April 16, 2011

Kaus goes there

Mickey Kaus writes:
Jay Cost: “Obama is just plain bad at politics” I think Cost’s on to something, though a) there are worse things than being bad at politics, even in a president; b) it doesn’t mean Obama won’t be reelected (or that I won’t vote for him); c) Cost’s examples aren’t wildly compelling. (Every president says a few dumb things, And let’s see if Obamacare gets repealed, now that Paul Ryan has said its basic structure is OK for seniors.) 

Well, you don't have to be all that great at politics in an absolute sense, you just have to be better than the opposition, especially when the opposition keeps getting disqualified. Obama has contested seven elections in his career, from the election for Harvard Law Review supremo onward, one of which he lost badly (to Bobby Rush in 2000). In three of them, his chief opponents were driven off the ballot by, once, Obama contesting the opponents' signatures, and, twice, by seamy divorce records being opened. So, maybe that's proof of his political genius.
Cost would have been on stronger ground if he’d waited to hear Obama’s waste of a deficit speech; d) Cost doesn’t go into why Obama managed to get to the top of politics without being all that good at it. The answer is distressingly obvious: Obama’s the biggest affirmative action baby in history.  When other pols are trying, failing, learning, while climbing up the middle rungs of the ladder, he got a pass; e) He’s the second president in a row to get a pass–George W. Bush, after all, didn’t exactly have to fight his way through a 64-team bracket. He was a legacy exception. And, come to think of it, he wasn’t that good at politics either. …

People should read the hagiographic The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, and count the number of powerful people who told Remnick that the first time they met Obama, their reaction was: He should be President! Then compare this to Obama's actual record of accomplishment, as reported in The Bridge, such as all the brilliant legal articles he wrote that led to him being offered tenure by the U. of Chicago Law School, all the landmark cases he won as a discrimination lawyer, all the public school students whose test scores rose due to the $100,000,000 he handed out as Chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, all the jobs he helped people get as a community organizer, and so forth. (Remnick does devote pp. 164-169 to the asbestos Obama helped get partially removed.)

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obama sits atop the shoulders of Jewish giants which makes him the 'tallest' guy 'in the room'.

Anonymous said...

I think Obama is bright and savvy enough to be a good politician, but he has problem. The most obviou is "It's the economy, stupid." It hurt McCain and GOP in 2008, it now hurts Obama.

What are the other reasons?

1. Obama doesn't have to be a good politician since the media are always carrying him. As long as he has this protection, he will tend to be complacent and even careless. The media will make him out to be a 'great president' no matter what.
Obama is used to having people do things for him. All he needs to do is appear before the camer and act presidential. But if freshess was his advantage in 2008, he's not fresh anymore. He dazzle a lot of people as Kennedy did in the early 60s, but now he sometimes seems as snide and smug like Jared Taylor.

2. His political strategy in 2008 was to be ABOVE-POLITICS, which was good politics then. But the problem is he is NOT above politics and he can't fool people forever with that shit. He owes tons of favors to the Jewish and gay elites, bailing out Wall Street, filling his administration with superJews, and handing over foreign policy to AIPAC-cabal, just as Bush did.
His ideology is mulatto supremacist(a form of black nationalism) and socialist(though certainly not commie; communism kills the golden goose. Obama is for using socialism to take just enough from the golden goose to make it keep laying eggs. Communism slays and butchers the cow. Nice steaks for a week but no more milk, ever! Obama wants to milk white folks forever and ever.) Obama wants to do 'leftist' things but if he did it too blatantly, he would lose white independents and moderates, which means bye bye in 2012. He tries to do one thing while appearing to do another, but 'you can't fool all the people all of the time.' There is simply too much contradiction between what Obama says and what he really wants.

3. Obama is less a uniter than a have-it-both-ways-er. His stand on Libya was all over the place. He can be slick and cool with minor issues, but his switch-and-bait tactics with more complex or grave issues make him seem clumsy, shallow, and out of his league.

Anonymous said...

Bush, Kerry, Obama, McCain, Huckabee, Palin, Trump - we're damn near Idiocracy territory. That's why Obama got elected. We may have a bigger credit card, but politically we're not much better off than the Third World.

It's all about marketing style, not substance. To ask a substantive question is regarded as mudslinging, especially if your opponent is black.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break. "Obama got a pass?" From Hillary Clinton? Can you name one campaign that was longer, tougher and more arduous than the 2008 Democratic primary?

