Economics

Wait, the Economy Is Lousy and Obama Is Unpopular? How Could That Ever Be?

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Does that explain it?

The New York Times today has a one-page, two-story feature searching for clues to explain President Barack Obama's unpopularity. One boils down to crazy people think he's a secret Muslim, the other lets John Podesta make a semi-interesting argument that Obama has sullied his image by being a legislative president after sweeping into office on an above-it-all, post-partisanny campaign.

Missing from both, most egregiously from the latter (given that it talks specifically about legislative "successes"), is something that goes missing from way, way too much political journalism–any examination of whether the legislative accomplishments in question have a positive or negative correlation to the one factor everyone agrees is central to the president's poor numbers: the stinky economy. As in the case of budget-cut scare stories, I'm not asking for the Matt Bais of the world to agree with my crazy ideas, but rather to simply engage a question that seems elementary in any assessment of why a president is unpopular: Have his policies contributed to the worse-than-his-worst-case-scenario economy? Has he moved us forward or set us back?

Many people have opinions about that. Enough, I daresay, that it affects his poll numbers.

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  1. Its become clear that Obama Bows to the Cow, or whatever it is they bow to now days!

    Lou
    http://www.total-privacy.cz.tc

    1. We all bow to the bot now.

    2. Even the damn bot is fooking Islamophobic

      1. wouldn’t that be Baalphobic or Hinduphobic?

        1. Or even boviphobic

          1. I think by “cow” he meant fat chick, so I guess the bot has girl trouble, which when you think about it, really shouldn’t be a surprise.

    3. Isn’t that the name of that hairpile from the youtubes?

    4. Idiomatic expressions seem to trip up the bot.

  2. “The Economy Is Lousy and Obama Is Unpopular?”

    That is weird. That would be like having high unemployment and high inflation at the same time, which can never happen and is totally unpossible and not right around the corner.

    1. If libertarians had a patron saint it would be Cassandra.

      1. Cassandra was a Greek not a saint. Can you have a Partion Greek?

        1. You can only have a Patron [sic] Greek in San Francisco.

          1. *Obama inherited the bad economy from Bush!!!!!!!!!!

            1. He did, which has nothing to do with Obama’s failed efforts and probably incompetence on the issue.

          1. Yeah. Trojan.

            1. The Trojans of the Iliad were Ionian Greeks. The Ionians considered the Attic and Peloponese Greeks to be only slightly above barbarians.

              1. And of course, today they would all be Muslims. Like Obama.

              2. The Achaeans of Homer would be who we call the Mycenaeans today, although what they called themselves is unknown. I don’t think we know much about where these people came from, other than their indo-european roots, or their relationship to the contemporaneous cities of Asia minor.

                1. Archealogically, you are correct. I was speaking of their own view of themselves as expressed in the Iliad, which is their own idealized history.

                  IOW, the Greeks around the Ionian Sea thought of themselves (and their Heroic Ancestors) as Greeks, whether they lived in what is present-day Greece or what is now part of Turkey.

          2. You can party on pretty well with some Patron and Trojans. Just sayin.

        2. Can you have a Partion Greek?

          Wouldn’t that be an erastes?

        3. Not Greek. Trojan.

      2. Cassandra was a Greek not a saint. Can you have a Patron Greek?

        1. Isn’t that one shot Patron Silver and one shot Ouzo Barbayanni? Gently shake over ice and serve in a rocks glass rimmed with sugar and a mint leaf.

          Happy hour needs to get here soon.

          1. Only barbarians drink silver tequila.

      3. Don’t forget – Cassandra was always right.

        1. And never believed.

          1. The parallels are striking… though if we could avoid the rape and murder portion of her history, that would be nice, you know?

            1. If there is ever a presidential spouse named Clytemnestra, run for your life!

  3. Prescient pic.

  4. When I want answers, I always turn John Podesta and the nonpartisan Center for American Progress.

    1. You do this a lot.

  5. Matt doesn’t understand that journalistas view legislation like the Soviet Union viewed tractors: The more the better. Thus the porkulus bill, health care collectivization, etc. are all seen as “victories” because they add to the legislative capital stock.

    It’s almost as it’s a smokestack industry that makes nothing but prides itself in how much it can put out said smokestack.

    1. And what’s the most sensible way to measure output of tractors and legislation? By the pound, of course!

      1. Coming soon, legislation written on concrete blocks. Put America’s concrete workmen back to work!

      2. I want to find that strip mine where raw, unrefined legislation is extracted. Then I want to blow it up.

    2. It’s almost as it’s a smokestack industry that makes nothing but prides itself in how much it can put out said smokestack.

