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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:24 AM

President of the Whole Country

President of the Whole Country

By Charles P. Pierce

Barack Obama begins his second term as president of the United States surrounded by an entertaining universe of prefabricated paranoia. Almost ever since his hand left the Bible the first time, when Chief Justice John Roberts bumbled his way through the ceremony like a new maid dusting the fine crystal for the first time, the irreconcilable political Right hummed and buzzed with warnings about what Obama planned to do if he got reelected. It all fed on itself. For example, the longer he went without proposing any meaningful gun control, the more deeply convinced the gun-giddy conservatives became that it was all a plot to grab their guns in 2014. The more people he killed in drone strikes, the more deeply convinced the wilder neoconservative Right became that it was all an elaborate charade to disguise his ongoing effort to hand over U. S. "sovereignty" to some unholy combination of United Nations bureaucrats and Middle Eastern mullahs. The more he sought to compromise on taxes, and on what have become known as "entitlements," even though most of them are nothing of the sort, the more deeply convinced the supply-side fundamentalists became that, come a second term, the true redistribution of wealth would sweep away economic liberty. In short, the more things that Barack Obama did that angered his liberal base, the more the conservatives convinced themselves that he was setting up an elaborate plot to cater to that same base over his second four years in office.

<...>

It must be easier for these people to get a grip on Barack Obama than it is for the rest of us. He is the most singularly elusive politician of our era. Who Richard Nixon actually was disappeared into a wilderness of neuroses, and Ronald Reagan was unknowable. Bill Clinton in so many ways was inexplicable. George W. Bush — and his rise to the presidency, let alone his reelection — was unfathomable. But Barack Obama is there, and then he is not there, and then he is there again on so many fronts that it is almost impossible to get a bead on him long enough to land a solid punch. He is a creature of indirection, and not misdirection. (That would be Nixon again.) He approaches issues and problems from dozens of sidelong ways, very rarely confronting them head-on. He is at the same time nonsubstantial and extraordinarily solid. He has fashioned from himself a political persona quite remarkable, given the political time and place in which he has come to flourish. He is a politician who apparently is completely immune to the effects of empowered nonsense and weaponized ignorance, two effective means of political destruction against which even as gifted a politician as Bill Clinton could not completely protect himself. (Of course, imagining Barack Obama making the same kind of mistake that Clinton ultimately made takes the kind of lurid deductive powers that send you off to Hawaii looking for phony birth certificates.) This is a towering achievement, given the amount of material with which the practitioners of these modern dark arts had to work.

First of all, he's black.

But that was hardly the end of it.

The president defeated attempts to prove he was not born in this country. He beat back attempts to prove that, okay, maybe he was born in this country, but he isn't really an American. He beat back attempts to prove that his policies were three degrees to the left of Trotsky, that he was the friend of and collaborator with domestic terrorists, and that he was somehow complicit — probably by virtue of his middle name — with Islamic extremists overseas...And he did not defeat it by confronting it, except for that one memorable evening on which he defanged birtherism forever by turning Donald Trump into an object of increased national ridicule. He did not defeat it by overcompensating to prove that he wasn't all those things people were saying he was. He did it by adopting the strategy advocated by Eamon de Valera in the wake of the Easter Rising in 1916 — to defeat the British Empire by ignoring its established institutions...that is how Barack Obama defeated the shadow empire of empowered nonsense and weaponized ignorance. He ignored it. He demonstrated by his actions, including those conciliatory actions that drove his more liberal supporters around the bend, that he would be doing the business of the nation, and that the business of the nation required that he rise above all the foolishness that so many people in Washington take so seriously. This is not to say that he was above politics; his remorseless deconstruction of Willard Romney was proof enough of that, as is the fact that he is quite willing to walk American foreign policy right up to and over the very thin edge of savagery...what he has done is limit the effective power of misdirection and distraction, and he did so through indirection and allusion. None of the empowered nonsense and weaponized ignorance worked because he wasn't in one spot long enough for any of it to hit him, let alone stick to him. He was not Ali in Zaire. He was Ali in 1964, in Miami Beach, hitting Sonny Liston in the head and then disappearing again. He did not practice rope-a-dope politics. He was the butterfly and the bee.

