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The American Right And The Demonization Of Barack Obama

In today’s Washington Post, E.J. Dionne returns to a familiar theme, the extent to which Republican, specifically hard-core conservative, opposition to President Obama manifests itself as personal hatred and outright demonization:

They say that President Obama is a Muslim, but if he isn’t, he’s a secularist who is waging war on religion. On some days he’s a Nazi, but on most others he’s merely a socialist. His especially creative opponents see him as having a “Kenyan anti-colonial worldview,” while the less adventurous say that he’s an elitist who spent too much time in Cambridge, Hyde Park and other excessively academic precincts.

Whatever our president is, he is never allowed to be a garden-variety American who plays basketball and golf, has a remarkably old-fashioned family life and, in the manner we regularly recommend to our kids, got ahead by getting a good education.

Please forgive this outburst. It’s simply astonishing that a man in his fourth year as our president continues to be the object of the most extraordinary paranoid fantasies. A significant part of his opposition still cannot accept that Obama is a rather moderate politician quite conventional in his tastes and his interests. And now that the economy is improving, short-circuiting easy criticisms, Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders.

(…)

[T]here is something especially rancid about the never-ending efforts to turn Obama into a stranger, an alien, a Manchurian Candidate with a diabolical hidden agenda. Are we trying to undo all the good it did us with the rest of the world when we elected an African American with a middle name popular among Muslims?

In my experience, even Americans who voted against Obama were proud that our nation showed friend and foe alike that we are a special place. We know it’s wrong to judge people by their race or lineage, and we so value religious freedom and openness that we elected a Christian convert who is the son of a Muslim father and an agnostic mother to lead us at one of our most difficult moments.

Yet many in the anti-Obama camp just can’t stop themselves from playing on fears that electing a man who defies old stereotypes was a terrible mistake. Thus did the Rev. Franklin Graham assert Tuesday on MSNBC not only that Muslims regard Obama as “a son of Islam” (because his father was Muslim) but also that “under President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems to be more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries.” Graham slightly softened his comments on CNN Wednesday, but it remains troubling that he chose to turn a legitimate concern about the persecution of Christians into a slander.

This is a phenomenon that we’ve all been witness to ever since President Obama was elected, if not before then. It started with the whispered assertion by some that the President was not actually born in the United States, or that he was somehow ineligible to be President due to something written by a Swiss legal scholar in a book that was not even available in the United States until several years after the Constitution had been drafted. While many on the right would deny that this was ever a mainstream belief, the reality is that it was also not something that prominent spokespersons on the right sought to discourage or reject until it became too much of an embarrassment to the movement. Other rumors spread about the President have included the assertion that he is a “secret Muslim,” that he secretly traveled to Pakistan during a time when it was impossible for Americans to get a visa to visit the country, and that his very Presidency is part of some vast conspiracy to undermine the United States.

During the  2008 campaign itself, we saw the full force of conservative talk radio, and on more than a few occasions, the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, attack claim that then-Senator Obama was a socialist with ties to radical preachers and 1960s radicals. The campaign didn’t work, of course, and in fact it became clear by October 2008 that the more conservatives attacked Obama, the worse the Republicans did in the polls. By the time it was over the GOP had suffered its biggest loss to a non-incumbent Democrat since 1992. One would have thought that this would have led to a period of introspection on the right, and perhaps the realization on the right that trying to scare the crap out of people was not really an effective strategy. By the time of President Obama’s Inauguration, though, it seemed like the demonization meme had won out, as exemplified most fully in Rush Limbaugh’s statement that he hoped the President failed. When some Republicans spoke up to disagree with what Limbaugh was saying, pointing out for example that rooting for the President to fail is akin to rooting for the nation to fail, they found themselves quickly denounced amid the ever-increasing din of anti-Obama fervor. The “Obama as evil” rhetoric increased, of course, after the birth of the Tea Party movement, which often found itself being spoken for by extremist elements who would question the President’s religious faith, his place of birth, and even whether he had actually graduated from Columbia University.

Scott Galupo argues that this has been a central part of the opposition to the President from the beginning:

Out of political convenience or cultural distance, Beltway conservatives refuse to see this: Hardcore conservative opposition to Obama has always been cultural and theological. The pop-theological mainstream of American evangelicals has so thoroughly assimilated the ideal of American capitalism that any deviation, however modest, from it is tantamount to radical godless humanism. And, in an extension of an older intradenominational debate, conservative Catholics like Santorum deeply mistrust the ideal of “social justice” as championed by the Catholic left.

Galupo is correct, of course, and the fact that much of the policy that people like Santorum criticize the President for isn’t really any more radical than those adopted by his Republican predecessor demonstrates quite clearly that what we’re actually dealing with here isn’t a policy dispute, it’s a personal one. For better or worse, hard-core American conservatism has become invested in the idea that you can’t just disagree with President Obama, you have to hate him and assume the absolutely worst about him. That’s why you see candidates like Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney pushed to the side by these voters in favor of the Santorum’s, Gingrich’s, and Bachmann’s of the world. How this can possibly be healthy for either the GOP itself, or the nation as a whole, I really don’t understand, but if we’ve learned anything so far it’s that the hatred that Dionne and Galupo complain of is with us to stay, and that’s it’s going to be a very nasty year.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dan Collins says:

    Funny how they don’t mention Maxine Waters calling Republicans “demons,” or a vocal backer of Jesse Jackson, Jr. saying that the political opposition is “demonic.” That’s demonization per se.

    Barack Obama has imputed bad faith to so many people for so many ginned up reasons that I don’t have an ounce of compassion for him.

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  2. Excellent piece, as always. Aside from the fact that the demonization of the President is filled with falsehoods and hatred (which it is), it’s simply a waste of precious time our country doesn’t have to spend on this nonsense. If the GOP candidates, along with various media figures, analysts and whatnot spent 1/10th of the time they spend criticizing the President on talking about actual issues and solutions, we might be even further along in the country’s recovery than we are now. Not to mention that regardless of party or voting record, the President deserves to be treated with respect. Civilized disagreement is what our country should be all about. A firestorm of angry rhetoric and insanity is doing no good for anyone, anywhere.

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  3. Brian Lehman says:

    Oh come on, Doug. I’m not going to sit here and defend some of the things the right has said about Obama. But no one here was born yesterday. We all know that liberals did the exact same thing against Bush, and that they will again if the GOP wins this year. Partisans will be partisans.

    Moreover, it’s laughable for EJ Dionne to say we should treat Obama nicely because he’s black or because he’s a good family man. To be honest, neither of those things mean jack.

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  4. NickNot says:

    Great write-up.

    One has to wonder if it’s just easier to attack on these fronts, rather than deal with the issue of spending – an issue which republicans have to open their own closet doors as well.

    By the way, anybody got an update on those radical tea partiers that promised to cut 100 Billion year one? Did they every make it past 4 billion?

    The strategy of demonizing an individual worked for the Republicans when Bush defeated Gore narrowly. If the U-3 unemployment number keeps dropping, I doubt it will be enough in 2012. Especially with libertarians jumping ship rapidly.

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  5. Brummagem Joe says:

    I’m sure Obama is in Brer Rabbit mode with all this. Don’t throw me into the marxist, nazi, kenyan, comnmunist, child killing briar patch.@

    Dan Collins:

    Barack Obama has imputed bad faith to so many people for so many ginned up reasons that I don’t have an ounce of compassion for him.

    And I’m eqally sure he’ll survive without your phony equivalence. A vocal backer of Jesse Jackson wow I wonder who that could be…..a name that’s on everbody’s lips I’m sure.

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  6. CB says:

    but like, hitler, and stuff.

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  7. Three points

    First, the “they did it to Bush too” argument is, in my opinion, utter nonsense.Tit-for-tat is not the way to run a country, and spreading lies about your opponents doesn’t become honorable just because the other side allegedly did it.

    Second, I don’t recall mainstream people on the left suggesting that Bush was anti-American, or that he wanted to destroy the country, or that he wasn’t really American. A minor point, perhaps, but its worth noting that the attacks from the supposed leaders on the right like Rush Limbaugh have been particularly vile and disgusting. And I say that as someone who opposes pretty much everything this President has done.

    Third, if you want to play the tit-for-tat game then we’re going to have to talk about the crap that the right was spewing about Bill Clinton from the moment he walked into the Oval Office.

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  8. Hey Norm says:

    I’m pretty sure BOTH SIDES DO IT.

    Seriously though…
    I had many problems with Bush43…but they were based on policy and by and large my disagreements have been borne out by history.
    Iraq was a colosal blunder.
    Medicare Part D is a budget buster and continues to drive deficits going forward.
    The Tax Cuts have exploded the debt and are the biggest driver of deficits going forward.

    On the other hand if a Republican had rescued us from the brink of a depression, while also saving the auto industry and the banking industry without nationalizing either…killed OBL, rid us of Ghadaffi…passed health care reform in a manner that is predicted to reduce the deficit…cut taxes for 90% of the country…and tried to pass the largest deficit reduction package in history with a combination of 4:1 spending cuts to revenue increases….
    Well…as Sully says…they’d be carving his face on Mt. Rushmore by now.

    But here’s the thing…their ideology is flawed…all their ideas have failed…they have no new ones…and they are fighting against the tide of the modern world. Given that…all they left is hatred and anger and fear of the other.

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  9. Jenos Idanian says:

    The worst is, it gives the Obama sycophants, apologists, and rumpswabs excuses to not discuss the legitimate criticisms. They can focus on the tiny percentage of the loons and pretend the sane majority doesn’t exist.

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  10. mattb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Second, I don’t recall mainstream people on the left suggesting that Bush was anti-American, or that he wanted to destroy the country, or that he wasn’t really American.

    The majority of ad hominum Bush II criticism revolved around two interrelated themes: (1) his lack of intelligence/curiosity and (2) his entitled background/getting rich off of america (i.e. a Whitehouse full of Oil Men).

    His whiteness, and his lineage, didn’t allow for Anti-American critiques.

    Obama’s name, personal history, and skin color, on the other hand, meant that a significant amount of the ad hominum attacks would be about his otherness/blackness. Sadly, the vast majority of movement conservatives still don’t want to own up to this. And the way they disarm it is to pretend that anyone who criticizes the president is called racist (i.e. it’s reverse racism).

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  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    They can focus on the tiny percentage of the loons and pretend the sane majority doesn’t exist.

    Tiny percentage? Not what most polls would suggest.

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  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Dan Collins:

    Obama is not Maxine Waters or Jesse Jackson.

    But, yes: he is black. Which is what bullshit like yours has always been about.

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  13. Bleev K says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The sane majority? The one that votes for Santorum?

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  14. michael reynolds says:

    Doug:

    Good piece.

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  15. merl says:

    @Dan Collins: Maxine Waters is not running for President, moron. She’s also right.

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  16. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Doug, you forgot to mention that he is such a crafty fellow as to have engaged in a decades-long super-secret conspiracy to install a Muslim socialist in the White House in order to implement every atheist’s dream of a secular, Sharia-based communist society, while simultaneously be too stupid to speak without a teleprompter.