Randall K said...

Obama doesn't have to be good at politics as long as his team is good. His job was being an unknown charismatic half-white half-black who could be used as the poster boy for a post-racial messiah. Apparently, the American people drank the Kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

Another affirmative action black politician: Lee Brown, former mayor of Houston. He was affirmative actioned into police chief of Houston, affirmative actioned into police chief of New York, and then benefited from black block voting. I grew up in Houston when he was police chief. I later watched him on TV debating his Hispanic opponent in I think the first election: it was scary who deeply stupid he was (Obama is not stupid, but this guy was). I think his opponent must have been in disbelief when he lost. His reign was even scarier. Complete affirmative action, nearly bankrupted the city, had all sorts of crazy schemes to raise revenue (like fining people for stopping at a red light on the white line--didn't want to do it for other things since more minorities would be guilty), annexed a white suburb that didn't want to be annexed and then targeted the people who fought annexation as payback, posted a huge billboard of himself at Houston Intercontinental Airport like some dictator of a banana republic...it was awful. The lesbian lady who is currently mayor is much better. Anyway, I guess my point is, at least the country didn't affirmative action in a moron. It really could be worse.

Dennis Dale said...

There is an unintentionally hilarious article out there from Harper's, written early in Obama's administration (and early in its growing legacy of cynicism):

http://harpers.org/archive/2009/06/hbc-90005235

The article pairs Obama and Hoover as similarly promising, and ultimately disappointing, men of accomplishment. The author reminds us of Hoover's many achievements before becoming president, such as his famine relief efforts in Russia. Without apparent irony he juxtaposes these against Obama's pre-presidential "accomplishments".

Anonymous said...

It really does seem to me that Obama has been sold like the Emperor with No Clothes.

Anyone of sophistication is supposed to see the accomplishment and wisdom of our Emperor, and those who hesitate at such attributions are condemned as today's incarnation of Ignorance: a Racist!!

It really is impressive how well that shaming technique works to shut off any acknowledgment of the obvious.

none of the above said...

I think I prefer Greenwald's take on Obama's failures--he's governing the way he wants to govern, and using Republicans as an excuse for not doing things he mostly didn't want to do in the first place.

Anonymous said...

OT.

In BNWR Huxley got a lot wrong--as all future prophets do--but he also got a lot right and raised the right questions, many of which are more relevant than ever.

http://www.huxley.net/bnw-revisited/index.html

Anonymous said...

I'll really be impressed when Kaus 'goes' to the matter of Jewish power in media, finance, Hollywood, academia, big cities, and government working together to hype and promote Obama as the greatest thing since sliced bread. After all, affirmative action is open to all blacks and all Hispanics.

So... why Obama? How Obama? And who Obama? Why was Obama chosen among all those AA candidates, how was he hyped as the messiah, and WHO did it?

Anonymous said...

"It really does seem to me that Obama has been sold like the Emperor with No Clothes."

It's more like clothes with no emperor or voice with no soul.

Kylie said...

"Give me a break. 'Obama got a pass?' From Hillary Clinton?"

No, from the "race trumps gender" dynamic.

Don't even try to tell us otherwise.

"Can you name one campaign that was longer, tougher and more arduous than the 2008 Democratic primary?"

And more foreordained? Off-hand, no.

Don't even get me started on how that decrepit, rabid chipmunk would have handled The One with kid gloves if he'd had the temerity to touch him at all.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if demographic info has been released for the sleeping air traffic controllers? I've never heard of this problem before, and am very curious if any role was played by affirmative action.

Silver said...

I think the most interesting thing about Obama -- apart from the fact that he's an anti-white black racist -- is the way everybody seems to insist on treating him with kiddie gloves. "Oh, don't want to be too nasty to that nice black man, now."

People on the white right often say some very silly things but they're basically correct that, culturally, America has become BRA -- Black Run America -- a country dedicated to serving the needs and wants of its black citizenry, elevating them above those of whites at every opportunity. This isn't to say it plays out this way economically, but it's hard to find fault with the notion in cultural terms.

Wouldn't it be something if hispanics began treating empty black suits in public with the contempt they reserve for them in private? That would certainly upset the applecart.

Henry Canaday said...

