Joan Walsh: Obama is a "centrist who'd placed a high value on conciliation," but "Republicans are acting like terrorists"

If you want to see a good snapshot of what the world looks like right now from the (shrinking) Obamaphiliac left, this Joan Walsh column will do the trick. Come for the long alternative-reality analysis of economic policy, but make sure to stay for this meditation on conciliation at the end:

Too many progressives sold Obama as a soulmate, when it was always clear he was a centrist who'd placed a high value on conciliation, and who believed he was good at it: He'd done it all his life, how could it not work in Washington? It's unfair to blame him for being the president he said he'd be. So far, conciliation has not worked, and the president will face tough choices between the two divergent sides of his 2008 coalition. The nation needs a leader who explains just how bad things are, but reassures people we're up to the challenge.

Obama's great speech shredding the Ryan plan laid out part of the "story" he needs to tell – Republicans seem to have given up on the American dream; Democrats still believe it – but he's got to keep hammering those themes. And it would be nice to see him match words with deeds soon – not caving to GOP blackmail on the debt ceiling might be a place to start. But Republicans are acting like terrorists, threatening to take down the economy in the absence of big cuts. It's scary out there right now, and we need a leader who'll fight for what he believes in.

I don't think Obama is the president "he said he'd be," particularly on some important issues usually championed by the progressive left. But this is a column to bookmark, not nitpick.

For whiplash aficionados, Walsh condemned right-wingers for playing the rhetorical Terrorist Card in June 2009, called Republican critics of the president "traitorous" and "un-American" in December 2009, reacted to the Tucson shooting this January by "swearing off the rhetoric of violence," argued a few days later that there is no left-wing equivalent to the right's incendiary rhetoric, then two months later labeled Glenn Beck an "economic terrorist." In 2009, she accused me of committing "one of the dumbest white-boy outbursts in the history of covering Obama."

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  • ||

    Hmm, I love the smell of sycophantic partisan delusion in the morning.

  • Ska||

    Smells like........vinegar.

  • ||

    Like a...douche? How perfect.

  • ||

    Partisan delusion has no odor nor taste, which is why it spreads so quickly through the population. The only evidence is an incessant, shrill screeching noise that emanates from the willing host, once infected.

    Ivy-league idiot savants like Walsh are particularly susceptible to it as heavy sniffing and turned up noses only speed in the rate of which the infection enters the host and consumes the brain.

  • ||

    Joan Walsh is an intemperate, puerile, self-parodying cunt.

  • ||

    You idiots go out of your way to impress each other. Don't the people who believe George Bush's pathetic stewardship of the economy was actually good economics suffer from the same sickness?

  • Joe M||

    Joan Walsh: imbecile or idiot? Discuss.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You left out "moron." Why are you never open to shades of gray?

  • ||

    Can't we just settle on "every fucking thing that's wrong with this country?"

  • Mike M.||

    The real domestic economic terrorists of today are the pieces of shit like Joan Walsh who think that we should imitate death spiral basket cases like Greece and Japan, when any remotely normal person knows that to do so would be utterly insane.

  • fish||

    Sometimes its hard to be a woman
    Giving all your love to just one man president
    You'll have bad times
    And he'll have good times
    Doing things that you don't understand
    But if you love him you'll forgive him
    Even though he's hard to understand
    And if you love him
    Oh be proud of him
    'Cause after all he's just a man president
    Stand by your man president
    Give him two arms to cling to
    And something warm to come to
    When nights are cold and lonely
    Stand by your man president
    And tell the world you love him
    Keep giving all the love you can
    Stand by your man president
    Stand by your man president
    And show the world you love him
    Keep giving all the love you can
    Stand by your man president

  • ||

    apparently we're all terrorists now - Republican or not.

  • T||

    Well, if they're gonna keep calling people terrorists eventually somebody will step up and remind them what homegrown American terrorism looks like.

  • FBI||

    *ahem*

  • ||

    Its about time we had a centrist president again.

    It was Bush that socialized banking via TARP, mailed out $300 checks to everyone, started a program to gift low-income homebuyers $10,000 for downpayments (American Dream Downpayment Act), began the only new entitlement since the 60's (Medicare Welfare Part D) -- give me some more fucking Centrism over GOPism anytime!!!

