May 3, 2009

Frank Rich "imagine[s] what it’s like to be among the Limbaugh-Cheney deadenders who loathe Obama."

Getting some perspective at long last?

Not really. His next words are:
Those who feel the whole world is against them.
What? Your feat of imagination has you immediately projecting your opinion of their insane paranoia?
Those who think the press corps is in the tank.
Could you pause for a moment and consider the extent to which the press is in the tank?
Those so sickened by the fawning that they’d throw a brick through the television screen if the Bush-Cheney economy had left them with enough money to buy a new set.
But it is sickening, isn't it? You had to dash headlong into that fevered image of violent brick-throwing and Bush-bashing, so you wouldn't have to think about how awful the fawning really has been.
But only for a second. I confess to being among the 81 percent (per Wall Street Journal/NBC) who like the guy...
Rich contends that all the fawning is because "[t]he journalism industry is fighting for its life" and "Obama is the one reliable product" it can offer for sale. Forgive the bad journalism. We need to make it bad so you'll buy it. Not you brick-throwing deadenders. But somebody. Anybody.

Rich goes on to inform us that the GOP is pathetically diminished, and that "with so little opposition, in the political arena or most anyplace else, to challenge his high-flying course," Obama will need to keep himself "grounded."

That's way at the end of the column, long after the discussion of journalism, but maybe journalism is what he meant by "most anyplace else."

I wish he'd gone back to his Limbaugh-Cheney deadenders! Do you really still insist they are people who feel the whole world is against them? You've just mapped out why they — and all of us — really should be alarmed. You have a massively powerful, ambitious President, unchecked by an opposition party, boosted and promoted by journalists who've forgotten what their role is. Now, go back to your imagination exercise and do it again.

103 comments:

rdkraus said...

Ann

That last paragraph nails it.

The NY Times should fire Rich, and give you his Sunday Column. Maybe their numbers would go up.

Peter V. Bella said...

"...journalists who've forgotten what their role is."

Althouse, you have hit the nail on the head. Journalists and journalism have frogotten what their role is; reportage. Their role is to report facts, not opinions; and they are not supposed to be PR weasels.

Like Joe Friday used to say- "just the facts ma'am"

Journalism is nothing more than who, what, where, when, how, and why; and the ability to communicate it. That is it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

rhhardin said...

Rich gets his ideas from the editorials.

Sully said...

i love obama but i agree that the media is definitely in the tank.

good post Ann, you didn't post any self-portraits, that would've been gross.

Jason (the commenter) said...

The journalism industry may have made money by putting Obama on the cover of things, but that business model (media as memorabilia) is drying up. It's like trying to sell pumpkins after Halloween.

The way to get an audience now is to criticize Obama, or at least not fawn over him. Fox News isn't hurting. Rush has more listeners than ever. Politico is writing stories about the problems at Talking Points Memo.

Get with the program!

Richard Fagin said...

Peter, Peter, Peter, you just weren't paying attention. Chris Mathews already told us it was his job to ensure the success of this administration.

Any reason whatsoever to think Katy Couric and Frank Rich feel any differently?

The remainder of the names of the guilty have been omitted to conserve comments space on this blog.

rhhardin said...

Obama is basically a Broadway play he's pushing, is all.

ElcubanitoKC said...

According to our own dear Beth (from about 12:25 pm on), the fact that the press is in the tank for The One(PBUH) doesn't matter. It again reminds me of the phrase:

"Trying to hide the Sun with your thumb"

Have a great Sunday morning, everyone.

rhhardin said...

Meanwhile Jack Kemp (R, football), the most boring politician ever, has died.

He latched onto a couple good ideas but didn't understand them really, couldn't articulate them, and managed to get things wrong pretty much all the time.

Don't follow a hero when he goes off the deep end, advice he could have used with his hero Jude Wanniski.

Once (in the 70s) the WSJ's best economics editorialist.

Following deep ending heros brings it back to Obama.

Christy said...

Are the press misreading Obama's approval readings? Are they jumping on a bandwagon that has no wheels? The ratings on his speech this last week were down 42% from his first press conference in February. Have we lost our expectations of the man?

Republicans no longer have a standard bearer to be for, they haven't a plan to solve our problems, so why not tell the pollster you approve of Obama if you live in the middle of the political spectrum?

former law student said...

The GOP is the only entity that can fix the GOP. The longer it fails to acknowledge reality and propose targeted solutions, the less credibility it will have. Right now it is like the old guy on the corner, bewhiskered with three days stubble, fly completely open, stained T-shirt covered in crumbs, running onto the porch to holler, "Hey, you kids! Get offa my lawn," as the bike riders cut across the corner.

That Obama needs a serious counterweight in the political arena. But the former party of Lincoln and liberty has now melted down to a fundamentalist core of aging, rural Dixiecrats and intrusive scolds — as small as 20 percent of the populace in the latest polls. Its position on the American spectrum of ideas is somewhere between a doomsday cult and Scientology.

A good start for the GOP would be repudiating the actions of the Bush administration that Obama is either perpetuating or leaving undisturbed.

Maguro said...

Give Frank a break...he did admit that Obama isn't perfect in this column.

It's a step in the right direction.

NKVD said...

The press knows precisely what its role is - to print propaganda. They do it well.

John Lynch said...

Why is it so hard to understand when people tell you exactly how they feel and why?

Why do people keep trying to find underlying motives in their political opponents? Why can't their motives be what they say they are?

Conservatives are worried about too much spending and the increasing size of government, and what that means for the future. How damn hard is that to understand, especially when it's repeated over and over again?

