Barack Obama

Read Peter Suderman on Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan


Failed narrator

If you haven't read Senior Editor Peter Suderman's November-issue feature essay "Obama's Failed Narrative: Did the presidency ruin a good storyteller, or vice versa?", which was posted here earlier today, you should fix that oversight now. It's an essential insight into the fascinating, slippery, and disappointment-inducing role that narrative-manipulation has played in Obama's career as a writer/politician.

Suderman has also captured two of the other three candidates at the top of the major parties' tickets, in feature analyses worth refreshing every month or so. They are: "Consultant in Chief: Instead of planning to cut government, Mitt Romney is repackaging the same old Republicanism," and "Paul Ryan: Radical or Sellout?" You want to understand these three men? Read these three pieces. I'm not sure we need to understand Joe Biden any more than we already do, though I'm open to persuasion.

Peter Suderman's archive here.

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  1. Peter has been simply awful at covering the difference between the plans since Ryan was picked as VP — awful.

    There is an enormous qualitative difference between the Ryan and Obama plans on Medicare (such as they are), and this leads to *quantitative* differences depending on one’s belief in the price mechanism as a way to ration goods.

    Libertarians especially should be a good deal less credulous of Obama’s price fixing as a cure to Medicare deficits, and more supportive of a plan which is essentially a rip-off of CATO’s voucherized system.

    1. But how is Suderman going to get a job at Slate or the Huffington Post that way?

    2. Shill! Everybody run!

    3. Doesn’t the latest version of Ryan’s plan (and Romney’s) allow future seniors to choose which plan? So everyone could retain traditional Medicare?

    4. Libertarians especially should be a good deal less credulous of Obama’s price fixing as a cure to Medicare deficits,

      And where, pray tell, IS this “credulity” over Obama’s plans? Chapman doesn’t count.

    5. To be fair, Obama hasn’t actually proposed price fixing. Or price controls.

      The IPAB is actually a totally toothless entity whose job is to “study” which treatment methods are cost-effective and make recommendations. Which nobody actually has to follow. Thus, the hoped-for savings will probably never materalize. As soon as the IPAB actually makes a recommendation (ala mammograms for women under 40) that negatively affects healthcare in any way, regardless of cost, seniors will freak and Republicans will scream of death panels. That means “cost-effectiveness” is essentially off the table. Unless they can find some treatment that cost more and have absolutely no effect on outcomes, any slight decrease in effectivness, even if it saves billions of dollars is going to regarded with death-panel fury.

      There’s no such thing as cost effectiveness if the value of a life is infinite , which of course it is to each individual, and especially if they are spending other peoples money.

      1. A “toothless entity” that centralizes the decision making process for one sixth of our economy.

        Toothless indeed.

        1. centralizes the decision making process

          As Hazel notes, it DOESN’T centralize the “decision making process”. It solely does studies and produces recommendations. It has no direct authority over any decision-making.

      2. Oh, please. Believing that IPAB’s recommendations will not be adopted as requirements is, to pick a word, “credulous.”

        That’s what agency recommendations are. They just use the word “recommendatons” to sugarcoat it for the gullible.

        1. I’m not so sure on that one. I’ve seen too many articles about how recommendations for different government entities and programs are made, but never followed.

      3. You’re overlooking the recommendations they’re making that are just as bad on a medical basis but aren’t generating as much publicity.

  2. Three posts, Matt? What’d Gillespie swing through the office, see you sitting there with your feet on your desk and give you a talking-to?

    1. Suderman kind of took over Weagel’s job for the 2012 election.

      He has also done a way better job then Weagel could have dreamed of doing.

      Judging from the other post I think he just giving his crew some well deserved praise.

  3. I’m not sure we need to understand Joe Biden any more than we already do, though I’m open to persuasion.

    Need to? I just want it.

    With that whole gay marriage thing that made Obama flipflop, Biden deserves a Woodward level of analysis of at least what the hell happened.

