July 10, 2008

You Can't Please Everybody

And it's disastrous to even try. Make of this what you will:

Most Arabs only know Barack Obama's name and skin color, so, unsurprisingly, they are fairly enthusiastic about his candidacy. But what are Thomas Friedman's Arab equivalents, the opinion leaders of the Middle East, saying about Obama? A famously diverse group--ranging from idealistic reformers to moralizing Islamists--the Arab world's pundits are almost unanimous in their skepticism of him, offering a sharp corrective to the narrative of a world united in its ardor for Obama. They have been arguing that he is not so unconventional an American politician when it comes to the Middle East, and that the people of the region have reason to be worried about an Obama presidency.
Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 10, 2008 7:49 AM
Comments

http://www.quizlaw.com/blog/how_great_would_this_look_on_b.php

So, this isn't how the whole world sees Obama? Just Portland?

Posted by: Lindsey Author Profile Page at July 10, 2008 10:30 AM

I think the way people see him will change over the next few months. Also the majority of the Middle East will end up supporting Obama.

Posted by: Atlanta Realtor Author Profile Page at July 10, 2008 12:02 PM

Obama is a fairly conservative guy, and his policy statements on the Middle East are not particularly revolutionary. So their skepticism may be well-founded.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 10, 2008 1:44 PM

I don't think there's much chance of any U.S. president being popular in the Arab press.

The gist of the quoted articles impresses upon me that the judgment of the authors, across the board,is that Obama is absolutely more malleable in the face of opposition than Bush.

It just makes good sense, in light of their audience, to raise the flag immediately on the fact that once again "realists" could well be back in business in Washington. They know how that game is played, and rule one is to never accede that the U.S. is doing its "fair share" in any diplomatic process.

I believe the Arabs have come to an accurate conclusion. Too bad our media and polity don't have near the same ability to see what is, and what is show.

Posted by: TmjUtah Author Profile Page at July 10, 2008 3:15 PM

DPU: their skepticism may be well-founded.

Why? What would Obama have to do for Arab skepticism to be unfounded?

I know many reasonable Arabs, but I'm sorry to say that Arab public opinion in general is not even in the same time zone as reasonable. A big reason for that is the breathtaking preponderance of conspiracy theories and a paranoid victimization mentality. I encounter it constantly in certain places. (South Lebanon and Egypt for instance.) There is nothing a US president can possibly do or say right now to earn widespread international support in that part of the world. We're going to have to accept the fact that support comes only from specific countries and factions for now. Obama can't change that, and it is not his fault.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 10, 2008 4:02 PM

DPU- and your evidence (actions, not talk) that BHO is "a fairly conservative guy" consists of what?

BHO:

Less taxes? Umm, no.

Less government? Umm, no.

Capitalism, not Socialism? Umm, no.

Individual rights and responsibility, not a Nanny State? Umm, no.

Immigration Control? Umm, no.

Patriotic? Umm, no (not with the close, long-term influencial friends, secular and religious, that BHO has)

The National Journal, Americans for Democratic Action, and the American Conservative Union disagree with your glib description of BHO as a conservative.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at July 10, 2008 5:15 PM

>>>Obama is a fairly conservative guy

Says more about you than him.

Posted by: carlos Author Profile Page at July 10, 2008 9:05 PM

But was Obama trying to "please everybody?" Isn't he annoying liberals by voting for the new FISA law? And no, he certainly isn't a conservative, but he's no liberal either.

Posted by: The Good Democrat Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 3:58 AM

Come on you guys, supporting a candidate who stole his slogan from the children's feature, "Bob the Builder"? The immaturity of the freshman senator from Illinois is evidenced in his recent bouts with waffling.

If the Arab world can figure it out that the Big O is a big mistake then perhaps the beguiled Americans can discover it as well (before Nov?).

Posted by: Kevin China Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 5:56 AM

DPU: Obama is a fairly conservative guy

I think this is where DPU is drawing his inspiration from (he featured one of these charts on his blog before, I remember):

http://www.politicalcompass.org/usprimaries2008

While the U.S. primaries chart isn't completely off-base, other ones on their site range from the absurd:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/euchart

to the silly:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/composers

They're obviously not plugging in the right kind of data for these. Garbage in, garbage out.

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 7:15 AM

MJT: Why? ... I know many reasonable Arabs, but I'm sorry to say that Arab public opinion in general is not even in the same time zone as reasonable.

Sure, but when you said But what are Thomas Friedman's Arab equivalents, the opinion leaders of the Middle East, saying about Obama?, I thought you weren't speaking of the hoi polloi.

rsnyder: DPU- and your evidence (actions, not talk) that BHO is "a fairly conservative guy" consists of what?

His relatively mild policy statements.

Less taxes? Umm, no.

