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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Lounge: Why Won’t the President Just Kick it in the Nuts?


Everything old is new again.  I was sitting down and writing a piece about last week’s debate when I noticed that I was producing something chapter and verse I had written before.  So I thought WTH let’s see what the herd thinks if i just threw it out there without editing.  Fit today?

Come on that’s really the question isn’t it? It’s the very base and genesis of what I feel is about 70% of President Obama’s perception problems, he doesn’t ever appear to give any issue a straight kick to the figurative groin.

Think about a favored movie device. You have a perilous Pauline and some evil man has treated her wrong from the very first act. In the ultimate scene after she has destroyed her villain’s plans and as he is handcuffed and marched away to the big house the cop offers the man to Pauline and she gives him a knee right to the family jewels and the crowd goes wild.

Was it enough that Pauline achieved justice, that she foiled the evil plans? No, that just doesn’t give us enough satisfaction. We don’t feel that justice is truly served till someone is rolling on the floor with what feels like childrens jacks for testacles.

David Axelrod made a couple of observations about President Obama as he was running his campaign that has always stuck with me.

“You care far too much what is written and said about you. You don’t relish combat when it becomes personal and nasty. When the largely irrelevant Alan Keyes attacked you, you flinched.”..snip

“Warning that revelations of past drug use would be used against him, Axelrod worries that Obama won’t be able to take the heat that will come in a presidential campaign. ‘It goes to your willingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism. At the risk of triggering the very reaction that concerns me, I don’t know if you are Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson when it comes to taking a punch.'”

Where I got these quotes from

Consider when the President first took office and began to settle in. We truly wanted the President to prosecute the previous administration, but more than that we wanted to give them a rochambeau. Was it enough that the reign of idiocy was over? Was it enough that we could finally move forward with our agenda, get things like non racist in charge of the equal employment division and begin to turn off all the switches that Bush had pulled to place this country as one of the worlds most hated? No, America really doesn’t like the kinds of victories that Popeye the Sailor had where Bluto beat the entire crap out of him for the entire cartoon, and Popeye only got his after the spinach and the last 20 seconds, at least not anymore.

Think about how many times during the primary contests we screamed at the President to go on the attack against Hillary Clinton to eviscerate her for saying this or that, but he didn’t. Why didnt he give her the figurative smack? That temperament most likely allowed Secretary Clinton the ability to accept the position of Secretary of State. Would it have been better had President Obama ripped her a new one? Not to me having the Democratic lioness on the team is another reason I sleep better at night with the Obama Administration in control.

Unfortunately it appears the temperament that has served the President so well in the past is going to catch up with him. The gulf oil spill is just the latest example of President Obama’s overall style. From the first day he attacked the problem with precision and for the most part no one can honestly criticize the administrations response, and especially in comparison to how our previous President treated the residents after Katrina where he left people to float dead up the street like so much refuse. Yet this President appears to be doomed to be tagged with the label, and why is that? This President didn’t kick anyone figuratively and publically in the nads, and sadly despite the utility of the action, sometimes you have to give the public what it wants.

It’s not a matter if President Obama has the fight as Axelrod alluded to earlier it’s about if he can show the public he can knock someone out.

Normally I’m the type of Obama supporter that will back his play. He was elected President he’s my quarterback and I’m his lineman watching his back, and for the first time ever I’m going in the huddle to ask the man to run a play. Mr. President grab the next issue before you and the first thing you do is give it one to the sack loudly and publically. Make it heinous make it slightly unfair. Tell the problem to look at that meteor falling out of the sky and give it one to the old baby factory and I guarantee a 5 point bump


  1. The only person I know who knows POTUS says he does have a tendency to get a bit aloof and abstract, until events force him to come out of the ivory tower and fight.

    My guess is – given everything else that’s happened in the last five years (think just of 2008 alone!) – he’s knackered, and only survives by having very focused days.

    Compared with Romney, he would have had minimal prep. It’s been Mitt’s job for the last four months preparing. Obama has had a country to run.

    I remember the same dynamic with Bush/Kerry in ’04. Bush was flat, irritated, bored and exhausted by the whole debate: for Kerry it was primetime!

    So it’s a factor, probably worth about 2 percent in terms of votes, all in the margin of error

    But if it is a wakeup call to Barack, I’m glad it happened.

    He’s brilliant when he’s fired up

  2. Shaun Appleby

    You’re suggesting that Obama’s sober, precise style is basically sound and presidential but that once in a while he needs to give the crowd a trophy?  I wonder if that’s the issue.  There is something about this whole debate-as-game-changer narrative which I find deeply disturbing.  