It is interesting to think of recent presidents as their college-admission types. The last four have been: 1) a very bright racial hybrid, whose affirmative-action advantage probably compensated more for lack of achievement than lack of brains; 2) a legacy admit, George W.; 3) a paragon of 1960s SAT and ambition meritocracy, Clinton; and 4) a perfectly respectable member of the old WASP elite, smart but not brilliant and very hard-working and honorable, Bush the Elder.

And they all seem trivial measured against a man of extraordinary looks and charm, who fought his way out of a small town and the Depression by competing in the crazy, largely Jewish world of show business and then took up a second career as a gracious but persistent polemicist and working politician.

“Who’da thunk it?” as Mary McCarthy once wrote. Maybe there was something different about pre- WW II America.

Steve Sailer said...

"The article pairs Obama and Hoover as similarly promising, and ultimately disappointing, men of accomplishment."

It's a now often over-looked fact that Hoover was perhaps the world's leading mining engineer before entering politics, just like Obama was.

Whiskey said...

Obama is exactly what he was before he became President. A guy who can appeal to Blacks, and rich White folks, and not much else. His Senate victory and his Presidential Victory were over weak opponents, the former by as Steve points out, unsealing the divorce records of the ex-husband of Jeri Ryan.

Good luck against someone like Trump, whose scandals are already well known and discounted. Soon enough even the College Educated White women will abandon him.

David said...

Whiskey proclaimed

>Good luck against someone like Trump, whose scandals are already well known and discounted. Soon enough even the College Educated White women will abandon him.<

The ground is rocking under my feet.

Whiskey is saying college-educated White women will ditch a black guy for a white guy?... Meaning, Whiskey sees a white Alpha out there? Donny, you the man!

Anonymous said...

The real elephant in the room is Obama's lack of girlfriends before Michelle. NONE.

I'm sick of analysts ignoring the implications.

Obama is gay. He married and had kids as many gay men have done throughout history. His magic carpet ride to the top was the lavender mafia in action.

Savage just proclaimed this week that Obama was first and foremost backed by Hollywood zillionaires. Of course Savage neglected to add that the zillionaires are gay.

A glass ceiling for heteros is in place in many of this country's top circles of power.

Dennis Dale said...

It's a now often over-looked fact that Hoover was perhaps the world's leading mining engineer before entering politics, just like Obama was.

The article was titled "Barack Hoover Obama", as if a jibe at the president; but the insult is all to poor old Herbert Hoover!

Thrasymachus said...

There is a lot to be said for the Bush/Obama comparison, but the idea that Bush was bad at politics doesn't hold up. Bush did pretty much what he wanted for eight years; amnesty was his only major defeat. Bush seemed to have an ability to dominate and control people close to him. If Obama and Bush have a similarity it's that while they have had their party in power it stuck with them, largely out of partisanship and division.

Anonymous said...

Obama being gay is funny. He's a skinny black nerd like Urkel (and boring as hell with all his lecturing) so I can see why he didn't have a girlfriend before his wife. However, his wife looks like a transvestite. You would think a Harvard-educated black man could find a better- or more feminine- looking wife.

Steve Sailer said...

Obama's description of his 1980s girlfriend in Dreams from My Father checks out pretty well. A commenter here has provided a lot of detail, which Remnick's book matches up pretty well with.

A Freudian might have some fun with Remnick's description of her as a white U. of Chicago anthropology grad student, which is a pretty near description of Mama Obama, except that the Dunhams didn't let her go to the U. of Chicago when she got accepted at 15 under the early admissions program they had back then.

Steve Sailer said...

Sure, Hoover was a mining expert, but Obama was an asbestos removal expert.

Anonymous said...

"Give me a break. 'Obama got a pass?' From Hillary Clinton? Can you name one campaign that was longer, tougher and more arduous than the 2008 Democratic primary?"

Not from Hillary but from the media. Hillary couldn't hit Obama too hard since the liberal media would then come down hard on her and also because she might lose the black vote. If the two finalists had been John Edwards and Hillary, the latter would have been many times more vicious.

Hillary did hit hard a few times, but the media was all over her(and her husband). The message was out loud and clear. Obama could hit hard but he was to be treated with kid gloves.

Same with McCain. If McCain touched on Wright and Ayers, media would have skinned him alive.
Guilt by association is okay for rightwing politicians but not for liberal or black politicians, in which case it's 'red baiting' or 'racism'.

Dennis Dale said...

Bush did pretty much what he wanted for eight years; amnesty was his only major defeat.