I wonder why supporters of this expensive war are the loudest in complaining about having to pay for it? Fiscal conservatism means paying for what you are buying. The Bush administration has transferred a brutal amount of money to lender nations because he seems to like deficit spending. Obama, if anything, is more conservative in this area.

Less government? Umm, no.

I see nothing in Obama's policies that indicate more government intrusion in the economy and in citizen's private lives.

Capitalism, not Socialism? Umm, no.

Wow, that, if anything you wrote, indicates a enormous state of misunderstanding of political philosophy. What, exactly, has Obama indicated that he would nationalize?

And the rest of your points have nothing to do specifically with conservatism.

Guys, while I know there is a tendency in American politics to demonize one's political opponents to a bizarre level, at some point you look like you're having panicky hissy fits. Obama is no more a socialist than Bush is a Nazi, and both characterizations are opposite sides of the same coin. I urge restraint and moderation.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 10:11 AM

I think this is where DPU is drawing his inspiration from (he featured one of these charts on his blog before, I remember):

If you remember that post, you'll recall that I was using it to validate a point I had made long before - that many Americans are rightfully confused about the concepts of left and right in political philosophy because all their politicians are so close to each other in policy. It's difficult to distinguish between right and left when everyone is so homogeneous.

Among my liberal friends on the bloggosphere, I am repeatedly explaining away their recent disappointment with Obama by reminding them that he is and always has been a political centrist, and that at least he seems pretty intelligent.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 10:16 AM

...many Americans are rightfully confused about the concepts of left and right in political philosophy because all their politicians are so close to each other in policy

Oh, these silly, perpetually confused Americans. Why don't they listen to their intellectually and ideological betters in Europe? Are you saying that people like Marx, Hitler, George Galloway and Jean Marie Le Pen know the true difference between right and left?

Americans are a pragmatic and moderate people, and their definition of 'right' and 'left' applies to American politics.

Since pragmatism never crossed the ocean, and since ethnic nationalism and radical ideologies are still readily embraced by many Europeans, their definitions of 'right' and 'left' are different. Neither is absolute.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 10:56 AM

Oops - that should be "Why don't they listen to their intellectual and ideological betters in Europe?"

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 10:57 AM

Oh, these silly, perpetually confused Americans.

That's quite a chip you have on your shoulder there, Mary. I never said silly or perpetually confused. That's called projection.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:02 AM

Americans are a pragmatic and moderate people, and their definition of 'right' and 'left' applies to American politics.

Which is a rephrasing of exactly what I said.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:07 AM

DPU: Guys, while I know there is a tendency in American politics to demonize one's political opponents to a bizarre level, at some point you look like you're having panicky hissy fits.

Ok, fine. But on the other hand, who do you think would have created a chart showing the entire EU as "right-wing," with the French government being "far right authoritarian" and the Swedish being right-of-center?

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:14 AM

My mistake. France is merely far-right and moderately authoritarian. The Greeks are the true far-right authoritarians.

Posted by: Edgar Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:17 AM

But on the other hand, who do you think would have created a chart showing the entire EU as "right-wing," with the French government being "far right authoritarian" and the Swedish being right-of-center?

???

France has an authoritarian right-wing government, and the current Swedish government is fairly right wing.

So I don't know what you mean.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:17 AM

My mistake.

Fortunately, one that supports my contention regarding confusion about political philosophy.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:20 AM

Which is a rephrasing of exactly what I said.

No, you said that Obama was a fairly conservative guy. Conservative is not moderate.

You also said that there was a tendency in American politics to "demonize one's political opponents to a bizarre level, at some point you look like you're having panicky hissy fits" People who demonize one's political opponents and have panicky hissy fits are not pragmatic or moderate.

Speaking of where Americans stand on the political spectrum, I just took the test Edgar linked to. Want to guess where I stood?

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:31 AM

DPU-

Ahh, if only we bumbling, ill-informed Americans would only listen to our Canadian friends. We would be so much more enlightened.

Left, Right, Liberal, Conservative: no definitive way to say exactly what they mean, ergo my listing of the primary points that I believe were meaningful to the topic.

I agree that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are functionally as similar as I have seen in my lifetime.

Socialist/Nazi? Where do you get that connection?

I should have been more specific in that my reference was Socialism in the social area, not the economic area.

Perhaps we should ask you to help us with "politically correct thought", as you have governmental departments (aggressively) ready to provide, well, appropriate supervision in this area. Canadian Human Rights Commission http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/default-en.asp

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 11:51 AM

Speaking of where Americans stand on the political spectrum, I just took the test Edgar linked to. Want to guess where I stood?

I think I already know. Near Gandhi, right?

Ahh, if only we bumbling, ill-informed Americans would only listen to our Canadian friends. We would be so much more enlightened.

More projection. Some people are incapable of hearing anything that they might interpret as criticism without going to silly extremes.

I agree that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are functionally as similar as I have seen in my lifetime.

If we agree, then why the objection?