    In the immediate aftermath my son, incredulous at the pundit reaction, said “I blame reality television.”  And I think he’s got a point.  The punditry seem to imagine themselves panel of a surrealistic Who Wants to Be a President?.  Let’s say, as this article suggests, that this specific election is a choice election for a compelling reason, my emphasis:

    In the nineteen-seventies, the balance of power began to shift from production to capital, and corporate America started to seem lumbering and inefficient. This shift was the business world’s version of the sixties-one (younger and impatient) group of politically conservative businesspeople challenging another (older and more traditional) group. The field of battle was not politics, culture, dress, or taste in music. It was the American corporation, and the consequences for the whole society were profound. The business sixties wound up rearranging most of the American economy. General Motors has fewer than half as many employees today as it did in 1955, and, among the American corporations that were great at mid-century, it’s hardly alone. George Romney was an organization man. Mitt Romney became a transaction man: someone who moves assets around with a speed and force that leaves many of the rest of us bewildered. The insurrection in business has profoundly affected the lives of most people who work, pay taxes, and get government benefits. It is the backdrop to this Presidential election.

    Nicolas Lehman – Transaction Man New Yorker 1 Oct 12

    So we have the transactional capitalist versus the community organiser.  A choice election indeed; probably a determinant turning point for American social policy of a generation, at least.  And our system as it now stands is so composed that a performance like Romney’s, easily as mendacious as Ryan’s infamous convention address, can change the trajectory of the campaign scored entirely on style.  From a distance it is stunning; unprecedented.  It’s as if the presidential campaign was a professional wrestling bout.  The deeper drama of this contest between social philosophies which will profoundly impact the electorate eludes us.

    If this is how the media adjudicates our political contests, with the self-promoting, trivial, emotive criteria of reality TV show judges, then we have issues beyond winning the next election; and winning becomes more important than ever.  Obama did provide a head on a platter; and he chose a deserving one whose demise was calculated to heal a traumatised and frankly slightly deranged nation.  Perhaps we need to win this one on by sheer reason, competence and optimism just to show them how it’s done.

  3. DTOzone

    And the Pew poll seems to imply I’m right.

    Obama is well liked, but the problem is the base gets its marching orders from the pundits, who want to kick the other side in the balls. They don’t care about anyone else.

    I said Obama will lose because when the campaign gets rough, his supporters will run for the hills. Half the party never wanted him there anyway and spent the last four years overblowing every rough patch as a reason why. That’s just what they’re doing. That’s ultimately what’s going to elect Romney.

  4. Strummerson

    This histrionic crap about the Pew Poll and his embrace not only just of every right wing ‘meme’ about the debate (calamity, implosion, disaster, self-imolations…and you should see how the Israeli press has uncritically reproduced the right wing response) but about Obama in general (arrogant, vain, detached, lazy, blah blah blah) isn’t just counter-productive, but idiotic:


    Write about celebrities Sully.  That’s all you’re good for now.

  5. …on the Pew poll results and his overall assessment, and you’ll feel better.  It’s certainly not a lock for Obama but it’s not nearly as dire as the punditry would have you believe.

  6. creamer

    Somtimes Chris is to busy being an expert, and Schultz always plays to HIS base. They don’t have that problem at Fox.

      Seems a little soon for all the gnashing of teeth. It was proably too much to hope for to have Romney continue to screw up all the way to the election. My high school football team had a quarterback who was a tremendous athlete, but also seen as an all around dickhead. When he was no longer an athelete he reverted to the bully he always was, never understanding where his popularity went, thus reduced to saying anything he thought people would like or agree with. Mitt at the debate reminded me of that person.  

  7. Strummerson

    People responding to the debate coverage?  Or even to one 90 minute performance by a guy who has needed to re-boot his campaign more often that he uses the toilet?  And now we wait for those same voters to bounce back to us?

    Our fates rest in the hands of a handful of fickle and shallow rubes at the moment.

    The biggest reason for concern I see about these debate polls is that they do indicate that there was a percentage of independents who were soft for Obama and just waiting for one single momentary demonstration of competence from Romney.  That’s all they needed to shift.

    Still, as has been pointed out many times, 38% of the respondents to that Pew Poll were from the South.  If 38% of the electorate were Southerners, Obama would be as viable a candidate as Nader.  But that means that nearly 40% of the Pew Poll respondents were from states that Obama cannot win and doesn’t need.

    The battleground wavering on the other hand isn’t making my day.

    It’s Obama’s move.  And his primary venue isn’t one in which he excels.  So he needs to step it up without looking desperate.  Hammering away at Big Bird (and being requested not to by the producers of Sesame Street) looks silly at this point.