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  17. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: Maxine Waters’ problem is not that she’s black. It’s that she’s batsh!t crazy.

    Would you like me to cite some of her craziness, so you can explain that it’s just that black people can’t help themselves, and should be given a pass?

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  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Bleev K: I don’t recall Santorum being relevant to the discussion, just how there is a LOT of valid criticism of Obama that gets shoved into the shadows so the spotlight can be shone on the crazies.

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  19. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Would you like me to cite some of her craziness, so you can explain that it’s just that black people can’t help themselves, and should be given a pass?

    Would you like to cite some examples of where she’s been given a pass for her craziness. For every slightly batty Waters there are ten in the Republican house caucus.

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  20. anjin-san says:

    Jenos Idanian

    I thought this person had been banned.

    Doug:

    Good piece.

    Ditto on that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  21. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    there is a LOT of valid criticism of Obama that gets shoved into the shadows

    Would you like to cite some examples of the LOTS of criticism of Obama that gets shoved into the shadows. Since there’s so much five or six examples shouldn’t be too hard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 6

  22. anjin-san says:

    Would you like to cite some examples of where she’s been given a pass for her craziness.

    Democrats tend to be embarrassed by the crazies in their party. Republicans run them for President.

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  23. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I actually found that article interesting in two respects. I didn’t realize they still were publishing the Washington Post. I also thought E.J. Dionne was let go years ago and was on some satellite TV gig or something.

    As far that article goes it’s quite literally a self-parody of liberal idiocy and cognitive dissociation.

    There’s a reference to Franklin Graham, which is amusing given the context of the article in that Graham neither is a politician, nor someone running for office, nor a business leader, nor in any way a spokesman for the Republican Party nor for any GOP-affiliated organization. Graham is not even what realisically could be considered a religious leader, much less someone who holds sway over any defined or even imaginary voting bloc.

    Apparently Dionne is having the vapors about an unidentified “they,” who hate the president on a personal level. Uh, hello, Earth to Dionne, throughout U.S. political history there have been factions who’ve hated political leaders and who’ve levied accusations and insults with personal venom. It goes with the terrority.

    Lincoln’s professional political opponents called him an “ape” and overtly questioned his intellect. Bush 43 was excoriated to such an extent it boggled and still boggles the mind. Hamilton’s and Burr’s fued grew so personal they settled it by shooting at each other with pistols. Andrew Johnson was so hated by the Congress there were representatives who openly referred to him as the “devil,” and Johnson ultimately was impeached by the House, mostly out of spite.

    Dionne needs to grow up, to up the dosages of his meds and to grow a set of cojones. In November he can take out his frustrations by voting for Obama, like the rest of his media brethren.

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  24. G.A. says:

    But, yes: he is black. Which is what bullshit like yours has always been about.

    Harry, communist is not a race…..

    Which is what bullshit donkeypoop like yours has always been about…

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  25. G.A. says:

    Democrats tend to be embarrassed by the crazies in their party.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA………..

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  26. G.A. says:

    crap….

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  27. mattb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    A minor point, perhaps, but its worth noting that the attacks from the supposed leaders on the right like Rush Limbaugh have been particularly vile and disgusting. […] Third, if you want to play the tit-for-tat game then we’re going to have to talk about the crap that the right was spewing about Bill Clinton from the moment he walked into the Oval Office.

    And the vileness comes from the fact that the majority of that ad hominum criticism is racially based.

    You are right that Clinton was reviled as well. But Limbaugh and others begrudingly agreed that he was smart. “Slick Willy” was based on the idea that he calculated every move and played every angle. They might have called him a criminal, but they never called him a *dumb* criminal.

    With Obama it has always been about race — he’s not America, he doesn’t have an American World View, he’s an affirmative action candidate, he’s got a strange middle name, he didn’t deserve/earn any of his positions, he has never been proud of America, he’s a thug from the south side of Chicago, he can’t speak without a teleprompter, he’s disrepectful/uppity, etc… and all that’s before we get to the explicitly racist stuff.

    Perhaps, if Limbaugh and others had chosen just one of those lines and stuck to it, you could take the PoV that it isn’t racial. But taken as a whole, as a concentrated and continued line of attack, it’s disingenuous to pretend that the attacks on the man (versus his policy) have not been fundamentally race based.

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  28. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    I actually found that article interesting in two respects. I didn’t realize they still were publishing the Washington Post. I also thought E.J. Dionne was let go years ago and was on some satellite TV gig or something.

    No need to feign ignorance and stupidity? We’re in no doubt.

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  29. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: 1) Ms. Waters is currently under ethics investigation for her role in trying to obtain favorable treatment for OneUnited, a bank where her husband and chief of staff/grandson had signficant financial interests.

    2) Ms. Waters is in line to become the Ranking Member of the Banking Committee upon the retirement of Barney Frank.

    3) Ms. Waters referred to the Rodney King riots as a “rebellion.”

    4) Ms. Waters threatened to nationalize the oil companies.

    5) As noted, she called John Boehner and Eric Cantor “demons.”

    6) Maxine Waters, 2005: “The President is a liar. Dick Cheney, the chief architect of the Big Lie, is not only a liar, he is a thief.”

    7) I repeat: next January, Waters will become the Ranking Member on the House Banking Committee — unless the Democrats retake the House, in which case she will Chair it.

    But I guess it’s just racist to actually listen to what she says and take her at her word. Silly me.

    5) In 2004, she fiercely denied that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had any real problems, and praised the leadership of Franklin Raines. Mr. Raines later resigned in disgrace after being caught inflating earnings statements to illegally increase the bonuses paid him and his top people.

    6)

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  30. mattb says:

    As much as I’m loathed to defend Maxine Waters — whom I have very little use for — I think she was entirely right in referring to the Rodney King riots as a moment of rebellion. Like a number of other race riots in our history, there were fundamentally about a disenfranchised and oppressed people “snapping” under the pressure of sustained systemic violence.

    Likewise the Cheney comments tend to be pretty much spot on. By all accounts he was both the architect and lead proponent of regime change in Iraq by any means necessary, and was — along with Rumsfeld — the one who most publicly linked Sadam to the 9/11 attacks (including continuing to cite reports that even Bush had publicly acknowledged were unfounded).

    Personally, if I was making a case against her, I’d definitely stick to the banking stuff.

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  31. slimslowslider says:

    my fave is 6)

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  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But I guess it’s just racist to actually listen to what she says and take her at her word. Silly me.

    Do you have a comprehension problem or something?. I asked you to give me a few examples of the LOTS of criticism of Obama that you claim has been shoved into the shadow. Viz.

    Would you like to cite some examples of the LOTS of criticism of Obama that gets shoved into the shadows. Since there’s so much five or six examples shouldn’t be too hard.

    Instead you produce a non sequitur in the form of a lengthy answer to a question I never asked ……so now about answering my question?

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  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Would you like to cite some examples of the LOTS of criticism of Obama that gets shoved into the shadows. Since there’s so much five or six examples shouldn’t be too hard.

    The problem will be limiting myself to five or six examples.

    1) The “recess appointments” when he unilaterally decided when Congress was or was not in session, and rammed through three appointments he’d submitted less than a week before.

    2) The violation of the War Powers Act in attacking Libya.

    3) His recent declaration that he “and Joe” (Biden, who has no power whatsoever except to break ties in the Senate) will act unilaterally when Congress doesn’t jump at his command quickly enough.

    4) His pledge that unemployment would not go above 8% if his stimulus bill was passed.

    5) Solyndra.

    6) LightSquared.

    7) Fast & Furious

    8) His gross distortion of the Citizens United case when he used the State of the Union to launch a lie-based attack on the Supreme Court right to their faces.

    9) His gross incompetence during the Gulf oil spill, when he chose to focus on finding the right people to blame and threaten instead of focusing first on stopping the leak and mitigating the damage, then worrying about issues like blame.

    10) The poltiicizing of the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department, where 113 of 113 hires all had extensive liberal political activist credentials, and not a single one was in the least conservative or even apolitical.

    11) Having his NLRB extralegally keep Boeing from opening its new plant until it caved to the unions back in Washington, then claiming credit for the new jobs at that South Carolina plant.

    12) Energy prices. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his goal was to see US gas prices hit “European” levels — which are roughly double US prices. Obama said his energy program would make energy prices “necessarily skyrocket.” And now that energy prices are actually doing what he pledged to do, no one seems interested in asking him why it’s a bad thing that what he wants is happening.

    There, an even dozen. Discount half of them, and I still meet your limit.

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  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Sorry, I’m not as fast a typist as I once was. Arthritis is a bitch. The first answer you cited was to the Maxine Waters part; the Obama one took a bit longer.

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  35. Moosebreath says:

    While this was generally a fine piece, I have to remark on this line:

    “By the time it was over the GOP had suffered its biggest loss to a non-incumbent Democrat since 1992”

    Assuming Doug was talking about Presidential elections, Obama’s win was the only win by a non-incumbent Democrat since 1992 (unless you think Gore really won in 2000). So it could have been by 1 vote and still been the biggest.

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  36. Barb Hartwell says:

    All the name calling from the right to the president and they never actually come up with any facts to back them up. Everyone I talked to that hates him cannot ever give me an answer as to why. They hear all the talking points on Fox and never check the facts. I never liked George W Bush, but I did not hate him. I was very pissed that someone threw shoes at him though, I thought that was total disrespect. It`s time for more honesty in politics. It`s hard enough to make decisions on the truth but to have to fact check everything that is said and then make a decision is making things too hard.

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  37. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Barb Hartwell: Scroll up to my 17:08 comment for a dozen reasons to criticize him.

    Or, you know, not. I understand if you want to stay in your little bubble. It’s comfy there, isn’t it?

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  38. Kylopod says:

    Superficially, there’s a lot in common between anti-Clinton and anti-Obama hysteria, and you could say the former provided the blueprint for the latter. Both embodied a deeply personal level of hostility toward the president, both veered into the realm of pure fantasy (the “murder” of Vince Foster, birtherism), and both became alarmingly mainstream, inspiring the Republicans in power to run off the rails.

    But looked at more closely, there are some important differences. Clinton hatred, though brought to absurd extremes, had its roots in real personal weaknesses of his (he was a philanderer, seemed personally sleazy, engaged in lawyerly equivocations). The stuff about Obama runs so contrary to anything that could be remotely applicable to him that it’s totally laughable: how can any sane person think Obama is filled with “anti-colonial rage,” or any sort of rage, for that matter? We’re not just talking conspiracy theories here, but characterizations of his temperament and demeanor that bear no relationship whatsoever to reality.

    The most incredible aspect of the attacks, compared with those lobbed at past presidents, is their total incoherence. Gingrich captured the phenomenon when he warned that the U.S. would become a “secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.” Obama, we are told, is a cruel tyrant and a weak appeaser, corrupt and naive, a Nazi and a Marxist, an empty suit with a radical agenda who attended a Muslim church, who will take away your Medicare and socialize the health care system. Previously, conservatives were able to stitch their talking points into a reliable narrative; now it’s about as orderly as Sarah Palin’s syntax.

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  39. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Kylopod: Interesting. Could you continue the comparison, and include George W. Bush and Sarah Palin as data points?