  • Preening WarLord Barack||

    Thanks again shrieek for covering for me while I bomb as much as I please!

  • ||

    See? Incessant, shrill screeching. A sure sign of infection.

  • ||

    Pointing out a few Bush facts = "screeching" - we know a Santorum fan when we see one, pal.

  • shrike's sister||

    *screech* *screech*

  • ||

    Gah! The noise! It's worse than pod-people!

  • Preening WarLord Barack||

    Your check is in the mail shreeky. I've got a a billion dollar campaign war chest to pay you folks for this. Keep up the good work...I'm a centrist now!

  • Dean Wormer||

    Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, Shrike.

  • Tman||

    Serious question shriek, how many more years of Obamanomics do we have to suffer through before you stop blaming Bush for Obama's failures?

    I'm truly curious to see your answer.

  • BushPigObamaWarLoot||

    It's not the screeching about the Bush atrocities, it's the complete and willful blindness to Obama's destructive economic and foreign policies. Only a paid shill would comment like shreek does.

  • ||

    What did I write that was untrue about Bushy-boy?

    Did he not start all that leftist shit?

    Just try to stick to one fact - ok?

  • BushPigObamaWarLoot||

    Everything you wrote was true. The point of the comment went over your head.

  • BushPigObamaWarLoot||

    Yes, BushPig indeed started all the shit (thought the stage was set by his predecessors), but I don't give Obama credit for "saving" the worst policies of Bush and "creating" some even worse ones.

  • Not an Economist||

    My impression is the only problem Obama had with any of these policies were that they were too small.

    Can you point to any evidence Obama thought those policies were too big or not legal?

  • ||

    yeah - Obama rolled TARP back and replaced it with private capital (SCAP) in March 2009. The market soared as a result.

  • ||

    Up is down! Left is right! Poverty is wealth! Unemployment is funny!

  • Not an Economist||

    I guess his vote for TARP doesn't count.
    And who cares about the rest of the country while Obama's Wall Street buddies are doing okay.

  • ||

    Where does she get this conciliation bit? I can't see where he's attempted even fig-leaf conciliation with the Republicans. Or the Democrats for that matter.

    I'd say he's most notable for taking no particular actions with the legislature at all, preferring to remain above the fray and simply take credit for whatever the process produces. Unless it doesn't work. Then he can lay off blame elsewhere.

    As far as action goes - he seems particularly averse to conciliation. In fact, he seems to prefer eschewing legislative entanglements altogether and going it alone on his executive authority. Libya is only the most recent example. Net neutrality didn't exactly involve a lot of across-the-isle horse trading in congress. Or redirecting TARP and auto bailout funds "as required by circumstances on the ground". etc.

    I'd say his defining feature is not conciliation, but being Chauncey Gardner in public, while doing as he pleases with the levers of power.

    So far nobody seems interested in stopping him. You'd think they could at least all get together for a resolution endorsing Libya just to maintain proper constitutional authority, but you've only got a couple of back-benchers like Kucinich and Rand Paul agitating about that.

  • Mike M.||

    Where does she get this conciliation bit? I can't see where he's attempted even fig-leaf conciliation with the Republicans. Or the Democrats for that matter.

    He has reluctantly given in to bipartisanship one time so far, and that was when he was dragged into extending all of the Bush era tax rates kicking and screaming. There are no other examples I can think of.

  • OMABA2000&12;||

    Deficit spending grows the economy and economic growth is whats needed to solve our debt problem. Why is it only democrats that seem to understand economics and math.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But he's never going to be the old Obama, whom dreamy young progressives could believe would be a left-wing hero...

    The old Obama was the tabula rasa. Now that he's had to do what before becoming president he never did - govern - there's no going back to that wonderful blank onto which you projected your hopes.

    I know it's fun to marvel at something like this column, but Walsh right now is so embarrassingly self-marginalized do you really want to waste Reason ink on her? The answer is yes, because it is fun.