      The journalists are simply stupid, but the politicians are simply being self-interested: they know you can’t point to a smokestack that’s not belching out smoke. Even if it’s awful smoke, it’s a positive campaign issue. Running on a lack of smoke is like proving a negative.

      1. * Wacky environmental Gaia worship, aside.

    3. Kind of like Obama bragging about “closing Gitmo” as one of his achievements, because he had made that promise. Accomplishment by assertion.

      1. He “deemed” it closed. And thus it is. It’s actually now an unlicensed subsidiary to Club Med.

        1. I thought it was a licensed refugee camp for persons of undesirable ethnicity who couldn’t be repatriated.

      2. Thank Gawd the Prez is gittin’ our troops out of Iraq. He actually hatched that plan when he was still a Senator back in 06. Thanks buddy, couldn’t have done it without you. No one thought the troops would be comin’ home when we Obama made that deal.

    4. “”Matt doesn’t understand that journalistas view legislation like the Soviet Union viewed tractors: The more the better. Thus the porkulus bill, health care collectivization, etc. are all seen as “victories” because they add to the legislative capital stock.””

      I don’t think journalists really care about legislation, it’s just something to report on. But if it’s something that the prez wants and gets, it proper to report it as a victory for the prez.

      Of course, I’m not counting op/ed as real journalism.

      1. The issue might be the difference between what an anchorman does, and what the Obermanns and O’Reillys do.

        Much op/ed is sold as journalism thanks to 24 hour news channels.

  6. Questions are racist! Answers are Islamophobic!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38…..ite_house/

  7. Serious question(s): There are, what, 320 million Americans? How many will read this article? A few hundred thousand, maybe? Sure, it’ll get picked up by cable-news pundits who will discuss it for two minutes before an audience of maybe a million people, and obscure political blogs with readerships in the hundreds…the point is, when does citing a New York Times article become pointless and irrelevant? Are we there yet?

    1. Serious answer: You could read a similar article in today’s Washington Post, and between them they will be syndicated to (probably) scores of newspapers, and the themes therein already being discussed far afield from the narrow-but-large-and-influential readership of the New York Times. These things affect and help shape conversation, so they’re also useful starting points for injecting different ideas and viewpoints into said conversations.

      1. What is this new spaper you write of?

        1. It’s like a disposable Kindle.

          1. I would have said Kitty Litter formed into sheets.

            1. Used or unused?

              1. Used, if we’re talking about one with a Krugman oped.

                1. Yes, that’s more accurate in that case.

                  1. Only if the cat had a urinary tract infection.

                2. correction: used kitty litter without the litter.

      2. Thanks, Matt. So, in the Blog and Pundit Age, as newspapers shrink (literally) and die, the NYT is still a potent force? As potent and relevant as it was five years ago? Ten? I think the trend must be in the opposite direction. Is there a “blog of record” yet?

        1. To put it another way, do we cite the NYT because it’s relevant, or is it relevant because we continue to cite it?

          1. If you stopped citing it in general, you’d be missing on some important journalism. But re: less important stuff like Bai’s column, that’s a good question.

        2. Less potent, less relevant, but still both. There might be a blog of record, but I don’t know about it (though I reject the PoR claim, too).

          1. PoR, at least today, is a relic of the newspapers-as-the-only-source-of-news era. If the NYT said it, it was gospel. Not so now. They are but one of a million competing voices. That’s why I wonder how long they can hold on. Surely their best writers will scatter and die and the product will be diluted beyond repair. It’s just a matter of time.

            1. Pinch on Redeye has a wider distribution than the NYT.

              1. I’m still bummed that Redeye got removed from the international feed.

          2. “There might be a blog of record, but I don’t know about it”

            Umm, Reason’s H&R.

        3. They are trying to ram the Politico down our throats as the blog of record. And unfortunately, staffed with ex WAPO types, it’s more of the same establishment bullshit.

          1. Yeah. I see Politico “correspondents” every day on the cable news. I don’t know if they are being shoved down my throat (and if they saw what was down my throat they’d think twice about being shoved there) but Politico seems to have positioned itself as one of the early leaders in the “blog of record” sweepstakes. The aging doyennes of Huffington Post and Salon are putting up a good fight, and The Nation and even Mother Jones manage to get their lackeys some MSNBC face time, but Politico seems to be the front-runner.

  8. You guys are missing some key facts here. One of Obama’s key campaign promises was to renegotiate NAFTA. Although we haven’t heard much about this since the campaign ended, presumably this is because the negotiations are super secret due their obvious delicacy. Obama has been in office now for nearly 2 years, so presumably he is close to wrapping up this renegotiation process. He’ll likely sign the renegotiated NAFTA documents right around the midterm elections, thus giving his party a substantial pre-election bounce in the polls. Go Obama!