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  40. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    One small problem (and leaving aside the fact several of these are just assertions and not facts) none of them could remotely have been described as being “pushed into shadows.” Most of them were wall to wall for days and in some cases months.

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  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    10) The poltiicizing of the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department, where 113 of 113 hires all had extensive liberal political activist credentials, and not a single one was in the least conservative or even apolitical.

    I beg your pardon I missed this one from fantasy land. If accurate how come Holder hasn’t been forced from office as was Gonzo for blatant politicizing of the DOJ.

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  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Fortunately, ignorance can be cured.

    On the others: there’s exactly one mainstream reporter actually doing reporting on Fast & Furious CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson. Every Friday, there’s a fresh document dump on Solyndra, which goes largely ignored. LightSquared is “crony capitalism” and political profiteering at its most venal, yet gets almost no coverage.

    I’d go on, but you were rather vague on which were “assertions” and which got “wall to wall coverage” — the gold standard of which is, of course, the Valerie Plame non-scandal.

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  43. Septimius says:

    “The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America, and who likes to ride a horse. He’s cold. He’s mean. He’s got ice water for blood.”

    -House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, D-Mass
    Speaking at the Democratic National Convention
    July 17, 1984

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  44. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    4) His pledge that unemployment would not go above 8% if his stimulus bill was passed.

    I thought about posting replies to most of your “list”, but this continues to be one of the dumbest criticism I’ve ever heard. This is just a way of announcing “please don’t take me seriously, because I certainly don’t care one whit about the truth.” We get it, you don’t like Obama but if you include absolute nonsense in your list of criticisms, why shouldn’t we just point and laugh while you voluntarily join the “loons” instead of the “sane majority”?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9

  45. Mikey says:

    Meh. This has been going on since Jefferson called Adams a hermaphrodite and Adams responded by saying Jefferson’s election would lead to children being impaled and writhing on pikes.

    Politics ain’t beanbag, you know.

    “They did it to Bush too” isn’t a defense of the over-the-line rhetoric employed by the right today, but I do think it’s a bit precious to hear Obama’s supporters grousing about it when they did nothing but snicker and nod their heads when someone called W. a chimp or said he derived pleasure from sending soldiers off to die.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

  46. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Fast & Furious CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson. Every Friday, there’s a fresh document dump on Solyndra, which goes largely ignored. LightSquared is “crony capitalism” and political profiteering at its most venal, yet gets almost no coverage.

    The reason these are getting no media coverage is because outside the fever swamps which you clearly inhabit they are faux issues. Call me when somone is indicted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    @David M: I see I’m gonna have to spell it out. When shilling for his “stimulus” bill (which he’s already admitted was based on fraud — note his laughing dismissal of the concept of “shovel-ready”), he presented two lines on a chart. One showed unemployment if the stimulus bill was passed, another (higher) if it wasn’t.

    The bill passed, and unemployment promptly shot right past both lines.

    I’m not ascribing malice here. I’m willing to accept “incompetence” as an explanation. Or “standard political BS” to disguise a plan to funnel money into pet causes and supporters’ pockets. But please, go ahead and defend the infamous projected unemployment chart Obama used to sell the stimulus. I should find it most entertaining.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 16

  48. WR says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “I didn’t realize they still were publishing the Washington Post.”

    Is there anything you ARE aware of?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3

  49. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Septimius:

    “The evil is in the White House at the present time. And that evil is a man who has no care and no concern for the working class of America and the future generations of America, and who likes to ride a horse. He’s cold. He’s mean. He’s got ice water for blood.”

    -House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, D-Mass
    Speaking at the Democratic National Convention
    July 17, 1984

    This the best you can come up with from over 25 years ago? This is boilerplate as far as I can see Tip wasn’t accusing Ron of being a member of the kkk or the nazi party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  50. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m not ascribing malice here. I’m willing to accept “incompetence” as an explanation. Or “standard political BS” to disguise a plan to funnel money into pet causes and supporters’ pockets. But please, go ahead and defend the infamous projected unemployment chart Obama used to sell the stimulus. I should find it most entertaining.

    Hey bozo four out of five economist agree the stimulus created jobs

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/four-out-of-five-economists-agree-the-stimulus-created-jobs/2011/08/25/gIQAb1CbPR_blog.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  51. WR says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “10) The poltiicizing of the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department, where 113 of 113 hires all had extensive liberal political activist credentials, and not a single one was in the least conservative or even apolitical.”

    Yes, unlike Bush, Obama appointed people to the Civil Rights division who actually believed in civil rights. Astonishing how he’s not being criticized for that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4

  52. John D'Geek says:

    While I generally agree with the article, there is one thing I have a problem with.

    By the time of President Obama’s Inauguration, though, it seemed like the demonization meme had won out,

    The “demonization meme” has been alive and well for, well, pretty much my entire life. Remember a certain liberal kook film-maker? Talk about Nixon or Reagan and what do you hear from the Liberal front? Just try to get a liberal politician to admit even one good thing Reagan did. Good luck with that one.

    For better or worse, the Nixon administration was the end of the “Respect the President” meme in this country. Dehumanization is now so commonplace in American politics that it’s hardly ever recognized as such. It is so commonplace that I was pleasantly shocked to be treated like a human being in another thread on this board.

    What you’re seeing is called “escalation”. I guarantee that, short of a national awakening, the next Republican president will hear the same, and probably slightly greater, level of insanity directed toward him or her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  53. Doubter4444 says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    One small problem (and leaving aside the fact several of these are just assertions and not facts) none of them could remotely have been described as being “pushed into shadows.” Most of them were wall to wall for days and in some cases months.

    I was just going to point that out.

    Apparently “pushed into the shadows” now means not reported on enough for some random persons satisfaction.

    There are good reasons to look at several of those charges, and they are being looked at, just not fast enough, or deep enough, or, or ,or whatever… and there are enough blogs and right leaning media outlets (Hello Fox!) that would love to get the scoop on an issue, but the thing is, the right just can’t grab hold of a scandal on Obama. (cue the “Not yet” chorus)
    Instead of thinking, “Hey, the guy’s not terribly corrupt”, they double down on the stupid it while whining MSM bias and media cover ups.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  54. Septimius says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Yep, just boilerplate. It’s not like Tip O’Neill was a prominent Democrat or a leader of his party. Certainly, not anything like Franklin Graham is to the Republican Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  55. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Sorry you had to resort to name-calling. But let me repeat myself: I never said the stimulus didn’t create jobs; I said that Obama vastly overpromised what it would achieve, and has admitted that all of his talk about “shovel-ready jobs” was complete and utter BS. So your point — accurate or not — is irrelevant.

    And no, I’m not going to join you in descending to childish insults. I have done so in the past, was called on it, and regretted it. I won’t do that again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  56. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doubter4444:

    There has not been a single major scandal in the Obama admin whereas in the Bush admin there were dozens.According to Jenos media bias, in reality ….reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  57. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I never said the stimulus didn’t create jobs; I said that Obama vastly overpromised what it would achieve, and has admitted that all of his talk about “shovel-ready jobs” was complete and utter BS. So your point — accurate or not — is irrelevant.

    So you admit the stimulus worked….where could I have got the idea you said it didn’t….maybe here?

    4) His pledge that unemployment would not go above 8% if his stimulus bill was passed.

    Would you like to provide one link to where Obama promised that unemployment would never exceed 8%

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  58. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Gosh, and I just hallucinated all those examples I cited upstream? Someone, adjust my meds, quick!

    Let’s just take one: Fast and Furious. So far, it’s killed several hundred people. I don’t recall Watergate having a body count…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  59. Hey Norm says:

    @ Jenos…
    Obama didn’t over-promise the stimulus. First…the predictions were accompanied with very forceful caveats. Second…the stimulus was designed for estimates of the contraction that were wildly off target. No one at the time understood how bad it was. Many thought the stimus should be bigger…and based on what we now knowit should have been…but politically it was a non-starter.
    Everytime I hear shovel-ready I laugh. But I build stuff. Politicians don’t. For you to call that naïveté fraud only proves Doug’s point.
    Hate. Fear of the other. Emotion.
    Nothing more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  60. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Let’s just take one: Fast and Furious. So far, it’s killed several hundred people. I don’t recall Watergate having a body count…

    We don’t know how many people it’s killed. This was a screw up by some outpost of ATF doing something with the best of intentions that they’ve been doing for years because we have such ludicrously lax gun laws that 70% of the guns in Mexico that have killed tens of thousands in their drug wars come from here. Despite the best efforts of former car thief Darrel Issa no one is paying much attention because it has little or nothing to do with the current administration. When someone in the DOJ is indicted call me. In the meantime do you want to do something real about tightening up our gun laws or would you rather continue blathering about another faux issue?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  61. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Console yourself with the thought he’s probably going to be re-elected. Have a nice evening.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  62. Hey Norm says:

    How is Fast and Furious a scandal? It was a tragic blunder. It was a f’up…the same f’up happened under Bush. It was corrected. The guy in charge lost his job.
    Iraq was a tragic blunder. It wasn’t a scandal.
    Hate. Fear of the other. Emotion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

  63. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Oddly enough, I recall a lot of people — not exactly “nobody” — said that the stimulus plan was vastly overpromised, that the number of jobs it created would be far lower than promised (and consequently far more expensive on a per-job basis than just directly hiring the people), and that the advocates had no clue what they were talking about.

    Which seems to be fairly accurate, in retrospect.

    And the “we just didn’t spend enough” argument is very, very, very tired. Sometimes, there is no such thing as “enough.”

    Let’s put some percentages in there: ARRA cost $787 billion. That represents about 22% of the entire federal budget for that year. Now the argument is “we should have doubled that?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  64. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: No, Fast and Furious wasn’t a “tragic blunder.” And it wasn’t “just like” what happened under Bush.

    Under Bush, the guns were tracked at every step of the process. And when they started getting out of our control, the plug was pulled on the operation.

    Under Obama, there was no plan to track the guns once they crossed the border. There was no plan to “blunder.” The guns were deliberately given to the cartel’s minions, deliberately smuggled across the border, and then deliberately let go.

    And so far, the only Justice Department official to be disciplined for the whole mess is the whistle-blower.

    You can’t call a plan “blundered” when it went off exactly as planned. There was not one thing that happened in contradiction to the plan; there simply was no plan beyond “get the guns to the cartels and into Mexico.”

    No wonder Mexico’s so irritated with us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

  65. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Brummagem Joe: First up, we agree — “we don’t know how many people it’s killed.” That’s why I used the non-specific term “body count.” So far, we can link the killings of one US Border Patrol officer and about 200 Mexicans — including the brother of a very influential prosecutor — have been tied to Fast and Furious guns.

    As far as as your dismissal… I just debunked that whole “oops, our bad” theory. And saying mean things about Darrel Issa… I just checked on that “car thief” thing. Three incidents, all charges dropped all three times, all about 40 years old. You’d be more accurate to refer to “President Pothead,” because that was more recent and Obama admitted to it.

