Several of you have mentioned Drew Westen’s “What Happened to Obama?” in the comments. I thought Westen made some good points, but in some places he overstated his case and his arguments were weakly supported. I don’t have to write a lengthy analysis, however, because others have done it for me:
- Andrew Sprung, “A Lover of Fairy Tales Casts Obama as Villain-in-Chief“
- Jonathan Chait, “Drew Westen’s Nonsense“
- Steve Benen, “The Westen Piece“
- Ezra Klein, “Presidencies Aren’t About Speeches“
I’m siding with the critics on this one, but y’all discuss among yourselves.
Elsewhere — Someone on the right must have started a rumor that George “The Bogyman” Soros made $1 billion on the S&P downgrade. The Daily Mail picked this up as actual news, although (as you see if you read the entire story) there is no evidence whatsoever that Soros made so much as a penny on the downgrade.
The theory is that Soros had “inside information” because of his much-overstated ties to the Obama Administration. But there is no evidence the Obama Administration had “inside information” either and knew about the downgrade until a few hours before S&P publicly announced it. The alleged investment was made last month, the Daily Mail says. Of course, several rightie bloggers embraced the rumor as a cold, hard fact and have already indicted Soros; see Tbogg for a rundown.
Susan Page of the alleged newspaper USA Today — which for some time has consisted mostly of re-writes of GOP and rightie think tank press releases — notes with wonder that the President’s approval rating remains at or above 50 percent in 16 states and DC. Note the blurb picked up from the article as auto-generated at Memorandum:
Not subtle. The article itself speculates that 2012 will be another “wave” election that causes a substantial change in the political lineup in Washington, but in which direction the wave will hit it will not speculate. See also the Booman:
The Republicans are succeeding in weakening the president, but they’re making themselves even weaker in the process. I can’t say for sure that this past weekend was a pivotal moment, but I think we may look back on it as the point in time when something snapped. It’s like the Republicans kept pushing on a door, and pushing and pushing some more, with the idea that they were getting rewarded for bad behavior. But all the time the tension was rising and the resistance was building, until the door snapped back in their faces and sent them sprawling.
The presidency has a reputation for being stronger than it is in reality, and the Republicans rejoice in making Obama look impotent in any way that they can. They hold his appointments. They filibuster everything. They refuse to compromise on almost anything. This infuriates liberals and progressives who have big hopes and dreams and can’t understand why they’re not coming true. We all begin infighting and blaming each other. The public gets disgusted with the whole spectacle and starts to believe government is worthless. And the GOP benefits coming and going.
This is why I keep saying that progressives need to stop whining about Obama. Forget Obama; the job right now is to change public opinion and give people a clue what’s going on. Otherwise, in a couple of years we’re going to find even more whackjob teabaggers in Congress.
And I think the results in Wisconsin today could have an impact on the momentum of the 2012 campaigns. Go Wisconsin!
Update: Here’s one more answer to Drew Westen — John Sides, “Mischaracterizing FDR to Indict Obama.”