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Don't blame Obama, blame President Emmanuel

koshembos's picture
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[I won't quote a private email discussion, but I'll summarize it by saying that the poster made a suicide request by stating that "any stick to beat a dog"-style argumentation is justified. That's a rule 5 violation, for which the penalty is banning. -- lambert]

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A new fall guy is emerging from the health care reform ruins. Circus progressives, better know as pseudo progressives, such as BTD at Talk Left and Digby have started to blame president Emmanuel for caving in to industry without Republican buy in or aiding, the enemy, Snowe in her attempts to water down reform.

Don't remember voting for Emmanuel for president, consult your physician it may indicate for early Alzheimer.

Why is Emmanuel the fall guy? First they cannot abandon their "The One." It may also be a continuation of the addiction to the Clinton Derangement Affliction since Emmanuel was one of the only guys never to turn his back on Bill. It's probably the latter plus a dollop of antisemitism for good circus left measure.

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

but as far as Rhambo is concerned, it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Linda J's picture
Submitted by Linda J on

please do not throw that word around!

conversations about racism against jews should include the fact that the idea has become meaningless because it is often applied inappropriately. not to mention it can cause serious damage to anyone to whom it is applied, even jokingly.

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

When I came to this coun try, more than 30 years ago, I heard African Americans excuse others of racism; I heard it frequently. White people played offended many times. As times passed, I learned that as rule of thumb, 9 out of 10 African Americans were correct. It was racism most of the time.

Most ethnic groups are way more sensitive to their own plight than the most sympathetic outsiders. Latinos know a slight I am unaware of. Native Americans will give you an earful, just read some of Sherman Alexie fiction to get a taste. The story is endless and painful. It does include Jews.

I could spend several thousand words explaining why, but that the job of people who do those things professionally and as a union member forever, I'll never scab. Although Digby seems to be the nicest person on earth, it is transparent how the cultural environment made her generate an attitude I call a tinge of antisemitism; I didn't say she is one.

We just smell it, we feel it in the bones. (We can convince an objective court of it.) As any ethnic group, we are right 9 out of 10 times. If I were black, you wouldn't say that racism is a heavy accusation. Why should accusation of antagonism against one ethnic group be common place while against another be a serious accusation?

Submitted by lambert on

If you can convince an objective court, then presumably you have some evidence other than your bones, eh?

And here's another one:

If I were black, you wouldn't say that racism is a heavy accusation.

Shovel? I had a bellyful of being smeared as a racist by the OFB during the primariez, and I don't want the same thing done here. De-frontpaging.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

two related anti-semitic smears: clannishness and fixers. The first was to accuse Jews of enriching themselves (at the expense of others) the latter, the method, i.e., financial/trade/diplomatic services by (originally) "court Jews" who exchanged services often for protection/patronage .

I ignored early Madoff reporting in the MSM b/c it struck the 'Jews are clannish' tone w/ the excessive emphasis on Madoff's interaction and scheming via Jews/Jewsih organizations. Yes, it's called networking, a facet of American life. I thought it unnecessary to put undue emphasis on this aspect of the fraud.

I have not read the blog posts in question nor do I plan to. The posts or the authors are not the issue, at least not for me. I can see why "Rahm as fixer" or the face of an administration often criticized for putting financial interests before common interests might be problematic for some. I've also seen hard-right references to "Obama beholden to his Jewish owners" emanating from unsavory sources. So the point here is that it may be deliberate policy of this president to remain vague while using his COS as a scapegoat, but it can be unsettling due to ugly historical parallels. Some might not see it that way and offer solid reasons to the contrary, but one should not be surprised that readers may react differently. IOW, I see no reason to discount the reaction of this post's author, either. There is a basis.

Submitted by lambert on

Thanks for this, dblhelix. This is the heart of the matter, I think:

I can see why "Rahm as fixer" or the face of an administration often criticized for putting financial interests before common interests might be problematic for some.

"Problematic for some"? Perhaps. But not for many and not for long.

Since Rahm is a "fixer" (I'd probably use the word "operative" or "thug") and the administration does put financial interests before common interests. And without linky goodness to particular posts, there is no "basis." What "basis" can there be, absent evidence?

