November 9, 2013

I told you so

From Vanity Fair:
The Lonely Guy 
By Todd S. Purdum 
When Barack Obama arrived in Washington almost five years ago, the universal assumption was that the young president—who had, after all, won office by exploiting every connective tool of the national social and electoral network—would run his White House in sharp contrast to the bunkered, hunkered-down George W. Bush. 
Like so much conventional wisdom, that impression has proved dead wrong. In fact, Obama’s resolute solitude—his isolation and alienation from the other players and power centers of Washington, be they rivals or friends—has emerged as the defining trait of his time in office. He may be the biggest presidential paradox since Thomas Jefferson, the slaveholder who wrote the Declaration of Independence: a community organizer who works alone.

You know, while Obama was a community organizer, he didn't actually organize any communities. The job was a useful box for him to check off while he boned up for the LSAT, a way for him to prove to Harvard Law School admissions that this guy from Hawaii with a name not uncommon in Japan wasn't just another Asian applicant, but was instead a Man of His People.
In early 2011, when the president’s most trusted political adviser, David Axelrod, left the White House to return to Chicago to run his re-election campaign, Obama made a surprise appearance at Axelrod’s going-away party in a grand apartment off Dupont Circle on a wintry Saturday night. Clad casually in a black jacket, he spoke warmly, even emotionally, of the aide who had done so much to elect him. Then he made his way quickly around a living room full of Cabinet members, other aides, and off-duty reporters, grasping each proffered hand with a single, relentless, repeated greeting: “Gotta go.”...

I could imagine myself as President being, like Obama, worn down by all the people wanting to shake my hand and (shudder) talk to me. On the other hand, I can't imagine myself as President in the first place, but he could.
Obama’s self-evident isolation has another effect: It tends to insulate him from engagement in the management of his own administration. The latest round of “what did the president know and when did he know it” on the disastrous rollout of Obamacare and the tapping of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone raised troubling questions: Were Obama’s aides too afraid to tell him? Was he too detached to ask? Or both? At the least, such glaring failures cast fresh doubt on Obama’s invariable assurance to those around him in times of trouble: “I got this.” 
... If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer

Novelist, sure, although not a terribly interesting one. But those other professions? They are specifically ones where a man with an ego bigger than his competence can do disastrous harm.
, the very qualities of self-sufficiency that even some of his strongest supporters find so frustrating would be an unalloyed asset. But in a politician—above all, in a president—such qualities are confounding and, at times, crippling. 
“He never needed anyone to affirm his value,” one of his longest-serving advisers told me, “and for that reason, I’m not sure he understands what it would mean to provide a little affirmation to another politician. Because it wouldn’t mean much to him.” 

No, Obama thrives on public affirmation. He was a run of the mill Ivy grad, more or less treading water in his mid-20s, up until the moment he arrived at Harvard Law School where he was instantly apotheosized at the First Black President. As classmate Jackie Fox of the Runaways noted, his persona swelled like her old bandmate Joan Jett's had.

Obama loves standing on a stage and receiving mass public adoration. What he doesn't like is talking to people, especially people with their own agendas, such as other politicians.

He seems to have a Zero Sum approach to cheers -- if other people are also being praised, that makes the praise he's getting relatively less awesome. If he insincerely flatters other politicians that raises the troubling question that maybe some of the worship he receives is insincere flattery, too.
... Indeed, however he treats his enemies, Obama could work harder to get by with a little help from his friends. Throughout his tenure, he has generally refused to adopt the practice of every president since at least Gerald Ford by posing for pictures with his guests at the more than a dozen White House holiday parties (except in the case of the receptions for Congress and the White House press corps, who could be counted on to make a real fuss).

When I was in the corporate world in Chicago, I don't know how many executives had a pictures of themselves and Michael Jordan at charity golf outings. Posing with complete strangers as if you are old buddies is part of the job description of being Michael Jordan or President.
Successive flights of frustrated senior aides to both the president and the First Lady have battled the Obamas’ persistent assumption that supporters (and staffers, for that matter) don’t need to be thanked—a battle fought largely in vain. 
Five years into their tenure, the couple has a social reputation few would have envisioned when they came to town: more standoffish than the Bushes, and ruder than the Clintons. 

Obviously, Michelle has a lot of issues involving garden variety insecurity and resentment. But, Barry has the interpersonal skill set of a humble man, combined with an inflated sense of entitlement: Well, of course, those little people would want to slave away to help me lower the sea level or whatever. Why should they expect to be thanked? Isn't being permitted to assist in my achieving my rightful status it's own reward?
... On Syria, Obama clearly did not run the congressional traps. Having announced—on his own—that the use of chemical weapons would constitute a red line requiring an American response, he suddenly decided in September to seek congressional approval without any real count of the Democratic caucus. And he made up his mind not in deliberations with his secretaries of state or defense but after a walk around the White House lawn with his chief of staff Denis McDonough—an adviser since his Senate days—before informing a handful of other senior aides of his decision.

Another aspect of Obama is (relatively) low energy, especially for one of the youngest Presidents ever. Sending America off to war is (or ought to be) a big decision, involving much consultation and coalition-building (e.g., the energetic George H.W. Bush in 1990-91). Yet, with both Libya and Syria, Obama did it in an offhand manner, in part because that's about all he's got in the tank.
And then there is golf. ... Obama has taken a page out of Wilson’s book, invariably competing in a foursome with the same retinue of junior aides and old friends—most of whom are better than he is and whose seemingly sole mission is to sharpen the president’s own game.

Obama's primary golf partner is Marvin Nicholson, his current body man. Nicholson is this cool slacker, a 6'-8" white guy from Vancouver Island, who drifted around in low-level sports jobs, mixed with a little bartending. He was discovered by John Kerry working at a wind surfing shop. Kerry thought he was so brotastic that he wanted to hire him as an aide, but Nicholson instead chose to go caddy at Augusta National Golf Club for a year. Finally, Senator Kerry won him over. Obama inherited Nicholson from Kerry.

Obama is so averse to playing golf with anybody important that another of his more frequent partners is Nicholson's brother.
... (And speaking of summits, Obama has no relationship with any foreign leader that is remotely akin to Ronald Reagan’s with Margaret Thatcher, or Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s with Tony Blair. The scandalous phone-tapping imbroglio—even if the fault of the Bush administration—now makes it unlikely that he ever will.) 
... “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told his 2008 campaign political director, Patrick Gaspard, now his ambassador to South Africa. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.” ...
Just how someone wired the way Obama is got so far in politics remains a puzzlement.

Uh ... well ... you know ... Okay, since everybody seems to be permanently baffled by how Barack Obama ever came to be seen as Presidential Timber, let me just ask: if he'd remained "Barry Soetoro," half-Indonesian-American of "international" and "multicultural" background, would anybody have ever heard of him?
His aloneness is generally regarded as springing from a surfeit of self-confidence, a certitude that he really does know best. But at least one former senior administration adviser has argued that the trait springs from the opposite source: a basic insecurity on the president’s part, one that keeps him from surrounding himself with strong intellectual rivals in either the White House or the Cabinet. 

So, at some level, Obama, who has some powers of self-awareness, realizes he's not really all that.

The whole situation would be funny, if anybody were allowed to joke about it.

156 comments:

Bone Daddy Dawg said...

Obama: INFJ with NPD.

BTW--"Barack Obama" was cut dialogue from the original THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Uttered by Klaatu, it means "Toilet--FLUSH!"

Son of Brock Landers said...

Eventually they come around to your thinking. This misread of Obama is why I differ from the Robert Merry National Interest article that said Obama is Active-Negative. Obama is Passive-Negative. Most events in his admin have been driven by others. Reid/Pelosi - Stimulus, Banks - Geithner, Pelosi - ACA, Wars - Others, OBL Raid - Panetta. He didnt even watch the OBL raid.

Having a black guy in office was perfect though for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to get multiple bailouts and wealth transfer policies and deflect criticism by the underclass. Can't have them drifting south in Manhattan and causing problems.

Jay Matthews said...

Everything about Obama gets very easy to make sense of when you start with the heretical truth that he's fairly unimpressive, and got elected president because he is black. Once again, I find myself wishing to comment further but finding this blog has covered the points and counterpoints with such unvarnished reason that all I can say is "great post." Sometimes I feel like Chris Farley in that SNL skit. Keep it up.

fish said...

... If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer.

...he probably wouldn't have wrecked as many innocent live as the front man for the "Hyde Park Mafia" has managed to wreck.

Anonymous said...

Obama was a born anchorman. Perfect for his vanity, his fraudulent "articulation" (as long as he's reading), his sense of serious purpose, his utter inconsequence. A shame for all of us and a tragedy for many that he didn't go that way. On the other hand, if he became Lester Holt, maybe President Lester Holt would now be doing the country even more grevious harm, had as that is to believe.

Bertie Wooster said...

Is it just me, or is Obama speaking more and more with the cadence of a black preacher the last year or so.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

I'd almost given up on the interwebs today. Just nothing interesting at all(***). But this is a great post.

(*** the revelation today with Incognito and Martin is just so typically ironic, that I can hardly muster the effort to be interested in it. Gee, the thugs were picking on the Uncle Tom? Who would have guessed?)

Anonymous said...

"When Barack Obama arrived in Washington almost five years ago, the universal assumption was that..."

universal?

Anonymous said...

"Novelist, sure, although not a terribly interesting one."

You mean DREAMS is non-fiction?

Anonymous said...

"Another aspect of Obama is (relatively) low energy, especially for one of the youngest Presidents ever. Sending America off to war is (or ought to be) a big decision, involving much consultation and coalition-building (e.g., the energetic George H.W. Bush in 1990-91). Yet, with both Libya and Syria, Obama did it in an offhand manner, in part because that's about all he's got in the tank."

Huge blessing for him. If US had toppled Assad, there would be massive killings of Christians and US would have to go into Syria to control things.

Putin really saved his ass by blocking the war.
Putin won the battle, but Obama won the war... by not fighting it.

Henry Canaday said...

This week I went to a funeral service for a woman who had been a scheduling assistant to nine presidents, from Truman to the first Bush. At the end of the service, one of her fellow White House staffers read letters sent to her by the presidents who were still living when she retired, in 1993.

By far the most intelligent, personal and interesting letter was from Richard Nixon. At least on paper and in retirement, Nixon could be a very nice guy.

Anonymous said...

