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Politics and Media Headlines 4/30/09

Caro's picture

The First 100 Days of… (by Stateofdisbelief at The Confluence)
Click through for more of TOTUS’s accomplishments, including instructive videos.—Caro

[W]hat has TOTUS done in his/her’s/its first 100 days?

Started a blog
Barack Obama’s Telepromter Blog

Twittered (or is that tweating?)
TOTUStelepromt on Twitter

Obama's 100 Days: The Mad Men Did Well (by John Pilger)
It is more than 100 days since Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. The “Obama brand” has been named “Advertising Age’s marketer of the year for 2008”, easily beating Apple computers… No one knew what the new brand actually stood for. So accomplished was the advertising (a record $75m was spent on television commercials alone) that many Americans actually believed Obama shared their opposition to Bush’s wars. In fact, he had repeatedly backed Bush’s warmongering and its congressional funding… In his first 100 days, Obama has excused torture, opposed habeas corpus and demanded more secret government. He has kept Bush’s gulag intact and at least 17,000 prisoners beyond the reach of justice…

Perhaps the biggest lie – the equivalent of smoking is good for you – is Obama’s announcement that the US is leaving Iraq, the country it has reduced to a river of blood. According to unabashed US army planners, as many as 70,000 troops will remain “for the next 15 to 20 years”. On 25 April, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, alluded to this. It is not surprising that the polls are showing that a growing number of Americans believe they have been suckered – especially as the nation’s economy has been entrusted to the same fraudsters who destroyed it. Lawrence Summers, Obama’s principal economic adviser, is throwing $3trn at the same banks that paid him more than $8m last year, including $135,000 for one speech. Change you can believe in.

Obama, with his toothpaste advertisement smile and righteous clichés, is a godsend. At a stroke, he has seen off serious domestic dissent to war, and he brings tears to the eyes, from Washington to Whitehall. He is the BBC’s man, and CNN’s man, and Murdoch’s man, and Wall Street’s man, and the CIA’s man. The Madmen did well.

Hillary is ’suprise winner’ of first 100 days, Rothkopf says (Foreign Policy, thanks to mablue2 at The Confluence)
FP blogger David Rothkopf has picked his surprise winners and losers of Obama’s first 100 days, and one of the winners is Secretary Clinton. After stating that National Security Advisor James L. Jones is the surprise loser in the “foreign policy division,” Rothkopf writes: “[A] good place to look if [Jones] wants an example [of] how to do it all right thus far is over in Foggy Bottom where the surprise winner of the first 100 days in this division is Hillary Clinton. She was supposed to be the uncontrollable ego, but instead she has turned out to be the team player who is using her star-power to very effectively advance the Obama agenda.”

Obama To Fox News And Tea Baggers: ‘Let’s Not Play Games’ (Think Progress)
President Obama spent part of the 100th day of his presidency today in Arnold, Missouri where he hosted a town hall meeting with local residents. During the town hall, Obama recognized criticism he's been receiving from the far right. "I know you have been hearing all these arguments about, 'Oh, Obama's just spending crazy, look at these huge trillion dollar deficits, blah, blah, blah.'" Obama then noted that the real fiscal problem facing the United States is the skyrocketing costs of Medicare and Medicaid, not the Recovery Act or bank bailouts, which he said are "one-time charges." "If we aren't careful, health care will consume so much of our budget that ultimately we won't be able to do anything else," he warned…

"That’s why I have said we've got to have health reform this year to drive down costs and make health care affordable for American families, businesses, and for our government," Obama said. Referring to the tea baggers' grievances, he later added, "We tried that formula for eight years. It did not work, and I don't intend to go back to it."
My comment: Please stop using the term tea bagger when referring to these people. It's not only a silly slur against them, it's a silly slur against gay men, as well.—Caro

Obama To GOP: You Have To Start Meeting Me Halfway (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
From the budget, passed by the Senate on Wednesday night, to a stimulus package, the current administration has put in place an economic framework that will shape domestic policy for decades to come. Those achievement, however, have come at a cost to another tenet of the Obama agenda: the dawning of a bipartisan age… Confronted by the fact that, in his words, "there is still a certain quotient of political posturing and bickering that takes place even when we're in the middle of really big crises," Obama offered a stricter definition of what he views as a Washington bipartisan. The GOP, in short, has to start meeting him half way.
No, they don’t, President Obama. You continue to misunderstand the situation in Washington. The Republicans are the OPPOSITION party. They believe in OPPOSING the majority. It’s what we netizens wanted from the Democrats when YOU were in the minority. An opposition party doesn’t meet you halfway, it tries to make you stumble. And fall. And hurt yourself. That’s the JOB of an opposition party. I understand that your political experience was almost solely confined to the state of Illinois, where both parties work together to fleece the taxpayers. It’s not quite that cozy in Washington, and the sooner you figure that out, the better.—Caro

Toobin: "On this whole issue of bipartisanship, can I just ask, who cares?" (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

Click here for more politics and media news headlines.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"The teleprompter meme is a loser."