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

Quoting Hannah Arendt:

What proved dangerous to the Jews was not the aristocracy’s historically determined hatred of the financiers of the modern state, but rather that arguments and characteristics trimmed and tailored for totally different people ended up attached to them . . . That the Prussian aristocracy succeeded in drilling these categories and value judgements into the head of the German bourgeois citizen until he was ashamed to be one—that is the real and, as it were, ‘ideological’ misfortune of German Jewry. For in the end the liberals’ truly destructive self-hatred gave rise to hatred of the Jews, that being the only means liberals had of distancing themselves from themselves, of shifting slander to others who, though they did not think of themselves as the ‘bourgeoisie’, were forced to be its 100 per cent embodiment.

By 'problematic for some' I mean that Emanuel/Greenspan/Rubin/Summers are always easy targets, but it's the omission of Obama, specifically, that's the odd little carve-out. Incidentally, I'm not sure Geithner is Jewish, but many think that he is, so same difference. Yes, they are all fixers and deserve our contempt, but there is a Head Fixer as well, who is often exempt. I understand from comments here that for the original posts in question, this is not the case, so good. But you have to admit, across the blogs in general, it is often not the case.

It's the 'shifting of slander' -- the idea that Obama (and by extension, the rest of us ... since, you know, he's the People's President) is a victim of his handlers who are out to screw us while Obama the Good is playing 12-D chess to break free of the cabal working in the interests of Wall St. I mean, what is this all about, really? I'd love to get opinions on this. I know that users here at Corrente don't subscribe to this particular delusion, but there's a lot of it out there.

Submitted by lambert on

... but, Occam's razor and all, I think that the delusions of the primaries are sufficient to account for it without invoking anti-Semitism. (Worse, the two bloggers specifically mentioned are (a) not really among the proponents of Obama the Good, BTD in particular, and especially not by the standards of the rest of the "progressive" blogosphere, and (b) there's no evidence whatever that the stricture applies to them.) And "often not the case" what? That other, unmentioned blogs are anti-Semitic? Leaving aside the right wing loons -- and I'm surprised nobody's warned on Goldman Sachs in this connection, as I have already -- where's the evidence for that? I don't "have to admit" anything.

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Even a bad post can provide an opportunity for history lessons and interesting ideas ("shifting of slander"). This being one such.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

"if only the Tsar knew!", which is a general psychological phenomenon. I think there is a name for it but while I remember learning about it in Psych 101, I don't remember what it's called or who first wrote about it.

It surrounds many national and tribal leaders; I guess people just don't want to think that their ultimate leader is doing bad stuff because it means he or she is putting the whole tribe at risk. It's worse when the leader is surrounded by a cult of personality apparatus (it was worse under Stalin, actually, than even the Tsars).

So many people have so much invested in Obama -- many operate more as if he's the head of their church than just a pretty run of the mill politician -- that virtually no amount of evidence [that everything he's done since becoming POTUS was clearly telegraphed prior to becoming POTUS] or logic [he's Rahm's boss] can break the belief cycle.

Actually, it just occurred to me that the whole 11-dimensional chess meme is quite similar to "God moves in mysterious ways."

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Even if you will sink to new lows to win an election, you do not run Harry and Louise ads if you care about universal health care that will curtail costs and make it easier for people to receive care.

Are the Pibber-proggers that damn ignorant or are they lying their asses off to us all? I see no other alternatives. Either way, these folks should no longer maintain any liberal credibility. Period.

Pacific John's picture
Submitted by Pacific John on

He has pointedly criticized Obama's absence of leadership with the name "bystander President," and Obama's endless capitulation (apologized for by his believers) as "11-dimensional chess."

Digby, on the other hand, knows better, but continues to be, as she describes herself, "a chickenshit."

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

about BTD. I disagree with him on the policy he's pushing, but he's no Obama apologizer in terms of Obama's lack of support for the public option.

Digby I think does know better, but I suspect the flame wars in her threads during the primaries make her couch anything negative about Obama in very weak terms. Hey, intimidation works, that's why they do it.

Submitted by lambert on

I beat up on BTD because I disagree with him. But I know he'll never cave. That's why I like it there.

Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

That isn't exactly a secret, nor is the fact that he screwed over a number of real progressives in the last two Congressional elections.

That is why progressives don't like him, and everyone should have been alerted to Obama's true political positions when Emanuel was selected as the White House gatekeeper as Chief of Staff.

Emanuel was selected for who he was and what he believed, which was well known, so there is no reason to attempt to cast him as Iago to Obama's Othello. Iago was overlooked for promotion, but Emanuel was promoted.

