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As the W.O.R.M. turns

vastleft's picture

For all I know, RJ Eskow is a super guy and a great thinker. But for the second time, I run across his byline at HuffPo, and he's screwed the pooch again.

Last time, he was singing from the "Atheist Is Always Wrong" hymnal.

And this time, he's giving us a bad case of W.O.R.M.s.

To wit, this counterattack to defend Obama's Ronnie love, straight from the Department of They Got Mirrors Where You're From?

Some of us have been begging the Clinton campaign for a long time to stop trying to reach out to independents and disaffected Republicans with GOP-lite triangulation.

The next line, wait for it...

Here's what Obama was really saying....

What Obama Really Meant was...

Conservatism was nearly a dead ideology until Reagan came along and brought it back into dominance. Obama was also saying that Bill Clinton managed to be elected by triangulating and "splitting the difference." But by failing to articulate for an ideology, he didn't reverse the Reagan transformation. He served only himself, while Reagan served his movement.

There is the small matter of Obama writing the book on triangulation and building his own cult at the expense of the rest of his party. But in a chill, post-Boomer, inspirational way, so it's teh awesome!

Sure, there's the entire campaign where Obama has hung progressives out to dry every chance he gets. But, hey:

What progressive wouldn't want a "progressive Reagan"? That leader could alter the political landscape and allow progressive ideas to dominate the political landscape. The progressive agenda appeals to the basic values of most Americans, but hasn't been articulated well enough to create a transformational movement.

Wait a minute, wasn't it wrong for the Clintons to pursue this with post-partisan "third way"? Oh, right. He's talking about when Obama does it, so it's Rainbow Glitter Sparkle Ponyfuckingtastic!

Honestly, how could one possibly better win hearts and minds to the progressive viewpoint than to say things like "For progressives, I think we should recognize the role that values and culture play in addressing some of our most urgent social problems… I think progressives would do well to take this to heart...." and "...the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms."

And what Democrat wouldn't want to win disaffected Republicans and more independents? That's all Obama was saying....

Remember how Ronnie rallied Republicans with red-meat, hard-right politics? That's how Obama's going to rally Democrats, not with red-tofu, hard-left politics, of course. That's what the Republicans would want us to do.

Instead, Obama is just kneecapping progressives at every turn, merging church and state, and white-washing the ruthlessness, corruption, incompetence and valuelessness of the Conservative Movement.

Obama was right. When faced with a choice between a triangulator and a potential "progressive Reagan," I'll take the Democratic Ronnie any day. It's not too late for the Clintons to change tack and get on the right road on this question, but the hour's growing late -- and they're moving in the wrong direction.

I really could have saved super guy / great thinker Eskow the trouble of all that typing. A simple "Obama rulz / Hillary sux" would have done the job, and he wouldn't have had to strain all that credulity.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I am amazed how they (including most blogs) repeat the lie that all Obama said was Reagan was a transformational president, when he sadly said much more that in context would be reasonable to infer he perpetuated right-wing frames, myths. Worse, they now add that Obama injected progressivism into his remarks when he did not.

They're absolutely hellbent on "clarifying" what Obama said (i.e. lying and reflexive Clinton-bashing).

I'm having horrible flashbacks to Bradley v. Gore. Bradley got away with murder and accused Gore of everything he actually did. God, I hated Bradley. Still do.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Many of the our senior fellow Correntians have met him, broken bread with him, and one night we stay up well into the night laughing our asses off with him,(unfortunately mine came back the next day)at MJS's fabulous Atwater Village abode.

That said, disagreements between great guys is not only allowed, it is encouraged.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Why haven't I been reading this blog?

How did I miss this?

Thank you!


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

That place was a bad habit and I'm so glad I broke it.


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Man, some people have no fucking clue how the English language works.

Sure, sure, "party of ideas," when read by a robot, might be a neutral statement. But everyone who isn't retarded knows that it has positive connotations, unless immediately followed by something along the lines of "but those ideas suck."