  • ||

    You're right about the 'tabula rasa' - I know misguided progs who hate Obama for his old/new tax cuts, accelerated capital depreciation, and his insistence on the use of private capital to fortify the banking system.

    They are as much idiots as teabaggers are.

  • ||

    Mmm... these nuts I'm sucking on taste delicious!

  • Spoonman.||

    Some people just can't admit they were wrong.

  • Tony||

    By my count Republicans have killed far more Americans than terrorists. And holding the US and world economy hostage over their insane plutocratic wish list isn't exactly a patriotic move.

  • ||

    Terrorism is almost exclusively a right-wing phenomena, whether its Tim McVeigh, Al Qaeda, abortion killers like Scott Roeder/Eric Rudolf, etc.

    The exception would be the Eco-Terrorists Monkey Wrench types.

  • ||

    I should add that the effects of the screeching increases on a exponential scale, when the hosts are gathered in large groups, which are known as "puddles."

  • BushPigObamaWarLoot||

    Give Obama a pass until his death toll catches up and then go silent, right?

  • ||

    You seem to have a fixation on Libya. I do not.

    Gaddafi killed more Americans than Saddam did and Obama will help NATO kill him at 1/2000 the cost.

  • Joe R.||

    None of which has anything to do with congressional approval, unless you are pointing out that it should be significantly easier to obtain.

  • ||

    Obama doesn't need it!

    Its not a war. The OBL assassination involved a US manned military mission - much more warlike than supporting NATO.

  • Cytotoxic||

    PAGING BARFMAN

  • ||

    Where am I wrong?

    JW "I am a God Damn GOP/Bush man!"

  • ||

    Where am I wrong?

    Now there's a hole with no bottom!

  • You forget the Hayden types||

    ...as usual....

  • ||

    you have to go back to the 60's/SDS.

    Which is fascinating that the anti-Gov types then were leftists and now they are right-wing.

    that was then - this is now.

    I say it is due to the Supreme Court more than anything.

    Us Secularists are winning.

  • ||

    I'm so retarded.

  • cynical||

    Or, you know, the early anarchist socialists...

  • cynical||

    I think your count left out WW1, WW2, and Vietnam.

  • Tolly||

    I love that these delusional cheerleaders are just as blinded as they accused the GOP faithful during Bush II. Kids, you're seeing a real-live stage production of Orwell's 'Animal Farm'. Unfortunately it's gonna shitcan most of your job opportunities for the next 5 - 10 years. Glad you all *ROCKED THE VOTE* and whatnot, so you could get an enormous facepalm.

    I'm reading the comments in this puff piece and it's nice to see that a lot of people are done drinking the Kool-Aid.

  • BushPigObamaWarLoot||

    WELFARE and WARFARE for all.

  • Butts Wagner||

    Glad you all *ROCKED THE VOTE* and whatnot, so you could get an enormous facepalm.

    Hey, if I didn't vote, I would have died.

  • ||

    If you're saying that most democrat/republican voters are stupid as dummies can be.... you're right.

  • ||

    Well in conjunction with a movement to legalize drugs this makes perfect sense. They really should put warning labels on writing instruments to not use under the influence of drugs, alcohol or messianic euphoria.

  • Pi||

    "It's unfair to blame him for being the president he said he'd be."

    Will someone please supply me with the transcript where Obama stated he was a corporatist who supported foreign wars of fancy and could care less about civil liberties.

  • ||

    He ran as a Democrat, right? Did you miss that part or something?

  • Pi||

    Ooops, my bad. I missed the (D) next to his name.

  • Spoonman.||

    Also, there's supreme comedy in calling a man who engaged the country in a war by himself a "conciliator."

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Naw. "Nobel Peace Prize winner" is much funnier.

  • ||

    Last night, NBC News reported that Obama's overal approval rating is 49%.
    Not good for a President at this point in his term, but WTF...half the country approves of his job performance.

  • Not an Economist||

    If I remember right, they don't like his policies, just him.

  • ||

    Those numbers are bullshit. I don't know anyone--left or right--who is happy with him.

    Frankly, I think people--on the left in particular--are uncomfortable saying what they really think of Obama due to concerns about being perceived as racist. In the anonymity of the voting booth, though, their real opinions are more likely to come out.