Which does not answer the question of what comes next...It's not simply that being reelected gives him more latitude with the country and therefore more leverage in Washington...It's not simply that being reelected gives him a chance to free himself from his own worst instincts...It's not simply that he is in a unique position now to be president of the whole country...It is more that he has a chance to establish what we can call — in the way that fresh approaches always get labeled — a New Realism for the country and its politics, a demand that the empirical take precedence over the theoretical, that a distrust of experience and of expertise is no longer allowed to prevail in the councils of the government, and that the country itself has to accept all this, rather than retreating again into the comfortable fantasies promoted by its favorite TV and radio stars...By being reelected, he has made an opening. He has made a clearing. He has the ability now to marginalize that which was marginalized for so long, and ought to be again, while at the same time broadening the national dialogue to include ideas that once were quite mainstream — gun control, the necessity of a social safety net, labor rights — but that were shoved to the margins by thirty years of crackpot economics and the existential night sweats of a country grown too timid to uphold those things that made it worthwhile in the first place. That is the challenge of his second term. It is, to borrow a useful verb from a president currently packing them in at your local octoplex, to disenthrall the country, including all of us, and including himself most of all, from the nonsense of the quiet past that is inadequate to the stormy reality. We can think anew. He can act anew. And, by God, he might have a chance to save the country.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/barack-obama-president-whole-country-0213

Damn, that was good!


28 replies, 1859 views

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply President of the Whole Country (Original post)
ProSense Jan 2013 OP
ProSense Jan 2013 #1
spanone Jan 2013 #2
Still Sensible Jan 2013 #3
lunatica Jan 2013 #4
ProSense Jan 2013 #5
ProSense Jan 2013 #6
ProSense Jan 2013 #7
butterfly77 Jan 2013 #8
ProSense Jan 2013 #9
butterfly77 Jan 2013 #10
ProSense Jan 2013 #12
butterfly77 Jan 2013 #26
ProSense Jan 2013 #28
ellisonz Jan 2013 #11
datasuspect Jan 2013 #13
ProSense Jan 2013 #14
datasuspect Jan 2013 #15
ProSense Jan 2013 #16
datasuspect Jan 2013 #17
ProSense Jan 2013 #18
datasuspect Jan 2013 #19
ProSense Jan 2013 #20
butterfly77 Jan 2013 #27
klook Jan 2013 #21
ProSense Jan 2013 #22
klook Jan 2013 #24
BumRushDaShow Jan 2013 #25
DevonRex Jan 2013 #23

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:47 AM

1. Kick for

a great read.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:52 AM

2. k&r...

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:03 AM

3. K & R

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:13 AM

4. Complexity in a President is so

un-Merikan you know. Oh for the good old days of George Bush who din't put on airs n stuff!

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Response to lunatica (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:33 AM

5. Make no mistake

Republicans are still dazed and confused that Obama won re-election. The President achieved a decisive win on his terms, and he laid out what that means in an explicitly progressive inaugural speech.

Republicans only hope now is to do everything in their power to try to influence the 2014 and 2016 election outcomes. Democracy be damned.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:59 AM

6. Kick! n/t

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:45 PM

7. Kicking for

a President who got things done amid unrelenting swipes.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 05:08 PM

8. But,the republICONS ...

want the President to follow their agenda as though they won and WE THE PEOPLE should expect nothing. Whose tax dollars are they anyway? Why isn't the meeting talking day and night on every show about the lies the republiCONS told in 2010 about,voting for them and they would create jobs. They spent the entire four years in womens panties and elsewhere.

The media and pundits on msnbc and elsewhere need to show videos over and over with republiCONS promising jobs. The media also should talk about the jobs bill that they don't want to vote on,infrastructure ,affordable housing and the homeless.

More workers more revenue more customers for these so called job creators who don't seem to get it. REPUBLICONS ON CARE ABOUT KEEPING THEIR JOBS along with scary assed Democrats who won't stand up for WE THE PEOPLE we put you in and we can take you out if we are going to get fucked over anyway,why should we give a damn.

WHERE ARE THE DAMN JOBS REPUBLICONS!

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Response to butterfly77 (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:34 PM

9. If the media and pundits

ever stop shilling for Republicans, it would be all over. The President took on the Republicans during the last election, and the media's response was to attempt to bail them out at every turn.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:34 AM

10. They are moaning and whining..

about he was too liberal and too strong in his remarks during the inauguaration, in my opinion that wasn't but a taste he needs to go stronger and in their faces. Any little thing he says or does they call arrogance they continually project onto the President and the Dems what they are really doing themselves.