This refusal to admit that the opposition has legitimate concerns that are held in good faith is one of the stupid features of American politics. Maybe it's just a universal feature of humanity. It's still stupid.

How can people really believe that 40% of the country is just evil and/or stupid? Not that Democrats or liberals are alone in this.

Christy said...

You all did read the Insty linked Jake Tapper column yesterday, didn't you, that "A leading bankruptcy attorney representing hedge funds and money managers told ABC News Saturday that Steve Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration's Auto Industry Task Force, threatened one of the firms, an investment bank, that if it continued to oppose the administration's Chrysler bankruptcy plan, the White House would use the White House press corps to destroy its reputation.' Emphasis added by me. Obama's team clearly sees the press as tools to wield as they will.

The White House denies it, but the details supplied give credence to the claim.

SMGalbraith said...

Even during the acme of the conservative movement in America - circa 1985 - we still had a largely critical press, certainly a strong opposition from academia, and at the least a balancing if not unsympathetic culture (Hollywood, et cetera).

Today, we see little (the judiciary?) of the counterbalance of two decades ago and with the near collapse of newspapers - and investigative reporting - for Rich not to understand the concerns underscores again what a reactionary he really is.

This is, what?, the 87th column that Rich has written since the election about these outcast deadenders. Which raises the question: Why worry Frank?

I see almost nothing in Obama's makeup that leads me to conclude he'll abuse these powers. He's not a socialist, much less a Marxist. But a reliance on the people (i.e., elections), as Madison pointed out, to watch their leaders wasn't enough. We needed other checks; checks that seem to be increasingly absent.

Men aren't angels. Not even, Mr. Rich, Barack Obama.

Shorter me: Yeah, our press is not serving us well right now.

Darcy said...

Oh, well...some of us could see this coming? It wasn't very hard to imagine the scary place we're in now. We had a terrible choice. But only one guy had all the power of the media behind him.

I truly do hope there are more clear thinking people who voted for Obama out there. We'll need them desperately.

rhhardin said...

We had a terrible choice.

We had a terrible choice because soap opera media determined both the candidates.

Smoke filled rooms had their advantages for the nation. They didn't have an audience business model that had to turn a profit.

Lawgiver said...

Althouse bends one in from the right corner!


GOAAALLLLL!!!!!

Beth said...

The sky is falling!

This is the Swine Flu version of political commentary.

SMGalbraith said...

The concern about potential abuse or misuse (or just screwup) of power is directly inverse to the amount of power your side has.

Similarly, I remember Garry Wills, when he was a conservative, once remarking that the fear of power disappears once you (right, left, whatever) acquire it.

I'm sure some brilliant writer said it better; but it'll do for a Sunday.

Beth said...

According to our own dear Beth (from about 12:25 pm on), the fact that the press is in the tank for The One(PBUH) doesn't matter.No, EKC, by your own analysis, what I said was that Latins were stupid and not worth comparing to us. You made the keen observation that, in rejecting a comparison between Obama's coming opportunity to propose a SC nominee and Chavez' anti-democratic efforts in Venezuala, I was belittling Latinos.

Beth said...

SMG - that's a great point. Despite the inherent hypocrisy, I suppose it works well that way because there's always someone paying attention to excesses of power.

TitusSaysGoodmorning2U&U&U2 said...

I love Frank Rich.

His editorials are fabulous.

Life is fabulous.

Be fabulous.

TitusSaysGoodmorning2U&U&U2 said...

9 to 5 the musical is not fabulous.

Sofa King said...

The big problem is that the Democrats now have two major power bases that no party has ever had before:

(1) Their vast domination of the media, combined with the omnipresence of video cameras, gives them the ability to paint anybody of any prominence as totally ridiculous. Selective editing and vicious mockery are used and will be used to snuff out any potential leaders before they can gain any widespread appeal. Most people can already see that one of the biggest problems the GOP - or any third-party - has is a lack of effective leadership. But this is no coincidence. The Democrats along with their media allies have worked hard to make it so.

(2) The more of the economy the government controls, the more fealty those who depend on that sector of the economy owe to those government players that control their fate. We've seen massive government intervention in banking, manufacturing, and soon health care too. For any participants in these economic sectors, they know that the loyalty can have profound effects on the decisions made in Washington. Well, who makes the decisions in Washington? This math is not hard to figure out. I would not be surprised if the Democrats have a 3 to 1 or higher campaign spending advantage in the next election cycle, and as more of the economy is subsumed by government controls, that ratio will only increase. The net effect will be that the allocation of resources will be so unbalanced that opposition candidates could basically never win.

Paddy O. said...

"there's always someone paying attention to excesses of power."

But when the powerless side is continued to be blasting for continued use of power, then the already powerful build up their various machines to stomp out all opposition.

That's the pernicious quality of anti-semitism, as well as totalitarianism.

Blame the powerless for the problems in society is the best way to enhance power and control all communication, leading to huge excesses of power that is always corrupted

Darcy said...

Thank you, Sofa King and Paddy O. Great points.

Greg Hlatky said...

With the Executive branch, soon-to-be filibuster-proof majorities in the Legislative branch and retirements in the Judicial branch just starting, who are the Obamaphiles going to blame for any future failures? Kulaks? Wreckers? Capitalist running dogs?

hdhouse said...

Sofa King said...
"Democrats now have two major power bases that no party has ever had before:

(1) Their vast domination of the media, omnipresence of video cameras, ...the ability to paint anybody of any prominence as totally ridiculous."

Well Sofa...Wrong on part one. the MSM is by audience a myth loved by Rush but not by facts. Count audience for a change. The uber-recht in this country gets a wide margin more air time than the left. It's a fact. look it up.

