthused to hear such rational thought from a wing-nut, however he did follow that all Obama’s “spending” will only make matters worse. I asked about all of bush’s spending, the conversation was rather predictable after that.

  6. GWB spent $3 trillion in Iraq and the wingers cheered every dollar spent. Now, they suddenly have the vapors over government spending.

    I agree there is a risk of government spending spiraling out of control, but I don’t care to hear a word from these folks whose economic policies of low taxes, deficit spending and no regulation have been pursued for last thirty years. We see now where it has gotten us: a crashed economy and deep in debt.

    They have zero credibility.

  7. Yep, there have always been henny-pennys and ducky-luckys and goosey-pooseys and cocky-lockys who believe that foxy-woxy knows the best route to the king (to tell him that the sky is falling) and blithely follow him only to get their heads whacked off by foxy-woxy as soon as he gets them into his den.

    And, wouldn’t you know that Henny-Penny (thanks to cocky-locky’s warning) escapes the fate of her faithful followers, returns home where she’s bound to eventually get hit on the head again by another acorn which she interprets as the sky falling yet again and yet again begins another journey to inform the king of same.

  8. I have been travelling, so maybe I’m too tired to focus, but did I just read that rightie arguing that Obama was duplicitously saying that the problem was too little regulation while dastardly proposing that there should be MORE regulation? Um….what?

    That what he was claiming would BE more regulated was bogus goes without saying, as he is a GOPer, but why is the proposal to regulate more not a logical outcome of a position that there has been not enough?

    I need a nap.

  9. He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future. — George Orwell

    Since we are running the present and the legacy of GWB is the past, the future is ours if we make the case. 45 days into an administration is an absurd timeframe for consuming culpability. Every day, take a deep breath, mutter “f@cking idiot!” to yourselves and push back with the facts. We’re in trouble because of the visceral connection the right made to the self-entitled inner adolescent in the American psyche.

    The progressive connection is to the hearts and minds. Imbedding rational policies into the national dialogue requires calling out the lunatics as delusional, greedy and compassionless.

  10. The constant lying from the right wing sewer is dispiriting, and that’s its intent. Debunking their lies is a never-ending chore. It’s important to keep the sh*t from sticking, from infecting public discourse. These are the losers and cowards who never give up, until their microphone/keyboard/megaphone is forcibly taken from them. Lies are all they have; they wouldn’t recognize the truth if it hit them across the face.

  11. The pros – political & media – want to talk around the edges, creating resentment ,(the housing bill helps undeserving people) nitpicking, (earmarks that make up 2% of a bill), or trying to delay action on health care & energy (too much, too fast).

    Whenever possible we have to give idealogues like Rush center stage. These idealogues BELIEVE in privileges for the aristocracy, health care for those who can afford it, illness & disease for those who can’t. These nuts are in denial of global warming & won’t consider an energy policy other than drilling everywhere and enriching the oil companies.

    The first group – the pros – stand the best chance of derailing progressive policies. So they have to b rebutted, but whenever possible, allow the idealogues to be the spokespersons for the GOP. The ‘average’ voter has no love for the bankers whose pay is capped; let Rush defend those cats. The ‘average’ voter would love to see viable alternative energy; the wingnuts are in lockstep defense of Big Oil & Coal. The pros are adept at dancing around their true position, so push the idealogues up to the mike, because the GOP dare not contradict Rush.

  12. Huffington Post’s Sunday morning (oh, screw Daylight Savings Time!) headlines are saying that both Newt Gingrich and David Frum slammed Rush Limbaugh’s “I hope Obama fails” motif, and David Brooks is calling Republican attitudes on government spending “insane.” Brooks also apparently says Republicans are “obsessed with Reagan.” (No! Really?) (Psst, Brooksie– also FDR.)

    Now, if the pattern holds, in the next 24 hours Gingrich and Frum will come crawling to King Rush say they’re vewy vewy sowwy, they weawwy didn’t mean it, and to kiss Rush’s, um, ring. But Our Fair Cabbage is setting a new pattern of his own– 9 out of 10 paragraphs he speaks these days are true, and pretty much make sense. I won’t go so far as to say he’s turned into Scrooge on Christmas morn, but something has shaken his conscience. Something radical, I suspect.

  13. I haven’t seen any numbers for it, but I’ve read that sales of Ayn Rand’s books have increased in recent weeks or months. Beyond the bluster of blowhards like Rush, it sounds like “serious” conservatives are either 1) trying to figure out where they went wrong, or more likely, 2) retreating to escape and solace in their collapsing warp bubble of reality, which now only exists in places like Rand’s novels. And in the “Left Behind” genre.

  14. I vote that they’re trying to figure out where randriod Greenspan went wrong.

    The materialist/athiest can’t be wrong, not with the fundie army fighting for them.

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