Perhaps we should ask you to help us with "politically correct thought", as you have governmental departments (aggressively) ready to provide, well, appropriate supervision in this area. Canadian Human Rights Commission http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/default-en.asp

What on earth does that have to do with the topic being discussed?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 1:02 PM

Sorry, in my above post, the first quote is Mary, the second two are from rsnyder.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 1:04 PM

Kosovo, Kosovo!!!!!!

Just kidding... take your time Mike.

I'm sure it will be worth the wait...

DPU has a point that Obama usually plays things safe when he speaks, but his most liberal voting record does the real talking. Sometimes he slips, but mostly he just tries to play things safe.

Now that he defeated Clinton, he is pandering to the bitter backwards Bible-thumpin gun humpers. His membership with a race baiting, Socialist, Israel hating church for 20 years as well as associations with former-terrorists and Communists can be dumped in an instant, solely to help his presidential campaign, but can only be believed by people that desperately want to believe.

Thats what he really means by Change you can believe in.

Posted by: Freedom Now Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 2:23 PM

I should have been more specific in that my reference was Socialism in the social area, not the economic area.

Huh? Socialism is a political philosophy with a major economic component. It has no social area outside of that, at least to my knowledge.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 3:26 PM

DPU: It distresses me to say that your knowledge is not all-encompassing, but here is one example of the range in defining Socialism.

From http://www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/sgabriel/socialism_defined.htm

"Socialism, in its many philosophical and social scientific manifestations, is grounded in the idea that the best of all possible human societies is one based on cooperation and nurturing, rather than competition and greed. As a guiding philosophy for organizing family life, socialism has widespread support, even among conservatives. Nevertheless, socialism is a protean concept: defined, for social scientific purposes, in many different ways --- presenting different faces, as it were. It is defined within Marxian theory as a transitional stage between capitalism and communism: a stage within which the capitalist economy is controlled by a pro-worker government that gradually puts into place the conditions for communism. Some have further defined socialism as implying a change in property ownership, such that the major capitalist enterprises become state capitalist enterprises (owned by the state and used for the purpose of bringing about the aforementioned transition). Socialism can also be defined, in a non-Marxian manner, as simply implying a pro-worker government that will use state policies to improve the lives of working people without any presumption that the state will try to create communism. Indeed, some socialists (defining their socialism in this non-Marxian way) might even be opposed to communism and simply favor a more benign form of capitalism (the Swedish "Middle Way," perhaps)."

In my opinion extreme liberals, such as BHO, are for all practical purposes, Socialists, at they would be if allowed to power to effect that change.

So BHO SAYS something, and that is evidence that he is fairly conservative? And which policy-of-the-day of BHO would you be referring to? Nice that you don't let facts such as BHO's voting record and choice of friends/supporters get in your way DPU.

My statement that there is far less difference between the two American political parties than I have seen in my lifetime have nothing to do with my comments about BHO.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 4:33 PM

DPU: It distresses me to say that your knowledge is not all-encompassing, but here is one example of the range in defining Socialism.

The quote that you post discusses the political philosophy component of socialism. Maybe you don't understand the term?

The part about some socialists being opposed to "communism" and in favor of some aspects of capitalism defines social democrats (like myself). Obama is most assuredly not a social democrat.

And I find your interpretation that extreme liberals are socialists is bizarre. Again, I think this indicates a general inexperience with wider range of political opinions.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 4:43 PM

so much for the "Obama is a Muslim" brotherhood ;)

The Arab leaders like continuity for obvious reasons, so why risk it? Those gazillions of dollars are pouring in and they'd like to keep them coming.

Posted by: nameless-fool Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 8:21 PM

I think I already know. Near Gandhi, right?

I thought you had such experience with a wider range of political opinions. You imply that American political thought is so limited. Surely you can make a serious guess.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 11, 2008 8:36 PM

If the so-called "Arab Street" thinks highly of Sen. Obama, because of assumptions about ethnic origin and rumored secret religious identity, what exactly is the problem in that? This might allow Obama to appeal directly, for some period of time, to that section of the Arab or Muslim world where anti-Americanism seems a sequence in the genetic code. But also that part of the world where the citizens have been most abused by their own leaders.

It is certainly not the fault of the US that most of the world simply doesn't understand the limitations placed on presidential perogatives but then it is useful when an incoming president might find some room to wiggle some effective compromises that could ease some of the tensions. Even though I do not plan on voting for Obama I do see a window of opportunity where the US could be seen by the Arab world as not completely either the puppet or the puppetmaster of Israel(I've never been able to figure out that type of reasoning). Even the idea of a sympathetic ear in Washington could help the situation by removing some of the moral authority of the states that have used this bogeyman for the last 7 decades.

Posted by: Pat Patterson Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 3:53 AM

DPU -

The only way you could sell Obama as a conservative would be with the assistance of a black silk top hat, a scantily dressed assistance, and an audience consciously willing to suspend disbelief.