    Finally, in a case where the federal government deliberately bypassed or actually broke existing gun laws (as well as plenty of other laws) and directly gave guns to criminals free and clear, you honestly think that the solution is “we need to give the government even more power over guns?” Here’s my suggestion — if the government wants to cut down on gun crime, perhaps they shouldn’t give known criminals guns by the thousands.

    Radical, I’ll admit, but it could work…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  66. Jenos Idanian says:

    I’m sensing a theme here.

    “The stimulus bill only created a few jobs, at huge expense! We need to spend more money!”

    “The government gave a couple thousand guns to Mexican criminals, who used them to kill several hundred innocent people! We need to give the government more power over guns!”

    What’s that old saying about doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  67. Drew says:

    Banal, vapid, or self flagellation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  68. An Interested Party says:

    Leave it to a post like this to drag Jenos Idanian and G.A. Phillips out from whatever stagnant cesspools they had been hiding in recently…

    I didn’t realize they still were publishing the Washington Post.

    It’ll be nice when we all can realize that you aren’t still using this same stale ass line…I mean, seriously, you’re worse than superdestroyer when it comes to that kind of thing…

    Or, you know, not. I understand if you want to stay in your little bubble. It’s comfy there, isn’t it?

    If that line is coming from Jay Tea, it’s awfully rich, considering he is Sarah Palin’s biggest fanboy…

    Politics ain’t beanbag, you know.

    Indeed, but the racism gives it an interesting twist…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  69. Bleev K says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Ah! The sane majority at work!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  70. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Indeed, but the racism gives it an interesting twist…

    No kidding. The racism on the left — the refusal to hold Obama to the same standard as any white president — is truly appalling.

    And so completely unexpected…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 17

  71. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos….
    Isn’t it difficult to raise all that hatred, based on lies and un-truths? I mean…it really has to take a lot of work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  72. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: “Lie” is a pretty strong word, Norm. It means that I not only said things that were false, but knew them to be false.

    I think I’ll call your bluff on this one, and ask you to cite specific things I said that I knew were false. In other words, “put up or shut up.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  73. An Interested Party says:

    No kidding. The racism on the left — the refusal to hold Obama to the same standard as any white president — is truly appalling.

    Here’s a little hint, sweetie…”I know you are but what am I?” doesn’t really qualify as a legitimate argument…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  74. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Actually, I would say that the “left” hold Obama to exactly the same standard that they held Clinton to and the “right” held GWB and previous Republican presidents to. Which is to say that the except in there guy things that are unacceptable on the other side.

    Considering that many on the right are still quick to defend the Iraq war, Bush’s handling of Katrina, and a number of other issues that those on the left would consider a debacle.

    So your appeal to the racist left here is entirely BS (especially as it also ignore the amount of criticism that Obama has received from members of minority communities). And it becomes an convenient slight of hand to ignore the thinly vielled racism of the ad hominum attacks on Obama the man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  75. anjin-san says:

    Interesting that on the very day Steven gave us the brilliant “stupid per second” metric, the rate shot through the roof on this thread…

    We can only speculate, but it seems likely that after a long drought, Jay got his hands on some crank.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  76. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Actually, I’ll take the poker metaphor a step farther: I’ll raise you.

    How is Fast and Furious a scandal? It was a tragic blunder. It was a f’up…the same f’up happened under Bush. It was corrected. The guy in charge lost his job.

    1) “Blunder: a gross error or mistake resulting usually from stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness”

    There was no mistake in the operation. It was carried out as planned. Please cite what part of the plan was “blundered.”

    2) “it was a f’up… the same f’up happened under Bush.”

    No, the far lesser program under Bush never let a single gun get across the border into Mexico. Under Fast and Furious, over 2,000 guns were deliberately delivered into Mexico. Further, under Bush, the Mexican government was involved. Under Obama, they were not.

    3) “It was corrected. The guy in charge lost his job.”

    The “guy” who lost his job — Vince Cefalu — wasn’t “the guy in charge.” He was the whistle-blower. (He’s hardly the first whistle-blower to be fired by the Obama administration.) He’s the ONLY one so far to be fired. All the rest were transferred laterally, reassigned laterally, promoted, or some combination thereof.

    So, if I understand your standards, that’s three “lies.” Or am I misunderstanding your standards?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  77. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Thanks, darling. I knew it was a bit of a stretch, but sometimes you gotta swing for the outside pitches.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

  78. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Interesting that on the very day Steven gave us the brilliant “stupid per second” metric, the rate shot through the roof on this thread…

    I see one side citing actual facts and incidents, and one side (hint: yours) going for snide insults, name-calling, generic dismissiveness, and in general an absolute, resolute resistance to actual discussion.

    So your remark strikes me as not so much accusatory, but confessional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  79. anjin-san says:

    And the hits just keep on coming :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  80. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Kylopod:

    This a rather astute observation Kylopod. In the past, I have somewhat dismissed the Republican insane Obama comments precisely on those terms–they said a lot of crazy things about Clinton too–but, lately, it’s getting to the point where one wonders if they’re stuck in an alternative dimension. The most amazing thing is that they absolutely believe it. When I have pointed out that it’s illogical that Obama is simultaneously an empty suit and a conniving Marxist jedi manipulator or a tyrant domestically that is too afraid of dictators abroad, they just tell me that I am a kool-aid drinker.

    What else is there to say?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  81. anjin-san says:

    I am going to waive the “life is too short to waste it on the blindingly stupid” rule for a moment.

    @ Jenos Idanian

    I see one side citing actual facts

    @Brummagem Joe: Would you like to cite some examples of the LOTS of criticism of Obama that gets shoved into the shadows. Since there’s so much five or six examples shouldn’t be too hard.

    The problem will be limiting myself to five or six examples.

    1) The “recess appointments” when he unilaterally decided when Congress was or was not in session, and rammed through three appointments he’d submitted less than a week before….

    and so on, and so on…

    You do realize that simply creating a turgid list of your personal grievances with Obama in no way proves that anything has been “shoved into the shadows”?

    Don’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  82. Jenos Idanian says:

    I got a couple of cold ones crying out for my attention, and as far as I can tell the Usual Suspects (thank you, Louis!) are far more involved in reinforcing their own self-styled moral and intellectual superiority than actually discussing matters — I’ve lost count of how many “I’ve tried so hard to reason with the poopyheads, but they’re just such poopyheads” I’ve read. It’s especially entertaining when, as above, it’s interspersed with actual attempts to discuss specifics.

    G’Night, folks. It’s been… well, unsurprising.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  83. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: “Personal grievances?” President Obama has declared that he has the unilateral power to declare when Congress is in or out of session, regardless of what they say, and I should say “yup, fine?” And he can choose to invoke the recess appointment power over “Congressional intransigence” only days after sending in the nomination, and before he submits all the required paperwork (background check, disclosures, etc. etc.?)

    That’s about as impersonal as it gets. It’s entirely about principle. Hell, the “personal” element is entirely on your side — you’d be screaming impeachment if Bush had done this. Instead, you think it’s just fine and dandy.

    Just keep that in mind when the next Republican president takes office, and has all these wonderful precedents he (or she) can use. For example, President Palin recess-appointing John Bolton as Secretary of State. Or President Santorum recess-appointing a staunch pro-lifer as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Or President Gingrich recess-appointing one of the Koch Brothers as Secretary of the Treasury.

    Man, I don’t even NEED that beer now. Just these thoughts are giving me a serious buzz…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  84. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’ve lost count of how many “I’ve tried so hard to reason with the poopyheads, but they’re just such poopyheads” I’ve read.

    That might be because you seem to have a habit of making arguments from ignorance rather than actual facts. For example:

    President Obama has declared that he has the unilateral power to declare when Congress is in or out of session, […]

    This is a egregious misrepresentation of the issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5

  85. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    the left said Bush was a war criminal and should be tried at the ICC. there was also the people who claimed that Bush was the cause of 9/11 and that is was an inside job.

    And before you claim that those were just a few left wing extremist said that, then you need to say how many people count before it is more a few extremist.

    One of the differences between the left and right is that the media treats each left wing wacko and an individual but tries to make each right wing wacko a spokesman for the right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  86. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Ezra Klein, leader of the Juicebox Mafia and creator of the JournoList conspiracy? Interesting authority to cite.

    Let’s look at the NLRB examples. Obama submitted their names to the Senate on December 15. On December 16, the Senate adjourned for the year — but very carefully did NOT recess, following the Harry Reid precedent. And before they returned to DC, Obama appointed his nominees on January 4.

    The history of the filibuster is irrelevant here, as the Senate literally didn’t have time to filibuster, or even threaten to.

    “Checks and balances?” “Balance of power?” How tedious.

    Damn, beer’s gotten warm before I got to open it. Time to swap it with a cold one…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  87. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    There are around 40 members of the of the Congressional Black Caucus and everyone of them believes that the government should be able to disriminate on the basis of race and that blacks should get special benefits because they are black.

    In addition, the CBC believes that the government does not have to follow the equal protection clause if the discrimination benefits blacks.

    But of course, those 40 congressional members are never linked to any other Democrats and their positions are never questioned in the media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  88. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’ve lost count of how many “I’ve tried so hard to reason with the poopyheads, but they’re just such poopyheads” I’ve read.

    Ezra Klein, leader of the Juicebox Mafia and creator of the JournoList conspiracy? Interesting authority to cite.

    I rest my case.

    At any rate, the second link is David Lightman. I’m happy to see your citations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  89. Neil Hudelson says:

    The President of the United States?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  90. george says:

    Sadly, this sort of thing has been going on for over a century in American politics, and by all sides. The details change, but demonizing the opposition is pretty much standard. Of the presidents that have been around since I was old enough to vote, four of them have been demonized by the opposition – Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr, and Obama. The more things change …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  91. An Interested Party says:

    “Checks and balances?” “Balance of power?” How tedious.

    If such is really the case, the Republicans in the House of Representatives are certainly free to bring forth articles of impeachment…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  92. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: If such is really the case, the Republicans in the House of Representatives are certainly free to bring forth articles of impeachment…

    The grounds are certainly there, but the politics make it impossible.

    But then again, Obama’s setting several precedents that when things are politically awkward, just go ahead and do it anyway, the rules be damned. Maybe the House can proclaim that their impeachment also includes a conviction, and remove him from office…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  93. Hoyticus says:

    @Jenos Idanian: So if Obama regularly flouts the Constitution what would you like to do about it? Also, just curious do you interpret the Constitution in a literal sense or pragmatic, living etc?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  94. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But then again, Obama’s setting several precedents […]

    And this isn’t a precedent?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  95. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Let me rephrase that. I think I can capture the appropriate sneering tones and appropriate invective…

    Ezra Klein? The founder of JournoList, where liberal media, academic, and government self-styled elites conspired to present a united spin should simply be presumed to be lying about anything political until proven otherwise.

    As far as sources cited… contemporary news accounts suffice as to the date of Obama submitting his NLRB nominees (December 15), the Senate’s adjournment for the end of the calendar year (December 16), Obama’s recess appointments (January 4), and the Senate’s reconvening (January 23).

    In brief, there wasn’t any time for the Senate Republicans to filibuster the nominees. Obama’s action wasn’t a response, it was a pre-emptive strike. Hell, possibly even a preventive strike.