Bush taught us it doesn't matter who's president. He couldn't have been less qualified or more effective.

Hospitals In Mexico said...

Yeah you are right. I agree

Wandrin said...

These guys are all actors being cast by billionaires behind the scenes because they look right on TV for their respective team. It's the handlers who need to be good at politics.

I think the problem with Obama is once he became Prez his ego grew too big to be handled.

Kylie said...

"Sure, Hoover was a mining expert, but Obama was an asbestos removal expert."

But it's a lot easier to remove asbestos. All you have to do is park a bus right next to the asbestos, call it a "shovel ready job" and get someone else to start shoveling. Oh, and you have to be sure you don't mistake your own grandmother for a toxic substance.

Easy peasy.

Kylie said...

"You would think a Harvard-educated black man could find a better- or more feminine- looking wife."

Not if he wanted to be president someday. I think Obama had political ambitions fairly early on--or at least as early as he recognized that due to his color and background, liberal whites were eager to smooth his path for him. Therefore, he couldn't choose a white woman as his wife, whether homely or pretty. Black women who are attractive tend to be very fashionable and very slim. So a pretty black woman would have seemed more like a celebrity in her own right and a high-maintenance one at that. Both those qualities are no-no's in a First Lady. I'm old enough to remember all the heat Jackie took for being just that type of woman--and she was white and fairly well-born. Things haven't changed that much.

I see Michelle Obama as a good choice of wife for him. She isn't ugly, exactly, just huge and hulking. She has pleasant features when she's not scowling. And she's bright enough to appreciate him but not bright enough to compete with him. Their marriage was the right step for him and a step up for her, a real win/win merger.

helene edwards said...

If you had seen the star-struck Jewish hordes in their casual finery streaming to hear Bill Clinton speak on the Berkeley campus in 2002, you'd know that the issue isn't Obama. It's anti- something. Norman Podhoretz had the right question: "Why Are Jews Liberals?" Of course, no one here can give him credit because he's not quite of the tribe.

Anonymous said...

"Bush did pretty much what he wanted for eight years; amnesty was his only major defeat."

The irony. He failed the nation where he succeeded and aided the nation where he failed.

I still think his SC appointments were decent.

Anonymous said...

I wish Bush had lost in 2004. Kerry would have gotten the blame for 2008, and GOP would have won.

ricpic said...

...a perfectly respectable member of the old WASP elite, smart but not brilliant and very hard working and honorable, George W. Bush.

Well, we now know that Henry Canady is a bona fide snob. The "honorable" George W. Bush promised read my lips and delivered kiss my ass. Which is why the millions who were not intoxicated by the trappings of the old WASP elite denied him a second term.

Anonymous said...

"The irony. He failed the nation where he succeeded and aided the nation where he failed. I still think his SC appointments were decent."

Agreed on the former, disagree on the latter. You think Harriet Miers was "decent"?

OK, so Miers wasn't 'appointed.' But it just proves that Bush's only "successes" were where his party pushed back against him - on amnesty, on Court nominations - and denied him his goal.

That proves that Bush was across-the-board bad. He had the option of reining in Muslim immigration after 9/11, but instead we get 6-year-old girls getting felt up in airports, in the name of "security."

The man was not conservative.

ricpic said...

My mistake, should have been Bush the Elder, not George W. Bush. The point still stands.

Anonymous said...

Steve:

I'm pretty sure that Hospitals in Mexico link is link spam.

none of the above said...

Anon 4/16/11 11:09 PM:

I think 2008 was a fascinating election, because so much of the election was about what *couldn't* be asked, said, or implied. And this worked--the media largely fell in with the "offended" party crying foul, and turned the discussion from "Did Hillary lie about being under fire in Bosnia" to "Is it sexist to question Hillary's courage under fire," or whatever other issue came up.

For Obama, issues around race were largely off limits. For Hillary and Palin, issues around her being a woman were largely off limits. For McCain, issues around being very old and pretty clearly suffering from PTSD, as well as some disturbing signs of potential age-related mental decline, were off-limits.

It's not surprising we didn't get a great outcome from an election run on those terms. (Though given who had a realistic shot at winning, I'm not clear on who would have been better than Obama. Hillary, maybe.)