If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer

This actually reminds me of some passages I've read from memoirs of True Believers living in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Years afterward, they remembered conversations with their fellow TBs, agreeing that, yes, Comrade Stalin would have been the greatest novelist since Tolstoy, if he had had the time for it, or that of course the Boss would have been the world's greatest dam builder if he was allowed a private life.

Robert Holmgren said...

Todd Purdum buts a very large premium on being a novelist compared with the other professions he lumps together--neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer. The consequences of telling stories in print may in rare circumstances be financially rewarding, while having not nearly the positive contribution of, say, actually organizing a community.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

No, Obama watched the raid. But I think the picture says a lot.

Obama hunched, miserable.

Glossy said...

I haven't known a single person with a visible amount of African ancestry who hated talking to people. All the marginally black guys I've known (1/8th and below, judging by looks) were more gregarious than 90% of whites.

Could this be something peculiar to the Luo or to East Africans in general?

I'm a nerd, so I don't like talking to people either, especially to unfamiliar ones. There is probably a trade-off between the quickness and depth of thought. Nerds can concentrate on one thing for hours (depth), but are bad at multitasking and process stimuli slowly.

During conversations social clues have to be picked up on the fly while other stuff (talking, walking, ambient distractions) is going on. Nerds are bad at that. And we know it. We miss a lot of clues. No one likes to do things he's bad at, especially with people who happen to be good at it. It turns into a long, continuous reminder of one's inadequacy. This is why nerds tend to avoid social situations.

I don't know if that's Barry's reason though. Could be something else entirely.

pat said...

The slave that rode in the triumphal chariot with the conqueror who kept whispering, "Remember thou too art mortal" was a good institution. The founding Fathers imitated a lot of Republican Rome but they missed that one. Until quite recently we got away with it.

That was a 'check and balance' on hubris. Obama's self image has been running free and unrestrained.

After the second election he had a bad case of 'Victory disease'. Obamacare may just be his five minutes at Midway - the moment when it all turns around.

I seem to be rather more mixed in my metaphors than usual. Sorry.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Krauthammer, admitting he was breaking his own rule by offering a professional diagnosis of this POTUS,said he exibited all the traits of a narcissist. I'd say it should be occuring to the approx. 50% of the voters who returned him to office that he lacks empathy. He's as cold a fish as any POTUS in my life time, and his inability to feel real empathy was on display in spades in that "I REGRET"...or that "I am sorry we weren't as clear as we should have been" thing that some have referred to as an"apology" the other night. Not a muscle in any part of his body suggested he was sorry for anyone except himself, a fact confirmed by his slip when he said, "I got burned by a website," before he evidently realized how that sounded and added a clause making the "American people" thesubject of the burning.

Of course, now all over the tube is the video of his pedantic lecturing to Eric Cantor years ago when Obama flat out said about 8 milion would lose their policies of necessity--a huge underestimate,of course...but he later claimed the opposite, of course.

Personally, I hate the guy. He's devoid of feelingsfor anyone but himself.

Anonymous said...

... If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer...

Uhh, is this a not-so-subtle tip of the hat to Bill Ayers, the real novelist in all of this?!?

The job was a useful box for him to check off while he boned up for the LSAT, a way for him to prove to Harvard Law School admissions that this guy from Hawaii with a name not uncommon in Japan wasn't just another Asian applicant, but was instead a Man of His People...

Uh ... well ... you know ... Okay, since everybody seems to be permanently baffled by how Barack Obama ever came to be seen as Presidential Timber, let me just ask: if he'd remained "Barry Soetoro," half-Indonesian-American of "international" and "multicultural" background, would anybody have ever heard of him?...


Let's not forget Wayne Allen Root's new thesis: That Obama HIMSELF invented the "Born in Kenya, Raised in Indonesia" myth, so as to get into Columbia & Harvard Law, because [presumably] his grades and his test scores were so low that he couldn't even get admitted on a standard Affirmative Action set-aside quota.

If that's true - and, in particular, if Obama never surrendered his Indonesian passport, if he travelled to Pakistan on that passport, and if he used that passport to gain admission to Columbia and Harvard Law as a FOREIGN STUDENT - then it would explain why Brennan's people had to go snooping in the State Department passport files.

And why poor Lt Quarles Harris Jr had to be murdered.

PS: Am I the only person on the face of the earth who would like to see some LEO investigative progress on the unsolved murders of Donald Young & Lt Quarles Harris Jr?

Does no one else even give a damn?!?

Gotta break some eggs to make an omelette?!?

Auntie Analogue said...


Obama is exactly like every one of the obviously underqualified blacks I've known who were promoted purely because they were black. Empty suits who hid behind an armor of verbal boilerplate as they used power to freeze everyone else out and entrench themselves in their unearned, undeserved positions; and, of course, every one of these individuals was held to be immune to criticism by dint of the 1960's-onward sacralization of blacks.

Anonymous said...

Do the mainstream writers who steal your ideas at least throw you a donation or two?

Anonymous said...

Love how making up stuff for a living is conflated with jobs that require mad STEM skillz plus years of effort.

John Cunningham said...

Comrade Urkel is the ultimate extension of -culti affirmative action, no? a half-educated boob who just floated upward on a cloud of leftie worship.

Chicago said...

It was him or McDeranged or the hideous Hillary. Pickings were pretty slim then; that's the best the system could offer us at the time. He got himself reelected and can now cruise along for the next few years playing golf, delegate everything of importance to underlings, and get in some down-low. He still has plenty of true believers all over the place. When he finally leaves he'll probably turn around on his way out and give everybody the finger just to show what he really thinks of them all.

cyril said...

"a basic insecurity on the president’s part, one that keeps him from surrounding himself with strong intellectual rivals"

How to square this with his fondness for Larry Summers, so exasperating to the left-wing of the democratic party?

Eric Rasmusen said...

I wonder if one reason he doesn't like being photographed with people is his experience in Chicago politics. If you shoot lots of photos, you end up looking chummy with a lot of people who are under indictment for bribery, contract murder, narcotics,income tax evasion, racketeering, and stuff like that. For Obama, add terrorism charges to the list of likely tags for people who might show up in photos.

Hizzle said...

That Klein book that became a bestseller revealed much the same attitude about Obama when he was a "professor" (not really, more like an adjunct, never even came close to tenure). He ate alone, almost every day, always studiously avoiding other faculty. If you asked a Huffington Post blogger why Obama ate alone, they would tell you it was because he was such a deep thinker that he needed his space to contemplate his profound ideas.

Had you asked anyone from Earth why Obama ate alone, they would have told you he was insecure, or more accurately, a fraud who didn't want to be exposed.

Cherub said...

The ironic part is that in modern America, an incompetent empty suit with the right charisma and skin color can be president, but regardless of how much headwind they had, they'd never last long in one of those other careers mentioned (novelist,neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer), all positions where a single given individual is of far less importance than a president but where one is 'graded' on real world results.

Anonymous said...

The media are real shit.

Cruise made an offhanded remark that his last bout with film-making felt like being in a war, and the media decided to spin it as CRUISE SAYS MOVIE-MAKING IS LIKE FIGHTING IN WAR.

No wonder reputations can so easily be destroyed.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/11/09/tom-cruise-war/3483101/

http://www.tmz.com/2013/11/08/tom-cruise-suri-lawsuit-deposition-afghanistan-war-olympics/#ixzz2k8o3P01L

Maybe it's professional courtesy. Cruise is suing the media, so media are maybe out to get him.

Terrible spin. Given that most people just read headlines, they're gonna get the wrong impression.

Anonymous said...

Having a black guy in office was perfect though for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to get multiple bailouts and wealth transfer policies and deflect criticism by the underclass. Can't have them drifting south in Manhattan and causing problems.
You have a good point there. Personality while I disagree with him on issues I don't see him as the mastermind communist from the cloth of Frank Marshall Davis that you see on Glenn Beck.

Anonymous said...

the tapping of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone raised troubling questions:
This was pretty dumbed. I doubt that even Bush did this one.

Harry Baldwin said...

The comments after the Vanity Fair article are unrelentingly negative, accusing author Purdum of presenting a puff-piece on this incompetent president. Those commentors haven't figured out how you have to read such an article in the prestige press. It presents enough negative information to tell you everything you need to make an accurate judgment, but couches it in enough obfuscating praise and rationalization that the SWPL readership won't dismiss it as some screed written by a Tea Partier or other such easily dismissible source.

I see this all the time. I recently heard an NPR interview with Ryan Lizza about an article he wrote for the New Yorker on the Keystone pipeline. From the interview I gathered that blocking the pipeline served no environmental purpose whatsoever, that the oil will simply be transported by other means, most of them posing more risk to the environment than a pipeline. Obama himself had difficulty understanding the justification for blocking the pipeline. The sole importance of the issue was to galvanize an environmental movement that can't find anything else to latch onto at the moment, and to make a symbolic statement against the continuing use of fossil fuels. Lizza's information convinced me more than ever that blocking the pipeline is lunacy, but he himself supports the decision. That's how you survive in the prestige press.

Anonymous said...

Obama has always been a figurehead, whose value resides in the way he personally embodies the political union of the yuppie left and the minority blocs with which it has so little in common.

Didn't Obama himself at one point say that he was an empty vessel into which other people poured their aspirations?

It should surprise nobody that a man who was more or less created and promoted by others wouldn't be a charismatic, take-charge administrator.

The more interesting question to me is how we can improve our political process to avoid electing such insubstantial pied-pipers. (No, I didn't vote for him, but the electorate as a whole sure did.)

Svigor said...

Americans are too lazy to think for themselves and come to the obvious conclusion: electing presidential candidate with no executive experience is a bad idea.

The scandalous phone-tapping imbroglio—even if the fault of the Bush administration

Why would it be the fault of the Bush administration? Because Obama's administration is too inept to be expected to know what it's been doing for five years? Because Obama's too inept? Is it too much to expect a black pres to be competent, or what?

"Just how someone wired the way Obama is got so far in politics remains a puzzlement. "

Uh ... well ... you know ...


Lol. Yeah, it's a real riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Gosh, how'd he ever get liberals to ignore his temperament, his resume, his competence, and his total lack of executive experience?

slumber_j said...

I clearly recall from my obsessive reading and rereading of the d'Aulaires' children's biography of Abraham Lincoln that the Railsplitter himself--our current President's model and hero--had exactly the same problem with the endless stream of supplicants attendant to the office.

I wonder what President Obama read as a kid.

Anonymous said...

...he probably wouldn't have wrecked as many innocent live as the front man for the "Hyde Park Mafia" has managed to wreck.

