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Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:08 PM

Barack Obama's presidency is spiraling downward (by a UChicago professor)

The Chicago Tribune published this op-ed on Tuesday. It's by Charles Lipson, a political science professor at the University of Chicago. Lipson has taught there since 1977, so he's been in the faculty at the same time Obama taught at the UChicago law school (1992-2004). But he's basically comparing Obama's controversies with GW Bush's controversies:

"Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job." That was George W. Bush's infamous compliment to Michael Brown, his then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It came as New Orleans lay flooded after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, with thousands of homeless victims trapped in the Superdome. Brown was not doing "a heckuva job." He was failing badly, and the public knew it.

What made Bush's accolade clunk so loudly? Why do we remember it years later? Because that single, maladroit phrase captured so much that had gone wrong with Bush's presidency. He praised incompetent managers instead of firing them, and he seemed cheerfully clueless about what was happening on the ground.


The Obama administration, which had few serious setbacks during its first term, is now engulfed by them: the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the unraveling story about Benghazi, Libya, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the casual (and ignored) red line in Syria, Iraq's disintegration after America left abruptly, al-Qaida's resurgence, the secret waiting list and falsified data at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Taliban prisoners swap. The president's defenders have explanations for each of them, but the problems are cumulating.


One obvious theme is that Obama, like Bush, is a poor manager. He doesn't pay attention to crucial details, surrounds himself with sycophants and doesn't hold anyone accountable. The poster child for these deficiencies is Kathleen Sebelius, who ran Health and Human Services during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius failed to anticipate the HealthCare.gov disaster and the president never inquired. When the rollout failed disastrously, Obama calmly announced he was angry, but retained Sebelius. (He did the same with Gen. Eric Shinseki at Veterans Affairs.)


OK, there's a fallacy right there with "IRS targeting of conservative groups." According to Wikipedia: "The only tax-exempt status denial by the IRS involved the revocation of a previously granted tax-exempt status for a progressive group." With all these hearings by Congress, not one right wing group has successfully been able to demonstrate "I'VE BEEN PERSECUTED BY THE BIG BAD EVIL IRS!!!!!" Second, this whole "controversy" over the IRS misses the whole freaking point about a basic principle that groups applying for 501(c) charitable/"social welfare" status should not be electioneering!!!!!

And at the end crosses into a Glenn Beck style of argumentation:

The low point came when the president embraced Sgt. Bergdahl's parents in the Rose Garden. Thinking the public would cheer Bergdahl's release, Obama took a victory lap. Bad call. The administration has been showered with tough questions instead of confetti. Why did Obama release a murderers' row of Taliban generals? Why did he refuse to tell anyone in Congress beforehand, as he was legally required to do? Is the president floating a trial balloon to empty Guantanamo? Could the newly released Taliban plan deadly attacks? Will the swap encourage Islamic terrorists to kidnap other Americans? The White House is still fumbling for answers.


First, Congress has known as early as 2012 about the prisoner swap. Second, the release of the "Taliban Five" was going to happen anyway due to the US military leaving Afghanistan this year.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:19 PM

1. the paragraph about setbacks

reads like a teabagging propaganda wet dream

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:19 PM

2. The U Chicago poli sci dept. is oriented toward conservatives and libertarians. n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:24 PM

3. So is their econ department "the Chicago School". But what about their law school,

since Obama taught there, so have other progressives in the law like Elena Kagan, Lawrence Lessig, and John Paul Stevens?

Meanwhile, Charles Lipson has also written an article praising Obama for his handling of the Jeremiah Wright situation (albeit still giving credibility to the right wing Obama/Wright hysteria...but I guess poli sci professors need to consider whoever's hot in the political discourse!)

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Response to alp227 (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:25 PM

4. Scalia went to their law school, and thinks it isn't as conservative as it used to be. Whatever.

It's still conservative. Just not Scalia-conservative.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/con-law

The University of Chicago Law School, after all, is a famously conservative institution--the birthplace of the law-and-economics movement and the incubator of numerous conservative intellectuals; Fischel himself literally wrote (with Easterbrook) one of the fundamental books on law and economics, in addition to another book arguing that the government's prosecution of Michael Milken was unjust.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:40 PM

10. I think you mean

 

not batshit crazy Scalia-conservative!

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Response to alp227 (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 11, 2014, 02:28 AM

18. Diamond Reo

I know this is totally off topic, but did you make a post that you worked Diamond Reo trucks in the 70's, alp227?