As to the omnipresent video cameras...we saw very little of Bush the younger and almost every time he was stepping in cowshit...coincidence, a plot, or just the way it is?

SMGalbraith said...

Despite the inherent hypocrisy, I suppose it works well that way because there's always someone paying attention to excesses of power.
(1) I don't think it's hypocrisy as much as self-delusion. I.e., my side is good, our goals are noble, therefore the means justify those well-intended ends.

(2) Who is paying attention to the potential excesses of this Administration? Not to go Glenn Beck on you, but at no time in my lifetime (I'm 46) has one party or ideology had such a dominance over the nation (cultural centers, academia, news media, a diminshing influence of religion, et cetera).

Look,Obama's not a Marxist or a socialist. But I'm not sure the next guy or gal who will inherit his power will be as responsible.

I can dig out the Tocqueville quotes in my next post.

Sofa King said...

Well Sofa...Wrong on part one. the MSM is by audience a myth loved by Rush but not by facts.

Rush and...Frank Rich. When such a broad range of people agree on something, don't you think there might be a grain of truth? Did you even read the article?

SukieTawdry said...

I see almost nothing in Obama's makeup that leads me to conclude he'll abuse these powers.Seriously?

TMink said...

"Those who feel the whole world is against them."

Oh my goodness, what hyperbole! Only 53% of Americans disagreed with me, very few of them are against me.

And if Obama's policies work, then real conservatives will admit and accept and adopt them. It is about reality. Real conservatives are great at admitting when they are wrong.

Republicans, not so much.

Trey

Beth said...

Not to go Glenn Beck on you, but at no time in my lifetime (I'm 46) has one party or ideology had such a dominance over the nation (cultural centers, academia, news media, a diminshing influence of religion, et cetera).We're in the same generation, then. No, I don't think you're going Beck - I just don't have as much faith in the ability of Democrats to capitalize for long on that dominance. I don't see where, overnight, the Dems have become any more organized or effective than they've been historically.

As for news media, I believe it's just a matter of time. The press feeds on blood in the water, and just as they turned on Clinton, they'll turn on Obama. Glorious tributes to the King don't draw audiences for long. And you're ignoring the critique coming from left-wing online media of Obama for a litany of things: watering down his stand on Don't Ask, Don't Tell; weaseling on Gitmo; putting more money in the hands of CEOs than the people actually being hurt by the economy...

I just don't buy that the press is one big propaganda organ for Obama.

I'm not sure why you include "diminishing influence of religion" as a factor in Democratic party dominance, by the way.

I'm not belittling the need for thoughtful concern; I am rolling my eyes over the Chicken Little / Here Comes the Communists! rhetoric I've seen from some on these threads.

Let's all buy us some video cameras - thus far, they're available to everyone with no Proof of Democratic Party Registration required.

Anthony said...

"...journalists who've forgotten what their role is."Nonsense, they haven't "forgotten" anything. They have been largely consistent in their role for at least five decades and probably longer. They haven't just become liberal; they've been that way for a long time. Back in the 1980s, the press was still critical, yes; because it was Reagan in the White House. let's not forget that they trashed him as much as they could. He was dumb. He was old fashioned and simple minded. Old, tottering, dependent on his wife, his staff, etc.

They've been skewing stories for decades. They seem to have finally acknowledged, at least implicitly, that their role is and has been to advance the liberal cause. But they still justify it by seeing themselves as not really liberal but just "smart" and "critical". "We're in the tank for Obama, but that's just because he's so brilliant!"

Lawgiver said...

Beth said,

Glorious tributes to the King don't draw audiences for long. And you're ignoring the critique coming from left-wing online media of Obama for a litany of things:Good analysis Beth.

I'm gunna be in the Big Easy the end of next month to gamble any some of my hard earned money and get fatter. Any particular downtown restaurants you recommend?

Seneca the Younger said...

Conservatives are worried about too much spending and the increasing size of government, and what that means for the future. How damn hard is that to understand, especially when it's repeated over and over again?It's a trance state. Just like the people who still believe in the plastic Turkey Myth, and 9/11 Truthers, and most any conspiracy theory. The issue isn't that it's hard to believe, it's that it's hard to hear.

ElcubanitoKC said...

A historical parallelThese, like those in the past, will not learn their lesson until it is too late.

SMGalbraith said...

Seriously?
I qualified it with "almost."

And by abuse, I mean the "man on horseback" type of danger; not the run-of-the-mill misuse we've seen from both parties over the years.

Although as I noted, where's the counterbalancing institutions to this Administration? Not the press, not academia, not the culture makers, not organized religion.

The Courts? Yes, but that will change over the next several years.

The potential - potential - for real abuse is there.

Brian Hancock said...

Zing!!!! Great post, Ann!

Sofa King said...

I'm not belittling the need for thoughtful concern

With all respect, that's all I've seen you do, unless you count "ignoring" as "not belittling."

Let's all buy us some video cameras - thus far, they're available to everyone with no Proof of Democratic Party Registration required.

Sadly, no.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

Frank Rich wrote: "... if the Bush-Cheney economy had ...".

Here's the deal:

DON'T LET THESE PEOPLE KEEP FRAMING THE DEBATE.

Rich's construction contains the sort of language that must always be challenged. Yes, it's just a passing reference. But it contains precisely the sort of premise that, if left unchallenged, continues to quietly nudge everything leftward.

There was no "Bush-Cheney economy." The economy isn't something the president "runs." At least, it's certainly not something the president is supposed to run.

So in these instances, don't even argue about whether the "Bush-Cheney economy" was good or bad. If you do, you'll have ceded the very ground of the debate to the left. You'll have handed them the victory by default. Just don't even go there. Instead, it should always be: "What are you talking about, 'Bush-Cheney economy'?"

