Barack Obama

Watch Matt Welch Debate Jonathan Chait About Obama's Greatness in NY on Jan. 17

Soho Forum event in Manhattan will be hosted by Gene Epstein, with stand-up from Dave Smith


Miss him already, don't you? ||| HarperCollins

As Nick Gillespie pointed out previously in his post about interviewing the great Gene Epstein, I will be debating New York magazine political writer and frequent libertarian-baiter Jonathan Chait at the Epstein-moderated Soho Forum in Manhattan's East Village on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 6:30 p.m. (though you'll want to be there when the bar opens at 5:45). The venue is the Subculture Theater at 45 Bleecker St., New York, 10012.

The debate, keyed off of Chait's new book Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail, will be over the proposition that "Based on his record of accomplishments, Barack Obama has been a great president." I will be arguing on the nu-uh side. Libertarian comic Dave Smith provide some pre-game yuks. You'll be pleased to know that Chait's already working the refs.

You absolutely must RSVP if you wish to attend, so please click this button to do so. Click here for a recap of Nick Gillespie's Soho Forum battle with Walter Block, and check out The Soho Forum homepage for future events, with the likes of Kmele Foster.


NEXT: The Young Pope: Entertaining but Incoherent

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  1. frequent libertarian-baiter Jonathan Chait

    Chait’s smart enough to be very good at it, though. He’s no master baiter.

    1. Chait’s NOT smart enough. Goddammit.

          1. Why didn’t you just edit your post before anyone noticed?

            1. These euphemisms! You ever heard X, “Edit his post?” Oj! A dead man can hear him!

      1. It still works. It just makes being a master baiter even more elite.

        “Chait’s smart, he’s good at it. He’s still no master baiter.”

  2. Matt, here are some good lines you can zing him with whenever your case needs a punch-up:

    1) “…you’d be in jail.”
    2) “More like Block Insane Yomomma, amirite?”
    4) “These euphemisms are getting rather presidential.”

    No need to thank me.

    1. 4) is my favorite.

    2. If Welch can fit a “you know who else” joke into this debate, I will seriously consider mailing alcohol in to The Fifth Column.

  3. You’ll be pleased to know that Chait’s already working the refs.

    He learnt it from Gillespie’s exemplary display of debate moderation.

  4. I can be hard on you Matt but really, you should feel guilty about picking on someone as stupid as Chait. That is not a fair fight. Look, we have all picked on profoundly stupid people sometimes. We all fail to resist temptation. But it is still nothing to be proud of.

    1. Exactly. Picking on retards is low sport.

      1. If Chait is the retard, why is it that Welch is promoting Chait’s book rather than the other way around?

      2. See, e.g., any links thread infested by amsoc, Tony, shreek, etc.

  5. frequent libertarian-baiter Jonathan Chait

    There should be a law.

  6. I still refuse to believe that is an actual book.

    1. Its why satire is dead. People like Chait are beyond satire.

      1. He wrote a sequel called Audaciter: How Dylann Roof Defied Convention And Created A Legacy That Will Prevail.

  7. King Obama’s greatness?

    The longest war time president in history.


    1. Can I get a “but Bush!” up in here?

  8. Watch Matt Welch Debate Jonathan Chait About Obama’s Greatness in NY on Jan. 17

    Is this a request? A Demand?

    A Threat? A Warning?

      1. A dessert topping!

        1. A floor wax!

  9. Oh, he has a legacy that will prevail, alright, just in the increase in debt under his administration alone. His legacy will be bigger than that, of course, but precious little of it will be positive.

    1. We just spent 8 years having to listen to his sycophants wanting Obama crowned king for life, now we are going to have to listen to the bootlickers proclaim his greatness until the end of time.


      1. He will be like Reagan for Republicans, only without the obvious accomplishments.

        1. Oh snap!

    2. Among the worst presidents ever, yet many people are scared to admit that they think that.

      1. If you’re a statist, he’s one of the best.

      2. Well, you saw what he did to children all over the world that didn’t even have an opinion on him. Can you imagine if you thought badly of him?

  10. I am a little hung over from yesterday. When I read ‘Johnathan Chait’ and ‘Obama’s Greatness’ I had some difficulty not vomiting.