    1. Since it has escaped the American media entirely, I will point out that Canadians and Mexicans also have some parts of NAFTA that they want renegotiated. Since the US seems rather intransigent on those points, it is doubtful it is going to happen.

      OTOH, if Obama decides he can unilaterally impose changes on the other NAFTA partners “just before the midterm elections”, he is going to find himself short about 3 m bbl of oil per day. And since most Canadian oil goes to the American Midwest and the mid-term elections are just at the beginning of winter, that would not play out too well with Obama’s base.

      1. I thought we were merging into some gigantic superunion. I’m so behind the times.

        1. Come off it! You can’t let hosers and greasers join the Union!

          1. Well, that’s what I read on the Internet.

          2. beaners not greasers get you slurs right.

      2. he is going to find himself short about 3 m bbl of oil per day

        See, I always said those Canadians were just a bunch of blue-eyed arabs.

        1. Or is that just Albertans?

          1. Who are Canadians to Canadians?

            1. Newfoundlanders.

        2. Actually, I was counting the oil coming from Mexico in that 3 m bbl figure.

          I don’t know where it is landed in the US, though. If it is in Texas, those Teamsters who wanted to keep Mexican truckers off American roads are going to find the driving a little more expensive.

      3. Not to mention that Mexico is getting pissed that they can’t use their trucks up here as was agreed upon inside of NAFTA. So they’re putting together a package of punitive tariffs to get other special interests to complain loud enough that the Teamsters back down.

        1. SEND IN THE GOONS!

          1. Isn’t that always the solution?

        2. That was one of thew first things Obama did upon taking office. A harbinger of his union fellating that continues to this day.

    2. He’ll likely sign the renegotiated NAFTA documents right around the midterm elections, thus giving his party a substantial pre-election bounce in the polls.

      Looking for an October Surprise keeps political conspiracy nuts up at night.

  9. legistlative “accomplishments” dont mean crap if what you are legislating is unpopular. Politicans dont get credit just for passing stuff. Maybe his unpopularity has something to do with the fact that every major piece of legislation this congress has passed has failed to get 50 percent public support?

  10. I’m not asking for the Matt Bais of the world to agree with my crazy ideas, but rather to simply engage a question that seems elementary in any assessment of why a president is unpopular: Have his policies contributed to the worse-than-his-worst-case-scenario economy?

    I think I know why you couldn’t keep a newspaper job, Matt. When the facts don’t fit the preferred narrative, it is the facts, not the narrative, that must be jettisoned.

    1. +1

    2. For the record, I’ve never had a problem keeping a newspaper job. It’s more like the reverse.

      1. Read my comment again, Matt:

        When the facts don’t fit the preferred narrative, it is the facts, not the narrative, that must be jettisoned.

        1. I understood it fully the first time; just wanted to stress that every time I’ve left a newspaper they’ve wanted me to stay.

          1. Okay, I apologize that the meta-part of the comment (me stating that you were fired, which is untrue) was probably not obvious to anyone, and was an insult to you.

            I was trying to comment on reality, perception, and preconceived notions, but did not do so very well.

            1. You did fine, and no apologies necessary.

          2. Marbe that’s because they can see that you’re not done pissing.

    3. I like to kick Matt around. But he is better than pretty much the entire editorial staff of the NYT and WAPO put together. The fact that the LAATIMES couldn’t figure out what to do with him tells you all you need to know why they are all going broke.

      1. Yeah, that was a cheap shot on my part. Also, what you said.

        1. It could be said that the best libertarian writers are underemployed because they write so well. Also because what they write makes comfortable people feel uncomfortable. Reality is dangerous. People want warm and fuzzy.

          1. I understand your point, but I think it has more to do with the perceived internal narratives of the audience. The conservative and progressive medias are not short of scare stories.

            Unfortunately, the lack of freedom is not scary enough for most people because of the frog-in-the-boiling-pot effect. Most people don’t have the same visceral reaction to attacks on freedom that libertarians do.

            1. the lack of freedom is not scary enough for most people because of the frog-in-the-boiling-pot effect

              And most in the audience have never experienced the horrors of totalitarianism. We read about it in history class, maybe, and saw something about Hitler and Stalin (and, on the rare day, Mao) on the History Channel, but our lives have been comfortable and dictator-free. Perhaps a good reason to let in immigrants who have seen socialism (or worse) first-hand, and know how it happened, and won’t soon forget it.

          2. I’m not sure there’s great evidence of libertarian-writer underemployment, though I’m certainly open to the idea.

            1. When libertarian writers get jobs, they have a way of somehow not being very libertarian anymore.

              e.g. Weigel, McArdle.

              1. Lemme update my scoreboard – so Weigel is libertarian, this week, or will that be good for at least a month or so?

            2. No way. Weigel got fired and rehired almost immediately, almost as if the same corporate entity were involved on both ends. And he’s one of us. Maybe you better do some research next time before spouting off.