We must stop arguing with these people on the surface, and start meeting them at their premises -- each and every one of them. Don't let them take anything for granted. Don't let them get away with givens that ultimately benefit their argument. Dig in deep, and debate at the core of it all.

It's the only way to start stopping this crap.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

Sorry about the duplicate deletions, y'all. For some reason, Google's commenting software has gotten weird and finicky about retaining paragraph breaks after HTML close-codes. It's bizarre.

Beth said...

Lawgiver - if you're hanging out at Harrah's, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse is doing well. Nothing exciting but they do a really, really good steak.

Down the block at the Hilton, try Drago's and order the chargrilled oysters. They're amazing.

Cochon - I give them a big thumbs-up. 930 Tchoupitoulas in the Warehouse District, very close to the Convention Center. Make a reservation: (504) 588-2123. Order some moonshine. This menu will have things you just don't find elsewhere. They are probably the only Cajun fine-dining in town - Cajun with German influences.

Irene's Cuisine in the French Quarter is always very good. Classic Italian.

Muriel's on Jackson Square gets good reviews but I haven't been there so I can't personally attest.

Stella! on Chartres also in the Quarter is something of a new sensation, and worth considering. Again, I haven't been there yet. This is the kind of stuff you see on Top Chef - you can see what they're about at restaurantstella.com

MiLa in the Central Business District is nice, too, with some good fusion between fine dining and homestyle Southern cuisine.

In honor of Ella Brennan's winning a lifetime Beard achievement award this week, I'll throw in Commander's Palace. Take a cab there, to the Garden District. It's traditional Creole dining.

There are about 990 restaurants open in New Orleans right now, so take this list in that context. These are all middle- to high-end, fairly expensive places.

Here's a local website that might help: http://nomenu.com/

It's the worst-designed website ever in the history of the world, but he does provide good details in his reviews.

If you want to go off the beaten track, do a daytime lunch of fried chicken at Wille Mae's Scotchhouse, or dinner at Dookie Chase's, with chef Leah Chase - these are in the absolute worst neighborhood in town, so go with a group and take a cab. There is no better food in the world, let alone in New Orleans. Ask your concierge about them.

I hope you have a wonderful time.

If anyone bets you they can tell you where you got dem shoes, just reply that you got 'em on your feet. (That's a favorite Bourbon Street scam.)

ElcubanitoKC said...

Ah, Beth, you are indeed one of my favorite online liberals. I even enjoy our sneer and sarcasm exchanges. And I say that truly without any of those.

Beth said...

Sofa King - that story's outcome is still unknown. If the union guys threatened him, then the police should charge them. You can find some good articles on the rights of the public to video tape meetings and public officials in action at boingboing.net - unless you're only interested in conservatives and videotaping issues. That's your right, of course.

Beth said...

EKC, I'll accept and return the compliment.

Richard said...

The role of the media is to keep conservatives in check. Since there is nobody to keep in check at the moment, the media just doesn't know what to do.

Lawgiver said...

Beth,

Thanks, Cochon sounds interesting :)

Nagarajan Sivakumar said...

"There was no "Bush-Cheney economy." The economy isn't something the president "runs." At least, it's certainly not something the president is supposed to run.

Registering to Comment, you raised a number of interesting points.

The reason that Rich uses the words Bush-Cheney economy are two fold

A. Given the unpopularity of both Bush and Cheney, he is milking the hate cow as much as he possibly can, daring people to counter him.

B.He ACTUALLY BELIEVES that Presidents have control/should have even more control over the economy - he is a liberal afterall. If the recession ends, he will be singing hallealujah to the "Obama economy".

A liberal President like Obama obliges him by trying to interfere with every possible aspect of the economy. If there was no financial crisis, Obama Would have gone STRAIGHT to cap and trade legislation, and nationalized healthcare.

The financial crisis has made Obama spend time he would have otherwise spent on favorite liberal programs to have a stranglehold on the economy.

Also, why is any one even bothered by what Frank Rich writes any more ?- he is a liberal columnist writing for the most liberal newspaper in this country - this is just par for the course for him.

Big Mike said...

I just don't buy that the press is one big propaganda organ for Obama.Unfortunately, Beth, if you were open-minded you'd consider the possibility that what you believe (or buy off on) may be different from what reality is. Right now only Jake Tapper is asking reasonably tough questions of the President, while his colleagues lob puff balls up the stage.

My wife tells me that this morning's "Meet the Press" had some reasonably tough questions for administration officials about their handling of the swine flu (such as, why weren't the borders closed and returning travelers quarantined?) but he's supposedly on his way out.

For myself I see a great deal to be concerned about with this administration's cavalier approach to the law, particularly contract law and tax law, and their near total lack of grasp of elementary economics. Thanks to enablers like you, we're in for a bumpy ride.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

^^^
See, the paragraph-break problem just happened to Big Mike.

This just started popping up a week or two ago, at least for me, so I suspect something got glitched up in the Blogger software. It's not just this blog.

Moneyrunner said...

Not to digress, but another Times columnist, Gail Collins, manages to turn gold into straw.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

B.He ACTUALLY BELIEVES that Presidents have control/should have even more control over the economy - he is a liberal afterall. If the recession ends, he will be singing hallealujah to the "Obama economy"..

Yes, Nagarajan. Exactly. And that's the problem.

But the real problem is that conservatives have failed to properly counter such premises -- and in fact have unwittingly bought into them by responding the wrong way.