There's a long historical connection between the "Hyde Park Mafia" and the *real* Mafia(aka "Chicago Outfit"). See (for example) former Fifth Ward Dem Committeeman Marshall Korshak and his brother Sidney. Further details in Gus Russo's book, Supermob. More details in long out-of-print books by Ovid Demaris and Len O'Connor.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes referred to as McJobs, mini-jobs are a form of marginal employment that allows workers to earn up to €450 a month tax-free. Introduced in 2003 by the then Social Democratic chancellor Gerhard Schröder as part of a wide-ranging labour market reform when Germany's economic doldrums earned it the title "sick man of Europe", they keep down labour costs and offer greater flexibility to employers.

But critics say they have helped to expand the disparity between rich and poor and undermined many of the values that have traditionally underpinned Germany's social-market economy. Not only do they give employers no reason to turn them into proper jobs, but mini-jobs offer workers little incentive to work more because then they would have to pay tax. As a result, many remain trapped in marginal work and detached from Germany's much-hailed jobwunder, or jobs miracle.

Anonymous said...

Steve, You have to compare him to the competition as well. McCain-Palin? Romney? Would you really like to be at war with Iran now? Dow more than doubled since O took office. Compare him to George W. Bush. Why relatively conservative whites like me have voted for him. I wish he was better too. But. . .

Anonymous said...

"I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters."

Barry may well be right here. His speeches sound like they were written by precocious high school Democrats who just watched Lord of the Rings--simultaneously grandiose and insubstantial.

In general, speechwriters strike me as a dismaying fixture of modern politics. If a politician can't tell people what he thinks in his own words, he shouldn't be elected. Citizens of a republic ought to be appalled that their leaders communicate with them via the offices of speechwriters, consultants, and other assorted Svengalis.

Anonymous said...

Obama and Democrats and some Republicans never think that with robots being able in the next decade take away the low skilled jobs done by Hispanic immigrants we will be stuck with a big welfare state. people here might complain about the white surfer dude but lots of white surfer dudes have finished high school more than Hispanic immigrants.

Foreign Expert said...

Notice he tends to play golf with white guys (judging by the photos I've seen). Maybe he is, at heart, a white person, pretending to be black.

Anonymous said...

"if he'd remained "Barry Soetoro," he could have run as a Hispanic.

BTW if Bill de Blasio ran using his birth name Warren Wilhelm could he have won? Or if he married a straight woman of non color?

Anonymous said...

Obama is an empty suit. Americans elected a pig in a poke.

Dennis Dale said...

.. If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer.

Boy, regarding the myth of Obama's genius they're like a dog with a bone. As absurd as it is to doubt someone who's made it to the presidency, I can't imagine--nor imagine how anyone can imagine--Obama in any of these occupations, except novelist, and then churning out prose as affected and dishonest as that in Dreams.

Noah172 said...

Everything about Obama gets very easy to make sense of when you start with the heretical truth that he's fairly unimpressive, and got elected president because he is black

Let's clarify. Obama is not black -- you know, black black. Culturally he is a liberal whiterperson, and by ancestry he is a mulatto; he has slaveowners and slave traders on both sides of his lineage, but no slaves (at least not any in the US). That's how he got elected. Jesse Jackson is leaps and bounds more authentically African-American than Obama -- and look how his presidential campaigns turned out (respectably under the circumstances, but nowhere near victory). Obama, however, is only just black enough for blacks -- not black enough to be chosen over Bobby Rush, but black enough to be chosen over Hillary Clinton -- but, crucially, is not too black (that is, too scary or divisive or embarrassing, like Jackson or Al Sharpton) for Nice White People (liberal and moderate).

Anonymous said...

Obama was a born anchorman. Perfect for his vanity, his fraudulent "articulation" (as long as he's reading), his sense of serious purpose, his utter inconsequence. A shame for all of us and a tragedy for many that he didn't go that way."
_________________________

Excellent. Yes, an anchorman. For NBC, no doubt.

Anonymous said...

"Is it just me, or is Obama speaking more and more with the cadence of a black preacher the last year or so."

I wouldn't say that he's lapsed into the cadence of a black preacher, but he certainly has increased the dropping of his g's and substituted the vernacular frequently. "Gunna" comes to mind.

Perhaps if not an anchorman, he could have done a game show, one like the Price is Right.

Anonymous said...

"When Barack Obama arrived in Washington almost five years ago, the universal assumption was that..."
__________________________

Seems the writer forgot about Obama's time as a US senator. Then again, his tenure was indeed forgettable.

Anonymous said...

"If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer"

What makes this writer think there is any evidence that Barack Obama EVER worked hard at anything? That he ever devoted himself to his schooling? That he had the devotion to be a neurosurgeon, the physical, emotional and mental gifts to be pilot, the damned smarts to be an atomic engineer? I'm still laughing.

Anonymous said...

Abraham Lincoln ... had exactly the same problem with the endless stream of supplicants attendant to the office.

Lincoln had something of a genius for making friends. Nearly everyone around him at least respected him and very often became devoted on a personal level.

Lincoln was disciplined enough to do the gritty work of politics: patronage, give and take with other politicians, and constituent service. Perhaps like Reagan he had an interior core he didn't lightly reveal but he was gregarious and enjoyed people.

Not so much with Obama. He enjoys receiving adulation and lecturing people, not so much engaging them. The people around him seem to be devoted to the idea of Obama rather than the man.

And Steve was indeed right about him.

Peter the Shark said...

Given that Obama has been, while a mediocre President, far less damaging to the US than the disastrous Bush II Presidency there is case to be made that affirmative action is less damaging than class based nepotism.

Anonymous said...

Just how someone wired the way Obama is got so far in politics remains a puzzlement.

OMG! Shades o' "random attack."

Anonymous said...

far less damaging to the US than the disastrous Bush II

Not seeing much evidence of that.

The Arab Springs in Egypt, Libya, and Syria are likely to result in Islamist governments. Iran will go nuke (unless the Israelis make some high risk, low-payoff gamble), likely resulting in a nuclearized Saudi Arabia. Obamacare is turning out to be catastrophic for job formation and middle class budgets. Median income has dropped significantly. The Justice Department has been politicized, and we're deep into an experiment in what happens when the press decides to collaborate with government.

jody said...

at this point it should be obvious that barack obama had nothing at all to do with finding or killing osama bin laden. all the rumors and stories we heard were true. about him not being interested in the entire thing, about somebody else finally deciding it had to be done, about having to be pulled off the golf course, and about not even watching the operation, and instead leaving the room, because it was boring.

this is a guy who could not even oversee the roll out of a website with 3 years to work on it. in a nation which has the majority of the largest IT and computer science companies in the world. when highly motivated to do something (enact his key policy and namesake legacy), and actually tasked with doing something (a rather easy task we might add), he failed utterly.

"If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer"

LOL @ the casual suggestion that the great obama could have easily done any of these things instead. he would have failed at all of them. at least as a novelist, he just would have just failed. if he got the same affirmative action in the other 3 fields that he got in politics, allowing him to actually practice neurosurgery, fly commercial aircraft, or supervise a fission reactor, he'd have killed lots of people by now. he'd need massive affirmative action to even get that far though, because in any of those fields, he'd never get past the first year training without it.

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/11/the-33-whitest-jobs-in-america/

Glossy said...

"BTW if Bill de Blasio ran using his birth name Warren Wilhelm could he have won? Or if he married a straight woman of non color?"

The answers are respectively yes and no, but that's not why I'm posting. I'm posting because I just thought of calling our mayor-elect Billy Dee Wilhelm. Or Billy de Wilhelm. Who knows, it might catch on.

jody said...

i also LOL @ the idea that obama can credibly claim he had no idea what was going on, on any of these scandal issues, because he's so isolated and alone that he is legitimately not informed about this stuff as it happened. what total BS. this guy absolutely knows about it all. hell, most of the time, he's the one that ordered it. he's just allowed to get away with the "Derr, I dunno" excuse for everything, every time.

after he says "I don't know" about a dozen times you have to ask yourself what DOES this guy know. i bet he knows what time to meet dan rooney at steelers headquarters for a meeting about how he can use the NFL, a previously totally apolitical enterprise, to push PPACA, finally politicizing one of the few remaining great things in america. i'll never voluntarily watch another steelers game again as long as dan rooney owns the team. the rooney rule was one thing, but this crosses the line. the pittsburgh steelers and their 80 year tradition have now been turned into a tool of the cultural marxists.

jody said...

"Would you really like to be at war with Iran now?"

no, but as i've said, it would be cheaper than what obama is doing. the left drones on endlessly about bush and his 1 trillion dollar war. whaa, whaa! we haven't paid for bush and his stupid 1 trillion dollar war!

ok. well. obama will leave office having added 10 trillion dollars to the US debt. let's say a US conflict with iran runs 2 trillion. now, which is the smaller number. 2 trillion. or 10 trillion?

i don't hear any liberals whaa whaa'ing about paying off that staggering, colossal mountain of debt. the yearly interest payments alone will be about equal to defense spending by 2016 or so, right around when obama leaves office.

waah waah 1 trillion dollar war? obama will leave the united states with an INTEREST payment of 500 billion PER YEAR. that's IF interest rates stay relatively low. they go up by even 2 percent, something completely historically normal, and the US government is in deep trouble.

let's not pretend that the left cares about a single US troop getting killed. they instantly stopped caring about that the second obama took office. he's gotten 2000 guys killed in afghanistan with not a single peep from the left. so that is not a factor. american troops getting killed? the left doesn't care about that. 10000 americans could get killed in iran and the left would shriek and stomp their feet and scream about it in public if mccain was president. but in private, they might even secretly like it, because it would mostly be republican voting european men getting killed. with a democrat in office however they simply would not care.

jody said...

"far less damaging to the US than the disastrous Bush II"

PPACA is not merely a disaster. it is a catastrophe.

it is beyond the scope of this talk back to go into the colossal, SOCIETY CHANGING level of damage this thing will inflict. the US will be unrecognizable once all provisions of PPACA are phased in. we're in the very beginnings of it. wait 3 years and come back to us. you'll be changing your tune about the merits (or demerits, as it were) about GW bush versus obama.

and that's just one thing under the obama administration.

Anonymous said...

Peter the Shark said:Given that Obama has been, while a mediocre President, far less damaging to the US than the disastrous Bush II...

annon replied: Not seeing much evidence of that.

Bush II was more damaging. He ran as a conservative and trashed the conservative brand. The sad thing is that he trashed the conservative brand, not by trying to enact conservative principles, or what people on blogs like this would consider conservative, but by pushing what Steve calls the invade-the-world-invite-the-world-in-hock-to-the-world strategy favored by neocons, Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce.