            3. Libertarian writers are vastly underpaid – you guys are the spearpoint of freedom!
              And speaking of spearpoints, undoubtedly you probably don’t get nearly all the adulation and hot young groupies you deserve, ‘O Matt, Rand it in!’

              1. I think you’re shilling for “Big Matt”.

              2. Libertarian writers are vastly underpaid – you guys are the spearpoint of freedom!

                There isn’t much money in advocating libertarianism.

                If, on the other hand, he’d been a statist writer, there’s plenty of money in that — government grants from agencies looking to expand their budgets, businesses looking for subsidies or tariffs…

  11. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Gevernors and legislators can do little to “get an economy going”.

    But they can sure f**k it up or prevent it from growing.

    1. And they can take some of the friction on the engine of commerce off by reducing spending, cutting taxes, and curtailing the regulatory burden.

  12. “The pump don’t work ’cause the vandal tool the handle…”

  13. Never let facts get in the way of good agitprop.

  14. Why is there a pic of the New Yorker?

    1. It’s a visual reference to the crazy-people-think-he’s-a-Muslim theory.

      1. What? He’s a Muslim? Is he in al Qaeda? My God, how do I not know these things?

        1. You’re too busy with HTML.

          1. Ghafla, the distraction. My bane.

      2. Okay, but what does Rain Pryor have to do with it?

  15. Jeffersonian has it right. They can’t concieve of the idea that a government intevention might be both counter productive and unpopular. People elected Obama to fix the economy. Had the banks not collapsed in 2008 or if McCain hadn’t paniced and run to Washington to bail them out Obama probably doesn’t get elected.

    But instead of focusing on the economy he spent a year getting his “legacy” health care initiative passed. It would be bad enough if people felt Obama cared about the economy and was really trying to do something just failing. He would be unpopular but still liked or at least sympathetic. Instead, I think most people feel like he is just ignoring what they care about for his own ego. And that combined with 10% unemployment is a recipe for being hated. It is only going to get worse for Obama.

    1. He’s also a terrible speaker. Many of his staff picks had legal problems. He’s limited the transparency he championed during his campaign. He hasn’t closed Gitmo. And he’s a warmonger. These on top of bad economic policy are all making this guy look like even more of a stinker than he did before January 2009.

      1. He has given more nationally televised speeches than probably any President in history. Yet, none of those speechs has ever moved the polls one inch in his favor. They guy flat out cannot convince anyone of anything. If the media wasn’t full of guilty white people dying to call a black man brilliant, they would realize he is a lousy speech maker by any objective standard. .

        1. “”They guy flat out cannot convince anyone of anything.””

          Not anymore. But he convinced enough people to vote for him to beat McCain.

          1. I think George W. Bush convinced more people to vote for Obama than Obama did.

            1. +100
              if Bush is against you, how can you fail? Why O Why didn’t he endorse Obama???

            2. So it’s Bush’s fault we have Obama?

              1. To a great extent, yes. Though the full-court media press for any Democrat would still have happened, of course.

                1. If that’s true, then to some extent Bush shares the blame for what Obama does, and to a lesser extent, the republicans for electing Bush.

                  But I don’t see it that way. Unrealistic daydreamers influenced by the ideology of Robin Hood elected Obama. I blame them.

        2. If the media wasn’t full of guilty white people dying to call a black man brilliant, they would realize he is a lousy speech maker by any objective standard.

          By the standard of contemporary political speechmaking, he’s not that bad. Pretty average most of the time.

          1. He says nothing better than anyone.
            Still, if Edwards stays the f**k out of Iowa, Obamassiah would be the veep today, at best.

            1. Don’t you mean if Edwards had stayed the f**k out of his mistress?

        3. “”they would realize he is a lousy speech maker by any objective standard.”””

          You mean speech giver?

          Presidents usually have their speeches written for them.

          He’s a much better speaker than the last guy with his short sentences, Intenets, and childrens.

          1. The real question is: Is our children learning?

            …etc.

            1. Since we’re making fun of local dialects does anybody else laugh at the BBC for pronouncing his name ‘President O-ba-mer’

    2. Even if he had passed no legislation he would be unpopular because he is a muslin terrorist (sarcasm), I mean, because we have high unemployment. If he had done nothing, it would be just like the oil spill. Then the high unemployment would really be his fault because he had not started a WPA and a CCC, etc. as that great economy savior FDR did. Face it, the truth does not matter. The myths are so far engrained that the truth can’t penetrate. Even if we end up with 15% unemployment and 20% inflation, the next set of politicians are just as likely to lead us into fascism or enact strong anti-immigration and high tariffs as they are to actually do the right thing economically. And we have the built in explanation from krugdoof that the stimulus was not nearly big enough and he predicted the high unemployment. We are doomed. Get off planet earth as quickly as you can!!