I assume this is part of what was behind that last Obama/Hillary debate, which looked like some kind of a comedy skit in terms of the silly questions asked. (In a better world, the two candidates would have joined forces to beat the hell out of the reporters asking them these inane questions, then had a nice chat on some actual issue of policy--say, tax reform or energy policy--suitable for viewing by someone who didn't spend his childhood eating lead paint chips off the walls.)

Big Gov't Conservative? said...

Bush did pretty much what he wanted for eight years; amnesty was his only major defeat.

Not too much of an achievement when you consider his major achievements were supported by leftist/neocon elite MSM:

* ME wars (supported by virtually all leftist MSM like the NYT)

* Costly tail-chasing education reform (No Child Left Behind)

* Historic expansion of welfare benefits: drug (companies) prescription benefit

* Expanding big government or use of costly suppliers/outsourcers

* Historically massive deficit spending (now eclipsed by Obama)

* Advancing the racial spoils system with handwringing, handouts and special protections.

Now if GW Bush would've achieved any policy of a conservative bent, that would've been an accomplishment. I can't think of any: smaller government, deficit reduction, less government interference, individual freedoms, etc.

His tax cuts are the closest, but they were more of a hugely disproportionate handout to his elite backers. Thank goodness his more egregious proposals to redistribute wealth to his backers failed (eg privatizing SocSec).

Truth said...

"Obama is exactly what he was before he became President. A guy who can appeal to Blacks, and rich White folks, and not much else"

Oh, so he got elected by appealing to, what 15% of the electorate? Another brilliant point there, 99.

Truth said...

"Wouldn't it be something if hispanics began treating empty black suits in public with the contempt they reserve for them in private?"

Another white man with the mystical abillity to turn into a 'fly on the wall' at will.

Consider me impressed.

Truth said...

"Obama is gay. He married and had kids as many gay men have done throughout history. His magic carpet ride to the top was the lavender mafia in action."

...And another white man with the dogged desire to turn Sailer's chatboard into a ladies sweing circle...

Truth said...

" and am very curious if any role was played by affirmative action."

...because it has been proven ad nauseum that sleepiness is determined by 'G.'

Truth said...

"Bush taught us it doesn't matter who's president. He couldn't have been less qualified or more effective."

This is sarcasm, Dennis?

Truth said...

"You would think a Harvard-educated black man could find a better- or more feminine- looking wife."

I would think that you could find a better looking wife also...Oh wait, you've never been married.

"I see Michelle Obama as a good choice of wife for him. She isn't ugly, exactly, just huge and hulking. She has pleasant features when she's not scowling. And she's bright enough to appreciate him but not bright enough to compete with him..."

Why Kylie, that's very mature of you; I had to look twice to make sure it was you. One or two subtle digs, but not up to your normal standards of anti-Michelle nastiness. Did you go to church yesterday?

Anonymous said...

Good luck against someone like Trump, whose scandals are already well known and discounted. Soon enough even the College Educated White women will abandon him.


Wrong. Leaders get the women vote when they pull off the alphabet trick--they appear threatening but safe, reassuringly strong but reassuringly devoted to your interests. Alpha male but tameable. Trump is just a threatening lout.

Dennis Dale said...

This is sarcasm, Dennis?

No. Mild overstatement.
W's evident incompetence and light grasp of issues and principles were little handicap (they may have even helped) as he led one of the most politically successful presidencies in history.

We could ascribe that to a crazy-like-a-fox brilliance that isn't revealed in the Alfred E. Neuman visage, the confused syntax, or in the lack of gravitas and decorum. It's not inconceivable.

But I ascribe it to the unique nature of the modern presidency--extraordinary powers vested in an office that is nonetheless held by a politician beholden to (or bullied by) various factions and bound to a two-year election cycle.

Svigor said...

"Wouldn't it be something if hispanics began treating empty black suits in public with the contempt they reserve for them in private?"

Another white man with the mystical abillity to turn into a 'fly on the wall' at will.

Consider me impressed.


Because whites never speak with "hispanics" in private, of course.

Truth said...

"Because whites never speak with "hispanics" in private, of course."

That's funny, I have on more than a few occasions, heard anti 'white boy, gringo, guero, and Anglo' comments made by Hispanics of all hues, but for the life of me I have never bothered to extrapolate 9 or 10 comments to a group of 50 million.


Of course maybe that's just me, or maybe that's because I don't have any particular animus towards white people, and if I did, I DAMN SURE wouldn't need someone else's corroboration!