Due to his blunders, we probably won't be able to elect a conservative to the Presidency again. First, because the man on the street now believes conservatives are only interested in the above. And second, because Bush II did his damnedest to elect a new people by not only not enforcing our border, but by trying to force amnesty. Though defeated, his lack of enforcement enabled millions to come and effectively become permanent members of our nation.

It was Bush II's policies in 2008, and the fact the GOP decided to nominate the one guy in America who thought they were still good ideas, that made possible the improbable election of Obama. Next to Bush II and McCain, his third-termer in waiting, the inexperienced, under-qualified, affirmative-action, community organizer looked downright presidential.

Yes, Bush II was far worse than Obama.

Anonymous said...

During conversations social clues have to be picked up on the fly while other stuff (talking, walking, ambient distractions) is going on. Nerds are bad at that. And we know it. We miss a lot of clues. No one likes to do things he's bad at, especially with people who happen to be good at it. It turns into a long, continuous reminder of one's inadequacy. This is why nerds tend to avoid social situations.

This is very prescient. I'm not sure if that many introverts can actually articulate why they don't like these situations, other than the general sense of being uncomfortable. But there are other reasons as well.

I think a lot of it is not so much the discomfort of engaging with groups, it's the engaging with groups of average or lower intelligence that is particularly taxing. Consider a discussion with a group of grad students versus an ordinary group of football fans. One is going to be a comfortable situation, the other isn't.

One reason for the discomfort in the low-IQ groups is that in many cases you hear a discussion where the rest of the group is either wrong or grasping slowly towards a truth they will never reach unaided, and even if unaided may be unable to grasp once it is explained. You then have to decide whether to a) shut up, and contribute nothing to the discussion (boring and making one look like a loner), or b) just make chit-chat while offering little of value (intellectually dishonest), or c) give and explain the answer, and possibly get into an argument (confrontational, makes one look like an asshole).

Or maybe you find one of the low IQ members will do what makes logical sense for them to do when competing with people who can outwit them - use brawn to intimidate or make the nerd unpopular by ganging up on them, highlighting the differences between the nerd and the group.

Mr. Anon said...

".. If he had chosen to be a novelist or neurosurgeon, an airline pilot or an atomic engineer."

A novelist? Given the talentless hacks that pass for novelists nowadays, sure, Obama could have been a novelist. But a pilot or an "atomic engineer" (I assume the rather stupid author of that sentence meant a nuclear engineer)? Obama lacks the the temperment to be a pilot, and he lacks the smarts to be a nuclear engineer.

The fawning sychophancy with which so many liberals speak of Obama is embarassing. They write about him the same sort of things that Soviet authors wrote about Stalin - a world historical genius, a herculean intellect - he may not be a neurosurgeon or a nuclear physicist, but if he were, he would be the best surgeon or nuclear physicist the world had ever known. It's the basest kind of toadying, and it is shameful. At least Stalin was a ruthless and all-powerful tyrant, who could have people executed with the mere wave of his hand. So for people to act the lick-spittle in such an overt way was understandable. But to pay such court to Obama, who has no such power? It is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

First time I read about Obama was in an appendix to Aftenposten, a major newspaper here in Norway. This was before he was nominated as the Democratic candidate. The newspaper had translated a chapter of his book, "Dreams from my father". The chapter was about moving to New York. He gave the impression that he had lived a life among people (white) he did not feel quite well among. In his black neighborhood in New York, he could finally feel at home. My thought after I had read this was: "A person who feels this way, and expresses this so openly, will never be nominated for President".

During the election campaign, I read a lot about the scandal surrounding Reverend Wright. I thought: "A person who thus reveals that he is anti-white can never be chosen as America's president."

When he was elected I remember that the media reported that he spent a very long time to put in place an administration. This surprised me, and I remember thinking: "This man takes a long time because he does not know anyone! Politicians who do not have a large network will fail catastrophically!"

When he just before the election in 2012 completely drove Libya into the ditch I thought, "This liar will never be re-elected".

Now I am thinking: "American voters sucks"!

MQ said...

Like everything Steve writes about Obama, this is somewhat perceptive but in the end twisted by the personal animus Steve has always had toward him (for daring to be a glamorous Ivy Leaguer black President, a living refutation of the 'low IQ' stuff?). Quick, name the last U.S. president who didn't have glaring and obvious personal issues? Probably the first Bush, and he was a one-termer because he was too responsible in addressing the deficit. Obama is clearly more competent than the second Bush, and less personally weird than Clinton. Using the Syria thing against him is particularly weird, as I think most people would say that his route of going through Congress ended up leading to the right outcome (no war), and can be seen as a clever means of outmaneuvering those within his Administration who wanted war.

Obama has never been all that, and he became president too soon. But he has run the most scandal-free administration in decades and has managed his own political shop extraordinarily well. In a policy sense though, he's been mediocre, pretty much following along with Clinton/Rubin/neo-liberal conventional wisdom on everything he did. He was inexperienced when he became President and is basically an elitist Ivy League type, he never questioned center-left DC conventional wisdom. For all the hysterical Kenyan communist! stuff he's been standard-issue 1990s neoliberal.

Glossy said...

"But he has run the most scandal-free administration in decades..."

The media decides what is and isn't a scandal, and the media loves Obama. The NSA and the IRS stuff would have become catastrophic for a president the media didn't love. I'm assuming that if they know anything interesting about his love life, they're hiding it.

Jonathan Silber said...

I reject the notion that Obama is an indolent bystander to the activities of his Administration who learns of them only when, like the rest of us, he reads about them in the news.

More likely, he insists on signing off on everything, on the understanding that if the SHTF, others will take the heat and the blame; and he, being as he is an inveterate, unscrupulous liar, will claim ignorance.

Jonathan Silber said...

I think a lot of it [nerd awkwardness in company] is not so much the discomfort of engaging with groups, it's the engaging with groups of average or lower intelligence that is particularly taxing.

"To show your intelligence and discernment is only an indirect way of reproaching other people for being dull and incapable. And besides, it is natural for a vulgar man to be violently agitated by the sight of opposition in any form; and in this case envy comes in as the secret cause of his hostility."

--Arthur Schopenhauer

This goes a long way in explaining the hostility and belligerence of dull-minded blacks living in white society.

Anonymous said...

Bush II was more damaging. He ran as a conservative and trashed the conservative brand. The sad thing is that he trashed the conservative brand, not by trying to enact conservative principles, or what people on blogs like this would consider conservative, but by pushing what Steve calls the invade-the-world-invite-the-world-in-hock-to-the-world strategy favored by neocons, Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce.

Due to his blunders, we probably won't be able to elect a conservative to the Presidency again. First, because the man on the street now believes conservatives are only interested in the above. And second, because Bush II did his damnedest to elect a new people by not only not enforcing our border, but by trying to force amnesty. Though defeated, his lack of enforcement enabled millions to come and effectively become permanent members of our nation.

It was Bush II's policies in 2008, and the fact the GOP decided to nominate the one guy in America who thought they were still good ideas, that made possible the improbable election of Obama. Next to Bush II and McCain, his third-termer in waiting, the inexperienced, under-qualified, affirmative-action, community organizer looked downright presidential.

Yes, Bush II was far worse than Obama.
True, actually, the part times jobs are not a result of Obama Care as much as Republicans yelp there are in certain service jobs like Fast Food and Restaurants that would have hired people part time anyway. In fact Obama's Team kept loan down payments high at 20 percent until recently I think so less bad lending. Most of the rise of housing were investors and foreigners buying with cash or big down payments certainly an improvement from the Bush years.

Glossy said...

Steve has recently written about Michael Bloomberg and white Hispanics. Here's a story that combines both: Bloomberg's horse-riding daughter is having the mayor's first grandchild with an Argentinian horse jockey named Ramiro Quintana. They are not planning to marry.

Zippy said...

MQ, Obama does NOT refute the low-IQ stuff. At least not the serious version of it. Even, say, J. Phillipe Rushton will admit that there are blacks with high IQs. If you were to actually read The Bell Curve, they say very clearly that there are loads of smart blacks and plenty of dumb whites.

It's just that there aren't proportionally as many smart blacks as there are smart whites, much less Jews.

Obama's mother was a leftist of the sort who spelled America with a "k," but the woman was a genius. His dad was self-destructive, but obviously bright.

I wouldn't be surprised if Obama has a high IQ, particularly on the verbal side. But he has given no evidence of being a particularly deep or insightful thinker, and he's certainly not original.

For that matter, he seems intellectually incurious in the way George W. Bush was falsely accused of being. Does anybody think that Obama will take up oil painting in his retirement?

Anonymous said...

I'd wager that part time state Senator Obama had a larger staff than full time war President Lincoln.

Fritz Pettyjohn said...

This is one of the most insightful, and important, things Steve has produced.

Ali said...

His low energy is a positive. Apart from an unworkable website he's committed no huge errors. After the extremely tawdry Clinton years and the foreign policy and housing policy imbroglios of the Bush II years, a quiet and drama-free period is an achievement in itself. He's like the Democrat version of Calvin Coolidge.

As per Mencken, "There were no thrills while he reigned, but neither were there any headaches. He had no ideas, and he was not a nuisance."

Jonathan Silber said...

Cap'n Cut-Rate of the U.S.S. Asbestos & Brightest.

PC Makes You Stupid said...

everybody seems to be permanently baffled by how Barack Obama ever came to be seen as Presidential Timber

OBAMA AND THE JEWS - Chicago Jewish News, "A look at why some Jews love him and some don't trust him; and at the key role Chicago Jews played in getting him to where he is"

Barack Obama: The first Jewish president? - Chicago Tribune, "Chicago circle nurtured him all the way to the top"

Anonymous said...

For all the hysterical Kenyan communist! stuff he's been standard-issue 1990s neoliberal

I agree, the dude that stated that Obama was a communist in college is questionable. Mr Drew is a far right Tea Party type that had already graduated from Occidental when Obama was a student in the early 1980's. Drew was visiting friends and Drew moved from the far left to the far right which is one reason to doubt the guy witness of Obama being communist, its quoted in Paul Kengor book on Frank Marshall Davis but Kengor is a Reagan type conservative that hates communists and Kengor supports another Reagan legalization. Obama might have been further left in his youth but as everyone mention he became a neo-liberal type. Far left is more anti-war and anti-free trade than Obama is.

Anonymous said...