      1. People keep mentioning tarriffs. Yet other than the second order effects of cap and trade I don’t know of one policy being put forward today that increases tarriffs. And I don’t know of one politician other than a few real leftist dems who supports them. Yet, people keep saying tarriffs are going to go up. I just don’t get it. It is like people rightfully hate politicians so they assume they must support every bad idea.

  16. Oh what? The country’s best hope who reads a teleprompter so well isn’t a good President? What a shocker!

    1. But he’s black!

      1. He’s not black, he’s Elmer Gantry.

      2. A BLACK SHERRIF?!

  17. The people of this country who elected him deserve every bit of misery they have now. They bought into his bullshit like a bunch of lemmings who would all follow him off a cliff!

    1. Maybe, but why should the rest of us have to suffer?

  18. You do this a lot.

    I need an intern.

    1. You mean like Senators need interns? Like that kind of “intern”?

      I think we all need a little of that.

  19. Obama has a socialist agenda. The intelligentsia have a socialist agenda. It’s just a shame social experiments cannot be carried out scientifically because there is no “control” sector of society. So expect more of same and more of shame.

    1. I have sent repeatedly sent letters requesting to be a designated as part of society’s “Control Group” – that is, the people ‘They’ don’t fuck with.

      1. Perhaps you aren’t noble enough or savage enough to meet their Rousseauesque standards.

      2. You’re being left out, just like this guy.

    2. “It’s just a shame social experiments cannot be carried out scientifically because there is no “control” sector of society.”

      We used to have this thing called federalism that worked pretty good in that way.

      1. When things get bad enough, a new form of federalism will appear. Hope the concomitant social experiments spare us any “test to destruction”.

    3. Actually i don’t believe that Obama does have a socialist agenda.

      What Obama has is a power agenda.

      This, of course, makes him no different than your generic run-of-the-mill politico. And like most politicos he believes the way to gain power is to promise lots of free shit to a broad a coalition as possible and the way to hold power is to appear to deliver as much of said free stuff as possible while only delivering as much as is actually feasible.

      Obama’s problem is that he is not nearly as smart as he or his supporters think he is.

      1. Very true; wanting to do all of these things isn’t the same as having the power or intelligence to actually do them.

      2. I don’t think it is necessary to invoke ill will on the part of most liberals or Obama. They sincerely believe that their policies will help “the little guy” and at the same time get them re-elected. It’s just stupidity, not evil.

      3. Isaac, I almost said something similar, but I was trying to keep my point simple. Socialists make up 30-40 percent of voters? It’s Populists who agree with them enough to make a total of over 50 percent thus putting us in the fix we’re in.

        1. Socialist don’t make up that much of the voting bloc. No way.

          Most people vote Team Blue because they despise so/neo-conism not because they truly believe in the progressive statist dream.

          It’s just that the socialist/progressive happen to be the loudest (journalists) and most influential (academics) group of people that do a good enough job of convincing the majority of Team Blue voters (and occasionally swing voters) that if only we stop Team Red, by voting for Team Blue, pot/prostitution/whatever social vice one has that is blocked by the moral majority fucks of Team Red will be abolished.

          Of course this is false, look at Obama on med pot v his campaign promises, but all they’ll do is blame it on Team Red, rinse and repeat.

          My point is that most people don’t vote for Team Blue because they are overt statists, but because they fucking hate what Team Red has become.

      4. But he’s got a HARVARD degree! He went to HARVARD!!1! AND he was on the Law Review!! And he was a dreamy Con Law perfesser at Chicago Law!! He’s a FREAKING GENIUS but you’re just TOO STUPID to see it!!

        Racist.

    4. “It’s just a shame social experiments cannot be carried out scientifically because there is no “control” sector of society.”

      I like to point to North and South Korea, or East and West Germany as excellent controlled experiments in socialism.

    5. “”The intelligentsia..””

      What does that mean?

    6. No he doesn’t.

      socialism – 4 dictionary results
      so?cial?ism? ?/?so????l?z?m/ Show Spelled[soh-shuh-liz-uhm] Show IPA
      ?noun
      1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
      2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
      3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

      Obama does not believe in the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

      The only thing Obama has done that is really socialist was semi-nationalizing the auto companies, and that was an attempt to prevent them from going out of business and laying off tens of thousands of people during the bottom of a recession (and government support of GM and Chrysler began under Bush because of this). He had made no attempt to nationalize Apple or Google, or grocery stores, or cement manufacturers, or the oil companies, or anything else. He’s not even nationalizing the health care industry (there is not even a “public option”).