    The sorry, spiteful, petulant piece of shit cant be gone soon enough to suit me. Greatness, my ass.

  11. I don’t imagine the crowd being too friendly to Matt, but I am 99% certain he will win the debate, largely because he is on the only side of this debate that makes sense.

  12. I don’t imagine the crowd being too friendly to Matt, but I am 99% certain he will win the debate, largely because he is on the only side of this debate that makes sense.

    1. Plus he has the squirrels on his side.

  13. Shouldn’t the name of that book be ‘Paucity’?

    Then the subtitle works.

  14. In a media establishment full of boot licking toadies, Chait still manages to stand out. He is the toady’s toady.

    1. That is my impression. He makes Krugtard and Friedman look like honest, objective genius’.

  15. “Greetings from The Obama! The Lord Obama! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla!”

  16. And in response to the alt-text… ‘How can we miss him, if he won’t ever leave?’

  17. Want to hear something really great?

    On one of those super-left sites (I can’t remember if it was HuffPo, Slate, Salon, DemUnderground, or what) I read a “takedown” of Chait & his new book.

    You see, according to the author of this editorial, Obama was part of the neoliberal democratic tradition of Clinton, and was such a centrist that he’s practically a right-winger, and Chait is a also a right-winger for being so into Obama.

    1. As time goes by the people like Chait who have too much of their identity invested in the idea that Obama is some transcendentally great President will pass from the scene and be replaced by leftists who don’t have such an investment. So, over time the myth will transform from one of Obama’s greatness to “he was always a rightwing sell out and never one of us”. Obama’s failures are undeniable to all but the delusional like Chait. And the ideology can never be wrong. So it must be that Obama let the ideology down.

      1. Actual socialists & commies are weirdly like libertarians in a way: to them, everyone who believes in private property is ipso facto a “right-winger”. So basically 98% of the world are radical rightists, and then there’s them.

        Like how a lot of libertarians group the world into, “People who believe in a night-watchman state”, and the other 98%, who are deemed big-government loving leftists.

        “Everyone in the world is stupid and/or evil except for me and people exactly like me” is a comforting thought in the cold watches of the night. Where libertarians legitimately part company is that they don’t convert the borderline insane arrogance of such a belief system into a justification for using violence towards others, which is generally a feature of most radical groups (ends justify the means, omelettes & eggs, etc.)

        1. We also fight viciously among our own and fragment into even tinier groups based upon criteria that in obscure, if not indecipherable to outsiders.

          However, another point contra is that we have in our favor is the history freedom has of working vs. their stubborn, delusional refusal to see the failure of their forebears.

          1. We also fight viciously among our own

            Thems fighting words!!!

            1. Okay, you’re on the list now, fella.

    2. I wonder if people actually read these books. The attraction to Obama seems extraordinarily shallow – something that is better suited for a t-shirt or a bumper sticker than actually investing time into a book. I’m sure this will make it on to a fair number of bookshelves though.

      1. Excellent reference in your name. “Hey ma, how ’bout a cookie?”

        1. No dice.

          1. “Dis ain’t over.”

      2. I’m about to begin Spengler’s ‘Decline of the West’.

        Chait…Spengler…Chait….Spengler….Hm. Tough call.

        /Steven Wright dead pan stare.

      3. It’s really weird. Obama is not charismatic, is quite petulant, and really isn’t the personality that several recent presidents have been, like Clinton, Reagan, or Kennedy, for instance. Yet he had (not sure this is really true anymore) a cult.

        1. He got his cult, like so much else, via affirmative action.

    3. Do you mean the New Republic review? It wasn’t as ridiculous as you make it sound, but it was definitely in that general direction

      1. noted = I googled ‘chait review new republic’, and got this link

      2. “As ridiculous as you make it sound” is an awfully subjective criteria. But yes, that is the one I was referring to. And of course, it was in one of the main ones I didn’t mention.

        1. I wasn’t busting your balls, i was just saying he didn’t quite say, ” Chait is a also a right-winger for being so into Obama.