    1. Joe is easy to understand. When I see this guy I am always reminded of a used car salesman who acheived his way through life by bullshitting his way through life. But the guy lives in a different era and a different world now when people have instant access to information, so the bullshit doesn’t work as well and neither does his old delapidated brain, although I’m not that brain could have ever worked well in light of the clownish behavior and enornmous gaffes that he constantly displays of late.

      I am really surprised that he hasn’t fallen down a flight of stairs yet or just disappeared and that Team O is actually going to let this guy get up on stage with Ryan. Guess they just thought that the great orators performance in the first POTUS debate would have been so decisive that the VP debate wouldn’t matter. Oops. Well, they still have a couple of days to stage an accident and they do play Chicago politics, so we shall see.

      1. so the bullshit doesn’t work as well

        I don’t know about that. He gave Sarah Palin fits by just saying whatever bullshit came to mind. I mean, he was talking about eating out at restaurants that haven’t been open for 20 years, and all his buddies down at the local Wilmington Home Depot. She clearly was not ready for that, and what was she going to do anyway, call this charming old man with his down home personal anecdotes a lying bastard?

        1. I don’t like Paul Ryan that much at all. I think he is just another Neocon, despite the lefts total delusion about him being some type of Libertarian. But he is not Palin. He is a bright and articulate guy and a pretty good speaker. He is going to mop the floor with old Joe and if he doesn’t completely humiliate the old guy, it will probably be because he is just being nice, but he won’t be too nice as to not destroy the old fart.

          1. Ryan is certainly no libertarian, and his voting record shows that while he talks a good game, he’s a hypocrite on fiscal policy. Anyway, I’m not saying that he won’t be able to handle Uncle Joe, just that Joe’s bullshit is still pretty effective.

          2. Ryan was a lot better than the other alternatives for Romney’s running mate.

            You knew MR had to nominate someone with “integrity”, so it was going to be either a TP favorite not related to Ron Paul, or a firebreathing sociocon. Mark Rubio is ten times the neocon that Paul Ryan is.

            1. He’s a great VP pick from a political perspective. I don’t think Romney could have done better.

              1. I agree, and while I would have preferred Rand Paul, Ryan does have a credible plan for reforming entitlements. The plan to give out vouchers for Medicare is a plausible way to transition back to the free market. And at some point, it may not even be necessary to have a “trust fund” or to tax current workers to pay for it. Just replace it with a refundable tax credit for buying insurance, with a sliding scale by age.

          3. All Ryan has to do: ‘Is that a zinger, Vice President Biden? Why don’t you go ahead and get them out of the way now, so we can get on with whats important with the American people of whom I assure are not as interested in Ayn Rands materialistically bound undergarments as your statement might indicate.’

            Yeah, its going to be that shade of awesome Thursday night.

        2. He gave Sarah Palin fits

          Isn’t that just Sarah Palin?

  4. Shorter Suderman:

    Obama is terrible but I will vote for him anyways.

    1. “Obama promised to change politics; instead, politics changed him.” Yeah, right. More like, he was always a shithead, and people like Suderman just couldn’t see it.

      1. Apparently, Obama was a leftist idealogue, and somewhere deep inside, I think that he still is.

        But that idealogue got a taste of hard cold reality and also of money and power. And like most, he really just wants to get his share of the pie. Of course, due to his ideaology, he has to scold others about trying to also get their share of the pie and then steals it from them when they aren’t looking.

        1. He was never an idealist.

          Do idealists go to Chicago to start their political career?

          It’s the most corrupt political environment in the US.

          1. Ah, but it’s corruption in the service of Democratic Party ideals, and thus OK.

        2. I don’t think Obama was ever really a leftist ideologue. Just as I don’t think there’s a libertarian bone in Romney’s body. They’re just a couple of guys who really really want to be president.

          1. Well, you are certainly right about Romney, and I don’t see anyone here challenging that. But there is a lot of evidence out there pointing to Obama being a leftist ideologue. I mean, a lot of what he says even today points to it. Have you ever read anything that he wrote, or know anything about his past associations with people?