      1. The only way that people get away with arguing that he doesn’t have an agenda with a socialist bent is by whipping out the ‘purist’ definition of ‘socialism’, which, if attempted, would be like asking the voters to eat a grapefruit without any sugar on it. The ‘progressive’ (nicely ripped off label) agenda is deeply rooted in the basic tenets of socialist philosophy, including the idea that there is no such thing as natural rights, and all rights are ‘allowed’ by the state, the state should be in control of anything ‘important’, and so on. Now, whether or not these guys that actually gain office actually believe such hogwash, or if they’re simply using the platitudes to swoon the brain dead proletariat simply as a means to an end is an open question. But then the same question applies to just about any of the figures that have used Marxism/Socialism as a means to the ends of power – did they actually believe their own press, or was it just a convenient path for them to use? The apparent shallowness of quite a few public officials seems to provide an answer of ‘they don’t truly believe squat beyond what will get them into, and keep them in, positions of authority’, and such a case could be made for Skippy as well. Health Care is something pointed to as contraindicating both a lack of conviction AND as evidence he’s on a socialist bent; the latter is debatable, as the system now seems rigged to ensure the collapse of private insurers, thus creating the ’emergency’ that would be used to justify further government intervention, and as such indicates that he both believes this crap, and is acting upon it.

        And if it farts like a duck. . .

        1. Let me be more simple:

          You can’t be a socialist if you don’t think the government should own all or most major industries in a state.

          I’ll give you an example of an actual socialist: Hugo Chavez. He’s having the government buy up or otherwise control all major industry in the country, with disasterous results.

          The only industries Obama has brought under government control have been ones that would have failed without such (GM, Chrysler, AIG is pretty much it). Now, a strong argument can be made that this is bad, although an equally strong argument can be made that the loss of everybody who worked for the two auto companies (and their suppliers and dealers), plus the effect on the financial system due to AIG collapsing, during the middle of a major recession, might have triggered an actual depression.

          Now Obama has policies you, and others here, don’t like. That’s fine. But words have meanings, and those policies don’t make him a socialist.

          As for saying progressives/liberals/Democrats think all rights come from the state, you are simply wrong on that. Some “hippie-type” liberals do think the state should control industry much more than it currently does, but I’ve seen nothing that indicates Obama thinks like that, for instance.

          I consider myself a liberal or progressive, and here’s my personal philsophy: The government should provide a base level of living for it’s citizens (meaning I believe in public school, public supported health care, welfare for the poor (although attached to job training and requirements to look for a job, etc.), public transit, government-built infrastructure (roads, waterways, etc.)). It should pay for such by a reasonable (but not excessive) level of taxation. But other than that, it should stay out of people’s business. I’m against most zoning laws, am pro-second amendment, think the government should legalize drugs/prostitution/gambling (and tax it). I think that regulation of business should be mostly for health and safety reasons (OSHA, you can’t build unsafe products, etc.) and not for arbitrary reasons. I am absolutely not a socialist and do not want the government involved in industry.

          1. an equally strong argument can be made that the loss of everybody who worked for the two auto companies (and their suppliers and dealers), plus the effect on the financial system due to AIG collapsing, during the middle of a major recession, might have triggered an actual depression.

            WE ARE IN AN ACTUAL RECESSION.

            1. DEPRESSION!

          2. “”I’ll give you an example of an actual socialist: Hugo Chavez. He’s having the government buy up or otherwise control all major industry in the country, with disasterous results.””

            And some think that’s what Obama is doing.

            Bush was not like Hitler.
            Obama is not like Chavez.

          3. So he’s only a socialist if he suceeds in actually bring industries under government control? And he’s not a socialist unless multiple companies are brought under government control? Trying to do the above but failing doesn’t count? Wanting a public option doesn’t count?

            So Bush wasn’t really in favor of social security reform since Congress didn’t enact it? And since Roe v. Wade is still in place GWB was clearly pro choice. Neat how that works!

      2. The only thing Obama has done that is really socialist was semi-nationalizing the auto companies,

        To be more precise he syndicalized or corporatized them, although corporatism implies national syndicalism.

  20. I think that New Yorker cartoon is about the most brilliant political cartoon in the last 20 years. It pokes fun at Obama’s critics, but still resonates with Obama’s new Leftist past to be a dig at him as well. It really is brilliant.

    1. hmm …. all it does for me is to bring up a pretty clear mental picture of all the New Yorkers looking down their nose at the rest of the country. and me. Goes really well with Welch’s article though.

      1. That is what they meant. But they missed the fact that it is a pretty good send up of the Obamas. It has a double edge they never intended.