There's something about "Bush-Cheney economy" (and similar language) that has a loaded-question angle to it, a kind of "Do you still beat your wife" aspect. That's certainly the case in modern polling, where respondents are surveyed with such questions as "Rate the president's handling of the economy."

Conservatives and libertarians should never respond to such formulations by answering "good" or "bad." They should immediately challenge the question's very premise. "It's not a president's job to 'handle' the economy," is as good an answer as any.

Otherwise, we're just handing the debate to the left. Their premises will have prevailed. They win, because they'll have successfully shifted the entire argument onto their turf -- "the president runs the economy, now how should he do it" -- and then it's just a bunch of quibbling over details.

I'm using this economy example as just that: an example. It's one in a slew of similar leftist presumptions that largely go unchallenged and thus now undergird our politics and society.

Trooper York said...

Link Appleyard: Did you know Liberty Valance is in town tonight?
Dutton Peabody: I'd be a poor newspaperman indeed if I didn't know what everybody knows!
Ransom Stoddard: Well what are you going to do about it Sherrif?
Link Appleyard: Me. Why should I do anyting about it?
Rasonm Stoddard: Because he is an evil murderer who is terrorizing this town.
Link Appleyard:I don't think I should do anything, maybe he will go away on his own. At least I hope that he will.
(The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1952)

Duncan said...

"Hey, you kids! Get offa my lawn," as the bike riders cut across the corner."


Gran Torino is out on dvd in June. Get it and see what happens next.

The One got 1.8% more of the vote than W in '04. Republicans have plenty of work to do but they're hardly dead.

Eric said...

I'm not the least bit outraged or surprised Frank Rich is in the tank for Obama. And why would anyone care? He's an opinion columnist - Althouse does the same thing, better, in her spare time.

It's people like David Gregory and Helen Thomas who shouldn't be getting a pass here. They're just warming seats at a venue that could be used gather information for the public.

Florida said...

Ann,

Yes, yes ... but can you tell us what most enchanted you about Rich's column?

Lawgiver said...

See, the paragraph-break problem just happened to Big Mike.

When using < > tags you have to put your final punct mark or character outside the final > and then hit return. If you put it inside and then hit return it won't show your line break when published.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

Per my comment above about other examples of leftist framing, I figured I should provide a few of them. I'm talking about concepts that have become part of the everyday discourse, largely unchallenged, such as ...

... "voting is a civic duty" and other such memes, which exalt democracy and thus play into fundamental leftist ideas about power, equality, etc.

... the concept of government officials (presidents in particular) as "leaders," which chips away at individualism and liberty and promotes the state's power.

... such formulations as "the health care system," which serves to actualize and codify what is in fact a complex series of actions by arbitrary, individual actors. Leftists have a tendency to systemize, to see the world in terms of systems: When you define something and give it a shape, it becomes an identifiable "it" -- and stuff has to be an "it" before it can be commandeered and regulated.

... terms such as "the Hispanic vote" or "the black community." This one is easy, of course: It presents American society as a batch of blocs, rather than as a country of individuals, and again plays into the leftist idea that all relationships are about power, etc.

All of these represent leftist ways of viewing the world and thus framing discussion about it. And all are concepts and terms that conservatives have come to use as well. That is a massive mistake. Because all of these memes entrench the leftist perspective, in a way where it's no longer even identified as such.

There's no way for conservative ideas to prevail in such an environment -- literally no way. It's like the Redskins expecting to score a touchdown when they've agreed to let the Cowboys have the ball the entire game. Or like Arsenal expecting to score a goal when they've agreed to play the whole match on Manchester United's offensive half, if you're so inclined.

Conservatives MUST stop falling in these traps, baited into partisan defensiveness without examining the very premises underneath it all. This is about more than the left "controlling the narrative." It's about the left having established the very lens through which we view the narrative. And until conservatives and libertarians figure this out, the American idea -- liberty and individualism -- remains doomed.

Revenant said...

I'd rate the odds of Frank Rich actually knowing someone who loathes Obama at around one in eight.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

When using < > tags you have to put your final punct mark or character outside the final > and then hit return. If you put it inside and then hit return it won't show your line break when published.

OK, so this is something others have noticed. When did this start? It wasn't this way in the past.

George said...

----I see almost nothing in Obama's makeup that leads me to conclude he'll abuse these powers.---

----"A leading bankruptcy attorney representing hedge funds and money managers told ABC News Saturday that Steve Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration's Auto Industry Task Force, threatened one of the firms, an investment bank, that if it continued to oppose the administration's Chrysler bankruptcy plan, the White House would use the White House press corps to destroy its reputation.' ----


It should be rare to have such self-contradictory postings in the same thread.

I suppose some liberal will say that Bush threatened the islamic jihadists we hold at Guantanamo. Yep, having the car czar twisting arms like Rocko the enforcer makes me feel more secure and especially confident that the government is looking out for me.

George said...

---The role of the media is to keep conservatives in check. ---

I thought that was the role of Obama's new brownshirts. The new civilian defense force "just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded"

http://volokh.com/posts/1216451854.shtml

Seriously, that was the specific role of the KGB, the Cheka, Cuban Interior Ministry, Pol Pot -- all keeping conservatives in check. Read the Gulag Archepelago. See how well the liberals run death camps.

Rich Casebolt said...

RTCWBS ... your logic also applies to those who say that the GOP lacks "solutions".

Of course they lack "solutions" ... as in "solve our problems FOR us" solutions these critics are looking for ... and are willing to admit that ...

... in stark contrast to the current Administration, who continues to think that trying is equivalent to doing, and therefore is willing to treat this nation like its own little Petri dish for socioeconomic experimentation, history and the principles of human interaction be damned.