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:31 PM

5. The ghost of Leo Strauss still haunts the halls

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:39 PM

9. That's ridiculous: Bernie Sanders, Seymour Hirsch, Susan Sontag, Saul Alinsky, Ramsey Clark ...

Amy Klobuchar, Abner Mikvah, and a host of other liberals (not just liberals but leftists) were U of C trained. Don't just cherry pick the people you don't like.

I forgot to mention Justice John Paul Stevens.


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Response to frazzled (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 04:17 PM

12. Leo Strauss was what he was

It's his disciples, the Straussians and the Neoconservatives I would choose to focus on.

Just how many of these asswipes were in the Bush administration, pounding the drum for war in Iraq?

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Response to frazzled (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:43 PM

14. Amy Klobuchar?? I wouldn't put her up there with Bernie Sanders by any means....

She's a Democrat, not a DINO, but she's not as far left as Bernie is.....

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Response to a kennedy (Reply #14)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 07:30 PM

16. Oh, you found a nit to pick

How perceptive. As if it made any difference to the argument.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #16)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 07:43 PM

17. Ok....sorry

I live in Minnesota AND know she's an ok Democrat.....nothing in the form of a leader. SORRY I made that known.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:33 PM

6. Classic fauxpinion piece.

A Very Serious Discussion of the media's most popular shiny objects, to raise partisan outrage and wagon circling and divert us from the real issues that every single American, across party lines, should be focused on right now:


TPP and other predatory "trade deals" on the horizon
continuation of PNAC/warmongering for profit
surveillance state/police state/dismantling of our Constitution
assaults on journalism and whistleblowers
handing of the internet to corporations
the continued push for austerity and revision of our laws to profit the wealthy
and the continued corporate takeover of our elections and government

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:34 PM

7. He is a fiscal conservative and calls himself a Republican

He has also been the sole vocal opponent to putting an Obama Presidential Library on the U of C campus, because it would "celebrate" him.

As soon as I saw the Sun-Times’s headline last week, “U. of C. prof wants to shelve Obama library idea,” I knew the story was about Charles Lipson. In the article, by Abdon Pallasch, the political science professor objects to housing the Obama complex because it will contain not only a library, which is appropriate on a university campus, but also a “celebratory museum,” which Lipson deems inappropriate. I’ve known Lipson for several years from appearing together on Bruce Dumont’s Beyond the Beltway, and I wasn’t surprised that the prof—a fiscally conservative, socially liberal southerner who has finally come around to calling himself a Republican—was opposed to a project that most universities would kill to have (think millions of visitors and dollars, hugely heightened visibility).

The 64-year-old Lipson has taught at the University of Chicago since 1977, and while he has never been simpatico politically with his colleagues, this recent, public warning that the Hyde Park institution should not house the Barack Obama presidential library will not endear him to his colleagues in his department, much less the University.

...

CF: Will you vote for Obama in 2012?
CL: No, I’m voting for Romney. I now consider myself a Republican. For many, many, many years I was a Democrat. When I voted for McCain, that was the first time I voted for a Republican in years. I did not vote for George W. Bush [in 2000] even though I thought Gore was a weak candidate. I thought you shouldn’t be awarded for big mistakes, and Bush had made very big mistakes, so I voted for Kerry

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Felsenthal-Files/July-2012/Charles-Lipson-on-the-Obama-Library-and-Being-a-Republican-at-the-U-of-C/

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:38 PM

8. Gitmo detainees swapped for Bergdahl: Who are they?

By CNN Staff
updated 7:55 PM EDT, Sat May 31, 2014

... Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa .. was an early member of the Taliban in 1994 and was interior minister during the Taliban's rule ...

... Mullah Mohammad Fazl .. commanded the main force fighting the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance in 2001, and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban regime ...

... Mullah Norullah Noori .. served as governor of Balkh province in the Taliban regime and played some role in coordinating the fight against the Northern Alliance ...

... Abdul Haq Wasiq .. was the deputy chief of the Taliban regime's intelligence service. His cousin was head of the service ...

... Mohammad Nabi Omari .. was a minor Taliban official in Khost Province ...


http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/31/us/bergdahl-transferred-guantanamo-detainees/


So Lipson's claim that Obama release<d> a murderers' row of Taliban generals doesn't seem to reflect the facts. The CNN article does note that Fazl has been accused of war crimes during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s -- but as far as I can tell there's never been any effort to prosecute him on such charges



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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 03:46 PM

11. Someone told him "the Obama Presidency is winding up," and he misunderstood. . .

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 05:22 PM

13. So the right can play the "Obama=Bush" game too, I guess...

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sat Jun 21, 2014, 07:26 PM

15. Someone pointed out that even

though Obama is less popular, the democratic and republican parties are even less popular still. All of politics is in the toilet.

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