Presidential History

Same Old, Same Old. Thank Goodness.

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Obama:

"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them—that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply." 

I must be one of those cynics, I guess. But all those old stale political arguments still do apply. We're still going to have to make decisions about spending and debt, the size of government, foreign policy, and regulation of individual behavior.

Same old, same old, I know. But on this day of the peaceful transition of power, we should be grateful that we're going to come out of the handoff and still face the same old stuff. That's how you know we're doing something right.

NEXT: Jesus Shows Up at the Inauguration

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  1. the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply

    Dissent is the highest form of treason.

  2. I wonder what his ‘Great Leap Forward’ is going to be?

  3. But on this day of the peaceful transition of power, we should be grateful that we’re going to come out of the handoff and still face the same old stuff. That’s how you know we’re doing something right.

    Yeah, KMW, we’re totally doing something right. How big is the deficit? What are the projections for entitlement spending for the next few decades? What kind of shape is our military in? How many innocent people and nonviolent offenders are rotting in jail or in graves because of the Drug War?

  4. Not that I think Obama was going to change any of that, but let’s not pretend there isn’t a pressing and immediate need for DEEP changes in our political system.

  5. typical cosmotarian bs. Don’t rock the boat I guess.

  6. “Nine eleven changed everything” is one of those stale political arguments that no longer applies. If Obama will just cut back on the frequency of “Be afraid. Be very afraid. Shut up and play along with any security theater we impose or else TERRORISTS WILL KILL YOU AAAIIIGH” arguments, that alone will be a huge improvement over the last eight years.

  7. I don’t know Jennifer. I’d like to concur, but I have this growing fear we’re on the precipice of The Greatest Depression. On the bright side, an Orwellian state requires a massive bureaucracy. The collapse of civilization, really would put an end to the age of Big Government.

  8. “Jennifer | January 20, 2009, 12:38pm | #
    “Nine eleven changed everything” is one of those stale political arguments that no longer applies. ”

    Yeah, I think that whole era has ended thank God.

  9. We’re still going to have to make decisions about spending and debt, the size of government, foreign policy, and regulation of individual behavior.

    Let’s see here.

    Spending and debt: more on both
    Size of government: Bigger
    Foreign Policy: Stay the course
    Regulation of individual behavior: what individual behavior, we’re all in this together.

    Oh, and this reminds me. Something that I was listening to a couple of weeks ago re: Obama closing down Gitmo.

    The question was asked about how the Obama administration would go about closing Gitmo. The person said that we would have to go through a process to find out which prisoners are dangerous or guilty, which ones had valuable information, and which one’s could be let go before it was closed.

    Isn’t this pretty much exactly what the Bush administration could argue it was already doing?

  10. I felt as if Obama was speaking directly to me, concerning cynincs, and I loved it. It felt sort of like a challenge, actually, and one I’m certainly eager to meet.

  11. Obama: “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them-that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.”

    Ironically, that itself is the cynical statement of someone who knows he can’t actually win the old arguments, so he just wants to pretend they’re irrelevant.

  12. Cunnivore-

    I think KMW was refering to the peaceful transition of power from one head of state to another in re “doing something right.” No matter how many times we have done it in the US, its still a pretty substantial accomplishment in the context of the history of the world.

  13. Jennifer: agreed. That and that alone could be change I could believe in.

    Unfortunately I’ve been doing a lot of musing on the state of our democracy, and I’ve come to some disturbing conclusions. We don’t live in one.

    And I don’t mean that in the cynical, small way, but in a very sincere big way.

    Specifically, our country is so regulated, so completely canvassed by institutions which carry out the business of government most of which are run by career bureaucrats, that the actual daily business of govt. is divorced from the democratic process. In essence, these institutions are independenly run… on auto-pilot if you will. They’re franchises. The process runs down through so many filters, that they’re almost divorced from any one administration. They’re too powerful even for a president to reverse their trends.

  14. I don’t know Jennifer. I’d like to concur, but I have this growing fear we’re on the precipice of The Greatest Depression.