First time I read about Obama was in an appendix to Aftenposten, a major newspaper here in Norway. This was before he was nominated as the Democratic candidate. The newspaper had translated a chapter of his book, "Dreams from my father". The chapter was about moving to New York. He gave the impression that he had lived a life among people (white) he did not feel quite well among. In his black neighborhood in New York, he could finally feel at home. My thought after I had read this was: "A person who feels this way, and expresses this so openly, will never be nominated for President".

Obama's strange and Wright is even stranger but just because he has some chipped on shoulders on whites doesn't mean he is the socialists president in chief like the Right carries on. In fact George W Bush stated that whites are less in interested in working than Hispanics but Bush doesn't get the same flack from the right.

panjoomby said...

maybe people that know him don't really like him. or he doesn't let them know him - e.g., like a. hitler.

2Degrees said...

Like everything Steve writes about Obama, this is somewhat perceptive but in the end twisted by the personal animus Steve has always had toward him (for daring to be a glamorous Ivy Leaguer black President, a living refutation of the 'low IQ' stuff?

In many ways I agree, but I would like to make a few observations.

1) A single person cannot be a refutation of the low IQ stuff. We are talking abut populations, not individuals.

2). Barry cut his teeth in Chicago. I find it hard to believe that he did nothing untoward during his years there. The US media is very good at self-censorship.

3). His administration is always going to be scandal free if the press steers clear of it. He has made much of his Kenyan heritage, but has done little or nothing to help his many half-siblings. Did he even know of their existence? It took the DM to research all this. What was the US press doing?

Anonymous said...

This is another thing, the right use the moocher argument. In fact the right turns to be right somewhat on cheap labor. Germany allowed what is called the mini-jobs which are more likely part time and temporary to get better unemployment results. The Germans have more of a welfare state so they are able to do this but recently the mini-jobs have gotten bad pressed since people are barely able to pay bills with the mini-jobs. So, Merkel is rising the minimum wage which didn't exist for this job category to 10 dollars. So, the right is right Germany and Texas creating low paying jobs does lower unemployment but the right is wrong on being too anti-welfare since folks that worked at Walmart do collect some food stamps and are sometimes on medicaid. The right should pushed the native born to get these jobs like Jeff Sessions not like George Bush who wanted them to be done mainly by Mexicans.

Corn said...

"But he has run the most scandal-free administration in decades and has managed his own political shop extraordinarily well."

Whatever you're putting in your pipe please share.

Anonymous said...

"Quick, name the last U.S. president who didn't have glaring and obvious personal issues?"

Yer missing the point. The point is that people like Sailer(and us) knew that the bammer was human with 'issues' but the media hyped him as 'like god' and infallible and totally cool and awesome and superhuman and etc. He was Oprah-ized.

But style aint substance.

Icarus has fallen.

Anonymous said...

"Bush II was far worse than Obama."

Because he made the way for Obama.

Anonymous said...

Obama thinks 'they made me president but order me around as a puppet.'

And when he sees the help around him, he realizes he's just one of them, serving as help to the global Zionists and white homos.

He does have underlings who worship him but he finds them earnest and stupid. Also, he knows that privileged white folks dote on him as a trophy, a neo-version of credit to his race, and he feels a phony.

Anonymous said...

"For all the hysterical Kenyan communist! stuff he's been standard-issue 1990s neoliberal."

Just wait til your rights vanish with the likes of Sotomayor and Kagan. And Obama pretty much institutionalized 'gay marriage'.
He's no communist but even a communist would be better to this politics of neo-aristocratic decadence.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/4-total-b.s.-new-stories-you-thought-were-true/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fanpage&utm_campaign=new+article&wa_ibsrc=fanpage

#1. The Racist Red Lobster Receipt Was Apparently Faked

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/4-total-b.s.-new-stories-you-thought-were-true/#ixzz2kGIiAonf

Anonymous said...

This Marvin Nicholson guy makes Obama look like a midget. World leaders usually don't like surrounding themselves with guys like that.

fish said...

Just how someone wired the way Obama is got so far in politics remains a puzzlement.

Nonsense! Obama was probably identified early as a political "Johnny Bravo"

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=johnny%20bravo

(refer to the 2nd definition)

Obama fits the suit!

No real talent required....and all the girls ("Tingles" Matthews, E.J Dionne, etc.) positively swoon!

fish said...

But he has run the most scandal-free administration in decades and has managed his own political shop extraordinarily well.


The entire paragraph is worth a read if only for its textbook example of sycophantic cognitive dissonance...the excerpted portion is a doozy though....

My suggestion to you sir is that occasionally loosening the cinch on the hefty bag during these periods of political auto eroticism will pay huge dividends later in life when you really need those extra brain cells!

Scandal free indeed!

Anonymous said...

"On the other hand, I can't imagine myself as President in the first place, but he could."

I think you'd make a much better president than all the other leading candidates.

Noah172 said...

MQ wrote:

Like everything Steve writes about Obama, this is somewhat perceptive but in the end twisted by the personal animus Steve has always had toward him (for daring to be a glamorous Ivy Leaguer black President, a living refutation of the 'low IQ' stuff?)

Obama is a mulatto; he is as European ancestrally as he is African. Moreover, Steve doesn't say that Obama is stupid (that is, has a low IQ).

Mike Eisenstadt said...

MQ convinces me. One thing though, Putin does seem to have pulled Obama's bacon out of the fire as regards the dumb remark about a red line about Assad's use of chemical arms.

Anonymous said...

Obama was elected precisely for being that unnamed generic democrat(also black). America it seems doesn't want to elect a real person to the office of the president, and there were plenty of candidates available who were truthful about who they were and what they stood for.

Anonymous said...


"But he has run the most scandal-free administration in decades and has managed his own political shop extraordinarily well."

Huh?

Matthew said...

“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” etc.

Would anyone other than a slavish devotee ever hear something like this and not think Obama a complete douchebag?

Obama reminds me of the kind of kid who messes everything up but whose parents come in after him and fix it all, never telling him of his mistakes. So he walks through life completely unaware of how incompetent he is.

I once remember reading a quote from Bill Gates, where he said that his own programming skills had fallen so far behind the curve that he wouldn't hire himself as a programmer. That wasn't even humility on his part - it was just acknowledging that they were skills no longer relevant to his job.

Steve's well of excuses for Barack said...

You may be able to wishfully pin the "humble" tag on him since he's not known for charismatically bragging about his cars or cognac or drug-dealing proceeds. But in Obama's unguarded and even prepared remarks he reveals the thin-skinned lack of humility and lofty 'tude that no President since Nixon has displayed so publicly ("Let me be clear: I just found out in the papers today about those consulate folks getting killed, and no one's madder than I am"). Your persistent observation that Obama's personality seems similar to yours -- coming from a famously humble & gracious blogger who never complains about not getting enough credit, of course -- is not much of a compliment to Obama.

Anonymous said...

twisted by the personal animus Steve has always had toward him

Aside from Tom Wolfe, Mel Gibson & George Zimmerman who DOESN'T fall into that category?

Mr. Anon said...

MQ said...

....for daring to be a glamorous Ivy Leaguer black President, a living refutation of the 'low IQ' stuff?)."

You are obviously as unfamiliar with the notion of statistical distributions as you are with the definition of the word "refute". One person out of a sample of millions proves exactly............nothing.

"Quick, name the last U.S. president who didn't have glaring and obvious personal issues? Probably the first Bush, and he was a one-termer because he was too responsible in addressing the deficit."

By "responsible" you mean: willing to go on spending money that we don't have in order to prop up a vast military establishment we don't need and a massive welfare state that is harmful to the well-being of the nation. That is a funny defintion of the word "responsible".

"Obama is clearly more competent than the second Bush, and less personally weird than Clinton."

He is not clearly more competent than G.W. Bush. They seem to be about equally incompetent. And "less personally weird" than Clinton? Clinton wasn't so much weird as just rotten and corrupt. At least Clinton didn't have a reputed gay past, like Obama does.

"But he has run the most scandal-free administration in decades and has managed his own political shop extraordinarily well."

Are you kidding, delusional, or just stupid? Scandal-free? NSA snooping, IRS intimidation, gun-walking by the DoJ, The GM bailout, Solyndra (one among many such failed ventures), etc. Every administration is more scandal-ridden than the last. That is one of the hallmarks of a dying empire.

Matthew said...

"I haven't known a single person with a visible amount of African ancestry who hated talking to people."

"Obama is exactly like every one of the obviously underqualified blacks I've known who were promoted purely because they were black. Empty suits who hid behind an armor of verbal boilerplate as they used power to freeze everyone else out and entrench themselves in their unearned, undeserved positions"

The second statement here answers the first. Obama isn't necessarily reserved, so much as he is so far out of his league that it's difficult for him to hold an intelligent conversation with people who are far more intelligent and knowledgeable than himself. If he does so, he eventually reveals his lack of depth. Do this hundreds or thousands of times over the course of an administration, and word gets out, and an unflattering picture emerges.

So the best way to protect himself is to speak with as few people as possible, and never but in larger groups where he doesn't have to drive the conversation. But you can't do that at the golf course, or in a one-on-one conversation at a cocktail party.

"Obama has never been all that, and he became president too soon. But he has run the most scandal-free administration in decades and has managed his own political shop extraordinarily well"

Bullshit. He's been protected by the media.

To say that Obama has screwed up less than Bush isn't saying much. After Bush was finished there wasn't much left to screw up. But Obama has given us four straight years of $1 trillion-plus deficits, and the long-term consequences of that will be enormous. By the end of his term we will have diddled away eight more years faced with an expensive, aging population and a growing population of youth which, thanks to illegal immigration, is less prepared than ever to perform in the new economy.

The economy's done okay only because the Fed has been able to print trillions of dollars in new money with no inflationary consequences. That cannot last.

Chuck Dantes said...

If we wanted some kind of badass genius level intellect fighter pilot black man for president we should have elected the current NASA administrator to 1600 penn. Ave. Would have been the perfect foil to McCain too. Younger, smarter, blacker, and he made it through Vietnam without loosing a jet. Chuck Bolden I think his name is? Real badass. The right stuff kinda dude. I think he emasculated the other libs too much though so they exiled him to NASA

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhzG9aeOn9w

He don't know nothing but he knows his minions love him.

Dennis Dale said...

twisted by the personal animus Steve has always had toward him

Bullshit. Steve seems to identify with him somewhat, and it's thereby that he has difficulty imagining the man as president. It's less animus than humility. And I'll go you one further--Steve's demonstrated facility with original social criticism and Obama's stunning lack of originality (when has he said anything unexpected, or truly demonstrated insight?) means
Steve's actually being a little unfair to himself. Obama's a bit of an introvert, without the introvert's best virtue--modesty.

