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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:58 PM
Original message
Obama is a master of tacit ambiguity
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:08 PM by kennetha
I posted this thought in another thread. But I think it deserves wider discussion because I think it goes to part of what's driving some on the left a little crazy these days.

For example, Obama said over and over during both the primary and the GE that he will end the war "responsibly."

But it is fair to ask what exactly he means by "responsibly" and what exactly that entails for the situation on the ground. Clearly, part of what he intended to do was to rule out a precipitous withdrawal that undoes what are claimed to be our gains in Iraq. But too much responsibility of that kind, of course, and you could end up with a policy barely distinguishable from Bush's.

Of course, the main point of Obama's formulation was to do just the opposite of endorse anything at all like Bush's policy. He both intended, and was perceived as intending, to draw distinctions from Bush's policies. But the sense that there would be a radical shift from Bush was conveyed more by the tone of OBama's remarks -- especially the constant stress on ending the war -- rather than the details -- i.e. spelling out what ending it responsibly actually amounts to.

I think he's framing of the issue about the war and troop levels is the most clear example of his masterful use of tacit ambiguity. But I'm sure there are others as well.

Before people jump on me. I'm not personally criticizing Obama for being a master of what I regard as an essential art of campaigning. When it comes to actually governing, once you've won the campaign, that's when the rubber really meets the road. So we'll have to see what in real practice Obama's approach really comes down to.
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MadBadger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. He has said HUNDREDS of times what Responsibly means...you just dont listen well.
1-2 brigades per month, for 16 months.
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. As conditions warrant.
But what are the conditions? What conditions would make him stall or prolong or change the time table.

He was advocating that we start withdrawal way back when, when the campaign was just beginning. So by now, that would mean all but a (largish, it turns out) residual force would be gone. Clearly, he doesn't intend to instantly bring us to that state.



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zulchzulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. What are the conditions? Well, let's look at that...
First of all, the troops don't just leave like it's a football game. There will be a lot of danger in actually leaving. It has to be done carefully.

Secondly, there has already been attempts by the Malicki government to begin the genocide of Sunnis by the Shiites. Would that be cool to just watch? You think Darfur is bad... Then there's the Kurds getting obliterated by the Turks and perhaps with some help from the Syrians. And perhaps some help from the Iranians...

We're talking genocide on a grand scale. Do we ignore that?

Then, we're talking about how we utterly destroyed Iraq's water supply, power grid, roads and bridges, let alone its cultural landmarks... let alone millions affected and over a million killed since 2002.

We just walk away?

What are the conditions...???

This shit is not about instant gratification and it's not about some simplistic Wii game where you turn the game off and go get a pizza. It's deadly serious and it's seriously complicated getting out of Iraq.

Did Obama want to go there? No. Does he want to just leave the country irresponsibly and let it fester like an out of control disease and just watch more millions die in a genocide?

It's going to be ugly getting out and the region will never fully recover... ever.



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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #5
27. It means pulling out without exposing troops to more than usual danger...
Without leaving American equipment behind, and without leaving any more of a power vacuum than we have to.
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kirby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Apparently..
Some thought that was a codeword for immediate withdrawal. Go figure.

I swear, Obama will be an extreme disappointment to the left because he never ran as a lefty.
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MadBadger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Not the left, the stupid left.
I'm on the left as are many here. But its the stupid left who never listened or cared to listen in the first place who will be upset.
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. I agree with you
But he didn't exactly go out of his way to correct what he must have know was the way his words were being taken on the left.

But I can't and don't really blame him for that -- what politician would?
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kirby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. Dude, he isnt even President yet!
Dont you think ambiguity is required during the transition because there is only one President at a time!
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Never said ambiguity isn't required now.
In fact, I said ambiguity is an essential tool. But eventually it will have to give way to a detailed approach.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. Then what the hell is the point of this thread?
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. chill dude. See my response below.
Dispassionate analysis. Ever heard of it? Ever tried it? Or are you all sturm and drang with no dispassionate analytical abilities?
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. You have nothing to analyze but speculation.
This thread is worthless.