Without those paramaters, Obama remains an empty suit riding the fantasies of the Western Left into the future of a dangerous world.

He's not Left. He's socialist. His strategically executed plan of voting "present" throughout his time in elected office is the only thing keeping him from being properly placed left of Dennis Kucinich.

You can get back to your little game. Sorry if I interrupted.

Posted by: TmjUtah Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 10:33 AM

"Obama is no more a socialist than Bush is a Nazi, and both characterizations are opposite sides of the same coin."

Yeah right. One refers to a misguided political and economic philosophy, and the other to a genocidal cult. What a dishonest and pathetically transparent debating tactic.

"I urge restraint and moderation."

Bwahahaha!

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 10:52 AM

"Obama is a fairly conservative guy"

Actually this is true. The following are also true:

"Obama is a fairly liberal guy"

"Obama supports Israel"

"Obama supports the Palestinians"

"Obama wants to withdraw from Iraq now"

"Obama will not withdraw troops until he
consults with the generals"

etc...

It just depends on what time of day and which group he is speaking to then.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 10:56 AM

"That's quite a chip you have on your shoulder there, Mary. I never said silly or perpetually confused."

Gotcha. Just "panicky hissy fits".

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 10:58 AM

Mary: I thought you had such experience with a wider range of political opinions.

No. Last time you took the test, you scored somewhere on the left around there.

You imply that American political thought is so limited.

Oh, climb down off the cross already. Or just say that you think Americans are perfect in every way and cannot be criticized.

Geez. Talk about thin-skinned.

TmjUtahHe's not Left. He's socialist.

Bullshit. Most people here wouldn't know a socialist even if they got a hammer and sickle jammed up their ass, as they've proved over and over again. And as always, why let facts and definitions get in the way of a good rip-roaring opinion?

You guys are really going to hate the next eight years, being governed by a "commie" and all. Too bad that Bush set so many precedents regarding wiretapping, incarceration, torture, and the divine right of the chief executive.

It's going to be rough, innit?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 4:28 PM

Well, we certainly see DPU's political allegiance, don't we ? Obama is not conservative or liberal. His political education seems to be radical left but I don't think he has any political philosophy. He will say what is necessary to gain the support of the particular group he is addressing that day. He will blow with the wind although he will be weak and will be manipulated by advisors like Clinton was but with less effort. Clinton once said that if reincarnation occurred, he wanted to come back as the bond market since that seemed to be the most powerful force in US politics. This was after a lecture by Bob Rubin, no doubt. We can only hope that Rubin would have similar access if we are unlucky enough to see Obama elected. The Arabs will quickly see him as weak and act accordingly.

Posted by: Mike K Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 5:50 PM

"Bullshit. Most people here wouldn't know a socialist even if they got a hammer and sickle jammed up their ass, as they've proved over and over again."

hehe you said "ass" hehe.

Maybe you remember the dulcet tones of the old Beavis and Butthead act there, eh, DPU?

I've got to hand it to you on one point - you are absolutely correct that most people wouldn't recognise a socialist etc, etc... true.

But that hasn't stopped them for looking and working to elect them. It's just that our Democrat (and sad to say, more and more often Republican, as well) office seekers have been more than ready to crap all over free markets and limited government on their way to building their own little fiefdoms.

So, what we've got going right now isn't really doctrinaire socialism, like with five year plans and gulags... but we've got an apathetic electorate that in the next few weeks is going to find jobs scarce, currency strangely worthless even when they can get it, and a government that is in fact the proximate cause for all the economic distress they are enduring.

That kind of electorate does not pause on the way to the tar and feathering in the city square, in the heat of the moment, and reflect, "Pray, I must temper my actions for it is mine, and mine countrymens' sloth that has put us in this dire predicament!"...

Nope. He'll just throw his rocks and rotten fruit harder and hope nobody notices.

Barak Obama grew up at the knee of a marxist, worshipped beside a man who made his life's work selling state solutions for greivances real and imagined, and did his first real public work in partnership with a Weatherman bomber who walked because his dad was connected.

So no, he's not a socialist. Just another Chicago hack positioning himself for the bigs.

Except that the league is going to go bust.

Gotta love it.

Posted by: TmjUtah Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 6:07 PM

So, what we've got going right now isn't really doctrinaire socialism, like with five year plans and gulags...

Really, Tmj, stop. Just stop. It's embarrassing. Do you think that countries governed by social democrats have gulags and five year plans? And Obama isn't even left-wing enough to qualify as a social democrat, not even close. I can't think of a single policy of his that could be considered socialist, not one. If you know of one actual honest-to-gosh socialist policy, please let me know, I'm dying to see it.

And are you really pinning the blame for the current financial disaster at your nation's doorstep on the Democrats?

The Bush administrations economic policies have been anything but pro-free-market, and they've been dangerously greedy and short-sighted. For that matter, every Republican government since Nixon has been fiscally idiotic, madly expanding the deficit whenever possible, and Bush Jr has easily been the worst.