      2. all it does for me is to bring up a pretty clear mental picture of all the New Yorkers looking down their nose at the rest of the country

        I don’t see how you can interpret it that way. Maybe you’re looking at that cover but seeing this one:

        http://strangemaps.files.wordp…..yorker.jpg

        1. Because that is all they have to explain why the rest of us aren’t so hot about this Obama guy: a shallow strawmanish understanding. Like when Chris Matthews says: I don’t understand why these peiople don’t like my guy, therefore, since I can’t understand it, I’ll just write them all off as birthers and racists. It’s proof by ignorance. Except the ingorance is the only believeable part.

    2. Absolutely. It works in all the right ways.

      1. THAT is WHAT she SAID!

  21. You could read a similar article in today’s Washington Post, and between them they will be syndicated to (probably) scores of newspapers, and the themes therein already being discussed far afield from the narrow-but-large-and-influential readership of the New York Times.

    So this sudden return of the campaign-era “Obama: Too Beautiful For This World” stories-in-chorus thing is more of a thing than the not-news that the chorus dissembles unpersuasively, isn’t it?

    1. I am enjoying reading this question over and over again.

    2. I said on a thread yesterday that the NPR spin after the Dems get killed in November will be “Yesteday a racist, confused, angry and bitter America took out its frustration and fear on hapless Democratic incumbants. Can even someone as brilliant as Obama govern this obviously ungovernable country”.

      They will never admit their policies have failed. It will always be someone else’s fault even if that means the electorate itself is not worthy of its leaders.

      1. Please don’t make me kick my radio on November 3rd.

        1. Don’t kick the radio. Lick up their delicious tears. Then start crying when you realize that Team Red is unlikely to do any better.

      2. NPR would be right about one thing: America *is* ungovernable as a unitary mega-state.

        As a decentralized, federal republic, however, it works quite nicely.

        1. They’ve officially been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole for 150 years (at least). By design, that shit ain’t gonna work.

      3. +1

      4. Don’t forget to mention the racists who voted for a black Republican over a white Democrat.

      5. That is brilliant, and all-purpose:

        Yesteday a racist, confused, angry and bitter _____took out its frustration and fear on hapless _____.

      6. “”They will never admit their policies have failed. It will always be someone else’s fault even if that means the electorate itself is not worthy of its leaders.””

        Which party are we talking about?

  22. And it’ll get worse for state taxpayers with the Every State Must Allow Collective Bargaining Act about to pass the Senate (already passed the house).

    Only two Virginia (the state with the most to lose) delegates are sponsoring it. One of whom is in possibly the most gerrymandered district in the country.

    Fortunately our AG can’t wait to bitch slap it harder than he did Obamacare.

    1. Holy shit, is Robert Scott still around?

      I used to live in P-town and I can tell you, the NBP was alive and well at polling places long before this last election. Every year they used to troll around outside my polling place in their fatigues. I engaged one of them once and asked what all the scare tactics were about. He told me we had been scaring blacks for over 400 years and it was about time that they looked after their own. When I made it in the polling place I was fully prepared to voice a complaint until I approached the desk where I had to give my name and found the man sitting there dressed in the same get-up as the guy outside was.

      That District is completely f-ed up, and I thankfully moved….to California where I am stuck living in our 20th District, which has been carved out in nearly as f-ed up a manner for the Hispanics.

      Ah, the irony.

      1. I wonder if the NBP is listed on the SPLC’s hate groups list. Also, are they entirely funded by FBI informants like white nationalist groups? Because if that’s true, then taxpayers are funding opposite sides of the same stupid coin… but I think we all knew that already.

      2. Yeah, good ole Bobby Scott. He has that seat till he finally does a Teddy Byrd.

    2. possibly the most gerrymandered district in the country.

      No, I’m pretty sure that the most gerrymandered district in the country is Florida’s 3rd Congressional District.

      1. You SugarFree’d the link, but while that one’s astoundingly gerrymandered, the other doesn’t even look contiguous, which I thought was a requirement.

        1. Here, I’ll try again.

          Florida certainly requires districts to be contiguous. That’s why the third is such a work of art. It takes real genius to take the black neighborhoods of Jax, Gainesville, Deland, Sanford and Orlando and connect them in such a way as to not include too many white republican voters.

  23. Bill Clinton’s greatest strength as a politician is Obama’s weakness, in reverse. Not only does Obama not “feel the pain” of his fellow Americans, he doesn’t even have the willingness or the ability to fake it well.

    I think there’s a good chance his numbers could be down in the thirties by the end of year.

    1. Obama is going to pull an LBJ and not run for re-election. Hillary will be the nominee.

      1. Highly unlikely. Obama will run for re-election and win easily. The missing element for his defeat is his opponent, and the top twenty Republican choices all suck ass for one reason or another. Palin, Gingrich, Romney, Huckabee, Santorum-it’s a bunch of drooling idiots who are going to out-Jesus and out-bomb-the-Muslims each other to get the nomination. America will look at a Palin-Santorum ticket (or whatever) and run away.