And, yes, I will stop clicking on it now.
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Bye, bye. Hope that makes you feel more relaxed.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
4. For his next trick
He's going to fill the Cabinet meeting with war-hawks (Clinton, Biden, Gates, etc.), close the doors, and presto-chango, a flock of white doves will fly out of the room.
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Danger Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
31. Che Guevara was an asshole.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. Yes, he was. I second that. nt
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
7. Example: NAFTA backpeddle.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
29. DC gun ban backpeddle. nt
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
8. People were yearning to hear "end the war"
The Dems learned this during the midterms. (Hey, whatever happened to Jack Murtha? Did he like die, or something?)

Excellent post.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
11. Can you possibly wait until he actually makes an enforceable decision before you shit yourself?
Oh! The disclaimer:

Before people jump on me. I'm not personally criticizing Obama for being a master of what I regard as an essential art of campaigning. When it comes to actually governing, once you've won the campaign, that's when the rubber really meets the road. So we'll have to see what in real practice Obama's approach really comes down to.


Ok. You're not being impatient or criticizing. You're just acting as if you're being impatient and criticizing and pre-emptively joining the rest of the DU Howlers just in case Obama acts in a certain way in 6 weeks.

Bullshit.
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Wow!
What did you have for breakfast this morning.

I'm not shitting myself. I'm not upset at Obama for being cautious and ambiguous. I'm not dissing him for doing what politicians who aspire to highly consequential positions have to do -- use ambiguity, thread the needle, etc. Actually, I kind of admire how good he is at this.


So chill, dude. Chill.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. I'm not the one who started the thread.
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:32 PM by Buzz Clik
There are hundreds of threads at DU voicing dissatisfaction at Obama's performance. And now yours. You've added nothing to the conversation but a disclaimer and yet another set of fingernails scraping across the blackboard.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #14
34. You're doing 'nuance' here and a lot of folks don't 'get' that. nt
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elkston Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
15. You're trying to stir up BS. You're still angry about the Primaries.
You were a Clinton supporter. Then you had doubts every day during the GE that Obama couldn't win.

Now that he's won decisively, you want to drag him through the mud some more.
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. you are an incorrigible ****
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 01:20 PM by kennetha
What mud?
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
18. Ambiguity is very important. The executive branch needs operational flexibility
If a candidate lived too much by his campaign promises, he couldn't effectively govern. This is a structural reason for why the Founders didn't like the idea of a directly elected president. The people will try to exact specific performance guarantees from a candidate (especially after the last guy went so far awry) in a number of areas, and his job in part is to keep it vague so that when he's in office, he has some negotiating room for taking care of the big ticket items.

I always thought that the middle class tax cut was bullshit, but I knew my guy had to at least promise to try to make on in order to be elected.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:05 PM
Response to Original message
22. Tactics of that nature are fine against the enemy

Applied to your friends, that's something else.
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kennetha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. I don't know.
Sometimes you need to bring your friends along to reality slowly. You give them a message that gets them part way home. You work on them gradually to help them see the truth.

Politicians have to be leaders. Leaders sometimes have to speak in ambiguous ways, even to their friends.

I really don't object to this aspect of Obama's approach at all. I think it shows that he sees how tricky it is to keep a diverse and fractious coalition like the one he built all rowing in more or less the same direction. It's a skill every politician needs.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Nobody who I would consider a leader.

That is weasle action, that is political opportunism, that is dissing those who have put faith in you. That is the same old shit.

By your logic Obama now just need convince people that war is peace and hate is love.And that seems to be working for some here.

Oh yeah, that coalition, it's all shot to hell. I knew it would happen but am amazed it happened so quickly.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. That's what made FDR a master. Why he wouldn't endorse the anti-lynching bill...
why he turned on US participation in the World Court the summer of '32, etc.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
23. And this was why I preferred Edwards and Kucinich to all the other candidates during the primary..
they said what they would do in straightforward language that couldn't easily be spun

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Celebration Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. sure, but either one would have lost to McCain n/t
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Danger Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:16 PM
Response to Reply #23
32. And neither was even remotely electable.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:55 PM
Response to Original message
28. Yes. He has been artful in avoiding taking stands on contentious issues or legisltation. nt
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