            Chicago is the pefect place to force through your politics onto an unwilling public. What does that have to do with it?

          2. Romney’s got some free-market(ish) instincts that are close, especially compared to Obama.

          3. I don’t think Obama really wanted to be President. I think the Democratic Party establishment “picked” him because he became a popular figure amoung hipsters, and they thought it would be cool to have a black guy on their ticket. It all goes back to his speech against the Iraq war and his keynote address in 2004. He was giving excellent speeches,albeit mostly stolen from Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, and anti-war Democrats and progressives rallied around that, and created this cult of personality long before he ever started running. People in the Democratic party establishment saw that as an opening and convinced him to run.

            1. No doubt there was a machine behind him, going back to Ayers, but I think he wanted the position and the perks… just not the work or responsibilities.

          4. I don’t think Obama was ever really a leftist ideologue.

            I think at one time he was, and then he got really tired of not living the high life, and started down the path of cynical corruption.

            And, where there’s no downside for him personally to being a leftist ideologue, he still is.

        3. Say what you will about the mayor of Braddock, last seen threatening to take it outside with The Jacket on live TV, but he sticks to his leftist guns when the rubber meets the road. He could easily be working in some sinecure political job in Washington or Harrisburg, but he gets paid peanuts to advocate for and attempt to run an absolute shithole of a town (which was at rock bottom when he took over, so it’s not his fault).

          it was by no means inevitable that an idealistic BO (assuming such ever existed) would be corrupted by power. Others haven’t been.

          1. Calling for Romney’s arrest as a tax cheat seems a bit much.

        4. And like most, he really just wants to get his share of the pie.

          I remember when Obama said “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money,” and thinking to myself that whatever that point is, I bet it will always be a little bit more than what Obama has made.

          1. That is certain to be true. Obama, like all other statists believe that they are exempt from the rules that govern the rest of us. We need to play by their rules, while they are exempt and make their own rules. This has always been the problem with socialism and yet the sheep continue to swallow the bait, believing what their leaders tell them, that this time the workers utopia shall be acheived, because, they are finally the chosen one who has arrived to bring paradise.

        5. He is not and probably has not been a leftist idealogue for a long time. What he is is a Centrist Corporatist Technocrat, and not a very good one at that.

          Essentially Obama is someone who is in love with the idea that the right collection of top men could fix all of the problems collectively if they got into power and could just get everyone to listen to them. While his collective focus does clearly put him on the left side of the American political spectrum he is hardly an idealogue because he is willing to side with any collective group so long as it seems to further the technocratic solutions his team of “Top Men” come up with.

      2. That’s what bugs me the most about folks like Suderman. He is brilliant when it comes to exposing the various aspects and elements of political hypocrisy, but Obama was the biggest example of said hypocrisy in the last ten years and he missed it entirely.

        WEAK SAUCE.

        1. Rumour has it that he wants the next debate to be about civil rights. Trying to defend his record on that might just make him the biggest example of hypocrisy in the last century.

    2. Shorter Suderman:

      Obama is terrible but I will vote for him anyways.

      I guess you don’t want to know what a REAL left-winger thinks about the article.

    3. I haven’t heard Suderman say that yet. If he does say it, he’ll let us know in a post just to us, ‘please guys, I have to do this, my Grandma Becca in Boca Raton will find out if I turn on Obama. I’m going through the motions just so I’m not blamed for giving her a heart attack. I’m voting GayJay, but just go along with the Obama shilling, okay? Believe me, I’m not having any fun.’

      There has to be a reason for some of the latest gaffes. Suderman has been pretty solid over the years.

      1. I thought it was bad enough that there were Reason writers voting for Obama four years ago. There is no excuse for such idiocy this time.

        1. You would have to be profoundly obtuse to reward Obama for his incompetence and mediocrity with a second term. In the round up, I can only safely predict Steven Pinker going for him this year.