    So the citations about filibustering and cloture aren’t relevant, as those nominees were barely into the confirmation process, and the Senate hadn’t had time to even ask for the customary paperwork on them.

    I should probably stop. After the second beer, Obama’s rationalizing is almost making a bit of sense…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  96. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Not in the NLRB case. Unless you want to argue that Obama can act based on what he thinks Congress will do, not on what they actually do….

    Note that I’m not bringing up the Cordray appointment. That one is shaky. But the NLRB ones are completely different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  97. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    presumed to be lying about anything political until proven otherwise.

    Because you dispute the claims of the sources? Or you’d just rather impugn all of Klein’s work out of hand because you disagree with him ideologically?

    The NLRB appointments are directly related to Cordray’s. Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Griffin we never going to get a vote on their nomination. The Senate Republican’s have been unequivocal in their insistence in playing constitutional hardball.

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  98. matt says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Most of that 70% are weapons WE GAVE TO THE MEXICAN MILITARY. The military and government is so corrupt down there that they are straight up selling weapons given to them by the USA to the drug lords. There were also some publicized raids by the local drug gangs on military armories resulting in m16s grenades and even missile systems being stolen. When was the last time you were in Mexico? I was there just months ago since I live near the border..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  99. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: If you’re still enjoying that beer, here’s some more reading on the contitutional hardball of the 111th GOP:

    Republican threats to block nominees to the consumer board are of a piece with their opposition to Don Berwick, Obama’s first choice to run the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; to Peter Diamond, whom Obama tapped to sit on the Federal Reserve Board; and most recently to John Bryson, Obama’s nominee to take over the Commerce Department. It’s nothing short of a power grab by the Republican Party – an effort to achieve, through the confirmation process, what they could not achieve through legislation.

    Give me some citations that the NLRB case is exceptional, and we’ll talk.

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  100. An Interested Party says:

    The grounds are certainly there, but the politics make it impossible.

    Ohhhhh…so Republicans are more worried about politics than they are about carrying out their constitutional duties…

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  101. anjin-san says:

    carrying out their constitutional duties

    Don’t think constitutional duties are part of the program. They do not appear to be interested in anything beyond damaging Obama by any means possible and worshipping the E Plebnista.

    Well, war with Iran, maybe…

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  102. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    In brief, there wasn’t any time for the Senate Republicans to filibuster the nominees.

    This has nothing to do with the NLRB appointment issue. Senate Republicans are angry because they argue they were in pro forma session. They say there was no recess for Obama to make a recess appointment:

    But never before has a president purported to make a “recess” appointment when the Senate is demonstrably not in recess. (emphasis mine)

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  103. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos, a simple question. Are you going to admit that you’re Jay Tea, or are you going to deny it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  104. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I think I’ll call your bluff on this one, and ask you to cite specific things I said that I knew were false. In other words, “put up or shut up.”

    This still qualifies: “His pledge that unemployment would not go above 8% if his stimulus bill was passed.”, as you have not provided a link to back it up.

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  105. jukeboxgrad says:

    His pledge that unemployment would not go above 8%

    This is a popular right-wing lie, repeated by Boehner and many others. It was rated by politifact as “Mostly False.”

    Jay Tea, you have a long track record here of posting baloney and then refusing to take responsibility for it, when challenged. One of many, many examples is here.

    New name, same crap.

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  106. G.A. says:

    MSOTB lol…..

    dang, you just have to love when evolutionist calls a creationist a racist…

    Like I said communist is not a race!

    plus if you was not and indoctrinated racist yourself or selves you could realize the simple fact that there is only one human race and all of your religious dogma is crap made up my evolutionist progressives to promote the murder of the unborn of different pigments and other vile things throughout history.

    Why I hardly come to this site anymore you ask? Because that it’s commenter sect makes it hardly worth pooping on…

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  107. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hoyticus: So if Obama regularly flouts the Constitution what would you like to do about it? Also, just curious do you interpret the Constitution in a literal sense or pragmatic, living etc?

    No, I don’t believe in the “living,” “evolving” Constitution. I think it’s capable of evolving, but not on its own; it must be changed by an external force. It’s called “the amendment process.”

    Those who argue that the Constitution is “living” and can “evolve” and “change” on its own are either too lazy or dishonest to go through that process, and simply want to declare their way by fiat.

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  108. Jenos Idanian says:

    @David M: Split hairs all you want, but the Obama administration sold the stimulus package on a simple premise: without the stimulus, unemployment would be around 8%. With it, they’d keep it under 7. It passed, then unemployment shot up to between 9 and 10. See here.

    Again, not saying malice. Just greed and incompetence.

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  109. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Not seeing how we’re even on the same page. Obama nominated the NLRB candidates one day before the Senate adjourned, then recess-appointed them before they reconvened.

    When Reid pulled the exact same stunt (pro forma sessions to avoid recessing), Bush respected it and Obama supported it. It was somewhat underhanded, but legit.

    Now that the roles are reversed, the Democrats’ old arguments — which both sides accepted at the time — no longer apply because now it benefits the Democrats. Funny how that works out.

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  110. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: This might be a bit complex for you to grasp, but just because there are grounds to impeach does not mean that there is a chance to convict. Impeaching when there is virtually zero chance to convict would be so stupid, it beggars belief.

    So, how did those impeachments of Bush and Cheney go?

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  111. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jenos/Jay Tea:

    Split hairs all you want

    It’s not splitting hairs to point out that ‘projection’ and “pledge” are not synonyms. What Obama did was the former. What you said he did was the latter. That’s why your claim is “Mostly False” according to politifact.

    But of course you’re not going to address this, because your record demonstrates that you routinely make false claims and routinely ignore all inconvenient facts.

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  112. An Interested Party says:

    Impeaching when there is virtually zero chance to convict would be so stupid, it beggars belief.

    And yet Republicans did impeach Bill Clinton…let’s face facts, not only is this President not going to be impeached for any of the alleged “crimes” you have described, but he is probably going to win a second term…but hey, at least you’ll have something to bitch about for four more years…

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  113. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I can only infer from your list of Obama’s treacheries , and the glaring lack of congressional action in impeaching him for any number of those treacheries, that his demonic mojo has frightened the congressional GOP (I was about to write ‘witless’, but the redundancy..) into the craven posture most comfortable to that species of doofus. (Unless, of course, it’s a matter of attacking the reproductive rights of women, then those guys are tigers.)

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  114. Hey Norm says:

    I must have missed something after I stopped paying attention to this nonsense…Did we decide Jenos is JTea?
    It makes sense to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  115. Brummagem Joe says:

    Oh boy I see the sane majority is still at work. These folks are only worth the expenditure of so much effort and by second or third posting it becomes apparent one is dealing with people who are a few sandwiches short of a picnic. The temptation (which I’ve succumbed to occasionally) is to continue in an attempt to win the argument. The problem is it’s impossible to win an argument against a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of slanted facts, outright lies, unreality, goalpost moving and gobbledegook. And of course you’re never going to convince them because they have zero respect for facts or context. Trying to use sensible rather wonkish arguments (which are the essence of detail) is like attempting to drain a lake with a spoon. Not a particularly useful occupation.

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  116. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sorry I missed the fracas. Good post Doug. As I said the other day, you don’t hate Obama, just damn near everything he does. The difference between you and so many others on the right is blazingly obvious.

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  117. jukeboxgrad says:

    Norm:

    Did we decide Jenos is JTea?

    In my opinion, the resemblance is unmistakable and far too close to be a coincidence. As Joe described it so well: “a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of slanted facts, outright lies, unreality, goalpost moving and gobbledegook.” And of course lots of people on the internet are like that, but everyone has their own rhetorical style, and in this case it’s a perfect match.

    Also, he is dodging the question, which is what he did weeks ago when the resemblance was mentioned (more than once, by more than one person other than me). I see no reason to have any doubt about it, at this point.

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  118. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Obama nominated the NLRB candidates one day before the Senate adjourned, then recess-appointed them before they reconvened.

    I repeat. This has absolutely nothing to do with the NLRB issue. With three vacant seats, the NLRB can not function:

    The board shrank to two members when the term of a previous Democratic recess appointee expired on Tuesday, and under a Supreme Court ruling, it is not allowed to make decisions with fewer than three members.

    And that was a feature, not a bug, of the GOP’s congressional strategy:

    Republicans had attempted to block the president from installing nominees they opposed over the long break by holding “pro forma” sessions over the holidays, in which members of both chambers — usually those who live in states close to the Capitol — gavel in for minutes or even seconds before gaveling out to try to meet the definition of holding a Congressional meeting.

    The administration is arguing that the pro forma session is not an actual session:

    But following an internal review, the administration legal team decided that Congress was effectively in recess even though it was holding the pro forma sessions at which no business was conducted.

    Lastly,

    Now that the roles are reversed, the Democrats’ old arguments — which both sides accepted at the time — no longer apply because now it benefits the Democrats.

    Well, the cloture motions under Bush were 71, 71, 62 and 68. Under Obama it has been 139, 137, and 53 (still in session.) The GOP is playing constitutional hardball.

    I repeat, give me some sources that the NLRB case is exceptional and we’ll talk.

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  119. Rob in CT says:

    Both sides do it to an extent. Maxine Waters just *literally* demonized her opponents.

    That said, Obama is not Waters. If Obama, Clinton, Reid, or even Pelosi were spouting invective the way the GOP candidates are (routinely), I’d be even more concerned that I already am.

    Both sides do it, but there is currently a difference of degree.

    I didn’t spend much time on blogs back in the Bush years, so I can’t speak to everything lefties said on, say, Daily Kos. I did talk about politics online, and I was pretty vehement. But my attacks on Bush were of the “this is terrible policy” variety, largely putting it down to him being dumb/incurious. The man had a very simplistic worldview, and that caused us some big problems. I don’t recall outright demonization coming from leading Dems, but I wasn’t often listening to the Dems so it’s entirely possible I missed it.

    As for Obama’s record:

    Fast & Furious: sounds like a stupid ATF program that went bad.

    The recess appointments: an attempt to circumvent massive obstruction of nominees by the GOP minority in the Senate. My reaction is mixed. On the one hand, I don’t like the obstruction (and I’m aware that Reid apparently “pioneered” it). On the other, I don’t much like Obama’s method.

    Stimulus: it was oversold, due to underestimating the extent of the contraction and political calculus I find unimpressive (the “we couldn’t have asked for more!” claim). Correct policy, but too small, and the WH refused to explain clearly to the public that the early projections turned out to be wrong and, therefore, the Stimulus was overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster (not to mention the “50 Hoovers” phenomenon).

    Wall St. Reform: meh. I think Wall St. got off light. I am a reluctant TARP supporter – it had to be done, but I wanted some serious strings attached. Talk about moral hazard.

    Auto bailout: I was against it originally. Upon review, I’ve changed my mind. Given the economic situation (near free-fall), only the government was going to prevent liquidation. If I thought that an orderly, normal Chapter 11 bankruptcy was possible at the time, then I would still be anti.