  • Not an Economist||

    I actually agree with you as to why his approval is high. Unfortunately, I don't think they will vote differently this time.

  • ||

    shrike-

    "Terrorism is almost always a [STATIST]
    phenomena (sic)."

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Who in the hell is Joan Walsh and why should anyone care what she thinks?

  • Virginia||

    Was she the woman that was shouted down for showing how black people are not his base b/c there just are not enough black voters?

  • Octothorpe||

    I think she was the transgendered hooker beat up in McDonalds for trying to steal Michelle's man.

  • mofo||

    "not caving to GOP blackmail on the debt ceiling might be a place to start"

    Cause nothing says progressive values like ever increasing, unsustainable debt.

  • Barbie Progressive||

    But math is hard!

  • weiner||

    hard u say?

  • Tony||

    It's Republican debt. Maybe they should shut up about it, since it was mostly they who caused it.

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    hahahahahaahahahaahhahahaha

  • ||

    Yeah, it was Ann Coulter who added all that debt!

  • Contrarian P||

    When? Since Congress controls the budget and has been largely in democratic hands for the past 30 years or so, how exactly did the republicans cause all the debt?

  • Largebill||

    Why does this clown still have a column? She destroyed what little credibility she had with her defense of Weiner and claims that Breitbart made up the twitpics. She needs to crawl under a rock and stay there.

  • ||

    She needs to crawl under a rock and stay there.

    Where do you think she writes her columns?

  • ||

    Speaking of short-to-medium-term memory failures, Shriek materializes on cue to berate the multitude of Boooooosh-lovers here.

    Because you can't hate Obama and Booooosh both at the same time.

    But wait- I can.
    I really can hate them both; and the probability that I will hate whoever the "political system" pukes out onto the National Stage next approaches one hundred per cent.

  • ||

    You can hate them both - hate everyone like Episiarch - its fine with me.

    Just don't state a falsehood like Bush is more capitalist/free market than Obama. That would be a fucking lie.

  • ||

    I'm retarded!

  • Contrarian P||

    Who said that? They are two sides of exactly the same coin. Neither one is more free market than the other.

  • ||

    By my count Republicans have killed far more Americans than terrorists.

    Yoiks.

  • Tony||

    I'm sorry if the truth hurts. The environmental and social policies pushed by Republicans have killed millions of people. Thank god we have an enlightened man in the White House who's rolling back these policies. If there was any justice, all Republicans would be tried as terrorists. They truly are evil.

  • Tman||

    Please don't feed the fake Tony.

  • ||

    Feed me!

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Was there ever a real one?

  • ||

    "The environmental and social policies pushed by Republicans have killed millions of people."

    Tony when you say stupid shit like that it makes really hard to spoof you.

  • Africa||

    Can we have some of your DDT? We're dying of malaria over here.

  • John Wilkes Voting Booth||

    When has a POTUS ever been elected for any reasons other than the most superficial? All the so-called policy issues that 98% of the people allege they vote on are really just after-the-fact rationalizations to cover for the actual meaningless reasons behind their votes.

  • creech||

    Goldwater vs. Johnson seemed to be pretty clear cut ideological difference.

  • Apogee||

    Goldwater vs. Johnson seemed to be pretty clear cut ideological difference.

    If you factor out the emotional response to an assassination.

  • ||

    Just don't state a falsehood like Bush is more capitalist/free market than Obama.

    Who the fuck did? Oh, right the voices in your head.

  • ||

    I can't even distinguish between "real" Tony and the absurdest (absurdist?) spoofs.

  • ||

    Poe's Law, baby!

  • fish||

    I can't even distinguish between "real" Tony and the absurdest (absurdist?) spoofs.

    Spoofer brings his "A" game!

  • ||

    NBC News reported that Obama's overal approval rating is 49%.

    Great. Of people too stupid to hang up when a "pollster" calls, half think the President sucks. I'll file that under "meaningless factoids".

  • Anoynmous Coward||

    It's scary out there right now...

    Would you like a nappy and bottle?

    Would a...Weiner...make you feel better?

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