Unlike the current Administration, anyone with common sense realizes that it will be 300 million problem-solvers who can/should/will come up with the REAL solutions in the highly-individualized areas of personal economics and health care.

Not a relative few in DC.

The premise that a relative few in DC can be relied upon to come up with practical/reliable solutions in these areas ... solutions that are so universally beneficial that they justify significant restraints on our ability to pursue happiness, via the tax code, regulation, or narrowing our choices by further usurpation of the private sector ... should be challenged at every opportunity.

It is a manifestation of the Biggest Lie of All ... that all you need to do is show up for work, because there are others that can solve your most personal problems FOR you, at "no" cost to you.

Bill4500 said...

"But for a second, anyway, I could imagine what it’s like to be among the Limbaugh-Cheney deadenders who loathe Obama..."Coming off of eight years of mindlessly despising George Bush, Rich surely did not need another fawning reporter to help him imagine what it is like to despise a President.

George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SMGalbraith said...

It should be rare to have such self-contradictory postings in the same thread. Sorry, to be "self-contradictory postings" the same person would have to have made both posts.

That didn't happen.

Anyway, even if true, this is an example (for me) of simple run-of-the-mill Administration arm twisting. Hardly man on horseback type actions (and we need to update that metaphor by now, don't we?).

If this is what we (and I include myself) mean by a runaway, unchecked Administration, we'll be laughed out of the court of opinion.

George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

---That didn't happen

Yes, an underling issued a Baghdad Bob-like non-denial denial "There is no evidence this took place!" There are no American troops here!

---Anyway, even if true, this is an example (for me) of simple run-of-the-mill Administration arm twisting.

Please provide an example in American history where a President interfered in bankruptcy negotiations and acted to devalue an American's legal instrument of debt.

It may seem laughable to you, but one of these days it will be your savings that has been devalued/subordinated/taken away.

William said...

Obama has proven that it is possible to govern for 100 days in a likable manner. I don't knock it. Being likable is part of the job.....He has, in his personable way, proposed various initiatives. I am deeply suspicious of many of them and think that they will fail. However, it is too soon to say that they are failures, and I take solace in the fact that I am so often wrong about so many things. Perhaps I will turn out to be wrong in my estimation of Obama's programs.... What causes my gentle heart so many perturbations is the fact that the liberals have been so wrong about so many things without ever acknowledging their mistakes. These are people who think that Cuba has a better health care system than we do. What are the odds of their acknowledging any glitches in Obama's health care proposals.

Allan said...

I proudly can proclaim
I've never in my life read a single column
by Frank Rich.

I don't think I'll start now.

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

RTCWBS ... your logic also applies to those who say that the GOP lacks "solutions".

Boom, exactly. The very concept of "solutions" implies that politicians should be doing something -- that it's really just a matter of each party coming up with its own particular plan.

This is why it's unlikely that individual liberty can ever survive in a democracy. Over time, the politicians who promise "solutions" are the ones who triumph. The whole "don't do something, just stand there" philosophy -- the one on which America was founded -- becomes harder and harder to sell. Not when you're up against politicans promising action and answers.

It kinda sucks, really.

Kirk said...

RTCWBS: Very astute observations and posts. I'm somewhat surprised you haven't yet been attacked for being the neanderthal you must be.It'll happen...the only way the Left can counter your (and anyone else's) sensible remarks is to personally attack the remarker (don't know if that's a word).

Moneyrunner said...

William,

What do you mean “likeable?” Likeable like telling the American people that they should be outraged that AIG workers were going to receive pay for doing their job while ACORN goons camped on their front lawns and they received death threats?

Likeable like threatening to destroy the reputations of people who bought Chrysler bonds in the expectation that they would receive their due under the terms of their bond covenants?

Likeable like personal attacks on a private citizen who chooses to criticize you?

Likeable like crisscrossing the globe apologizing for America, telling our adversaries that they are right but that he was just a kid when it happened?

Likeable like that?

Trooper York said...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hawkeye: My father warned me about you...
Cora Munro: [interupting] Your Father?
Hawkeye: Chingachgook, he warned me about people like you.
Cora Munro: Oh, did he?
Hawkeye: He said "Do not try to understand them".
Cora Munro: What?
Hawkeye: Yes, and, "do not try to make them understand you. That is because they are a breed apart and make no sense".
(Last of the Mochicans,1992)

Registering To Comment With Blogger Sucks said...

Thanks, Kirk. Very kind of you.

I just think it's important to step out of the thicket of day-to-day politics, to look closely at what we're actually arguing about. You want to make sure that your opponent hasn't conned you into agreeing to HIS terms of debate, where you're now basically agreeing with him on principle and just quibbling over details.

That's what was so glorious about that gentleman in the infamous CNN tea party clip, for instance: He didn't launch into an empirical argument about tax rates or economic indicators or other distractions. He immediately zeroed in on principles, talking about liberty.

That's how it has to be done, over and over and over. The CNN reporter that day was rattled; we've reached the point where an educated American like her can't even recognize the elementary link between taxation and liberty. We need to keep communicating as that gentleman did -- we need to move things to the point where the CNN reporter intuitively understands the point.

We need to force the argument back onto our terms.

JAL said...

When using < > tags you have to put your final punct mark or character outside the final > and then hit return. If you put it inside and then hit return it won't show your line break when published.

OK, so this is something others have noticed. When did this start? It wasn't this way in the past
.

It's been this way a couple weeks now and drives a lot of us bonkers. The answer here was the first time I realized I had to put the final punctuation outside the final bracket. Weird.

I have been writing breaks manually.

JAL said...

And to whoever wrote that Obama has been "likeable" in his first 100 days.