I have to keep reminding myself the man is president after all, so all this "empty suit" talk must be ridiculous, no? Yet still, as it's impossible to imagine him rising on merit, and having the example of George W Bush (and soon Hillary--I mean, what sort of sick nation [half of it at least] takes that as its most qualified presidential candidate?) I'm afraid the cat's out of the bag regarding the myth of the capable US President.
It has been demonstrated that an idiot can hold the office and even be successful--as disastrous as Bush II was for the country he had a successful presidency--in that he forwarded his agenda.

Baloo said...

Auntie Analog! Splendid comment! I turned it into a Quibcag!

Anonymous said...

Leave aside the relative badness or evil of each, if you compare his top appointments, one that stands out as strange is Sibelius. She and Obama are now co-dependent because of the Obamacare disaster. Interesting to see how this will play out...

Anonymous said...

charismatically bragging about his cars or cognac

I'm so white that until a couple years ago I didn't even realize cognac was the drink of rappers. I always figured it was the drink of fusty old white guys at the club, grumbling about the lingering spear wound the fuzzy-wuzzys gave them at Omdurman.

vinteuil said...

For those arguing over who was worse, Dubbyah or Obama -

"Sir, there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea."

Celery for the mind said...

Technically he's already a novelist, but since Bill Ayers wrote his books, it doesn't count.

I get the feeling that Obama and the rest of his liberal crew are already practicing neurosurgery on the American public. So we don't have to guess that one.

He's been blowing plenty of hot air for years now, so maybe he could make it as an airline pilot.

With him as an atomic engineer, I expect we'd start having three mile island type accidents in red states.

Anonymous said...

Like everything Steve writes about Obama, this is somewhat perceptive but in the end twisted by the personal animus Steve has always had toward him (for daring to be a glamorous Ivy Leaguer black President, a living refutation of the 'low IQ' stuff?).

I don't know if "personal animus" from Steve is correct. The worst he says about him is that he's overconfident, low energy, unremarkable, etc.

It's true though in general that a lot of people confidently assert that he's uniquely unintelligent or incompetent, even though there's no real evidence to suggest that he's uniquely worse in those departments compared to most previous presidents. I think it's simply due to the fact that all politics are identity politics, and people are just being tribal. This is why diversity doesn't work. It's hard enough for people to be objective in homogeneous environments. In diverse ones, people tend to be less objective.

Anonymous said...

J. Silber: 'indolent bystander...'

Very sharp. A straight razor hidden in Mrs Malaprop's drawers. I shall be borrowing it, with your permission, Sir?

Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

When McCartney met with Barry and his wife, he sang Michelle.

He should have sung this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDtK7xUIDxk

Anonymous said...

The fawning sychophancy with which so many liberals speak of Obama is embarassing....It's the basest kind of toadying, and it is shameful.

Vanity Fair-esque hacks don't care whether we like their writing style; they care about continuing to be invited to events and parties of Those Who Matter, and TWM will not tolerate critical assessment of the president.

Anonymous said...

George Bush was ridiculously incompetent. I can't think of any president in our history who was less qualified to occupy the White House.

From 9/11 to the Iraq War to mortgage deregulation to Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 bailout, he displayed an astounding level of ineptness.

Honestly, I agree with Ron Unz that America is a one-party state with the two parties being merely a controlled opposition. Bush, Obama, and almost all our major leaders are tools of the ruling establishment.


ysv_rao said...

Bush's errors were mainstream ...Voodoo economics(buying stuff with easy credit makes us all prosperous) plus black magic foreign policy (bomb Muslims and tell them it is for their own- THAT will make them love us and prevent terror)
Pretty much the entire political,military and financial establishment believed those shibboleths.Bush ran his 2000 campaign as a dove to Gore's hawk.

But he was always devoted to NAFTA. The inability of the feds to close the border was atleast from the Clinton era a feature not a bug

Conservatives learnt valuable lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan if the Syria imbroglio was any indication: We cant make them love us and we shouldnt try.If doesnt affect our national security, sorry victims of atrocities your suffering is none of our business

Democrats OTOH have all of sudden turned to Patton.And like the original Patton,the Russians put a kaibosh on their more ambitious plans

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments here is incredibly frustrating and a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect: incompetent (or above average, but not especially smart) people are unable to assess intelligence because they themselves aren't that bright.

Obama certainly benefited from some affirmative action when he transferred to Columbia after an average record, but he eventually graduated magna cum laude of Harvard Law School. His book, Dreams from My Father, is actually really well written, regardless of what you think of his views. His actually a pretty bright guy.

Spreading HBD to the public would never work because many white conservatives of middling intellect would be prone to label all non-white politicians/people they disagree with as "low IQ idiots" or whatever. It may be true in some cases, but it will often not be, and good, non-white people would fall victim to unfair assessments.

Peter the Shark said...

And Obama pretty much institutionalized 'gay marriage'.

No, the march toward gay marriage is a pet project of the American elites,toward which we have been marching steadily for at least 30 years. Obama is such a passive guy I don't see how even the left can give Obama any credit for gay marriage - Obama is just sliding down the path of least political resistance on that issue, as on so many issues. I suspect the elites love right-wing animus toward Obama because Obama hatred seems to blind so many conservatives to what is really going on and who really makes decisions in this country.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"he eventually graduated magna cum laude of Harvard Law School."

Is the marking anonymous, or might he have received preferential treatment for being 'black'? Is it an exam-only system, or can you get someone else to do your coursework for you?

AFAICT Obama seems fairly intelligent by politician standards (above Bush & Kerry, below Clinton & well below Nixon). But unlike normal politicians he is low energy, introverted, and uninterested in other people. His performance as President seems third-quartile; below average, but much less immediately disastrous than GW Bush.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"prone to label all... politicians/people they disagree with as "low IQ idiots""

Left-liberals do that a lot. Conservatives almost never.

Anonymous said...

@ Jay Matthews :

Obama was elected because he was 'packaged and sold' as a black.

He seems fairly unimpressive, but is a fairly competent actor, although Morgan Freeman made a far better black president in Deep Impact.
Obama reads the scripts he is handed. Those who must not be named, as has been the case for a few presidencies now, run the show

Svigor said...

Whatever you're putting in your pipe please share.

Obama's dried-up booty sweat. Scandal-free? What a moron.

Reading the comments here is incredibly frustrating and a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect: incompetent (or above average, but not especially smart) people are unable to assess intelligence because they themselves aren't that bright.

Obama certainly benefited from some affirmative action when he transferred to Columbia after an average record, but he eventually graduated magna cum laude of Harvard Law School. His book, Dreams from My Father, is actually really well written, regardless of what you think of his views. His actually a pretty bright guy.


Anyone can graduate magna cum laude from Harvard, if Harvard wants him to. Anyone can have someone ghost-write a book for him.

Obama didn't earn a National Merit Scholarship, which caps his IQ at well below "brilliant" or "genius." He's very likely somewhere between 115 and 130, probably 120-125. Without a wealthy family, a suitable temperament, a creative nature, or a more than a moderate work ethic, he's the type that should be bringing coffee to the MotU, not signing off on their directives. His constant ums and ahs indicate he knows this, and is constantly searching for a way to avoid dispelling the illusion.

He's a stuffed shirt. A nobody.

"He's a pretty bright guy" doesn't say much.

AFAICT Obama seems fairly intelligent by politician standards (above Bush & Kerry, below Clinton & well below Nixon).

He's probably not that far above Bush, if at all. Bush was in the 120-125 range, too.

Jonathan Silber said...

“...the high-wage, medium-skilled job is over,” says Stefanie Sanford, the chief of global policy and advocacy for the College Board.

Then I'll just have to pursue one of the many high-wage, low-skilled jobs still out there, such as chief of global policy and advocacy for the College Board, or columnist at the New York Times.

Mr. Anon said...

"Chuck Dantes said...

If we wanted some kind of badass genius level intellect fighter pilot black man for president we should have elected the current NASA administrator to 1600 penn. Ave. Would have been the perfect foil to McCain too. Younger, smarter, blacker, and he made it through Vietnam without loosing a jet. Chuck Bolden I think his name is? Real badass. The right stuff kinda dude. I think he emasculated the other libs too much though so they exiled him to NASA."

As NASA administrator, Bolden has been the dutiful soldier of the Obama administration, enthusiastically embracing all of thier agenda, including the whole gay thing (which as a Marine, you know that Charlie just has to love). They have his balls in a drawer. There is no real opposition on the inside. There never is.

Anonymous said...

"George Bush was ridiculously incompetent. I can't think of any president in our history who was less qualified to occupy the White House."

An idiot yes, but do you think it would have been any different with anyone else? McCain, Gore, Kerry, Romney, Palin, Edwards, Hillary, etc, etc. would have been all equally bad.

But Bush II gets extra scorn because he came across as so Beavisy. I mean he looked and acted stupid.

But look at UK under Tony Blair. Blair was suave and intelligent-sounding. But he did as much damage.

ben tillman said...

Spreading HBD to the public would never work because many white conservatives of middling intellect would be prone to label all non-white politicians/people they disagree with as "low IQ idiots" or whatever. It may be true in some cases, but it will often not be, and good, non-white people would fall victim to unfair assessments.

And why is that a problem? It sounds like your mediocre intellect can't grasp the nature of a cost-benefit analysis. It weighs costs against benefits. You identified a cost; now what are the benefits?


And why would the few false negatives outweigh

Anonymous said...

but he eventually graduated magna cum laude of Harvard Law School. His book, Dreams from My Father, is actually really well written

He's bright enough. But those are the only two real indicators of high level intellectual performance. The HLS performance in particular is anomalous, given the rest of his intellectual history. He probably had somewhat weak standardized test scores, was mediocre as an undergrad, suddenly did well in HLS classwork, dropped out of sight at U Chicago, and after several false starts had a memoir published. I can't recall anything really interesting he's ever said--it's all bromides.

It really makes me wonder what was going on at HLS.

Art Deco said...

Obama reads the scripts he is handed. Those who must not be named, as has been the case for a few presidencies now, run the show

Who? The previous President had a long career in business and five years under his belt as a public executive. In contrast to Ronald Reagan, the cheesy memoirs by administration officials peddled the idea that Bush was deceptive, not that he did not know whether he was coming or going.