    National Security: yay, bagged Bin Laden. Iraq is winding down. I think the Afghanistan surge was a mistake (throwing good after bad), though I understand why it was made. Still, mistake. We need to leave. I opposed Libya, especially given the refusal to get Congressional approval (not that they would have refused). I’m generally pleased with policy regarding Iran & Israel. The new START treaty makes perfect sense. Assassination of US citizens as part of the WoT is something I’ve very uncomfortable with. Failure to close Gitmo was frustrating, but I lay most of the blame on Congress for that. I also find the scope of the drone strikes worrisome. I think we may be creating more terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere than we’re killing. Aside from the assassingation thing, all of this is basically tinkering with pre-existing policies. It’s clear to me that Obama is a tinkerer, not a radical reformer. I see the record as a mixed bag, but negative overall for failure to really change course on national security state overreach (and expansion of said overreach in some areas).

    War on Drugs: basically no change, which is disappointing.

    Immigration: no real change. Meh.

    Tax policy: the ’08 crash and subsequent events make me understanding of the tax cut deals that have been struck. I’m in favor of letting the Bush/Obama cuts expire on schedule. I find the corporate tax reform proposal to be lackluster, but perhaps a small step in the right direction. Tinkering again.

    Long-term fiscal situation: I’m in for a “Grand Bargain” that ends up being vaguely like the Simpson-Bowles chairmen’s proposal. Given the GOP position (the Ryan Plan), this means Obama & the Dems need to start out well Left of S-B and meet in the middle. My main criticism of Obama’s negotation on such issues so far is that I think he keeps trying to cut to the chase – offering what he sees as the right endgame compromise right off the bat. This won’t work, because the GOP needs to be able to show their base that they fought and won concessions. They can’t just take what Obama offers, even if it”s a good deal. Plus, they have a strong maximalist wing right now.

    The ACA: generally in favor, though I think the more rational reform is a “single-payer” system. No way we were going to get that, but I am disappointed by the early sacrifice of the “public option.” It’s an incremental reform, and we’re going to need to do better in the future.

    Environment: No huge gamechangers, but some steps have been made in the right direction. The coal plant emissions regs are such a step. Keystone is a political football and I’m unimpressed with the situation. I think the pipeline is fine so long as reasonable precautions have been taken to protect the groundwater. I understand skepticism on that score, but a lot of the opposition has been of the “stop global warming” variety, which is just stupid. The Albertan oil sands are going to be developed either way.

    Supreme Court appointments: ok, not great. I admit I don’t follow every case, but from what limited results we have so far, it looks to me like he appointed one liberal and one centrist.

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  120. Hey Norm says:

    @ Rob…
    Excellent run-down.
    We could quibble on minor points…and flesh out some others…but I’m in general agrement.
    Hardly the record of a Kenyan Manchurian Secularist Islamic Socialist bent on destroying the US from within.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  121. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    and one centrist.

    All the four liberal leaning Justices are centrists it’s the conservatives who veer from slightly right of center (Kennedy) to crazyland (Thomas). And Kagan (I assume this is your centrist) is probably the only one of the liberals qualified to be Chief Justice and she maybe one day.

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  122. anjin-san says:

    Are you guys still doing Tedious Idanian chat? There must be a better way to pass the time…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  123. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian: You are right, this is one iron clad guarantee of a pledge:

    It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error. There is the obvious uncertainty that comes from modeling a hypothetical package rather than the final legislation passed by the Congress. But, there is the more fundamental uncertainty that comes with any estimate of the effects of a program. Our estimates of economic relationships and rules of thumb are derived from historical experience and so will not apply exactly in any given episode. Furthermore, the uncertainty is surely higher than normal now because the current recession is unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity.

    That’s from your link, although that has nothing to do with why this is the kind of thing that is only convincing to morons. Unemployment was above 8% before the stimulus happened, so it means is the recession was worse than they expected. I don’t see any reason this doesn’t fall into the lie category.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  124. mantis says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Did we decide Jenos is JTea?

    In my opinion, the resemblance is unmistakable and far too close to be a coincidence.

    No, Jenos is not Jay Tea. I used to be a regular at Wizbang and have read and argued with Jay Tea for many years. I can recognize his style, and Jenos is different.

    Plus, Jay stopped blogging back in December (Wizbang’s proprietor, Kevin Aylward posted something about his absence in January). He very likely would not switch names and keep writing (his name is already a pseudonym). Plus, the name Jenos Idanian is a Star Wars reference, which I doubt Jay would choose (he’s much more into Heinlein and other more-libertarian themed sci-fi). However, Jenos is a Han Solo identity, so maybe…

    I know he has health issues of some kind, so I hope his absence from blogging and irritating us here at OTB is not due to any medical issue. Better it be some opportunity that leaves him with no spare time for the interwebs.

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  125. Rob in CT says:

    By the way, I should add to my critique of Obama’s 1st term this: on nearly (possibly every) issue on which I’ve been upset with Obama, I struggle to imagine the GOP doing better. In most cases, they swear up and down they’d be worse (from my PoV, obviously).

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  126. jukeboxgrad says:

    No, Jenos is not Jay Tea.

    OK, fair enough. But something I don’t understand is that he has ducked the issue several times when this has been mentioned.

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  127. mattb says:

    @mantis:

    He very likely would not switch names and keep writing (his name is already a pseudonym).

    Agreed. Unless the name Jay Tea got banned here (I seem to remember him coming close), switching names just ain’t his style.

    Plus, the name Jenos Idanian is a Star Wars reference, which I doubt Jay would choose (he’s much more into Heinlein and other more-libertarian themed sci-fi).

    Good point, he totally would have gone with something from Firefly.

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  128. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: The GOP is playing constitutional hardball.

    So, the answer to Constitutional hardball is to… ignore the Constitution?

    I can think of quite a few alternatives I’d find less offensive than that.

    Also, I would point out that the Republicans took back the House and a hefty hunk of the Senate in 2010, and “elections have consequences.”If the Democrats had done a better job of selling their accomplishments and agenda, then perhaps they wouldn’t have these problems now.

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  129. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Took you awhile to come up with that one didn’t you?

    So, the answer to Constitutional hardball is to… ignore the Constitution?

    This is a tautology. You assert that Obama is violating the Constitution because you’ve asserted that Obama is violating the Constitution.

    Moreover, as I said before, it’s an oversimplification of the issue. There’s a very real question of whether the Senate’s pro forma sessions are legitimate times where Senate work (like voting on appointment nominees) is being done or a sham tactic to maximize gridlock and neuter federal agencies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  130. Rob in CT says:

    I can think of quite a few alternatives I’d find less offensive than that.

    Name them.

    I’m not thrilled by the Obama Administration’s response to the unprecedented obstruction (2x what it was under Bush the Younger). If you have a better idea of how to address it, I’d love to hear it.

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  131. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: I was unaware I was on some kind of schedule. My apologies.

    The question of the pro forma sessions may not be completely established, but the precedent set under Bush 43 was clear — the Democrats insisted it counted as “not a recess,” and while there was some grumbling, it was accepted by Bush and the Republicans. What I find offensive is that many of the same people who supported the pro forma rules when it benefited them now insist it’s not legitimate.

    People like Senator Reid, former Senator Obama, and quite a few others I could name.

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  132. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rob in CT: For starters, how about “win more elections?” How about “stir up public outrage and get people to put pressure on the Republicans?” Or, maybe, “change the Senate rules to demand nominees get an up or down vote?”

    Just saying “the Constitution is making things hard, so we’ll just ignore it” is NOT an option.

    Then again, I’m kinda grooving on the notion of a future Republican president having all these wonderfully useful powers at his or her disposal. Of course, the very same people praising Obama’s “courage” and “strength” will start howling tyranny and calling for impeachment and lynching should that come to pass.

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  133. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The question of the pro forma sessions may not be completely established,

    Exactly.

    but the precedent set under Bush 43

    And under Bush 43, there were 71, 71, 62 and 68 cloture motions. Under Obama it has been 139, 137, and 53 (still in session).

    You’re not making an argument. You’re just blathering about how much you dislike the President.

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  134. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Just saying “the Constitution is making things hard, so we’ll just ignore it” is NOT an option.

    And the Senate Republicans have a constitutional duty work with the body’s majority to advise and consent on presidential nominations. Refusals to vote on nominees with the intent of neutering federal agencies is an dereliction of that duty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  135. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    To conclude this:

    For starters, how about “win more elections?”

    Not only is this simplistic, but the internal logic is inconsistent. Democrats won many elections, and they have a majority of the Senate. They can’t move legislation forward because the Senate minority insists on governance-paralyzing gridlock.

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  136. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: I won’t argue that it’s dereliction of duty, but I don’t accept Obama’s solution is an acceptable response. Likewise, the House’s refusal to pass a budget for about three years now is a dereliction of duty. But I don’t see any Constitutional remedy.

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  137. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    but I don’t accept Obama’s solution is an acceptable response.

    What a surprise.

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  138. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Sorry, I will remain civil. So you can give up trying to provoke me. Ain’t gonna happen.

    Yes, the Democrats won elections. Too bad they didn’t win enough of them. If they did, then they wouldn’t be having problems.

    And you seem to hold up these total numbers of cloture votes as some kind of talisman — if you keep saying it over and over, it changes the fact that Obama violated the Constitution in his response. The Constitution clearly states that Congress sets its own rules, and that neither House can recess or adjourn without the consent of the other House.

    Your argument boils down to “the Republicans are doing to Obama what the Democrats did to Bush, but they’re doing it more!” It’s as if you think there is some acceptable threshold for the practice. “85 is okay, but 86 is right out.”

    Further, might I suggest you take careful notes on the arguments I’m using? You’ll want to plagiarize them should a future Republican president start doing what Obama’s doing now.

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  139. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: And I, too, am utterly unsurprised that you have no regard for the Constitution when it gets in the way of Your Guy getting his way.

    Slightly disappointed, but unsurprised.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  140. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So you can give up trying to provoke me. Ain’t gonna happen.

    mmm…yes. Of course.

    Too bad they didn’t win enough of them.

    Because a majority isn’t enough?

    it changes the fact that Obama violated the Constitution in his response.

    You keep saying this, but haven’t established it in any way, beyond tautological assertions.

    And lastly:

    you have no regard for the Constitution when it gets in the way of Your Guy getting his way.

    What’s next? You’re rubber and I am glue?

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  141. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    When Reid pulled the exact same stunt (pro forma sessions to avoid recessing), Bush respected it and Obama supported it. It was somewhat underhanded, but legit.

    Not exactly, as the legal opinion that the pro-forma sessions were a sham originated with the Bush Administration. It was not viewed as legitimate then, but given that a higher percentage of Bush appointees were being confirmed, it wasn’t a big deal.

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  142. tag1555 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The sludge-throwing continues because it is effective. There’s a long history of negative ads having an influence on things like turnout, and there’s unprecedented amounts of $$$ in the political process now to fuel the flames. It also helps get the party base fired up – “if THEY get into office, watch out, they’ll take your contraception/guns/abortions/low taxes/environment/jobs away, so vote for MY CANDIDATE!”