I do not think you have been paying attention.

Holding hands with his wife, going to an NBA basketball game and having a beer, smiling a lot with the Europeans and South Americans does not make up for some of the ugly things he is doing.

Get your radar up and working and do some more homework.

Someone who approaches bipartisan relationships by crowing "I won" is not likeable.

A POTUS who calls out a private citizen by name in press conferences to marginalize them is not likeable. Someone who uses the press to interfere in a lawyer - client relationship is not likeable.

I have had many clients over the years whose partners were "likeable" but who were untrustworthy and bent. Likeable is NOT the main characteristic what one wants in one who holds the primary position of defender of the US Constitution and the people of the US.

Nagarajan Sivakumar said...

"Boom, exactly. The very concept of "solutions" implies that politicians should be doing something -- that it's really just a matter of each party coming up with its own particular plan."

RegisteringToComment,

unfortunately this is EXACTLY where a media that is a handmaiden to a CERTAIN political philosophy and political party plays such a huuuge role. It frames the debate in its terms.

What is the "solution" to "global warming" ? What are the "solutions" to health care problems??

Try telling people that 535 Congressmen and Senators know no more than what the average person does about most issues, you will be met with incredulous looks.

It is truly sad - America was one country which explicity started out by saying that people are better judges of their own lives.But starting with the Great Depression and the New Deal that idea has been severly watered down to the point that most Americans living today would have rejected/not recognized the original Constitution if they were living 200 plus years ago.

The Republic - "if you can keep it" Republic has been mostly replaced.

Beth said...

JAL, I might have misread that comment, but I took it as a little dig on Obama's "You're likeable enough, Hillary," comment - faint praise.

paul a'barge said...

Keep it up, Frank.

You're only going to make the schadenfreude so much tastier when you get that deer-in-the-headlights look in your eye.

I don't know when it's coming, and it might not be soon but come it will. Tables turn, almost by themselves.

Hoo-hah!

Joe said...

Never forget that the press is, above all, out for itself. The desire for power and celebrity has long overwhelmed reporters (even the lying bastard Cronkite.)

The recent flu hysteria is a case in point; the press so desperately wanted to be important that they got so far ahead of the story, they're now creating it with complete disregard for truth. Nothing new; remember the Spanish-American war. I see this and the Obama ass kissing as the last desperate gasps of a media screaming like the proverbial spoiled child demanding attention. Why anyone pays attention to them (let alone a buffoon like Frank Rich) is beyond me.

Bill4500 said...

"As for news media, I believe it's just a matter of time. The press feeds on blood in the water, and just as they turned on Clinton, they'll turn on Obama..." You forget. The media (Newsweek for instance) tried its best to bury the Monica story. Drudge shamed them and dragged them to it kicking and screaming. After that, the MSM bought and promoted shamelessly the Democrat meme -- its just about sex.

Bill4500 said...

RTCWBS: Brilliant posts. Do you have a blog? Get one if you don't.

EDH said...

Revealing White House "press corpse" video linked by Drudge.

Fitgers said...

Frank Rich wouldn't say anything useful even if he was waterboarded.

former law student said...

The very concept of "solutions" implies that politicians should be doing something -- that it's really just a matter of each party coming up with its own particular plan.

This is why it's unlikely that individual liberty can ever survive in a democracy.

So where are the free market solutions to provide affordable health care for every one who wants it?

You can't blame government for filling a void that private enterprise has neglected.

Conservatives are worried about too much spending and the increasing size of government, and what that means for the future. How damn hard is that to understand, especially when it's repeated over and over again?

This refusal to admit that the opposition has legitimate concerns that are held in good faith is one of the stupid features of American politics.

This pinpoints the problem. The right relies on argument by repeated assertion, without being able to connect the dots in any meaningful fashion.

Where is the right's parade of horribles? If this goes on, do we end up like Sweden, surrounded by tanned blonde beauties?

How much spending is too much? Too much for what? How big should government be? What should government do, and what are the consequences if it goes outside those bounds?

BJM said...

The UAW is about to learn what the media cannot quite grasp, a business cannot survive if you piss off half the customer base.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

How many times does it have to be pointed out that Obama is popular, let alone that he won, not just because of the media, but because he kicked McMaverick's ass?

The GOP needs to listen more to Jeb Bush and less to Limbaugh and Beck. They are theatrical hacks; what the GOP needs is leadership and ideas, not venting from windbags.

Beth said...

Conservatives are worried about too much spending and the increasing size of government, and what that means for the future. How damn hard is that to understand, especially when it's repeated over and over again?It's completely impossible to understand, despite repeated assertions, when Republican congresses led by Republican executives, kept spending and increasing the size of government. You'll need to persuade conservatives of these ideas before you make a play for the rest of us.

dick said...

FLS,

Define affordable. Until you do, that question cannot really be answered because whatever rate the cost ends up, the questioner only has to say that is not affordable. That is the problem with the way the questions are formulated.

I am reminded of an email I got just the other day. I was offered a chance to get into a beautiful home in San Diego. It was classified as very affordable. THe lowest price was for a 1-BR at $300K and then you had $1K monthly charges on top of that. Hardly what I would call affordable but to someone from San Diego it might be considered affordable. The same problem with the way these entitlement questions are formulated. What might be affordable in one area would be totally out of sight in another. That is one of the problems with the whole concept of a nationalized service of any kind.

Beth said...

lawgiver - if you're planning on one good and interesting meal while you're in town, then Cochon is an excellent choice. Sooo-eeee.

former law student said...

Define affordable.

No more than 10-15% of my income.

Rich Casebolt said...