It's comfort food for wingers and for Democrats who -- for reasons I can't fathom -- aren't finding enough substantive concerns about the Obama presidency.

Yes, it's getting traction. But we're better than that.

Submitted by lambert on

Just out of curiousity. I was under the authority of RL today, or I would have considered ripping it out, before VL commented on it. It doesn't work even as snark. I can't imagine why anyone would give it prominence.

scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

is that we THOUGHT we were better than worshiping what might seem to be a loose suit given artificial form by a teleprompter.
That's how I read it from my crazy cat shack off the grid out here.

scoutt's picture
Submitted by scoutt on

You're up, hon'.

Caro's picture
Submitted by Caro on

I missed the point of VL's comment. I thought he was talking about criticism of Obama gaining traction.

I think the teleprompter dig is funny, and so, apparently, do at least some other people.

Not everything I do is deadly serious or has a deadly serious purpose. So shoot me.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

What would Somerby do?

He wouldn't try to build a progressive discourse on comfort food manufactured by Politico. YMMV.

Caro's picture
Submitted by Caro on

So I guess I must explain.

Obama is adored for being so smart and so glib that he outdoes--get this--George Bush! I believe that he's plenty smart, but that he's not terribly engaged, and that's why he uses a teleprompter, even for such mundane things as to prompt him for what to say when doing a photo op with a foreign head of state.

I think it shows lack of commitment to the job, commitment that Hillary had aplenty. And I'm still sore that she'll never get the chance to show off HER skill as president.

So I'll rag Obama about his lack of commitment until he shows me the same amount of commitment Hillary has.

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

Obama has been hyped as a great speaker. It was his supposed great anti-war speech which helped him win the primary. His mesmerizing, crowd whipping rallies displayed his wonderful speaking abilities. But...

what Obama seems to be good at is delivery of a prepared speech. That's a skill. But it's quite different than being a good speaker. For example, Bill or Hillary Clinton can speak extemporaneously on any political topic for 45 minutes - and keep your interest. They are good speakers. For them, teleprompters are tools used when specific comments are needed. Obama, by contrast, is dependent on prepared remarks and not as good at speaking off the cuff to an audience. Obama is not a good speaker, he's a good reader.

One other point - a good speaker can easily expound on a topic that they either know well or they are passionate about. Obama, when speaking without a teleprompter, thus seems either not well informed or not sure what he's committed to if he can't articulate his position without scripted remarks.

So to me, TOTUS is funny because it visually demonstrates the falseness of the premise that got Obama elected.

Submitted by lambert on

Some sites push it, most do not. I understand the point perfectly well, I just don't agree with it; if I did, I'd be hammering on it, and I've tried working with it once or twice.

I think it's rotten branding, and that most people classify it with the COLB crapola (debunked by Cannonfire) -- and there's reason for that, since it's a right wing meme. Haven't we learned yet that right wing memes are poison for the left?

If somebody wants to run, or point me to, a series of transcript + photo + and under this logo, then fine, nail it down with evidence and reasoning. From where I am now, it looks like juvenile animus -- something the right excels at -- and truthy to boot, as VL points out, here and elsewhere.

From where I stand now, it's more "any stick to beat a dog" stuff. No thanks.

Submitted by lambert on

... Obama uses a teleprompter.

That's why this whole meme is juvenile animus, something the right wing excels at.

Remind me again why we're propagating right wing snark at Corrente? I missed that part.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

That is the perfect phrase for this TOTUS meme.

There is so much to complain about regarding Obama, you could go down an honest list:
One year Gitmo
No torture investigations, no wait, maybe we will have torture investigations
Secret wiretapping "our hands are tied by the court calender" bullshit
Torpedoing universal health care
Bankster enabling
on and on.