    As others have mentioned, though, this kind of ill-will is hardly new or unique re: Obama. GWB had the National Guard service record controversy which parallels the Birther debate closely, the 2000 and 2004 he-stole-the-election-and-isn’t-really-President arguments, plus the LIHOP/MIHOP theories about 9/11 which Brendan Nyhan indicates were about as prevalent among Democrats at the time as Birther believers are among the GOP. Not to mention everything tossed around about the “real” motives behind Iraq and Afghanistan…

    Point being, it isn’t either “side” that has a monopoly on this, its just a symptom of who’s holding the power at a particular time. Jane’s Law still holds: The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane. We like to think we’re beyond the kind of tribalism that rules a lot of the world, but I think it just manifests itself differently here. We’re naturally wired to want to categorize people into “us’ and ‘them,” and to believe the worst of ‘them” whoever “they” happen to be.

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  143. anjin-san says:

    National Guard service record controversy

    Are you really comparing this to the Obama is a Kenyan/Communist/Jihadist nonsense?

    Though some of the accusations about Bush’s service record were overblown, it is clear that his family used it’s influence to keep him out of Vietnam, and that his record in the National Guard was less than stellar (as opposed to that of his father, a legitimate war hero who was in combat at an age when most are still in high school). So there was a little smoke, even if there was no fire.

    And given the extreme circumstances of the 2000 election, “Bush stole the election” claims, while incorrect, can not be dismisses as fiction pulled out of thin air, as so many of the accusations leveled at Obama clearly are.

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  144. jukeboxgrad says:

    tag1555:

    GWB had the National Guard service record controversy which parallels the Birther debate closely

    Wrong. Bush failed to meet his service obligations. Link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  145. An Interested Party says:

    What’s next? You’re rubber and I am glue?

    Why not, he’s already used that “argument” in this thread…

    Shorter tag1555: “BOTH SIDES DO IT!1!!!1”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  146. James says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Thanks for that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  147. Jenos Idanian says:

    @David M: “Respected” as in, “didn’t challenge it directly.” Much like every other president who ran up against the War Powers Act.

    Judging by his actions, Obama seems to believe that if he decides something is unconstitutional, he can just ignore it. That he is the sole arbiter on what is or is not Constitutional, and the Congress and the Supreme Court have no say whatsoever. Talk about an “imperial presidency…”

    I rather surprising attitude for someone who spent a dozen years as a Constitutional Law professor lecturer. If only he had spelled out his beliefs and findings in published scholarly articles on the law and the Constitution… at some point in his career.

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  148. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James:

    So you can give up trying to provoke me. Ain’t gonna happen.

    mmm…yes. Of course.

    Too bad they didn’t win enough of them.

    Because a majority isn’t enough?

    No, it often isn’t. Requirements for a supermajority are a long-standing tradition to prevent tyranny of the majority. Look it up.

    it changes the fact that Obama
    violated the Constitution in his response.

    You keep saying this, but haven’t established it in any way, beyond tautological assertions.

    The Constitution says each House sets its own rules. Neither House can adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other House. (Article I, Section 5.) Nowhere does it say that the president decides when Congress is in or out of session.

    And lastly:

    you have no regard for the Constitution when it gets in the way of Your Guy getting his way.

    What’s next? You’re rubber and I am glue?

    Apparently you didn’t recognize my echoing of his snide “what a surprise” remark, and is pulling the classic “it all started when he hit me back!” whine. I’ll have to remember and take into account your… blind spots.

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  149. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    For someone who impugns others motives and intellect, you have a surprising paucity of knowledge yourself. For example, you write:

    Obama seems to believe that if he decides something is unconstitutional, he can just ignore it. That he is the sole arbiter on what is or is not Constitutional, and the Congress and the Supreme Court have no say whatsoever.

    This is your hobby-horse for quite some time, yet you continue to fail to substantiate your assertions. This is clearly very important for you, so please give me some of your secret evidence to as to how you have this special knowledge about what the President “seems to believe” about his position as the “sole arbiter” of constitutional matters. Don’t worry, we’ll keep your sources safe.

    You keep talking about Article I, Section 5 as if it proves your point. It doesn’t. All your citations of Art. I, Sec. 5 does is illustrate your own inability to process datatpoints that go outside of your preconceived conclusions. For example, there’s Article II, Section 2, clause 2 which states:

    [The President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States,

    And then the next clause:

    The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

    The Constitution is completely silent on how long a recess has to be for there to be a “recess appointment.” Moreover, there is a real issue as to whether the House’s pro forma sessions are legitimate Congressional work is being done, or if the sessions are a craven tactic to ensure gridlock and nullify federal agencies outside of the legislative process. As I said before, the Senate has a constitutional duty to advise and consent on presidential appoints. After 139 and 137 cloture motions, it’s fairly obvious that the Senate’s minority is intent on ignoring that duty for the hope of a chance of electoral gains.

    Your inability to connect the dots from the unprecedented number of cloture votes that have occurred once Barack Obama took office, and the explicit intent of those votes, in impeding the functioning of the executive branch; to the unprecedented nature of Richard Cordray’s, Sharon Block’s, Terence Flynn’s, and Richard Griffin’s appointments, only continues to further your own disrepute.

    Here’s some more reading for you:

    First: Republican obstruction of the normal advise and consent procedures has been, without a doubt, unprecedented. That began with the blanket filibusters against everything in the Senate — that is, the “60 vote” Senate, which did not exist across the board until January 2009. That extended to Republican “nullification” — the tactic of prohibiting agencies they don’t like for fulfilling their lawful functions by refusing to allow any nominee to come up for a vote. In the case of the NLRB, this actually wound up producing a Republican filibuster of a Republican nominee in order to keep that board (which by statute has both Democratic and Republican appointees) from having a quorum needed to operate.

    But that’s all about the norms of regular confirmation. What really pushed the rules was (as Congressional scholar Sarah Binder describes) the Republican House’s attempt to prevent recess appointment by using pro forma sessions. That’s a tactic that was deployed by the Senate Democratic majority near the end of George W. Bush’s administration to prevent recess appointments. Whatever it’s legitimacy in that case, it’s yet another stretch for the House of Representatives, which has no Constitutional role in executive branch nominations, to use Constitutional machinery to block a Senate recess in order to prevent recess appointments. (emphasis mine)

    And at any rate, your original claim:

    President Obama has declared that he has the unilateral power to declare when Congress is in or out of session, […]

    is not only demonstrably false, but obviously not a major concern for you.

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  150. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Here’s a little more for you:

    The Constitution doesn’t define what constitutes a valid recess for the purpose of the president’s proper exercise of the recess appointment power, leaving it open to interpretation. And the most recent court case on the matter—when Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy challenged the intra-session recess appointment of William Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004—upheld the right of the administration to make a recess appointment on the 7th day of a ten day intrasession recess, noting the Constitutional ambiguity of a “recess.”

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  151. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    I rather surprising attitude for someone who spent a dozen years as a Constitutional Law professor lecturer.

    You are suggesting he wasn’t a professor even though he was:

    From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track … Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

    Nevertheless, the phony claim you made is something we hear endlessly. Just like your other phony claim:

    If only he had spelled out his beliefs and findings in published scholarly articles on the law and the Constitution… at some point in his career.

    You are suggesting he never wrote a ‘scholarly article’ even though he did.

    Try again.

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  152. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Feel free to throw up all the various and sundry opinings you like. Here are the facts:

    1) Obama submitted the 3 names for the NLRB on December 15, indicating that he intended to at least give the Senate a chance to vote up or down.

    2) The Senate then went on its Christmas break one day later.

    3) Before the Senate could reconvene and at least have the chance to exercise its “advise and consent” role, Obama chose to break precedents and ignore the “pro forma” sessions to make his recess appointments.

    This is of a pattern for Obama — when he finds something inconvenient, he just ignores the Constitution and laws to do what he wishes. You want two more examples?

    The Libyan great adventure. The War Powers Act requires the president to notify Congress befoer engaging in military action, or at least within 48 hours after it starts. He didn’t bother. It requires the president to get Congressional approval within 60 days, or start withdrawing and be done within 90 days. He officially gave his report to Congress around day 90 or so.

    Now, no other president has ever accepted the War Powers Resolution, but every other one has acted “consistently” with it — following its requirements while not admitting that it was binding. But Obama just said that since he called it a “kinetic military action,” and the law didn’t cover that term, it didn’t apply.

    And recently, he announced that if Congress won’t act, he and Joe Biden will act on their own. Apparently, he forgot that Biden has NO power beyond presiding over the Senate and breaking ties, and seems to think that he can just act by proclamation (well, maybe executive orders).

    And I repeat your own phrasing: yes, the Republicans in the Senate are playing “Constitutional hardball.” The important word there is “Constitutional.” So far, the Obama’s responses have been decidedly… let’s say “extra-Constitutional.”

    This discussion ventured into the inane ages ago. Even I’ve grown bored with repeating myself to no effect.

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  153. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    1) Obama submitted the 3 names for the NLRB on December 15, indicating that he intended to at least give the Senate a chance to vote up or down.

    2) The Senate then went on its Christmas break one day later.

    3) Before the Senate could reconvene and at least have the chance to exercise its “advise and consent” role, Obama chose to break precedents and ignore the “pro forma” sessions to make his recess appointments.

    As I’ve stated many times, this has nothing to do with the NLRB appointment issue. You’re free to get yourself into a lather over the timing of his appointment submissions, but there’s nothing there that violates the Constitution.

    This is of a pattern for Obama

    You claim there’s a pattern, but all you have is a single (unsubstantiated) assertion, a red herrings about Libya and an unsourced quote.

    So far, the Obama’s responses have been decidedly… let’s say “extra-Constitutional.”

    Again, you’re just making an assertion without substantiation. The fact that you don’t understand the distinction between “making a claim” and “substantiating a claim” is, I think, enough to impeach your authority on the issue.

    Even I’ve grown bored with repeating myself to no effect.

    Thant’s probably because you’re simply unpersuasive.

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  154. jukeboxgrad says:

    The fact that you don’t understand the distinction between “making a claim” and “substantiating a claim” is, I think, enough to impeach your authority on the issue.

    What’s also sufficient to impeach his authority on anything at all is that he routinely makes false claims and then refuses to take responsibility for doing so, even after he’s been caught and proof is shown that his claim is false. Therefore only a fool would take him seriously.

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  155. matt says:

    @mantis: I am pretty sure Jay Tea was banned a while back for gross violations of the commenting policy.

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  156. jukeboxgrad says:

    I vaguely recall the same thing. That’s why I figured he was back under a new name. And his failure to address this point on multiple occasions (people other than me brought this up a few weeks ago) makes me more suspicious.

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  157. WR says:

    @mantis: If not Jay Tea, then jwest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  158. jukeboxgrad says:

    Good point, I didn’t think of that. Yes, the style also reminds me of the dear departed jwest.

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  159. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: OK, I think I see the disagreement here. You keep saying that the NLRB appointments aren’t that big a deal for various and sundry reasons. I hear your reasons find them accurate, but dismiss that any of them actually trump the very real Constitutional issues I raised. “The other side are being jerks and abusing the rules” does NOT justify ignoring the Constitution.