          1. I’ve said it before, but I believe in the two-term limit: one term in office, one term in prison.

            1. That sounds like the Illinois Governorship Plan.

      2. The only difference between this election and the last one is that the same inexperienced unqualified leftist puppet has now had four years to demonstrate why he is so inexperienced and unqualified.

        Why the fuck did anyone like Suderman vote for him last time, and why should I believe they won’t this time for the same shitty reason, despite his intrepid reporting on the current admins malfeasance?

        1. Why the fuck did anyone like Suderman vote for him last time,

          If you try saying that the stuff Obama’s done were predictable, you’re full of shit.

          why should I believe they won’t this time for the same shitty reason

          If you think the things we know about Obama are the same as in 2008, you’re REALLY full of shit.

          1. If you try saying that the stuff Obama’s done were predictable, you’re full of shit.

            Oh come on. I am not full of shit by saying the things Obama has done were predictable. MANY MANY people predicted his leftist bent and “spread the wealth” philosophy prior to his election. The point is that many others, including Suderman ignored it or failed to notice it.

            To say that no one else noticed is ridiculous.

        2. “Why the fuck did anyone like Suderman vote for him last time”

          I can answer that in 4 words…

          John McCain
          Bob Barr

          I mean as bad as Obama has been do you really think for one second McCain would have been better and there wasn’t even a reason to vote Libertarian 4 years ago thanks to their nominating Barr.

  5. He’s pinning his campaign on Big Bird.
    There’s no panic.

    1. All my liberal friends on Facebook have got their panties all up in a wad over the Big Bird remarks. But when the Obama administration decides to go after 80 medical marijuana shops….crickets. Talk about screwed up priorities!
      Besides, if Big Bird is so popular, he’s not going anywhere, as I’ve pointed out to them but to no avail.
      What’s the big deal with Sesame Street anyway? I found some of the muppet characters mildly likeable as a kid, but the rest was just unwatchable. The educational stuff was just an annoying waste of time (like watching a musical and hoping the musical numbers will end soon): how moronic do you have to be to not get the concept of counting to ten after about a million skits of that?

      1. Fuck. Juan Williams just admitted on Fox that the public should not be financing Sesame Street. Yeah, you heard right, Mmmkay?

      2. When even Chris Matthews can’t defend it……..g-bird-ad/

      3. The liberal thinking goes like this. Kids are good. Education is good. Non-profits are good. Sesame Street is a non-profit that tries to educate kids. Therefore, the federal government should fund it.

        It’s all really very simple. Only people who hate kids and education would disagree.

        1. Anything not funded by the public is banned. See birth control.

          1. Sadly true. To many people, if it’s “good,” it’s constitutional and should be funded by the federal government. If it’s “bad,” it’s unconstitutional.

          2. Do you have to bring up Bastiat again? He’s so 19th century!



            Ok, that worked, really well.

    2. You can take my Tickle Me Elmo…. from my cold, dead hands.

    3. I don’t get it. When I was a kid, I hated Big Bird. I assumed a lot of kids the same age did as well. He was just a chump that everybody walked on eggshells around to avoid having to actually challenge his delicate world view. Wait. No wonder leftist love him.

      Now Oscar, that was my man.

      1. Oscar was definitely the wisest of the creatures when you look back. I think I preferred Cookie Monster’s pure hedonism at the time though.

        1. Yeah, Cookie Monster was my favorite.
          I also kinda liked Snufalufagus.

      2. nobody loves grover.

        1. What are you saying? Grover was the coolest. Even has a hippie name.

          And really skinny arms that have coat hangers sticking out of them.

  6. Sometimes you jsut gotta roll with it lol.

  7. OT:

    Major League Soccer would have $1.2B impact on Orlando region, study says. We should just build stadiums in every city. Economy fixed.…..3267.story

    1. this is how my city thinks

    2. There are that many metric-football-fags in Orlando?

    3. Those fans are going to have to buy a hell of a lot of funnel cakes to get to $1.2B.

    4. I misread that the first time. I thought you were saying it would have a $1.28 impact on Orlando.

      That’s probably more accurate, though.