    Except that “the economy is in bad shape and likely to get worse before it gets better” is most likely true, compared to “If you don’t let TSA flunkies do whatever bullshit things they want to you, then TERRORISTS WILL BLOW UP YOUR PLANE AND NUKE DES MOINES AAAIIIIGGH.”

    Remember the Reason writer who argued that bans on carry-on luggage and bottles of water were justified because they keep us safe, and furthermore there’s no Constitutional right to drink water on an airplane? THAT is the sort of pants-wetting thumb-sucking cower-under-the-bed political argument I’ll be glad to be rid of: the idea that if even one person in the United States shits his pants in fear over the thought of a terrorist attack, any new law or restriction is justified so long as the government is first willing to say “Oh, yeah, we’re doing this to prevent terrorism.”

    The country DOES have legitimate problems to deal with, and it would be stupid to pretend otherwise, but that’s entirely different from the attitude “Let’s assume that even the most remote possibility of danger is almost guaranteed to happen, and let’s take whatever steps are deemed necessary to prevent it, no matter how many freedoms and liberties we have to give up in the process.”

  15. the peaceful transition of power from one head of state to another

    It might have been peaceful for you and that SOB Johnson………..

  16. Remember the Reason writer who argued that bans on carry-on luggage and bottles of water were justified because they keep us safe, and furthermore there’s no Constitutional right to drink water on an airplane? THAT is the sort of pants-wetting thumb-sucking cower-under-the-bed political argument I’ll be glad to be rid of:

    And if Obama loosens the TSA’s death grip on airports and airlines by revoking their ridiculous rules, I will personally and publicly applaud him as someone willing to take the hard, high road. But, I confidently predict (again):

    Aint. Gonna. Happen.

    Will he preside over more silly TSA restrictions, implicitly approving “the idea that if even one person in the United States shits his pants in fear over the thought of a terrorist attack, any new law or restriction is justified”? I really hope not, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m Hoping for Change I Can Believe In. I’m just not counting on it.

  17. Remember the Reason writer who argued that bans on carry-on luggage and bottles of water were justified because they keep us safe, and furthermore there’s no Constitutional right to drink water on an airplane?

    Hmm. I know it’s not really the point, but… there isn’t any such right. The airlines are privately operated. Any private security measures they want to take should remain legal, regardless of how ridiculous, no?

  18. I see the stock market is mightily impressed by Obama’s speechifying.

    The NASDAQ and S&P500 averages are both down over 3%

  19. Any private security measures they want to take should remain legal

    The TSA is a private security measure? Who knew?

  20. The airlines are privately operated. Any private security measures they want to take should remain legal, regardless of how ridiculous, no?

    Airline security IS NOT private. It is a government operation.

    Airlines, being privately run, and if they also ran their own security, would probably stick to more realistic threats because they’d have to balance customer anger with probably threats to security. Right now, we have a government agency running security that can and does do anything it wants, regardless of any realistic justification.

  21. probable* threats to security. sheesh.

  22. Hmm. I know it’s not really the point, but… there isn’t any such right. The airlines are privately operated. Any private security measures they want to take should remain legal, regardless of how ridiculous, no?

    As has been pointed out already, airline security is the government, not private industry. It’s the government that says more than three ounces of shampoo in your carry-on is a terrorist threat. More to the point, I’d be glad to see an end to the presidentially inspired zeitgeist that has even ostensible libertarians above the age of five so incontinently terrified that, in the name of Safety, they’ll say what boils down to “If the Constitution doesn’t specifically allow it, it’s okay for the government to ban it. Especially since I’m really, really scared right now, and want Big Daddy Government to make me feel safe. Your water bottle scares me, and the Constitution doesn’t say you can have it, so hurray for its being outlawed.”

  23. The big airlines don’t want to have private security because (1) it opens them up to liability if an attack occurs and (2) it gives another opportunity for upstarts to innovate. That is, if United and American decide they won’t let you bring liquids on board, Southwest might decide to allow liquids and then broadcast commercials about this, attracting customers away from the older airlines.

  24. The thing I hate about this kind of rhetoric is that it pre-answers anyone who criticizes the speaker, making the statement self-insulating.