And someone is bothering to spend time on his fucking teleprompter? That's like "Really !?! with Seth and Amy" material.
This is ridiculous, juvenile, winger-tinged bullshit. Bill Clinton used a teleprompter too, the wingers would have come up with this meme to beat him up with too if they had thought about it at the time.

Unfortunately I'm finding many of these "Politics and Media Headlines" posts in the same, winger-tinged vein. Any stick to beat a dog. Caro, you don't like Obama, check, got it.

Submitted by jawbone on

the wrong version of his speech, he was able to deliver the version he intended to use without having it on the teleprompter -- and most people didn't know until it was reported in the press. Apparenty, there were enough slight variations from the printed version handed out to the press that there were questions which lead to the press learning of the glitch.

Also, I wasn't aware rightwingers were using the TOTUS thing. But, then, I seldom go to rightie sites. For those with the intestinal fortitude to do so, which ones are using it? Thnx.

And it's the difference in competence and fluidity between his telepromted speaking style and his extemp style which causes some of us to feel uncomfortable.

The TOTUS thing is not something I really follow, but I have to admit that since I had not seen Obama's big Break Through speech at the '04 Dem Convention, just heard all the great praise of it and his oratory skills, I was very disappointed to hear him speak without a teleprompter. It was a bit of a warning flag for me. OK, this is the great speaker of the 21st Century? I was unimpressed. So I read about him instead of listening to the prepared speeches.

When I watched him , Hillary, and the rest of the Dem field in the early Dem primary debates, it was clear both Obama and Hillary had tremendous room for improvement. I did see Hillary getting better and better; she began to have better breath control, for example, and used filler words less often. Obama with a teleprompter was a very different speaker than without one, but he also improved a bit as an extemp speaker -- to my thinking, not as much as Hillary. She began from a firm, comprehensive grasp of policy and history, which was evident even when her "you knows" bothered me. I didn't get a sense of that depth of knowledge from Obama. And even back then, he tended to wander and filibuster, which he still does.

I still get a bit lost in the word clouds from Obama. Maybe he could consider a topic sentence? But that would require that he clearly know the topic...and his stand on it!!

Now, at this week's presser, when he answered the question about whether he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act, he put up a fog bank, then did say at the end the bill was not high on his list of things to sign. He did apparently know what he wanted to say; however, he did --well, not exactly obfuscate-- seem to try to put some listeners to sleep before getting to the nut of the answer. But, he did answer it eventually, which is more than he did with the three questions about BushCo and torture.

But, hey, you go to press conferences with the president you have, not the president you want....

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

I'm not clear why this sets you off.

No one has said that use of teleprompter is not normal. What has been said is that Obama's use is excessive. And that the use indicates a weakness of his in an area which his supporters claim is his strength.

So to me, this is not right-winger meme - it's Obot over-promotion which has propelled the TOTUS theme.

There are many more issues to be concerned about - Obama's reversal of policy positions or foot-dragging on others - but why get so agitated about someone else's sense of humor?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Because truthiness rots everything.

Transmitting crap memes, such as this one that attempts to frame the concerns about Obama stemming from an inconveniently untrue supposed lack of intelligence, rots our discourse.

Submitted by jawbone on

post? I hope it's the former, as in just move that bit to the bottom of the list of very good articles Caro has aggregated here.

I really appreciate all the work Caro does to bring together, most often with some very good brief commentary, these good posts and articles. The Pilger piece is strong, worth reading. I tend to click on to see what items Caro has pulled together that I've missed in my wanderings through the web.

Happy May Day everyone!

Submitted by lambert on

Yes, I like and appreciate Caro's aggregation. On this one, for reasons stated (many of which are not answered) the TOTUS stuff is bone-headed. I can't edit it out, because then the thread as a whole, which is useful, makes no sense. So defrontpaging is the best attention getting device I can think of.

Caro's picture
Submitted by Caro on

... can speak for hours without notes. The Clintons are people who care.

Submitted by lambert on

... is not dispositive with regard to whether somebody "cares" or not?

This is getting sillier. I mean, Obama is teh suxx0r because Chelsea can speak without notes?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

There's the occasional bracing, aspirational line, but so much undercutting of anything he says with touch-all-the-bases caution, leaving no fixed sense of what values, ideals, and agendas he's actually espousing.

His ad libs show him to be knowledgeable but favoring circumlocutory word clouds over clear commitments.

So, really, I see little difference between the two modes. The teleprompter meme implies that he's a dim bulb who can't think on his feet and that his speeches have more substance than his "real" self is capable of. I believe neither to be true, so I find the meme to be a cheap (and cheapening) distraction.