      1. No, it was definately $1.2 Billion, they just never said whether it was positive or negative $1.2 Billion

  8. So it seems that the administration is trying to get out ahead of the House hearings tomorrow by admitting to the MSM that there actually was no protest outside the Libya consulate before the attack. I’m sure everybody here is shocked, just shocked by that information.

    Maybe I should have put this in the lying politicians post instead.

    1. It was strategic misinformation. BO had the terrorists right where he wanted them, thinking that it was a video and a protest and not a planned attack, but then the GOP had to ruin it by asking too many questions.

  9. Speaking of Obama. From best of the web today. Lest anyone forget just how full retard people went during the 2008 campaign.

    As Mark Morford wrote in June 2008:

    Dismiss it all you like, but I’ve heard from far too many enormously smart, wise, spiritually attuned people who’ve been intuitively blown away by Obama’s presence–not speeches, not policies, but sheer presence–to say it’s just a clever marketing ploy, a slick gambit carefully orchestrated by hotshot campaign organizers who, once Obama gets into office, will suddenly turn from perky optimists to vile soul-sucking lobbyist whores, with Obama as their suddenly evil, cackling overlord.

    Here’s where it gets gooey. Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.


    1. Morford is a slobbering leftist somehow employed by the local paper. He was suspended for a while for crossing the line into outright partisanship, but came back. He’s sort of the Platonic ideal of the snarky, condescending gay guy, except that he’s got far more bile than humor.

    1. Ah man. They got nudie pictures of his mom. That is a low blow. But she was pretty cute really.

      1. Most everything I’ve ever heard of her makes me kind of like her. Did stag in the fifties, that’s actually kind of cool. However, I can’t look. She looks like my mom at that age.

    2. Damn, I just watched that last night, FTW? Is any of this documentary true? I mean it really seems unbelievable since none of it has made it into the MSM. Yes, I know that the MSM is shit, but my conclusion was that I believed that very little of it is actually true. If it is, wow.

      1. Not the story being shown on “Frontline” tonight.

        1. I was referring to what I watched last night on Netflix ‘Dreams from my real father’. Seemed too much for me to believe.

          1. Sorry, I meant the information from “Dreams from my real father” is not the story Frontline is sharing.

            1. Are they refuting the story? Or just repeating the same old Obama risen to God status theme?

              1. I don’t think they mentioned that movie

                1. Not sure that is wise. Either that shit is the biggest conspiracy theory BS ever, or it is true, or partially true. If even partially true, then we have possibly been sold the greatest fraud ever in American politics. It is really so shocking that I don’t believe a word of it. Until someone proves it wrong though, which should be easy if it is, I wonder why they are not doing so?

                  1. I may have to watch the full thing.

                    1. You should. If even half of it is true, then it is damning as hell to our liberal media. Keep in mind, I don’t believe any of it at the moment.

                  2. BTW, guy doesn’t seem to be a birther, and doesn’t dispute that O was born in HI, only just about everything else that we know about him, including his college years.

                    1. I don’t know about the whole thing, but parts of it are definitely crap. Obama’s half brother Mark looks a lot like him, and Davis’s son looks just like Davis (and nothing like Obama). Also, apparently one of the magazines that the pictures came from was published when Ann Dunham was 13, and the other when she was remarried and living in Indonesia.

                    2. Fatty, where did you get the info about the dates? If she was only 13 when one of the pictures was published, that would disprove it, but having the pictures published after she was remarried would not.

                      Apparently Snopes reported on this for a while, then scrubbed the article.

                      A debunking of some of the debunking here.

                    3. And since we are in the undernews about Obama, I’ll bring this up, even though Tulpa objected when I did so in another thread a few days ago. Some people (notably the guy who does think Obama is on the down low, and that he may be ill from drugs, withdrawal, parkinson’s, or even AIDS. All that seems unlikely to me, but not impossible.

                    4. He’s not sick, it’s his reptilian host emerging.

                    5. Bringing up unsubstantiated rumors is quite objectionable.

                      That no one except the supposed Romney shill calls you on it is sickening.