    The fact that it is a fallacy can easily be seen by putting anything into the argument:

    “There are cynics out there who believe we cannot build a perpetual energy machine powered by love and imagination. Let me say to them, they forget what America has done already. I ask you to please stop bringing up the old arguments of the past and just join us in this effort.”

  25. Except that “the economy is in bad shape and likely to get worse before it gets better” is most likely true, compared to “If you don’t let TSA flunkies do whatever bullshit things they want to you…

    One could argue (I don’t know if one actually has) that we’re more secure now because the economy is in such poor shape. If I were Al Qaeda, I’d take credit for the current mess at every opportunity. And having done what I set out to do — destabilize the economies of the West — I could now claim victory and move on.

  26. “But all those old stale political arguments still do apply…”

    Of course they do for you, you market fundamentalist bitch.

  27. Nothing is more cynical than pandering, which Obama has turned into an art form.

  28. Airline security IS NOT private. It is a government operation.

    Ah. I wasn’t sure about this. Thanks. In any case, I stand by the point that the airlines should be able to impose or ignore whatever security measures they want to, so we’re probably in agreement.

  29. “If the Constitution doesn’t specifically allow it, it’s okay for the government to ban it. Especially since I’m really, really scared right now, and want Big Daddy Government to make me feel safe. Your water bottle scares me, and the Constitution doesn’t say you can have it, so hurray for its being outlawed.”

    I don’t know many libertarians, ostensibly or otherwise, who ever said anything like that…

  30. If Obama will just cut back on the frequency of “Be afraid. Be very afraid. Shut up and play along with any security theater we impose or else TERRORISTS WILL KILL YOU AAAIIIGH” arguments, that alone will be a huge improvement over the last eight years.

    It’s just been replaced with “Be afraid. Be very afraid. Shut up and play along with any trillion dollar treasury looting we impose or else WE’LL ALL BE REDUCED TO EATING OUR OWN FECES IN THE STREETS AAAAIIIIGH.”

  31. Obama just wanted to add to the list of things that are common sense. You know, those those things that can be intellectually defended as easily as saying “everybody knows THAT, duh!”

    – America is good, so everything that America does is also good.

    – Rights are granted by the government, so if it’s not written down somewhere word for word it’s not protected.

    – A two party political system is the most beneficial.

    – Capitalism, which is inherently evil, caused the Great Depression. FDR saved the day with government intervention.

    – Drugs are bad. The government defines the difference between drugs, medicine, food, and proper vegetation. The only way to combat this menace is through force.

    Obama just added:

    – The size and scope of government doesn’t actually matter as long as it works. The government will define what “works”.

  32. Every inauguration proclaims a seismic change, and Obama, in his turn, proclaims seismic change, oblivious to the fact that he is saying exactly what everyone else has ever said.

  33. I don’t know many libertarians, ostensibly or otherwise, who ever said anything like that…

    Back when the British told us NEVER EVER to allow liquids on airplanes, around 2005 or so, there was at least one Hit and Run writer arguing in favor of the ban on the grounds that carry-on luggage isn’t a Constitutional right. And besides, it’s to keep us safe.

    It’s just been replaced with “Be afraid. Be very afraid. Shut up and play along with any trillion dollar treasury looting we impose or else WE’LL ALL BE REDUCED TO EATING OUR OWN FECES IN THE STREETS AAAAIIIIGH.”

    That’s Obama merely shoveling from the same pile of bullshit Bush created. In that regard, Prez 44 is no better and no worse than Prez 43.

  34. “Airlines, being privately run, and if they also ran their own security, would probably stick to more realistic threats because they’d have to balance customer anger with probably threats to security.”

    The airlines did run airport security before 9/11. The creation of the TSA was one of the reforms of homeland security the congressional Democrats at the time were pushing hard for, against, at best, half-hearted resistance from Bush.

    Quoth Tom Daschle “We cannot professionalize unless we federalize”.

  35. “Check your premises”

    Obama: “No one is allowed to question my premises!”

  36. I’m waiting for the day when Lefiti’s comments boil down to a simple ‘Fuck you’. It seems to be drawing near.

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