I've been concerned about the US economy for a number of years, but I'm well beyond mere concern now. I'm now beginning to doubt that the US will ever be able to pull itself out of the economic hole that the current administration has put it in.

To indicate concern that a Democrat could do any worse is breathtakingly audacious. Bravo.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 6:38 PM

No, DPU, I won't stop, just stop.

If we were fighting real socialism here, gulags, uniforms, and straight up tyranny, there might be something akin to higher moral principal or nobility involved.

In truth it is merely a matter of slouching toward the boneyard.

Obama is a vulture, DPU. Unremarkable in any way from the recent cast of politicians, skin color not withstanding. His sense of elitism and entitlement surely gives that of John Kerry a good close run. Now on scale, his ambition is indeed breathtaking, but on originality, not so much.

See, there's not that much wealth left to redistribute.

In socialism, the fruits of labor are divvied down to an egalitarian level of misery, with the leaders strangely missing from the line waiting for the toilet paper ration.

As a system, free market capitalism as the power behind our universal franchise representative republic has brought forth a nation richer than any petro sheik's wildest fantasy. But the key was always the MARKET and FREE part... only the accumulated wealth of the decades since the depression gave us the cushion to sustain the attacks begun in the mid sixties and continued, accelerated, to the present day.

Times up, DPU.

And you have the fucking gall to trot out "Obama is a fairly conservative guy".

Don't reply. I've been wasting my time since I saw your handle at the bottom of a post... but only because it doesn't really matter any more.

Posted by: TmjUtah Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 6:51 PM

Just cannot keep your BDS from showing can you DPU? Perhaps we can adopt a Human Rights Commission similar to yours to get us on track. Want to make sure I use the correct terminology -was the HRC invented by Social Democrats?

Some of your comments could be construed as Hate Speech; oh wait, this is the U.S., not Canada, so you are safe.

Politicians of both parties are the cause of the current economic concerns. A current example- both parties, at least in the Senate, are supporting the proposed taxpayer bailout of the mortgage mess. The monies involved are non-trivial.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 7:16 PM

"I've been concerned about the US economy for a number of years, but I'm well beyond mere concern now. I'm now beginning to doubt that the US will ever be able to pull itself out of the economic hole that the current administration has put it in."

By trying to make the current economic landscape a partisan issue, you've graduated from mere hack to outright feeb, DPU.

Since the the 1930's we've spent more money on entitlements programs than all the other costs of government combined. It's not that we can't afford guns OR butter - it's that we've written checks we had no hope of cashing since before (almost?)any of us here were born.

Redistribution of wealth. Taking capital from its owner and giving it to another party with no contract, no mechanism, for preserving it or increasing it's value...

"Give people a chance." "Not a had out, a hand up."

Have you ever met a middle aged man who has never held a job, DP? Visit LA or New Orleans sometime.

It buys votes. It trains people to expect help... which after a hurricane or flood might not be a bad thing, but becomes a cancer when a check shows up every week simply because you asked for one... because you weren't interested in any of the jobs you passed by that week.

Good golly miss molly. I feel like silly Cpl. Hicks - "Game over man!"

Off I go. Fishing tomorrow. And a good night to all.

Posted by: TmjUtah Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 8:06 PM

Oh, climb down off the cross already. Or just say that you think Americans are perfect in every way and cannot be criticized.

You nearly always criticize Americans, and we usually treat you with more respect than you give us. So who is on their cross here?

Anyway, I'm not trying to say that Obama is right or left, good or bad. Mc Cain and Obama are the best that each party can to offer, and either one will probably be a good president. Pragmatism and moderation win, as they usually do.

And no, according to the test I'm not so much to the left. There's more to the test than left and right.

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at July 12, 2008 8:44 PM

The "victimization mentality" and consipiracy theories on America Michael observed from Arabs is actually quite common all over the world, especially Asia. Some Leftist politicians ascend to power manipulating the resulting public grudge against America or the "conservative" incumbent perceived as too loyal to Washington. Former S.Korean president Roh Moo Hyun was elected around early 2000 at the HEIGHT of "we hate America" craze in Korea, but by the time he left office in 08 his approval rating was around 20%. He was a terrible president, and the more conservative Lee Myung Bak replaced him (although he's being attacked for the US beef import issue)

Posted by: lee Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 2:09 AM

DPU wrote:
Guys, while I know there is a tendency in American politics to demonize one's political opponents to a bizarre level, at some point you look like you're having panicky hissy fits.

Tell that to Jörg Haider, whose FPÖ ended up in a coalition government in Austria after the completely free and fair elections of 1999. The Belgian PM had a hissy fit, acting like a three-year-old in a shopping cart, threatening to hold his breath until the FPÖ were no longer in government. More sickeningly, the Belgian PM pretty much got the rest of the EU to boycott the FPÖ.

