Tuesday, August 16, 2011
President Barack Obama said yesterday in Decorah, Iowa, that he absorbs more political criticism than Abraham Lincoln, the assassinated 16th U.S. president, attracted from his Civil War critics.
The comment came during a question-and-answer session where one invited audience member asked Obama how he deals with his congressional critics in the GOP. “The Congress doesn’t seem to be a good partner. You said so yourself, they’re more interested in seeing you lose than [seeing] the country win,” the questioner lamented.
“Democracy is always a messy business in a big country like this,” Obama responded. “When you listen to what the federalists said about the anti-federalists … those guys were tough. Lincoln, they used to talk about him almost as bad as they talk about me.”
Even Eric Foner, the very left wing professor of history at Columbia, could not let this one go by:
Criticism of Lincoln in his day “was even more vitriolic than what you see about Obama,” said Eric Foner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian at Columbia University. “Obama is a guy who has a thin skin and does not take criticism well.” Foner’s Pulitzer-winning volume was titled ”The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.”
There is a theory among the non-righties on my Facebook news feed that he was making a joke -- anybody got a link to the video? -- but if so it is a dangerous joke to make insofar as it reinforces the impression that Obama is unusually self-absorbed, even by the standards of politicians.
UPDATE: The video. Not sure I think he was joking, but he might have been. And if he was, the joke was perhaps more revealing than he realized. Release the hounds!
He (and his cronies, with his blessing) routinely compares himself to 'great' presidents of the past, including Reagan, FDR, and Lincoln. There's nothing out of the ordinary about this. He really thinks this way. He's a narcissist, something which has been apparent since, oh, spring 2008.
Keep up the pressure. It is getting to him. He can't be impeached for affirmative action reasons, but he can be driven into a frenzied gaffe-fest where even his most arduous supporters (and financial enablers) give up on him.
I'm not sure about "affirmative action" reasons, but while the Republican House might pass Articles of Impeachment, the Democrat Senate would never convict. So, the House even starting the process would be a waste of time....
“When you listen to what the federalists said about the anti-federalists … those guys were tough. Lincoln, they used to talk about him almost as bad as they talk about me.”
Overlooked in his comparison of himself to Lincoln is President Obama's switching of the Federalist/anti-Federalist positions. Obviously, it was the anti-Federalist (states' rights), not the Federalist, advocates who heaped vitriol upon Lincoln.
It's like saying that Paul Revere warned the British, not the Americans. Still waiting to hear MSNBC/NYTimes/Huffington Post criticize the President's ignorance of basic history.
Obama is one of the biggest cry-babies I've seen in American politics. However. It struck me, even against that backdrop and Obama's breathtaking hubris (how do you have so much of that with such a fragile skin?) that his remark was intended to be a Rodney Dangerfield-esque "I don't get no respect" crack.
But like so much else, Obama is no good at humor, either.
The Federalists and anti-Federalists were history by the time Lincoln came around. The Federalists had morphed into the Whigs who had morphed into the Republicans, and the anti-Federalists had changed into phase 1 Democrats (freeholders, farmers, and other rural interests) who had changed into phase 2 Democrats (states rights and the preservation of the slave economy).
Obama is working to set-up his Fall Campaign, where he intends to shift blame for "jobs" and economic stagnation to Tea Party House Republicans who are putting "faction above nation" by obstructing Obama from doing what needs to be done.
"You know people, if you hadn't done to me what you did in November 2010, I'd be doing magical things for you right now".
You can fool some of the people all of the time.
Specifically, after Labor Day Obama will formally propose to continue the payroll tax holiday and to extend unemployment benefits, among other "job creating" measures. When rejected by the Republicans, Obama will have a populist angle to work with. When we start 2012, Obama will point out how even more taxes are being taken out of the paychecks of ordinary working Americans, while millionaires, billionaires and jet owners are still getting their Bush tax cuts.
This is not a lot for Obama to work with, but it is something, and it could work given the current crop of Republican contenders. I don't know if Rick Perry exports well out of Texas. I hope so. If he doesn't, the Republicans have a big problem. But it's still fixable.
Here's the test a Republican candidate needs to pass, in order of priority:
Two states, one key block. If you win here, you're likely to do well in the rest of the Northern Midwest, except for Illinois, and can even threaten to win Christie-led New Jersey. If you lose here, Obama can eke out a win. Both parties have a blind spot by not holding primaries here until late in the game. Among other factors, this delay cost Hillary the nomination. Obama picked Biden as his VP -- the third Senator from Pennsylvania -- to cover his weakness in the Keystone State, when he thought the election would be close.
Unusual demographics. Rubio will be courted, and may get put on the ticket.
3) Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico
Not a lot of electoral votes, but they can make the difference if the Republicans lose Florida. If you don't piss off the Hispanics, they won't come out for Obama.
4) White Catholics
Whoever wins the Independent vote will win the election. But Independents aren't a block, and can be segmented in so many ways that treating them as a block isn't always illuminating.
So, let me put it another way: Whoever wins the White Catholic vote will win the election. This is almost always true, because Catholics tend to cluster in the middle, which is where most of the swing voters are. White Catholics are a diverse lot, and so difficult to herd under one tent and so usually not worth thinking about as a block. You can play the "anti-abortion / no gay marriage" card to win many of them, out of the Karl Rove playbook. But if you play the straight up "Holy Roller Evangelical" card, you'll lose them.
Michelle Bachmann will have many issues as a national candidate once she gets out of Iowa, but this one is significant for her.
Rick Perry could also seriously fuck this up. He won't be tested on it in any of the early primaries. In fact, I expect him to get into a Bible thumping contest with Michelle in the South Carolina primary, King James version. For thine is the kingdom, and the power ..."
There's a lot of White Catholics in Pennsylvania.
Mitt Romney would have many issues in a general election, his religion being the least of them. But that's another thread.
If you can't get a Chris Christie or a Paul Ryan into the race to change this dynamic, what do you do?
Paging Sarah Palin! Ironically, it'd work by deflating Michelle's support and getting the Republican primary campaign off of religion. It'd actually help Rick Perry -- and the Republican Party -- in the long run.
You make some interesting observations, Ignoramus. Actually, this morning I was wondering if Sarah Palin won't get in the race just to shake things up and to change the dynamic of the attacks against the other candidates. (In other words, I'm not sure that even if Palin enters the race, she would necessarily be going for the nomination, but it might take some of the heat off Perry at first since the media is gearing up for full frenzy attack mode with him already.)
What a cry baby -- Obama hasn't had to deal with even a cintilla of the vitriol and conspiracy theorizing poured out upon George W. Bush (including that from his own mouth). Nor, for that matter, as much as Bubba Clinton endured.
re Ignoramus "You know people, if you hadn't done to me what you did in November 2010, I'd be doing magical things for you right now".
Yes. It sounds like 0bama is testing the strategy of running for re-election on "My what-might-have-been record if only the eeevil Republicans had not stopped me" rather than his actual record which is a dismal failure, despite overwhelming dem majorities in both houses for two years.
In my own post on his Lincoln comments, I said he was joking -- but I was joking when I said that.
Yes, I do think that he is that narcissistic and self-pitying. For the first part, just remember his bit about stopping the rise of the oceans. And you can find evidence for the second part in recent statements.
Obama has said that calling him a socialist is bad-mouthing him.
Government Motors, anyone?
Nationalized Health care, anyone?
Sharing the wealth, anyone?
Not to mention his past, such as connections with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn, who were co-authors of Prairie Fire, a work that advocated dictatorship of the proletariat for the US.
Just one more example of how thin-skinned he is. If he got one day of the abuse that Lincoln got, he would go bananas.