Submitted by lambert on

... who find things funny, or not. The freepers find lots of things funny that I don't find funny, for example. So do sites like NQ.

What I'm curious about is why you'd even consider substituting anybody else's judgment for your own.

In any case, we've had this discussion before; I see no substantive response then, or now.

Submitted by lambert on

As I point out above.

Haven't we learned yet that right wing memes are poison for the left, and that we shouldn't use them?

Tthis isn't "funny" in a "ha ha" sense, like a good joke. It's obviously tendentious. I mean, I'm not too stupid to know snark when I see it, and snark is (mostly) designed to be funny in one way or another. Limbaugh is often funny, I would say, if you can get past the throwing up in your mouth part.

Remind me why Corrente should be publishing right wing snark?

UPDATE For some thoughtful writing on Obama's delivery, see jawbone here.

Caro's picture
Submitted by Caro on

It is true that that usage, from time to time, has failed him and caused him to falter. It is true that I find it funny that he needs this kind of prompting, when we had a choice for president of someone who did not need such prompting.

So, as I said, shoot me, if I'm so bad for the good name of the mighty Corrente building for not scrupulously searching the right-wing blogs to determine what I must not post.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

He also relies on vehicles, telephones, and other disturbing technological innovations in his daily business. As an unfrozen caveman blogger, I find it all highly shocking!

Submitted by lambert on

don't be obtuse.

Or am I wrong to think that the lead item in a series entitled "Politics and Media Headlines" involved the exercise of sort of editorial judgment, knowledge of the media landscape, and some sort of media critique?

And remind me again why recycled right wing snark, however "funny," is appropriate for Corrente? I've asked that question at least three times now, and there's been no on-point response.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

My WWSD construction could be criticized as deferring to "someone else's judgment," I suppose.

In my preemptive defense, I'd argue that emulating those with good judgment is perhaps an upgrade over the "any stick to beat a dog" approach. Of course, taking the high road cheated me out of the fun of calling Hillary Clinton a racist assassin, climbing up Bristol Palin's uterus, and other such popular progressive amusements.

Submitted by lambert on

To me, the fact that something's been posted elsewhere isn't in and of itself a reason to post it here.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

because it's given me some insight into other folks' definitions of notions.

I don't particularly find the teleprompter meme funny; McCain and Bush both used them, and so did Clinton. Teleprompters' failure famously betrayed O'Reilly (the widely-circulated 'dance remix' of his foul-mouthed tirade is not something I'd repost to make this point) as well as, IIRC, Bush 41 and maybe Reagan. (We begin bombing in five minutes was 'explained' as an ad-lib gone awry on the day it happened, but the spin didn't hold.)

People use notes or teleprompters or a guy in the back of the room with a sign to let them know how long they have left, depending on what works for them, when they're speaking in public.

I see no point in berating anybody for taking advantage of whatever tools they need, since in my regular life I use, variously, everything from a notepad and pencil, wristwatch, speed square, level, ruler, television and broom, razor, toothbrush, knife, needle, fire and microwave to indoor plumbing and a washing machine, not to mention my truck and the tools required to keep it in the shape I like.

If the art of diplomacy is really keeping on saying 'nice doggy' until you can find a rock ... perhaps humanity is not as advanced as our conceit suggests.

Funny? Let me think.

Funny isn't anything that ever came off Malkin's keyboard or out of Limbaugh's mouth -- don't let him fool you, Lambert: he uses "humor" as a smokescreen for his unabashed nastiness, and to laugh is to fall for it. Don't be one of his myriads of suckers, please. Even momentarily, even fleetingly, don't let him snow you. It's how he gets his fat foot in the door so he can shove past your commonsense and have his way with your mind.

Much of what I post has links to things posted elsewhere; of late I have been trying, for the sake of both linky goodness and other Correntians' sensibilities, to ensure that I didn't post anything I couldn't at least refer to as appearing elsewhere, so this makes your last post a puzzle to me, lambert.

If something is noteworthy, is important, or has slipped below the surface but catches my eye, am I not to bring it to Correntians' notice?

I'm not trying to chop logic here. I'm trying to further illuminate the points that have jumped at me out of this discussion.

Submitted by lambert on

But just because something was posted elsewhere (and not here) isn't enough, eh? That's all I'm saying. Your posts recently have been very dense and rich, both in good ways ;-)