Posted by: Ted S., Catskills, NY Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 7:19 AM

By trying to make the current economic landscape a partisan issue, you've graduated from mere hack to outright feeb, DPU.

And the audaciousness jumps up a notch. You have just finished using economics as a partisan issue, then throw a tantrum because I point out the economic wreck that Bush has made of the country?

Don't mistake me as a partisan Obama supporter. While I welcome his coming administration as a replacement for the disaster of the last eight years, and while I think that he at least seems fairly intelligent, much of this is because compared to the circus of mismanagement that was Bush, he looks like Einstein. I think Obama is fairly right-wing for a Democrat, I think that some of his policies are laughably inadequate, and he's just plain wrong on many of his economic and political beliefs. I hope that he has the sense and the flexibility to adjust some of them, because you guys are facing an economic storm like you've never seen before.

As a system, free market capitalism as the power behind our universal franchise representative republic has brought forth a nation richer than any petro sheik's wildest fantasy. But the key was always the MARKET and FREE part...

Okay, genius, here's a test. A number of American banks and financial institutions seems ready to go under in the next few months. Let's see what Obama's approach will be vs George W. Bush's. I suspect that Obama will push to let the market deal with it, while Bush will continue to try and intervene to save them.

Since the the 1930's we've spent more money on entitlements programs than all the other costs of government combined. It's not that we can't afford guns OR butter - it's that we've written checks we had no hope of cashing since before (almost?)any of us here were born.

Redistribution of wealth. Taking capital from its owner and giving it to another party with no contract, no mechanism, for preserving it or increasing it's value...

Yes, more teachings from the school of economic rubbish.

In the 1930s, your country was a hair's breadth from economic collapse or revolution because of the accumulation of too much wealth into too few hands. The economic engine stopped ticking over. It was kick-started when war forced the money to begin moving around again, and it started working its way back into more pockets. Capitalism was saved by built in mechanisms to keep the money moving around.

You want to see what happens when what you call "entitlement programs" dry up? I suspect that you're about to get your wish. Enjoy the ride.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 9:54 AM

Me: A number of American banks and financial institutions seems ready to go under in the next few months. Let's see what Obama's approach will be vs George W. Bush's. I suspect that Obama will push to let the market deal with it, while Bush will continue to try and intervene to save them.

Well, that was quick.

US Treasury rescue for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
US TREASURY secretary Hank Paulson is working on plans to inject up to $15 billion (£7.5 billion) of capital into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stem the crisis at America’s biggest mortgage firms.
Obama Says U.S. May Not Take Any Action to Aid Fannie, Freddie:
Democrat Barack Obama left open the possibility that the federal government won't need to take any steps to aid mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying it needs to watch the evolving situation before making a decision.

``I think we need to watch carefully to see how it plays out before we make a decision about which steps need to be taken, if any,'' Obama, 46, said aboard his campaign plane from Chicago to San Diego late Saturday. It was the first time Obama addressed concerns over the stability of the two firms that own or guarantee almost half the $12 trillion in U.S. mortgages.

I'd say that the Bush administration seems more like the socialists here, don't they? Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 10:31 AM

For that matter, every Republican government since Nixon has been fiscally idiotic, madly expanding the deficit whenever possible, and Bush Jr has easily been the worst.
-DPU

Kind words for the fiscal policy of the guy who imposed wage and price controls in the US? Yikes.

.....

Obama may look like a 'fairly conservative guy' to Red Diaper Babies, but compared to just about every elected official in the US, the guy's votes show him to be well to the left of the American political center. Worse, his voting history also shows a tendency to vote 'Present' when contentious issues are on the table, making him both far left and lacking backbone.

No thanks.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 11:21 AM

Obama may look like a 'fairly conservative guy' to Red Diaper Babies...

I suspect that you don't know what the term "red diaper babiy" means. My parents were both quite conservative. I have no idea why you would make such an assumption.

Again, I am still waiting for a single Obama policy that is socialist. If he's such a big commie, there must be some evidence of it, surely.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 11:53 AM

DPU: "Don't mistake me as a partisan Obama supporter."

From your very own blog, "After the high last night and this morning over Obama's win in Iowa...."

Right, no evidence of being partisan in that statement.

Oh, I get it, you are like BHO- that was then, this is now (reference is to BHO's policy-of-the-day strategy, since I thought that with your bias you may not be aware of it.)

Move along folks, nothing to see.

Posted by: rsnyder Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 12:26 PM

Right, no evidence of being partisan in that statement.

Wow, you've found me out, you sleuth you.

I'll keep this simple. I think that Obama is certainly preferable to Bush, Clinton, and McCain. That doesn't mean that I don't recognize the fact that he's relatively conservative, and it sure as hell doesn't mean that I'm a supporter. He's politically fairly close to the views held by the Canadian Prime Minister, who is a conservative, and whom I detest. But he's way better than any of the alternatives, and stands the best chance of all the candidates of pulling off a US recovery. That is certainly worth celebrating.