And fuck, why the focus on the "party of ideas line" anyways? I know why the Oborg focusses on this statement. It's because it's their best line of defense. But for the rest of us battling the Oborg for every inch of ground, let's really take the gloves off. Stop focussing so much on the "party of ideas" statement.

Instead, let us hammer those fuckers with the "excesses of the 60s and 70s" comment. What are the "excesses of th e60s and 70s?" We all know. Even the Oborg knows. Feminism, civil rights for blacks, environmentalism, and ending a bullshit war that murdered 4 million Vietnamese and 60,000 Americans. Those were the "excesses of the 60s and 70s." It has nothing at all to do with Elvis shaking his hips to that devil music (if it did, Mike Huckabee wouldn't be telling stories about Keith Richards or his rock band).

And about how "a sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship" that Reagn represented? Seriously, what the fuck? Back then everyone was talking about Blue Chip stocks and Lee Iococa and people like that. It wasn't until the 90s and 00's that all of a sudden we're talking about people like Mark Cuban, and small-cap growth stocks.

Oooh, how about the "accountability" that Reagan was going to rescue from the dastardly Carter administration? How about how Reagan prolonged the hostage crisis to get elected? How about Iran Fucking Contra? How about invading Grenada because Reagan didn't like the lengh of their airport runways, and heard that there might be some fucking Cuban construction workers working on it.

All I'm saying is that I'm bored of the "party of ideas" squabbling. You guys call them the Oborg, probably as an allusion to the Borg from Star Trek. i.e. robotic folks, who obviously can't grasp the fact that the English language makes heavy use of connotations. Sure, we're not the retarded ones who don't get that "party of ideas" is laden with positive connotations. But they just don't get it. We win, but let's move it to the other comments he made about Reagan.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Obviously my rant wasn't sparked by any of you guys, but rather the W.O.R.M. justifications found in the OP's link.

Anna Granfors's picture
Submitted by Anna Granfors on

those are the words that Hannity frequently uses to describe the GOP. I know Moynihan was responsible for it originally, but it's probably got a lot more currency amongst the Hannity set than anywhere else.

just sayin'.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

... would be easy to knock down. He didn't get close to the issues you cited, nor to dealing with how Reagan ran hard right and dragged the country with him, while Obama is running soft right, which miraculously is supposed to be transformative for progressive politics.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Btw, I always get pissed off when I hear the Obamania narrative that the whole world will change its perception of America when they see Obama as President.

Reza Aslan's repudiation of this argument is as good as it gets:

The whole article is well worth the read but in case you just want the highlights, here it is:

The argument usually goes something like this: Imagine that a young Muslim boy in, say, Egypt, is watching television when suddenly he sees this black man -- the grandson of a Kenyan Muslim, no less! -- who spent a small part of his childhood in Indonesia, taking the oath of office as president of the United States. Suddenly, the boy realizes that the United States is not the demonic, anti-Islamic place he's always been told it was.

Mind you, it is not anything this new president says or does that changes their minds. As the conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan describes this imaginary scene in his recent paean to Obama in the Atlantic Monthly, it is Obama's face -- just his face -- that "proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can."


As someone who once was that young Muslim boy everyone seems to be imagining (albeit in Iran rather than Egypt), I'll let you in on a secret: He could not care less who the president of the United States is. He is totally unconcerned with whatever barriers a black (or female, for that matter) president would be breaking. He couldn't name three U.S. presidents if he tried. He cares only about one thing: what the United States will do.

That boy is angry at the United States not because its presidents have all been white. He is angry because of Washington's unconditional support for Israel; because the United States has more than 150,000 troops in Iraq; because the United States gives the dictator of his country some $2 billion a year in aid, the vast majority of which goes toward supporting a police state. He is angry at the United States because he thinks it has hegemony over almost every aspect of his world.