    Let me repeat myself: under Article I, Section 5, each House determines its own rules of operation — including when it officially “recesses” and when it doesn’t. Further, neither House can adjourn without the consent of the other House. The president has absolutely no say in such matters; it’s strictly an exclusive and internal power.

    Of course, when we enter the world of realpolitik, then Obama can do pretty much what he wants — as long as he’s not challenged. It takes someone with both the standing to protest and the testicular fortitude to stand up to properly challenge his unilateralism.

    This is the same kind of realpolitik that says that while there are certainly legal grounds to impeach Obama, the reality is that anything can be an impeachable offense to the properly-motivated House — and that Obama ain’t likely to get impeached any time soon, as there simply isn’t the political will to even start such a fight, let alone persevere.

    but yet it remains: the Senate did not consider itself “in recess” over the Christmas break, in terms of recess appointments. But Obama invoked that power anyway. In practical terms, this means that the whole “pro forma sessions” policy is as dead as the War Powers Resolution, until someone with legal standing challenges it. And I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    God willing, this will all become irrelevant come next January.

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  160. Latino_in_Boston says:

    [The President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States,

    The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

    Independently of the inanity of our dear friend Jenos’ arguments (or lack thereof) with respect to Obama, he does have a point that future Republican presidents will do exactly what Obama has done and claim his actions as setting precedent–constitutional clarity notwithstanding.

    Regarding the Constitution, it seems to me that the real question is:
    If the Senate refuses to Advice or Consent, does the President have legitimate power in filling up those vacancies–again, independently of whatever the recess definition is? It would seem to me that the founding fathers would argue that while the Senate has the constitutional power to constrain the Presidential preferences in terms of nominees and even block particular nominees, they cannot usurp his power or nullify it altogether, and trying to do so would be abusing their power. After all, in the numerous ways in which the three branches of government check each other, there is none in which one branch can completely block the power of another indefinitely.

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  161. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Latino_in_Boston: Let me give you another real example of a problem with no Constitutional solution: while the Democrats held both Houses recently, they refused to pass a federal budget. Even after they lost the House, they used their control of the Senate to keep a budget from passing.

    It’d be nice if the Republican House could just pass a budget, say that the Senate has forfeited its right to express its opinion, and send it straight to Obama. But that’s simply not possible.

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  162. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    Independently of the inanity of our dear friend Jenos’ arguments (or lack thereof) with respect to Obama, he does have a point that future Republican presidents will do exactly what Obama has done and claim his actions as setting precedent–constitutional clarity notwithstanding.

    Actually, I think I said “could.” Of the current batch of GOP candidates, Romney’s too milquetoast, Paul too reverent of the Constitution, and Gingrich prides himself a historian and a scholar too much to act with such… let’s call it “audacity.” And Santorum… he’s too invested in showing he’s not the radical the left wants to portray him as. I don’t think any of them “would.”

    But they “could.”

    Historically, only two presidents come to mind as having shown the requisite level of “audacity.” FDR with his New Deal programs and attempt to “pack the Supreme Court,” and Andrew Jackson with his fights over the National Bank and his “”They have made their decision, now let them enforce it” statement when the Supreme Court ruled against him.

    Well, maybe Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, but not quite as much.

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  163. An Interested Party says:

    This is the same kind of realpolitik that says that while there are certainly legal grounds to impeach Obama, the reality is that anything can be an impeachable offense to the properly-motivated House — and that Obama ain’t likely to get impeached any time soon, as there simply isn’t the political will to even start such a fight, let alone persevere.

    Ahh, so Republicans can’t even do the right thing based on their principles regarding this subject? Oh wait, that would require them to have those particular principles…never mind…

    God willing, this will all become irrelevant come next January.

    Considering who is left in the GOP primary race, it doesn’t look like God is on your side, although do keep praying…

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  164. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You keep saying that the NLRB appointments aren’t that big a deal for various and sundry reasons.

    No I’m not. I’m simply stating there’s a legitimate constitutional question beyond glibly stating that

    President Obama has declared that he has the unilateral power to declare when Congress is in or out of session, […]

    Furthermore,

    [I] dismiss that any of them actually trump the very real Constitutional issues I raised.

    You haven’t raised any legitimate constitutional issues. Art. I Sec. 5 has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. The Constitution is completely silent on what constitutes as a “recess” and what does not. If you had any concern about understanding an issue beyond using it as a cudgel against people you disagree with, you would understand this.

    there are certainly legal grounds to impeach Obama

    And you continue stating unsubstantiated fantasy.

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  165. James says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

     he does have a point that future Republican presidents will do exactly what Obama has done and claim his actions as setting precedent–constitutional clarity notwithstanding.

    If Democrats are in a minority in the Senate. and they cravenly decide to engage in a campaign of total gridlock with the intent destroying the federal branch’s ability to function though endless pro forma sessions and cloture motions, irrespective of the issue or agency nominee, then a Republican executive would be perfectly sensible in invoking his Article II, Section 2, Clause 3 powers.

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  166. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    while the Democrats held both Houses recently, they refused to pass a federal budget.

    Yet another red herring.

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  167. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: You keep calling a “red herring” the part where each House sets its own rules for operation — which includes defining recesses. And your little hypothetical is even more of a red herring — my examples are reality, yours isn’t.

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  168. Jenos Idanian says:

    Oh, and by the way, James — hush. Boston and I are talking. You’re being rude.

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  169. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You keep calling a “red herring” the part where each House sets its own rules for operation

    No I haven’t. Your lamentations on a lack of budget passage is a red herring.

    my examples are reality, yours isn’t.

    This is especially rich coming from some who hasn’t substantiated a single assertion with a single citation.

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  170. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You’re being rude.

    Coming from the gentleman who accuses other’s of “hav[ing] no regard for the Constitution”

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  171. anjin-san says:

    Its kind of fun listening to Republicans crying about Obama being mean to them since he got sick of their refusal to participate in governing, took the gloves off, and started smacking them silly.

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  172. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Hey, it’s not my fault that you can’t grasp Article I, Section 5 — I’ve cited it several times, quoted it verbatim. As the saying goes, I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you. You gotta put a little effort into it.

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  173. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Keep those words handy, anjin — you’ll be eating them when a Republican takes office and starts “smacking silly” the Democrats with these same tactics.

    Nah, can’t can’t on you to demonstrate that kind of honesty. Tell you what — I’ll save your words for you, and serve ’em up when the time comes. Fair enough?

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  174. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    you can’t grasp Article I, Section 5

    This is an interesting bit of protectionism, since it’s quite clear you “can’t grasp” that Art. 1 Sec 5 has no bearing on the NLRB case. The Constitutional clause that allows each body to set its own rules is not the issue. The Constitution is completely silent the length of time required to count as a “recess”. Viz:

    The Constitution doesn’t define what constitutes a valid recess for the purpose of the president’s proper exercise of the recess appointment power, leaving it open to interpretation.

    I’ve cited it several times, quoted it verbatim.

    You have. But you haven’t substantiated your claims with a single citation. You understand the difference right?

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  175. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Nah, can’t can’t [sic] on you to demonstrate that kind of honesty.

    Because we can count on you?

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  176. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James: Whee, going around in circles is fun!

    Let’s go through the big loop once again, and see if this trip will let you pick up on things.

    Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings…

    And those Rules include, by implication, the ability to define recesses, adjournments, and the like. As you note, the Constitution doesn’t define those terms, so it then devolves on the Houses to do it themselves. See Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, the “Necessary And Proper” clause.

    Your theory seems to be that since the Constitution doesn’t define the terms, then it’s up for grabs to be defined by any other party in the most advantageous way for them. I say that between Article I, Sections 5 and 8, Congress has the authority to set those terms. And as it’s a strictly internal matter, that makes it an exclusive power.

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  177. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: No one is disputing the fact that the House and Senate have the Constitutional power to set their own rules. You’re just grossly misreading Art I, Sec 5, Clause 5 which states:

    Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

    The question of the NLRB appointments is if pro forma sessions count as an actual session, or a sham session that’s actually a recess.

    Your theory seems to be that since the Constitution doesn’t define the terms,

    Not my “theory”. The Constitution doesn’t define the terms of what counts a recess or not. Full stop.

    I say that between Article I, Sections 5 and 8, Congress has the authority to set those terms.

    Yes, you do. That doesn’t make you right.

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  178. James says:

    @Jenos Idanian: At any rate, your original claim (remember that?) was that:

    President Obama has declared that he has the unilateral power to declare when Congress is in or out of session, […]

    This is demonstrably false. You’ve abandoned it, and then started frothing about about the timing of the appointments, which has nothing to do with the Constitutional question at hand. Now you’re just picking a Constitutional clause that isn’t relevant to the issue, and claiming it is, all without substantiating a single assertion.

    Bravo, sir.

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  179. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @James:

    Yes, indeed, James. But you and I both know that future Republican Presidents are not actually going to wait around for that specific scenario to materialize. They’ll just claimthat something which is somewhat similar is actually the scenario you cite. That’s essentially what W. did on a number of occasions.

    I would welcome a Supreme Court decision on this issue. And again, I would argue that the Senate has the right to check or constrain Presidential preferences, but not to usurp them all together, which is what the Republicans were trying to do. Am I wrong in thinking that this case is now before the Court? (I mean in this session).

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  180. James says:

    @Latino_in_Boston: Agreed

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  181. PacRim Jim says:

    That a person is demonized does not imply, ipso facto, that he is not a demon.

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  182. GaryP says:

    Obama started the the hating first in my opinion.

    When you describe a significant portion of your fellow citizens as bitter, hating, etc.

    When you describe anyone who disagrees with your policies as not wrong but evil over and over again.

    When you disparage the country of which you are president constantly, apologizing for our terrible faults and telling everyone that the the US is nothing special, you deeply offend the people that love this country.

    All I can say is I detest Obama because he clearly detests me, not personally perhaps but people like myself. You probably don’t get that because you feel the same way about the knuckle-draggers in fly over country (and we reciprocate your feelings).

    By the way, the “we did it to Bush, but that doesn’t make it right to do it Obama,” rings a little hollow to my ears.

    The real divide is in this country is between the people who believe in this country and love it and mostly approve of the values of their neighbors (and want to be allowed to live as we see best) and the self appointed elites that despise us (and want to run our lives because we aren’t smart enough to make those decisions.) Run your own lives and leave us alone. You clearly aren’t as smart as you think you are and if you keep going you’re will find out just how little you know about what the long suffering American will tolerate.

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  183. An Interested Party says:

    That a person is demonized does not imply, ipso facto, that he is not a demon.

    Maybe the Pope could send some priests over to the White House to perform an exorcism…

    When you describe anyone who disagrees with your policies as not wrong but evil over and over again.

    When you disparage the country of which you are president constantly, apologizing for our terrible faults and telling everyone that the the US is nothing special, you deeply offend the people that love this country.

    When, exactly, has the President done these things?

    Run your own lives and leave us alone. You clearly aren’t as smart as you think you are and if you keep going you’re will find out just how little you know about what the long suffering American will tolerate.

    Hmm…Civil War II, eh? How exciting…

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  184. jukeboxgrad says:

    Civil War II

    For people like him, the Civil War never ended, and they’re still trying to win it. This explains a lot.

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