          His case was more that Chait’s entire “neoliberal establishment” (including obama) is done and dusted, and they’ve accomplished very little (from his Proggy POV) with the power that they wielded.

          his focus on Schlesinger was actually pretty interesting; i think his read is entirely wrong, but its notable that rather than rejecting him, he tries to re-spin Arthur as part of some “Radical Democratic Tradition” rather than the very conventional 60s establishment-liberal that he was. I mean for #@*&*( sake, he recommended overthrowing Castro, just “not with the CIA”- and instead suggested he should be goaded into starting a war, then removed.

          1. I was using a bit of hyperbole for humor’s sake – hopefully everyone in this audience would know that Obama is no right-winger.

            I know precious little about Schlesinger, not enough to say anything intelligent on the matter. I only have shreds picked up here and there in books about other people/events of that time period. I should get a good biography on him.

  18. Barack Obama is a half-black guy who is good at reading out loud. He also has above average height and a decent BMI. That’s all you need. Just based on those inputs, anything he actually “did” would be celebrated by the left/media.

  19. Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail

    ROFL. This shit will probably sell even fewer copies and hit the dollar discount rack even faster than The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock by David Weigel.

    1. This shit will probably sell even fewer copies and hit the dollar discount rack even faster than The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock by David Weigel.

      I have never seen any proof that book ever existed.

      1. Keep in mind, you’re talking to a guy who believes that David Weigel comments here as Palin’s Buttplug AND AddictionMyth AND dajjal despite a complete lack of evidence. Proof don’t matter to Mikey, ’cause Mikey’s mom huffed a lot of paint when she was pregnant!

        1. you’re talking to a guy who believes that David Weigel comments here as Palin’s Buttplug AND AddictionMyth AND dajjal despite a complete lack of evidence.

          Hey Weigel, just because it’s not true doesn’t not mean it isn’t not true.

      2. I saw one sitting on a park bench.

  20. Soho Forum in Manhattan’s East Village

    Sort of like how the “2nd Avenue Deli” is on 33rd and 3rd

  21. You know who else left a lasting legacy?

    1. Whoever invented the wheel?

    2. Lee Van Cleef?

  22. Miss him? I never even took a shot!

    (Note to asshole government AG’s: the above was a joke.)

    1. Actually, you’re better off if its not a joke.

      1. Yeah, I only got that after posting. No matter, the NSA’s got my metadata in any event.

  23. Any discussion that begins with the presumption Obama is ‘great’ won’t end well for Matt.

    He’ll be on the defensive while Jo-Chait can just lean back and suck down grapes and blather on like a good cultist on how Obama saved America from the depression, reduced deficits and sea levels, walked on water, reset foreign relations to soaring a-okay heights, strengthen relations with Russia, reversed the earth’s axis and fixed climate change, was the most transparent government in history, healed racial wounds, made people feel all tingly inside their pipis and vavas all while MAKING THE STOPS….and etc., etc.

  24. I’d just bring up the point that Obama has a certain je ne sais quoi that appeals to a certain je ne sais quoi kind of man. Chait’s feelings about Obama may not be quite a bromance, exactly, maybe more like a tween-age crush. Just something a little frisson-inducing about an attractive, powerful black man – but he wears mom-jeans so you know he’s not really a threateningly bad boy. Sort of the Sir Simon Milligan of people that are mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

  25. Matt: please finish him off with a flying elbow off the top rope.
    I accidentally heard Chait emitting sounds from his noise hole on NPR the other day. I *was* able to understand his speech, even with Obama’s cock in his mouth.

  26. I haven’t seen a Dave Smith set, but he’s popped up on podcasts I listen to and he’s pretty funny. Considering the current state of any sort of political comedy is basically:

    “RACISM IS BAD” *waits for applause*
    “SEXISM IS BAD” *waits for applause*
    “DONALD TRUMP IS BAD” *waits for applause*

    it’s always a relief when someone doesn’t mind throwing out some insults to the progs in addition to Trump

  27. Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail

    I agree that Obama will leave a legacy…it just won’t be a good one.

    1. You know who else had a legacy that wasn’t a good one….

  28. Obama’s greatness? This has to be one of those debates that they both lose. It’s like debating the whiteness of coal.

    1. “I think coal is white enough”
      “I think coal isn’t white enough”
      “I think coal is too white”

      See, we can always make up a way to argue about things.

  29. Remember when Stephen Colbert debated himself about whether Bush was a great president or the greatest president, and liberals laughed about how stupid and sheepish those conservatives were?

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