        1. HUCK! HUCK! HUCK!

          Or not.

          1. Of the batch I listed, Huckabee might actually have the highest chance of winning. He also is literally the least libertarian of the group on domestic policy (he likes mommy government more than many Democrats). He probably won’t be too bad in foreign policy; probably the least bomb-the-Muslims of the bunch. Certainly the most praise-Jesus of the bunch, though; he is a minister, after all.

          2. That rhymes with “FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!”. How foreboding.

        2. “”Palin, Gingrich, Romney, Huckabee, Santorum-it’s a bunch of drooling idiots who are going to out-Jesus and out-bomb-the-Muslims each other to get the nomination. “”

          Scratch Palin. The republicans don’t want a commander-in-chief that’s a quitter. Gingrich, Romney, Huchabee, and Satorum, will make sure that message is heard.

          1. Well, maybe not Gingrich.

  24. Love that NYer cover. Wonderful foreshadowing.

  25. We’re not saying every single opponent of Obama is racist, but…

  26. I’m not asking for the Matt Bais of the world to agree with my crazy ideas, but rather to simply engage a question that seems elementary in any assessment of why a president is unpopular: Have his policies contributed to the worse-than-his-worst-case-scenario economy?

    Why? It’s simply a given that they haven’t, and that’s that, you birther.

    1. Is he a birther cause Jon Stewart maxed out the race card last week?

  27. Secret Muslim, eh? Maybe, but Michelle sure as Hell doesn’t act like she is married to a Muslim.

    1. She doesn’t know. It’s secret.

  28. It’s reported that more Bush shirts are being sold on Martha’s Vineyard. than Obama shirts. DOH!!!!

  29. I don’t think it is necessary to invoke ill will on the part of most liberals or Obama. They sincerely believe that their policies will help “the little guy” and at the same time get them re-elected. It’s just stupidity, not evil.

    Am I the only one who reads a comment like this and pines for one of the good old Kelley vs. Peikoff “Question of Sanction” debates? To me, that was one of the most interesting questions explored online in the 1990s.

    For those who don’t know what I’m talking about (maybe because you were playing with your Barney the Dinosaur or Big Comfy Couch dolls), the question was basically: Is it really possible for an educated, intelligent adult to hold an idea as mistaken as, say, Marxism, without actually being evil – that is, without practicing the Objectivist cardinal sin of “evasion?”

    Oh, those were the days.

  30. The same Pew Research Center poll that said 18% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim also found that a larger percentage think that he is Christian and the almost half of Americans don’t know what religion Obama is. I think the big news is that almost half of Americans don’t care enough about the president’s religion to find out what it is. That is a large improvement over the days when JF Kennedy had to give a speech to assure people during the election that he would not be a puppet of the Pope.

  31. I think the big news is that almost half of Americans don’t care enough about the president’s religion to find out what it is.

    I would read that more as: half of Americans don’t believe for a minute that he is Christian, as he claims, but don’t really believe he is a practicing Muslim, either.

    1. Is narcissism a religion? Because he’s damn sure a follower if it is.

    2. I would read that as: most people don’t care, period.

  32. The headline explains it more than the article does. Obama is unpopular because the economy sucks. Simple as that. Almost everything else is a sideshow. Never mind that there’s not a whole lot a president can do to help out the economy (and, in my Democratic opinion, a lot of the things the government could do (IE large, temporary stimulus bills) have been watered down by the Republicans to get to 60 votes to the point where they weren’t that helpful). The Democratic Congress is also unpopular for the exact same reason.

    Now, this isn’t saying the public is supporting the Republican (or even libertarian) side. They are just being anti-incumbent, and the Republicans just happen to be out of power. If the economy sucked this badly and the Republicans happened to be in power, the population would vote for the Democrats.

    1. “”Obama is unpopular because the economy sucks. Simple as that.””

      Right.

      It sucks so hard, it’s sucking up red herrings.

    2. Shorter Geotpf: blame Team Red because they’ve gotten in the way of our glorious leader.

      *****

      If doubling of the debt in less than 2 years is “watered down”, I fucking hate to have to live with the real deal.

  33. Americans rage on and on about various and sundry religious sects, as if the very concept of atheism is so far removed from serious consideration as to cast it beyond the realm of serious debate. Have any of the theistic propagandists in the mainstream media ever stopped for a moment to consider whether theism itself is to blame for so many of history’s avoidable catastrophes? No, they argue endlessly about whether Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim. Could he be an atheist? Unthinkable!

  34. TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT—-Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away with.in the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows TO Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.REPOST THIS

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