                    6. Tulpa, I often agree with you around here, but you are really Captain Bringdown when it comes to “unsubstantiated rumors.” Discussing outlandish ideas is part of the fun of the internet. No need to get all shirty about it.

                    7. See, Papaya, where you go wrong is in discussing the wrong KIND of unsubstantiated rumors. You have to talk about the kind that make liberals look bad and conservatives look good, not the other way around.

      2. Why exactly is anyone taking anything wakeup says seriously again?

        1. A sub 5 minute educational video about the events surrounding 9/11. How 19 men armed with box cutters and directed by a man on dialysis in a cave fortress halfway around the world, launched the most sophisticated attack in history, against the most heavily defended nation on the planet.

          1. Flying a plane into a building is sophisticated?

            1. Whereas sustaining a couple of divisions, air support, etc, on the other side of the world for 11+ years is simple.

          2. America is the most heavily defended nation on the planet?


            We have no concept of defense here in America.

            Our defense basically consists of 2 big assed oceans and the threat that if you piss us off enough our revenge will be swift and overwhelming and short of some political failures in the late 60’s/early 70’s we have pretty much backed up that belief.

            Outside of that however we have no defenses whatsoever.

        2. Indeed why? Is it merely a coincidence, or is it a vast global conspiracy?

        3. There should be a button for “crazy”, kinda like the “like” one, only just for letting people know which ones are the nutjobs.

  10. The Jerusalem Post reports today that the United States and Israel are planning a joint military operation to take out Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities.

    1. Wake up. Time to die.

      1. Nicely played, ya skinjob.

  11. That book isn’t My Pet Goat, is it?

    1. Madonna’s Sex maybe?

    2. Apparently he continued to read it as the embassy was being blown up.

  12. Revealed actions speak so much louder than professed beliefs. Very little of Obama’s actions since the took the presidency add evidence to the notion he’s a leftist idealogue. He left the Bush team in place in key econoic positions, advanced the wars, ramped up the drug war, advanced Bush policy other war and civil libertarian issues, etc. Are you aware the Left see Obama as a corporativist stooge? That’s a little closer, but still, I just think he wants to be president.

    1. I just think he wants to be president.

      Well color me shocked.

    1. Time to jump back in the time machine.

      Remember these?

      Obama checkin’ out DAT(jailbait)ASS.

      Obama checkin’ out DAT(legal)ASS.

      1. Now all we need is a picture of Obama staring at Romney’s ass and the circle will be complete.

      2. Obama checkin’ out DAT(jailbait)ASS.

        Shame on the man, I tell you. Just shame. Absolutely appalling. He should be ran out of town. Insults the moral fiber of the community. No, I’m not protesting too much, er, by the way, just how old was that young lady?

        1. Sarkozy agrees.

          1. Sarkozy definitely had the eye – not sure he was up to Burlusconi standards, but still.

        2. No, I’m not protesting too much, er, by the way, just how old was that young lady?

          In her country, two years above the age of consent. In yours, two years shy of it.

          1. Then I was definitely not checking out those magnificent glutes swaying back and forth on the backside of that dress. I only heard about them, and what a sick puppy our president is.

          2. One thing this picture makes obvious about President Sicko, in spite of mistaking a Klingon for a suitable mate, and in spite of those Chicago bathhouse rumors, that ain’t a brother on the down low.

        3. If I remember correctly she was 15. I was 16 at the time, so I was able to admire her “assets” without feeling like a perv

  13. Did anyone link to this yet?

    “Aw, come on, I’m not a robot, okay? I wish. Then I could go higher, and you could rotate my arm, and send me whooshin’ into space. You hear me?”

    1. “I mean it’s not scientific I hear there’s not even going to be a test”

      That was fucking hilarious.

    2. Jim reminds me of The Spider in ASoIaF.

      ‘It’s party time, chumps.’

    3. I was about to post that. Extremely funny.

  14. JIm Leyland looks like he needs a smoke.

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