So where are the free market solutions to provide affordable health care for every one who wants it?

FLS, you don't get it ... it is up to US to figure out those solutions -- probably, multiple solutions that are a better fit for each of us.

Not a few alleged experts in DC, who in the name of civil liberties and fairness are compelled to impose a one-size-fits-all solution upon us.

You want it, as I do? Then we both need to figure it out.

In fact, there are some answers that have already been articulated for years (WARNING: ideas to follow -- WVReb, are you listening?)

One of them, though is probably not popular with your fellow former students, as it would reduce their government-facilitated "market" by reforming the tort system, so the lawsuit lottery doesn't suck up so much money in awards/insurance/defensive medicine -- while still being an effective deterrent to malpractice.

Another is to provide for those who simply can't get insurance through private-sector charitable entities ... like say, independent hospitals like St. Jude's in Memphis ... or the system of Catholic hospitals that is gradually being pushed into the dilemma of either closing or compromising their principles by pro-abortion politicians.

Of course, neither of those solutions provides a "guarantee" of free health care ... nor do they punish those who have become wealthy, for reasons legitimate and/or illegitimate, through the provision of health care or its underlying technologies ... nor do they maintain the trial-lawyer gravy train that presently funds a lot of political campaigns ... nor do they empower politicians and bureaucrats the way the move to government-run healthcare will ... so they are off-the-table, as far as our leaders are concerned.

You can't blame government for filling a void that private enterprise has neglected.

To coin a phrase, "YES WE CAN" ... when the characteristics of institutionalized government make it structurally incapable of effectively and efficiently filling that void.

The cure is worse than the disease. Government needs to stay in its lane ... limit its involvement only to areas where one-size-fits-all solutions are effective and efficient ... areas like defense, foreign policy, infrastructure ... and regulation to the degree it can keep its striped shirt on, instead of picking up the coach's clipboard and making business decisions FOR us.

Oh, and perhaps going to the moon ... if for no other reason, to show everyone just how hard it is to make a one-size-fits all solution when most of that solution only has to work a few minutes of the time, and a relative few times at that ... as opposed to having to deal continuously with the variables of a 300-million-strong population for multiple lifetimes.

It's completely impossible to understand, despite repeated assertions, when Republican congresses led by Republican executives, kept spending and increasing the size of government.

You'll need to persuade conservatives of these ideas before you make a play for the rest of us.

You assume these are truly conservatives, Beth ... when in fact, they were simply politicians who -- some for crass and selfish reasons, others for the noble reason of maintaining the war effort against an unprincipled opposition and their media allies who have been highly effective in forcing narratives like The Biggest Lie of All I described above into the conventional wisdom -- decided that Democrat Lite was more popular than true conservatism, and played to it.

One thing that would have helped them maintain conservative fiscal policy, is having a more principled and prudent opposition that was not prone to jerking its knees and kicking a President (who, unlike our current one, was not advertised as a Messiah and therefore was expected to be imperfect) at every opportunity for daring to proactively defend life and liberty.

Joe said...

This is the point of federalism: by having a smaller central government of limited power, it allows the individual states to experiment with various ideas. If one state wants to have cradle to grave welfare for it's residents, all power to it, but my state should be free to have no welfare at all.

S said...

Christy said...

"Are the press misreading Obama's approval readings?"

Yes... they're confusing whether people like him on a personal level with supporting his policies.

I've got nothing against the guy... but his policies....

S said...

Greg Hlatky said...

"Obamaphiles going to blame for any future failures? Kulaks? Wreckers? Capitalist running dogs?"

The usual suspects. Conservatives, republicans, and white guys. :)

Beth said...

One thing that would have helped them maintain conservative fiscal policy, is having a more principled and prudent opposition that was not prone to jerking its knees and kicking a President (who, unlike our current one, was not advertised as a Messiah and therefore was expected to be imperfect) at every opportunity for daring to proactively defend life and liberty.Just breathtaking.

Conservatives didn't live up to their own values because Democrats hated Bush for fighting terrorism.

That explains a lot, thanks.

Rich Casebolt said...

Beth ... Ronald Reagan did the same thing.

To end opposition to increases in Cold War spending, Mr. Reagan let the Dems have a lot more of what they wanted in social spending than he otherwise would have ... in the knowledge that such spending is like pounding sand down a rathole, and went against his own fiscal principles.

Similarly, I think that Mr. Bush would have stood stronger against the pork his fellow GOP'ers were trying to force-feed this nation with ... had he not been faced with an even less principled opposition who was, unwittingly and/or willingly, ready to sell out the defense of life and liberty to further their agenda and ideology.

In order to see that defense supported, he let the less principled in his party -- and his opposition as well -- have their way on the pork.

That willingness to prioritize ideological purity extended to many of his supporters, like myself ... an independent who left the GOP in 1998, because the Congressional GOP leadership was playing pork politics with our defense.

In this decade, we have had two choices ... either hold our noses and put up with the pork, or see the total loss of Iraq and Afghanistan and their return to totalitarian rule, along with a retreat from the direct, timely, resolute and decisive use of military force to facilitate SUSTAINABLE peace through the establishment of rights-respecting governance as a replacement for totalitarian rule.

Had we not had to deal with all the BDS ... and the threat it posed to prudent foreign/defense policy ... methinks we would have been tougher on Mr. Bush and his Congressional allies.

Many like myself don't base their support on the desire to simply win the political race ... we base our support on who will most effectively protect life and liberty ... including the liberty to pursue happiness, by reducing government's demands for our resources and diktats for our behavior to the practical minimum.

If the Dims would put forth leaders like that, they might just have my support.

But I'm not holding my breath.