His predecessor once removed suffered from satyriasis and a very uneven decision making process. He also attracted and retained skeezy characters. I do not think anyone ever suggested he lacked policy sense.

His predecessor twice removed had few political principles, but more preparation than anyone other than Gen. Eisenhower in the realm of diplomacy, some background in public administration, and a career in business.

Who are these empty suits ready to be instructed by iSteve readers?

Art Deco said...

His book, Dreams from My Father, is actually really well written, regardless of what you think of his views. His actually a pretty bright guy.

He has manifested scant interest in the last 22 years in putting his intelligence to serious use. Ditto his wife. They both had a simulacrum of a career, not the real thing.

Art Deco said...

but much less immediately disastrous than GW Bush.

If there is a failed bond sale, he will have outdone just about everyone.

Bush was attempting to do something quite difficult. Obama was incapable of embracing the Bowles-Simpson commission. His problems were contrived and avoidable in a way Bush's were not.

Art Deco said...

George Bush was ridiculously incompetent. I can't think of any president in our history who was less qualified to occupy the White House.

That's because you do not know even spare bits of recent history. Of our recent Presidents, Obama, Ford, Nixon, and Kennedy had no background as executives. Johnson's was limited to two years as a second echelon official of the Works Progress Administration. Clinton, Johnson, and Kennedy had next to no pre-political career, Obama had one which reads like an invention of Joan Didion. Ford and Nixon had only the most circumscribed background in business (mainly working for their fathers, both merchants).

If you read Ron Nessen's memoir of the Ford Administration, you see the man was learning by doing as an administrator. As for Nixon, read John Dean's accounts and Richard Nathan's study. He was hopeless. Johnson put in 18 hour days to what effect?

Art Deco said...

The second statement here answers the first. Obama isn't necessarily reserved, so much as he is so far out of his league that it's difficult for him to hold an intelligent conversation with people who are far more intelligent and knowledgeable than himself.

It is exceedingly doubtful that Obama is interacting with people who are 'far more intelligent' than he is. He interacts with people like Nancy-Ann deParle, who are just like him. He interacts with John Kerry, whose upstairs is neither better nor worse than that of any rank-and-file attorney.

Obama's problem is focus and seriousness, not intellectual deficit. He may be smarter than Paul Ryan or Ronald Reagan or Bill Bradley. He shows no evidence, however, of ever having been interested in much other than college basketball.

Art Deco said...

Having a black guy in office was perfect though for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to get multiple bailouts and wealth transfer policies and deflect criticism by the underclass.

The capital purchase program and the special dispensations for Citigroup were implemented by the previous administration. I believe both Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have repurched all the preferred stock and the special loan guarantees Citigroup received were terminated two or three years ago.

The real money pits were the mortgage maws, the auto industry, and AIG, in descending order of severity. Bar AIG, all are clients of the Democratic Party.

Chuck Dantes said...

Kennedy didn't? I consider being commanding officer of a vessel in a no holds barred naval war to be a pretty good crash course (literally in his case) in being an executive.

Chuck Dantes said...

Yeah, he does what his boss tells him. I don't see how that is a black mark against him. I liked Mike Collins better myself but the issue is that Bolden would have been a much better Commander and Chief slash all around executive than Obummer.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Bush was the dumbest, the wars and his real estate schemes with Mexicans, as for Ford he beats Reagan and Bush hands down. Reagan gave us the great amnesty and the S and L scandal.

Art Deco said...

Kennedy didn't? I consider being commanding officer of a vessel in a no holds barred naval war to be a pretty good crash course (literally in his case) in being an executive.


In command authority, not public administration. Not sure how many people you find on a patrol boat.

Kennedy had his military service and some months as a wire service reporter. Other than that, he was in politics the whole of his adult life. Johnson had two years as a schoolteacher, thence to politics.

Art Deco said...

Sorry, Bush was the dumbest,

Oh, yeah. Your authority is persuasive.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Bush was the dumbest, the wars and his real estate schemes with Mexicans, as for Ford he beats Reagan and Bush hands down. Reagan gave us the great amnesty and the S and L scandal.



And we have never read of Barry O doing anything bad.

Art Deco said...

An idiot yes, but do you think it would have been any different with anyone else?

Not an idiot, but occasionally the object of discussion among people with an inflated sense of self.

Art Deco said...

One source has it that Kennedy's PT-109 could accommodate a crew of 17. Not sure how reliable that datum is.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, Bush was the dumbest, the wars and his real estate schemes with Mexicans"

But how was that 'dumb' when so many smart people in both parties--as well as pundits and intellectuals--were all for it?
If Bush II was dumb about it, so was everyone else.

And who says Gore wouldn't have pushed it? Democratic Party didn't block it but tried to take credit for it when housing prices were up and up.
Clinton was wild about the dot.com bubble. Gore would have been giddy about the housing bubble... just as Bush II was.

And Obama is wild about the Printing Money Bubble.

Easy short fixes for all of them.

Anonymous said...

"Reading the comments here is incredibly frustrating and a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect: incompetent (or above average, but not especially smart) people are unable to assess intelligence because they themselves aren't that bright."

Intriguing. Can you show me anywhere in the comments where the majority of people called Obama stupid? You really don't hear that very much, do you?

Some people say that he's incompetent, but that isn't the same thing. You would probably have to agree that a competent President would at least try to make sure that the website of his signature program was ready on the launch date, wouldn't you? And if he couldn't, he would at least warn people or postpone it or do something, right? Even I understand that, and I am perfectly willing to admit that Obama probably has a higher IQ than I do. He just doesn't know what he's doing. And why should he? He's never had to manage anything before.

But very few people technically said that he was stupid.

Might I suggest that you are using terms like "Dunning-Kruger effect" to make yourself look more intelligent, and to attack HBD types by simply using strawmen?

Not that any of us would expect anything more from people like you, but still. It needed to be said.

Matthew said...

"From 9/11 to the Iraq War to mortgage deregulation to Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 bailout, he displayed an astounding level of ineptness."

Much of the deregulation (combined with a tightening of CRA) happened on Clinton's watch. The 9/11 perps were allowed into the country under Clinton's watch. Illegal immigration exploded under Clinton's watch.

There's a reason finance industry firms have paid the Clintons tens of millions for the speeches they've given since leaving the White House, and it's not because they like hearing them babble on forever.

Clinton, Bush, Obama - we've elected three presidents in a row who were all terrifically corrupt and/or incompetent. Corruption, or incompetence? In the end, the difference between one and the other doesn't mean all that much.

"Kennedy didn't? I consider being commanding officer of a vessel in a no holds barred naval war to be a pretty good crash course (literally in his case) in being an executive."

PT Boats had crews of less than 20. John Kennedy's "executive experience" was commanding a group of men smaller than a platoon, which is normally commanded by a second lieutenant straight out of ROTC or West Point. Kennedy probably had a larger staff in his senate office, and certainly had more men working even his earliest campaigns.

"Reagan gave us the great amnesty and the S and L scandal."

In Reagan's defense, it was our first big amnesty. Also consider that, were it not for that first amnesty, we would today be looking at granting amnesty to 10-15 million people with fewer arguments against it. Without Simpson-Mazzoli, the 2006 amnesty would've passed by a wide margin.

The real money pits were the mortgage maws, the auto industry, and AIG, in descending order of severity. Bar AIG, all are clients of the Democratic Party."

You understand that the AIG bailout gave tens of billions of dollars to Goldman Sachs, etc.?

yerwrong said...

"If there is a failed bond sale, he will have outdone just about everyone."

If? Treasury has been buying 60% or more of all new bonds issued for the last three-plus years. Treasury buying bonds = printing money. Winner: B.O.!

Gas Light River said...

"Sorry, Bush was the dumbest, the wars and his real estate schemes with Mexicans..."

Yeah, I guess Obama doesn't have any real estate schemes, he just freely lets them all into the US, hamstrings INS from regulating them, and signs them up for welfare, which he pays off by inflating away everyone else's money. Keep that up, and no one will own anything worth a damn. And lets also not forget his wonderful gifts of US guns to the Mexican Cartels. Of course, we can't know what kind of student Obama was, because his records are sealed. So the only fair thing is to assume he must have truly been a poor student or we certainly would have been told of a Summa Cum Laude diploma, President of the Phi Beta Kappas, etc.

He also extended Bush's wars, increased the drone strikes, and in Libya, helped run out a benign ruler, replace him with radical Islamists, and sat around with a thumb up his a** while US citizens were murdered in our own Embassy. Great record there as well.


"...as for Ford he beats Reagan and Bush hands down."
"And here, I thought you JUST said Bush was the dumbest". Ford may not have been great, but he hasn't brought about anything remotely like the f*ckups of Obama. I'd rather have a do nothing than someone making things so much worse.

"Reagan gave us the great amnesty and the S and L scandal."

He also restored the economy, got rid of the dual plague of stagflation, brought down Communism, showed the Middle East that we won't tolerate terrorism, and was responsible for a large part of the prosperity of the 90s. He also knew how to carry himself without looking like a sissy. And lets not forget, he had the media against him instead of serving as a protective shield for him.

MQ said...

Apparently we have a lot of Fox News afficianados here. The only way you get the Obama administration having significant scandals is if you buy all the trumped-up stuff pushed by right wing talk radio specially to whip up credulous conservatives in the hinterlands. The Fast and the Furious? Solyndra? The IRS trying to enforce our garbled laws on political activity by non-profits? Really? That stuff is all bureaucracies acting like bureaucracies. Which maybe you think is scandalous in itself, but it does not involve the Administration politically (Fast&Furious was actually an ATF program started under Bush). No indictments, no political damage.

The 2008-09 bailouts were a rolling scandal of the American political system, but they were bipartisan. Obama sure screwed up the health reform rollout though.

Mr. Anon said...

"MQ said...

The only way you get the Obama administration having significant scandals is if you buy all the trumped-up stuff pushed by right wing talk radio specially to whip up credulous conservatives in the hinterlands. The Fast and the Furious? Solyndra? The IRS trying to enforce our garbled laws on political activity by non-profits? Really?"

Stupid it is then. Willfully stupid. Obama met with his IRS director something like 130 times. That was just the beauracracy being itself? All those Republican GM dealers being forced out of business - that was just an accident? Billions wasted on so-called green companies that went bust. And what about the Health-Care exchange itself? A huge no-bid contract to a major political supporter. How about the highly selective way that the Obama administration enforces immigration law, or the ACA itself. Sure, every recent administration has done that - and it was a scandal every time they did.

Matthew said...