  8. Strummerson

    Now Obama really has to win.  I couldn’t bear to vote twice in 3 months and see both my countries empower jackweeds.  Bibi will form the coalition for sure.  Likud is polling 27-29 mandates out of 120.  They’ll have the largest bloc.

    The only silver lining is that the joke that is Kadima seems over (down to around 4) and Ehud Barak’s party will likely only get 2 while Labour is poised for something of a comeback.  Looks like Labour will be 2nd with 20 seats.  Shelly Yachimovich, a popular former journalist and single mother, chairs the party and will campaign primarily on social and economic issues affecting the Jewish majority.  So the emphasis will be off, as one cannot address those issues without a viable agreement with the Palestinians.  Nonetheless, Labour is perhaps on the way to becoming a viable alternative and functioning party once again.  I thought Barak had succeeded in murdering it.  But there’s hope this new generation will resuscitate it now.

  9. fogiv

    cue the calls for impeachment:

    A former military security officer in Libya will tell Congress on Wednesday that the State Department withdrew security officers from the country even as violence from militias and criminal groups grew worse earlier this year, according to prepared remarks.

    “The security in Benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there,” Lt. Col. Andrew Wood wrote in testimony he plans to deliver later Wednesday at a politically charged hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee


    The session, titled “Security Failures of Benghazi,” is expected to include sharp accusations from Republicans that the State Department was more interested in presenting a picture of an improving situation in Libya than in ensuring the safety of its staff there.


    The top State Department security officer for Libya during most of Wood’s time there, Eric A. Nordstrom, separately told the committee that he requested that the team be extended through September or October, but that the request was denied.

    Wood volunteered to testify as a whistleblower, although he said he is aware there may be consequences for his career. Nordstrom will also testify at the request of the Republican-led committee.

    FYI: Lt. Col. Wood is National Guard, out of Utah.

  10. fogiv

    In Ohio, where there has been a renewed focus by the Romney campaign after the former Massachusetts governor’s strong debate performance, Obama leads 51 percent to 45 percent. That’s a 2-point uptick for Romney.


    But the Ohio poll also included an 11-point advantage for self-described Democrats — 40 percent to 29 percent for Republicans. Last week’s poll had a narrower 5-point advantage for Democrats.  . (In 2008, the party identification split was 39 percent Democrat and 31 percent Republican, according to exit polls.)


    One factor that may have pulled the party ID more heavily toward Democrats in this poll was early voting. One-in-five respondents (18 percent) said they have already voted, and, of those, almost two-thirds (63 percent) said they voted for Obama.



  11. And must explore it.  I invite you to join me, starting with this striking dissection of Romney’s psyche:

    And this gut-satisfying evisceration of the emo meltdown over the debate “debacle”:

    A sample:

    For four years, we sat at his left flank just pissing and moaning while he delivered what none of his predecessors could. He did this against a party that is objectively crazy. And now, one debate, and the question is, is the President’s heart in it?

    What happened to chess? Yeah, fuck chess, we had a few bad poll days, time to go beat our own brains in with an ice pick. You know what? Fuck the President’s heart. I know his heart’s in it because while you and I have been fucking around amongst ourselves, bullshitting into the ether as to what it would mean for the campaign if Obama came off like an angry black man for a second, he’s been there bleeding for us and our progressive policies every goddamn day. You know whose heart isn’t in it? You know who needs to take the blame right now? You know who is letting everybody down? We are. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for, and we surely are a huge pile of superstitious assholes. For four years, this President has made good on his promises even with the shit-storm that has become the political process in America. And he deserves, if not our support, then our resolve. So stop fucking panicking because you had a bad poll day. You know how many bad poll days the President has had? You might know better than he does, because he’s been too busy trying to keep Iran and Israel from becoming the dust and ash filled lands formerly known as Iran and Israel. So, for fuck’s sake, get your shit together.

  12. Shaun Appleby

    I suggested the “light” security Republicans have been deriding the Obama Administation about and the ambivalence of the State Department in the aftermath of the Benghazi incident may hint at something; something Republicans might have thought about before having a politicised, in-recess, public hearing during the last few weeks of the election:

    Republicans were aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses. But they inadvertently caused a different picture to emerge than the one that has been publicly known: that the victims may have been let down not by the State Department but by the CIA. If the CIA was playing such a major role in these events, which was the unmistakable impression left by Wednesday’s hearing, having a televised probe of the matter was absurd.

    Dama Milbank – Letting us in on a secret Washington Post 11 Oct 12

    “Absurd” is letting them off lightly: worth reading the whole thing.  Idiots.

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