The media follows along and always finally realize what is really going on years later because they believe the garbage about liberals most of the so called CONservatives are really more liberal than the Dems they call liberals. When are the Dems going to start outing these lying ass republiCONS and filming their damn lies.

That also goes for fake Dems like Manchin of W.Virginia who struts around faking bipartisanship when he is really a republiCON and the media sucks it up along with the no labels garbage. Whatever the agenda of this organization "No Labels" it will be rightwing bullshit pretending to be using some Democrats ideas..

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Response to butterfly77 (Reply #10)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:24 PM

12. Joke:

Rep. Broun: Obama Upholds The Soviet Constitution

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) said Tuesday that President Obama seeks to uphold the "Soviet constitution" and that he has "no concept" of the United States Constitution.

“I think my role is to uphold, support and defend our Constitution,” Broun told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He continued: "I don’t know what Constitution that other members of Congress uphold, but it’s not this one. I think the only constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution, not this one. He has no concept of this one, though he claimed to be a constitutional lawyer.”

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/rep-broun-obama-upholds-soviet-constitution

These people have become clowns. They should rename the GOP the Clown Party.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:24 PM

26. Yes,clowns..

I saw somewhere that Louie Gohmert was a judge and I wonder how many people has he put in prison to work for his friends for the Prison Industrial Complex so that they don't need to hire people who are unemployed,they are getting free labor. I heard that they pay the prisoners $1 and some change.


Virginia Fox another republiCON nut who is over education but says there should be no help in educating citizens no Pell grants,etc.


Inhofe over environment but doesn't believe in global warming and does everything he can to prevent anything to be done.

I could go on..

Most of these people are insane and they are taking us to the brink in many areas because much of their base are ignorant,religious nuts,racists,uninformed,or just plain insane and they don't even realize it.

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Response to butterfly77 (Reply #26)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 05:52 PM

28. That's them, and here's a

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:12 AM

11. "He was the butterfly and the bee."

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:30 PM

13. Barack Obama isn't black

 

Last edited Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:52 PM - Edit history (1)

he's black and he is white. his mother was white. his father was an african.

but his whiteness is as important as his african heritage is. to diminish either bloodline/ancestry would be stupid.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:53 PM

14. Barack Obama is black.

Everyone needs to come to grips with that. He has.



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Response to ProSense (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:57 PM

15. he is biracial

 

what makes you think his whiteness shouldn't be as important as his African heritage?

does his mother count for anything?

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:00 PM

16. Sure he is, and

in every appearance and in life he is black.

Did you know that he is the first African American President?

You seem to have a problem with that.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:02 PM

17. you seem to presume too much

 

he is the first biracial president.

50% of his blood comes from white people.

HALF.

you seem to have a problem with that.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:05 PM

18. Wait

"50% of his blood comes from white people. "

...you think white and black people's blood is different?

No one is denying that the President's Mother was white and his Father was black.

Those are facts, as is the fact that he is black, and as such is the first African American President.

Do you need to validate his Presidency by making the point about his blood?

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Response to ProSense (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:09 PM

19. i can't talk to you when you're putting words in my mouth.

 

you win the Internets today!!!!!!111111



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Response to datasuspect (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:19 PM

20. Maybe you lose because you're making a bullshit point?

That's it.

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:31 PM

27. RepubliCONS

think his mother and his whiteness isn't important and some who are Dems who are having a hard time with and complain about him as well though they pretend as though they are accepting.

He is a human being which some can't seem to understand because in their eyes SKIN COLOR is the most important thing just like,in this country SPORTS is the most important thing which irritates me..

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:23 PM

21. Too Black? Too White? Barack Obama Advisory System

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Response to klook (Reply #21)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:34 PM

22. Do you have a

pocket-sized version? Thanks. If you don't mind, this will come in handy next time.

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Response to ProSense (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:09 PM

24. Sure, here you go



You can hand them out with copies of the Constitution, put them on windshields at gun shows, etc.

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Response to klook (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 02:23 PM

25. OMG this is hilarious!

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Response to datasuspect (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 01:47 PM

23. Bloodline? He's not a fucking horse. He is a man who identifies as African American. Who the fuck

are you to say differently?

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