"The only way you get the Obama administration having significant scandals is if you buy all the trumped-up stuff pushed by right wing talk radio specially to whip up credulous conservatives in the hinterlands."

By that standard Bush didn't have many scandals, either. The IRS scandal is real. Solyndra is real.

But the fact is that vested interests have gotten very good at avoiding direct quid pro quo. Only small timers without lots of money to throw around have to resort to overt bribery. Gazillion dollar multinationals can throw tens of millions around in bribes and don't have to worry if some of it doesn't stick. Enough of it will stick to achieve the desired effect. Those who cross them just won't be paid off in the future.

They give contributions to politicians who vote their way. They don't have to say that. It's taken for granted.

They give 6-7 figure jobs and 5-6 figure speaking gigs to politicians and bureaucrats who voted their way. They don't have to say that. It's taken for granted. They give these gigs to former officeholders and the effect it has on current officeholders is tangible. Politicians know Goldman Sachs, etc., are good for their word. Wall Street doesn't have to offer Obama a direct bribe. He need only look at what they've paid out to Bill Clinton to see what pleasing them can do for his bottom line. Silicon Valley doesn't need to offer Obama a direct bribe. He need only look at what they've paid out to Al Gore to see what pleasing them can do for his bottom line.

A few million in speaking fees is a rounding error for a company like Goldman or Facebook. It's less than many of their partners earn. It's less than their CEO's annual travel expenses.

That's modern bribery. That's modern scandal. None of it has to be voiced. Nothing ever has to be said.

Chuck Dantes said...

"Kennedy didn't? I consider being commanding officer of a vessel in a no holds barred naval war to be a pretty good crash course (literally in his case) in being an executive."

PT Boats had crews of less than 20. John Kennedy's "executive experience" was commanding a group of men smaller than a platoon, which is normally commanded by a second lieutenant straight out of ROTC or West Point. Kennedy probably had a larger staff in his senate office, and certainly had more men working even his earliest campaigns.''

Yeah no. Navy officers without exception lead smaller groups of men than Army or Marine Officers but the ranks are broadly equivalent in terms of total combat power (or they were at the time).

Also yeah, he was the skipper of PT 109 and 59, but he was the XO off the entire squadron, which is broadly equivalent to a battalion of ground troops. This is during Guadalcanal mind you, where what was happening in the Slot and off Savo Island between the USN and the IJN made the Marines' fight onshore look like some kind of bubble bath slumber party.

So you have a dude, responsible for commanding and coordinating the attacks of half a squadron of PT boats against the deadliest surface navy in the world at that time. I don't think you understand the nature of the naval battle around Savo Island and the Slot if you don't understand how if you can manage and motivate men under those conditions, everything else is a cakewalk. For perspective-- to this day in the Navy we call the slot 'Iron Bottom Sound'...

Noah172 said...

Gas Light River wrote, re: Reagan:

He also restored the economy, got rid of the dual plague of stagflation,

No, Volcker, a Carter appointee, did that. Reagan rewarded Volcker by replacing him at the first opportunity.

brought down Communism,

He played a role, but that is a large and multifaceted story. The big factor in the USSR's demise was the inherent unworkability of communism itself as an economic system. Other factors included Nixon's coopting China and the Soviet catastrophe in Afghanistan (in Reagan did make a large contribution).

Before anyone mentions Reagan's defense buildup, let's note some facts. In the eight fiscal years preceding Reagan -- America's post-Vietnam drawdown, and including Republican and Democratic administrations -- US defense spending averaged 5 percent of GDP; during Reagan's eight years, the average was 6 -- a significant but not glass-shattering increase. Moreover, during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, when the US was not engaged in a major overseas conflict, defense spending averaged 10 and 9 percent of GDP, respectively -- much higher than Reagan's levels, and yet the USSR was arguably at its pinnacle.

showed the Middle East that we won't tolerate terrorism,

Reagan lingered in Lebanon a few months after the Beirut barracks bombing, saw that the mission there had become too politically unpopular, and retreated. Osama Bin Laden later cited our humiliation in Lebanon as evidence to him that America was weak and inept in confronting Islamist terrorism.

In any case, Reagan, as with most postwar Presidents, invited anti-American Middle Eastern terrorism by his pro-Israel and interventionist policies.

and was responsible for a large part of the prosperity of the 90s.

Did Reagan invent the internet? Lower interest rates and inflation by approving balanced budgets (or at least sub-2%-of-GDP deficits)?

He also knew how to carry himself without looking like a sissy.

And that matters how? Johnson and Dubya were big-swingin'-d*** swaggering cowboys (in public image, anyway); what good did any of that do them in office? By contrast, Calvin Coolidge was a taciturn, soft-voiced, spindly fellow who took long naps during the day -- yet he cut off the immigration spigot, reduced the national debt (in absolute numbers, not just as a percentage of GDP), raised tariffs to protect our jobs, signed balanced budgets, and kept the peace.

I prefer accomplishment without attitude to attitude without accomplishment (or attitude with harmful accomplishment).

Whatever one thinks of Reagan's accomplishments, none of them balances the long-term harm inflicted on this country by the 1986 amnesty. Three million mostly mestizo illegals were given a permanent, irrevocable share in our polity. Multiply by two for their children. Multiply by four for their grandchildren. Multiply by eight for their great-grandchildren -- you get the idea. Unto the seven-umpteenth generation will our country bear the burden of Reagan's folly and treason, just as we have borne the incalcuable burden for four centuries of the choice of a relatively small number of aspiring aristocrats in colonial America to import a relatively small number of African slaves so that said aristocrats could save a few pennies a ton on tobacco and whatnot.

Big Bill said...

"Iran will go nuke (unless the Israelis make some high risk, low-payoff gamble), likely resulting in a nuclearized Saudi Arabia."

Every nation who can do so will "go nuke". It is the great equalizer ... at least until an even better exterminator is discovered.

I expect the new exterminator will be a selective biological agent that can be spread via air or water. You won't even know you have been "bombed" until months or years later.

Art Deco said...

You understand that the AIG bailout gave tens of billions of dollars to Goldman Sachs, etc.?

AIG had quite a run of creditors. (IIRC they sold something on the order of $400 bn worth of unhedged credit default swaps). IIRC, the federal government's losses on the AIG rescue through TARP, Maiden Lane II, Maiden Lane III, and forgone interest and dividends amounts to somewhat short of $25 bn. If you wish to attribute that to AIG's creditors, you have to prorate it according to the share of AIG's liabilities to each. You have six casino banks. Those six firms had assets totaling just shy of $10 tn, so the injection via AIG would have amounted to 0.25% of their assets even in AIG had no other creditors.

Art Deco said...

If? Treasury has been buying 60% or more of all new bonds issued for the last three-plus years. Treasury buying bonds = printing money. Winner: B.O.!

The Federal Reserve buys (and sells) in the secondary market.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous MQ said...


Apparently we have a lot of Fox News afficianados here."

Unlikely. You are obviously unfamiliar with what people have posted here about that network. However you seem to be an MSNBC afficiando - incapable of seeing anything wrong with Obama, and who assumes that anyone who dislikes him must be a slobbering Hannity-fan.

RonMexico said...

So, by Noah172s standards, WH Harrison is our country's greatest president, followed by Garfield. What a maroon.

Art Deco said...

Every nation who can do so will "go nuke". It is the great equalizer ... at least until an even better exterminator is discovered.

No, they will not, because nuclear weapons draw heat and few countries have the sort of political goals which would justify the pursuit of them. See the writings of Leslie Gelb and Richard Betts on this point.

Noah172 said...

RonMexico wrote:

So, by Noah172s standards, WH Harrison is our country's greatest president, followed by Garfield. What a maroon.

Did you notice that I praised President Coolidge by name, and listed his accomplishments in office? I could have listed some others -- Washington, the Adamses, Monroe, Eisenhower, et al. -- whom I find great or pretty good.

I don't worship at the cult of Reagan: if one takes paleoconservatism/HBD seriously, than one cannot logically admire the Reagan administration. That doesn't mean I disdain every President.

Anonymous said...

You understand that the AIG bailout gave tens of billions of dollars to Goldman Sachs, etc.?

From what I can tell Goldman had collateral in the form of AIG assets. The problem was if AIG collapsed Goldman would have come into possession of that collateral, and everyone else would have been left out in the cold. So the bailout was not so much for the benefit of Goldman as the rest of the financial system. (And, doubtless, Goldman would have suffered in the ensuing chaos as other financial forms went down in an AIG bankruptcy.)

Apical said...

"...a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect: incompetent (or above average, but not especially smart) people are unable to assess intelligence because they themselves aren't that bright."

-I suppose this was what you also told yourself about your teachers when you kept getting all those Cs and Ds on your report card. I guess it works in your own little world, so keep it up!

"Obama certainly benefited from some affirmative action when he transferred to Columbia after an average record, but he eventually graduated magna cum laude of Harvard Law School."

-I'll give you a hint- advanced degrees can be graded more subjectively than undergrad degrees. If they want a black guy to finally 'make it' at Harvard, he'd have to go around beating profs with a baseball bat to screw it up.

"His book, Dreams from My Father, is actually really well written, regardless of what you think of his views. His actually a pretty bright guy."

-Dude, even the local Mexican guy who mows peoples' yards around here and can barely string together 5 words in English could put out a bestseller if 1) a college professor wrote it for him and 2) the liberal elites pushed it on the public through a white guilt trip from a sycophantic national media. All he has is dreams of his father because he never knew him.

"Spreading HBD to the public would never work because many white conservatives of middling intellect would be prone to label all non-white politicians/people they disagree with as "low IQ idiots" or whatever. It may be true in some cases, but it will often not be, and good, non-white people would fall victim to unfair assessments."

-Yes all those poor, good non-whites, like all the mythical African American Honor's students getting gunned down on their way to donate their March of Dimes collections.

We must place the hurt feelings of an African American male who is watched a little more carefully or has to hear the truth about black crime over the lives of the white victims of black criminals that society snuffs by keeping silent and letting it go on.

Just because you can't understand HBD and population statistics, don't take it out on those who can.


Mr. Anon said...

"Matthew said...

They give 6-7 figure jobs and 5-6 figure speaking gigs to politicians and bureaucrats who voted their way.

A few million in speaking fees is a rounding error for a company like Goldman or Facebook. It's less than many of their partners earn. It's less than their CEO's annual travel expenses.

That's modern bribery. That's modern scandal. None of it has to be voiced. Nothing ever has to be said."

And it has the added advantage (apart from being entirely legal) that one does not pay the whore until after he (she) has put out.