Would you like some links to blog comments where I've expressed similar reservations? Quite a few are here, and there are a number of other blogs where I've been saying the same thing.

I'm actually not sure why I'm even debating this. You guys think he's a communist based on nothing more than your will to keep saying so. That screams of being uninformed at the best, and delusional at the worst.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 12:35 PM

Communist? Nah. Socialist? Not as the term is commonly used in actual socialist countries, but he does want to do things like socialize the US health care system, so that one is definitely debatable. Leftist? Oh, yeah. Tax the people who have money, re-distribute the funds to those who don't, after all, from each according to their ability, to each... um, hm, waitasec, I might have to get back to you on the communist thing.

....

You don't seem to realize that even if Obama might be centrist or even conservative in terms of Canadian politics, we're not discussing Canadian politics here. We're talking about an American politician running in an American election for a position in the US government- where the man would be on the Canadian political spectrum is completely irrelevant.

You can keep calling Obama conservative if you like, all you're going to accomplish is damage your own credibility and get criticized by annoyed Americans.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 1:13 PM

...but he does want to do things like socialize the US health care system...

Like I said, delusional or uninformed. Please post evidence that he wants to socialize the US health care system.

Tax the people who have money...

As opposed to taxing people without money? You supported an expensive war. Stop complaining that you have to pay for it.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 1:18 PM

Unlike Conservatives, I dont have many problems with our government's current taxation policies, but I've never seen any Conservative that is pro-Victory complain that their tax money is being spent on our military. Most (if not all) advocate spending more on our military.

As far as I can remember such Conservatives have always advocated spending more money on our military. While there may be certain programs that they object to, this is a general rule.

Posted by: Freedom Now Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 1:58 PM

Please post evidence that he wants to socialize the US health care system.

'k, here ya go-

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/25/AR2007012500764.html

As opposed to taxing people without money? You supported an expensive war. Stop complaining that you have to pay for it.

Pffft. All of the tax increases Obama's talking about are targeted at higher tax brackets than the one I'm currently in. Officially, his tax increases won't affect me... directly, at least. But Democrats have never been much good at the unintended consequences thing.

Remember the Yacht Tax? Poppy Bush signed that one as part of the Great Compromise, back in 1990. It was supposed to impose a little fiscal austerity on the ostentatiously wealthy during an economic slowdown (hooray for class envy!). What actually came of it? Several thousand blue-collar shipbuilding jobs in New England went poof as rich people stopped buying US-built yachts.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 1:59 PM

'k, here ya go-

That's universal coverage, not socialized healthcare. Like to try again?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 2:06 PM

Pffft. All of the tax increases Obama's talking about are targeted at higher tax brackets than the one I'm currently in.

Then stop complaining that others have to pay for it. Or are you one of those people who thinks that debts should go unpaid?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 2:16 PM

That's universal coverage, not socialized healthcare. Like to try again?

Why? Coverage would be required by law, and subsidized for those who can't afford it, which means the main difference will be the bureaucracy handling the billing. Wanting to emulate how the French do it instead of how the British or the Canadians do it just means he's done his homework.

As far as debts being paid is concerned, I don't have a problem with that, and I'd be quite happy if Obama was going to use all of the revenue brought in for paying down the national debt. But he won't do that, and we both know it.

I have philosophical objections to class warfare, which is what Obama's "I'm gonna cut your taxes, and jack the rates for the rich" amounts to. It reminds me very strongly of the 'From each according to his ability, to each...' thing, which I do not consider a sound basis for a society.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 2:48 PM

I'm sorry but right now, both Obama and McCain are only saying what they hope will get them elected. The truth comes after the election. Then we will see both of their true colors. It happens every four years. But that's just my opinion and I'm pretty sure a lot of people share my opinion on that subject.

Posted by: Annie Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 2:53 PM

Why?

Socialized health care is government-run facilities and state employement of doctors, nurses, and other practitioners. Universal coverage means government-controlled insurance paid out to private practitioners.

You said that Obama was advocating socialized health care. He isn't.

Wanting to emulate how the French do it instead of how the British or the Canadians do it just means he's done his homework.

Maybe you should do some homework. Canada has universal coverage, not socialized health care.

As far as debts being paid is concerned, I don't have a problem with that, and I'd be quite happy if Obama was going to use all of the revenue brought in for paying down the national debt. But he won't do that, and we both know it.

No, I don't know that. Clinton reduced the deficit, Bush increased it. Why is it not likely that Obama would reduce it like Clinton did?

It reminds me very strongly of the 'From each according to his ability, to each...' thing, which I do not consider a sound basis for a society.