People keep acting like Obama's positions have changed, but everything he has done in office is consistent with the way he actually voted in Illinois, and the Senate. That's why he selected Emanuel. He wanted someone who shared his views.

Big Tent Democrat's picture
Submitted by Big Tent Democrat on

Isn't that the standard defense to a charge of "a dollop of antisemitism?"

As for the rest, my writings speak for themselves. I'll let readers judge if I am letting Obama off the hook.

Submitted by lambert on

See above. I should have said "cave or pick up the pom poms" instead of merely "cave."

Submitted by hipparchia on

always possible, i suppose, but who wouldn't want to hate on somebody who mails dead fish to their enemies?

i think a lot of obama's current supporters are hating on rahm [instead of obama] because they saw the democratic party refusing to support the last democratic president [clinton] so they're really sensitive about democrats appearing to not support this democratic president.

i'm pretty sure the good cop [obama] / bad cop [rahm] construction was deliberate on their [obama and his chief of staff] part, and it seems to be working.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

when i first came to understand Rahm as a political actor, and thus hate him, i had no idea of his ethnicity/religion. i knew he was a snappy dresser, but i don't think that meant anything to me at the time.

i'm just saying it is totally possible to hate Rahm and be ignorant of the details of his personal life. heh, he's earned that.

mojave_wolf's picture
Submitted by mojave_wolf on

I honestly never thought of him as Jewish either.

And looks like I'm a little late to say I think BTD was mischaracterized, but Digby's in my e-mail feeds too, and however pro-Obama she may have been at one point, lately, the illusions are gone. I can point to a couple of recent posts really easy:

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/b...

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/b...

I don't read her comments (I never read the comments on most of the blogs I read) so can't speak for the people in the threads, but she doesn't seem to be letting Obama off the hook overmuch lately.

I do think in general there's a tendency of bloggers to try to blame the people around Obama rather than the Prez himself, simply because people are afraid of crossing his legions of still-fans-for-reasons-that-escape-me. But I'd put that down to "want to keep traffic", "don't want to get yelled at" and "want to avoid getting compared to crazy Republicans" more than anything else.

The Scarlet Pimpernel's picture
Submitted by The Scarlet Pim... on

This is one posting that Corrente needs to take down or put on some amazing proof. I am going to mark it so that I can keep checking back. If Corrente decides to stake its reputation on this tripe, I'll do what I feel is necessary.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

can you be more specific about your objection? Just interested- and you are The scarlet pimpernel right?

I agree with the part that criticisms are more often aimed at "the white house" or Emmanuel rather than Obama. I have seen this repeatedly at one major blog, and it really puzzles me.

But, I totally disagree with the posters' idea that criticism of Rahm by "progressives" is based on antisemitism. Or even a "dollop" of that. I see no evidence.

Submitted by lambert on

Starting here, and see rule 4 here.

* * *
Two other points:

1. Obviously, if Corrente responded to threats like "I'll do what I feel is necessary," we wouldn't be Corrente, eh? (And am I to believe that you conduct your life in such a way as to do what is not necessary? That seems odd.)

2. It can certainly happen that poor posts generate useful comments; I enjoyed hearing dblhelix's perspective, though I don't share it. So the process needs to play out, and the poster needs to respond to the requests made.

UPDATE For the outcome, see the material I added at the beginning of the post. If I hadn't been on the road today, the process would not have taken as long as it did.

dblhelix's picture
Submitted by dblhelix on

I have No Idea why Emanuel is often the focus of ire while Obama is held harmless. I see lots of good explanations, none 100% satisfying.

It's not just right-wing extremists who make the cabal references.

How remarkable that Wright absolves himself and the president of responsibility for the breakdown in their relationship and turns it into Jewish conspiracy.

Or, there's this to mull over. Fair criticisms of methodology and a response from survey designer may be found in comments.

So, the question on my mind is the strategy of selectively allocating blame. From where I sit, it doesn't matter if I believe there's a "dollop" of antisemitism or not. koshembos appears to entertain the possibility. Do I think it's in bad faith? No, and this should be obvious from my comments.

Impugning the reputation of specific bloggers/posts is a separate issue. I'm looking more at the general tendency to paint Obama as a victim of Rahm/financial advisers, the most common themes. I'll leave it to koshembos to defend or retract on specific incidents/writing.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I really think it's that simple.

He holds the same position, so he must be the sneaky puppetmaster.