Progressive tax rates are not based on Marxism, they're based on the concept of diminishing marginal returns in personal income. Canada has a much higher marginal tax rate than the US does, and I myself am in the highest tax bracket, but I'm not about to start complaining about how unfair it is. I make more money, therefore my tax rate is higher. I still have plenty left for me and mine.

I can't stand tax whiners. They really get on my nerves.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 6:40 PM

While we're on the topic of taxes and wealth distribution, here's a frightening set of graphs.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 11:04 PM

I agree and disagree with alot of Obama's "things to do list" the bottom line as I see it is most of the voteing pubic are still senior citizens, who still have an old way of thinking, so does his views matter absolutely, will he be elected this term? sadly the answer is probly no, as I go from site to site looking at everything on the presidential candidates it seems to me the U.S. just still isnt ready for a president with his ethnic backround. "And one day the eyes of America will be open." that's just not going to be today.

Sincerely,
Joel Sonnet

Posted by: Joelsonnet Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 11:21 PM

"I can't stand tax whiners. They really get on my nerves."

Well for G-d's sake, DPU, don't have a panicky hissy fit about it.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at July 13, 2008 11:28 PM

DPU,

Which is a rephrasing of exactly what I said.

No it isn't. Rephrasing what you said would come out to something like "Americans can't tell the difference between left and right because they are indistinguishable from eachother". Rephrasing what mary said would yield something like "Left and right are subjective terms in the US, and are not valid in other countries".

Totally different. And she may have quite a chip on her shoulder (or not) but you certainly seem to be sporting quite an ego, eh? :D

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at July 14, 2008 1:37 AM

Maybe you should do some homework. Canada has universal coverage, not socialized health care.

DPU, you must realize you are arguing semantics?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at July 14, 2008 1:42 AM

Gary: Well for G-d's sake, DPU, don't have a panicky hissy fit about it.

Just trying to keep up with the rest of you girls, Gary, but about something that matters for a change.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 14, 2008 10:39 AM

Totally different. And she may have quite a chip on her shoulder (or not) but you certainly seem to be sporting quite an ego, eh? :D

A piece of coal shines like a diamond when in the dunghill, programmer_craig.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 14, 2008 10:41 AM

I think all of it is just a ton of non sense. I really can't stand any of this matte, I want to know how you really feel about the situation, and what should happen. Hope to hear more about it. Sincerely, Natalie Coleman

Posted by: Natalie Coleman Author Profile Page at July 14, 2008 2:27 PM

"Just trying to keep up with the rest of you girls, Gary"

Blatantly sexist and homophobic - I'm going to have to report you to the Canadian HRC, I'm afraid. And to think DPU had us all fooled into thinking he was morally superior to the rest of us!

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at July 15, 2008 12:24 AM

Me: Totally different. And she may have quite a chip on her shoulder (or not) but you certainly seem to be sporting quite an ego, eh? :D

DPU: A piece of coal shines like a diamond when in the dunghill, programmer_craig.

A poor analogy. It seems you are claiming you only seem to be egotistical because the rest of us are unusually modest. Was that your intent?

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at July 15, 2008 1:35 AM

sigh

And you're all still as crazy as when I left....

MJT, nice articles, I enjoyed catching up on them.

TTFN,

Ratatosk

Posted by: dclydew Author Profile Page at July 15, 2008 8:40 AM

I'm going to have to report you to the Canadian HRC, I'm afraid.

Oh, I see your problem, Gary. You think that I'm a purveyor of political correctness, and that a charge of sexism will have me all aflutter.

Uh, no.

By the way, to continue on the earlier theme, here's another blogger pointing out the screaming obvious:
Is Obama running to the right?

My answer: I call bullshit. Obama hasn't changed. His policy proposals have always been right-centrist, about making incremental changes rather than blowing up the system and starting over again. All that has happened is that the news "reporters" have started reporting on his policy proposals, policy proposals that have been the same since at least the beginning of the year, and suddenly liberals are saying "hold it, that's almost a right-wing position!"

...

Obama is who he has always been -- a right-centerist pragmatist. There ain't a damned thing that's changed about him, and Obamabots and other liberals who are getting all huffy and upset about his supposed "flip-flops" need to take the blinders off their eyes and look around and see what's been there all along. That's Obama, folks. He ain't the Second Coming of Eugene Debs, and never has been. He is who he is and always has been, for better or for worse. And compared to John McCain, that's a whole lot better, for reasons I've explained elsewhere. But Eugene Debs he ain't -- and never has been.

The only people who think Obama is far left are the ignorant and the oblivious, on both the left and the right. Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 15, 2008 10:44 AM

Oops, screwed up that link. Here.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 15, 2008 10:45 AM

It seems you are claiming you only seem to be egotistical because the rest of us are unusually modest. Was that your intent?

Sure, why not.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 15, 2008 10:47 AM

No wonder you named yourself "double-plus-ungood"

Posted by: Freedom Now Author Profile Page at July 16, 2008 2:35 AM
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