Bad romance

I was telling my therapist I’d finally figured out the Obama puzzle. (I’d been complaining for months that I simply couldn’t fathom how, after everything that had happened, people were still defending Obama.)

But I’d had an ephiphany. “You know, it’s like when you’re stuck in a really bad relationship, and all your friends are telling you how crummy this guy is, and you’re still making excuses. I finally realized it’s because you look at each incident in a vacuum, at the micro level where it’s really easy to examine the context and rationalize things instead of seeing this huge consistent mosaic of their behavior.

“It’s when you finally make a sudden shift to the big picture that it finally hits you: Hey, this guy really is a bum,” I said.

“Not many people have the ability to step outside themselves and see themselves clearly,” he said. “That’s how they get stuck. And if you tell them they’re stuck, they get offended because you’re telling them what to do.” Which is true.

Still, I wonder when rest of the American people are going to wake up.

12 thoughts on “Bad romance

  1. Don’t forget that the failure of the relationship is your fault. You don’t understand him, you don’t support him like you should, and really you’re just being hysterical/shrill/menopausal about the whole thing.

    Oh, and you have nowhere else to go. You’ll be alone! You’ll be sorry…

    Been there, done that, made it breakfast.

  2. Nancy Pelosi was saying yesterday, “This will never happen again!” after she got rolled by Boehner and the White House. Boehner lied to her by telling her he had enough votes, and Obama trapped her by dumping the responsibility for passing the things on her because she could not let his “bipartisan” agreement fail.

    But I don’t see how she is going to keep it from happening again unless she packs up, takes the kids and moves out. Even then she will probably go back when he starts crying and telling her that the next time he really will fight for a jobs bill.

  3. If that’s truly the way you feel, Susie, it would be nice if you didn’t blame those of us who saw that he was a bum years ago for telling you the truth about him. We were on YOUR side. I was a kossack and went to the first two yearlykos events. I was one of you. But once I saw what Obama was and how he was playing the left, I became an old, stupid woman.
    I don’t think we deserved that and we still don’t considering how many people have the same perceptions of Obama and are now adopting the same electoral strategies.
    Don’t kill the messengers just because we were right. That’s not our fault.

  4. RD, excuse me? I’m one of those who tagged Obama from the beginning. No one had to “tell me the truth” about him and I never blamed anyone who said so. In fact, I lost a lot of my readership because I refused to stop criticizing him.

  5. (1) I think of Obama slightly differently. If we are the victims of abuse by the Military-Corporate-Wall Street complex, Obama is the enabler. The seemingly rational parent that provides the lie that everything is normal and will be okay. That veneer of rationality is bewildering and difficult to see around. It’s much more insidious in some ways than the abuse itself.

    (2) RD got a strange kind of Cassandra complex thing going that gives her blog a stunning long held thematic unity. And her unfortunate tendency is to analyze the patterns of abuse correctly but then protect the abuser while she turns to her left and mows everyone down with an Uzi – Chris Hedges, Ralph Nader, Ian and Stirling, yourself and the rest of the Virtually Speaking crew. It’s tragic and frightening.

  6. Not incidentally, I meant not to diss your analysis (very bad pun). Sadly, all roads leading to a progressive take on how Obama is bad, bad news add weight to and reflect different aspects of that disturbing truth.

  7. On the contrary, Susie, you were a party loyalist and a lukewarm supporter of Obama at best. Sometimes, it doesn’t help to be loyal to a party that has no loyalty to you. The only blogger who stuck it out, and it was touch and go for a coup,e of days, was Lambert. I take that back, anglachelg also held fast.
    If you had wholeheartedly endorsed him, you might now have lost readers. But oddly enough, if you had rejected him, there’s a very good chance that you would have picked up readers. At one point during the convention, our readership spiked to 52,000 readers/day. Having another legitimate voice on the left to speak out would have been very important. But when you are under a lot of pressure to conform, it is very hard to hold out without any guarantee of some kind of acceptance and reward, right?
    The problem was not that you didn’t know what Obama was. The problem was that you did know and you wanted to believe he could be changed. You had hope over experience.

  8. Jake, I keep hitting these targets because they are emblematic of a left that lets go too late and then won’t come to terms with the split in the party. The split is not between them and others that are like them. The split is with them and the old coalition that was left behind. Those people who we tried very hard from turning to the tea party and birtherism, have joined with the Republicans in some guise or another. Then, there are well-educated professional women, such as myself, who will never get over the way women were busted down to second class status in 2008. And on top of this is the voter irregularities and the highjacking of the convention by some virulent Obama Democrats. And all I keep hearing is move along. This is the time when we must NOT move along. How is it that an activist such ad myself can be so totally estranged from Hedges and Stoller and the others? It because if they had to do it all again, they would. They might not pick Obama again but they are quite willing to pick another person who they think is a cerebral non politician. And the Democratic party would be happy to give them another one because non politicians are just the kind of person they need to keep the “feral elite” happy.
    What the left needs to do is recognize that the bubbas and women and elderly have something of value. Just because the 24 year old ivy league philosophy major doesn’t think they’re fuckable doesn’t mean they’re not human beings with unique value whose votes should be respected. When Ezra and Matt (all of them), etc, are willing to acknowledge this, then we’ll have a working left again with teeth.
    You know, most of my family are working class and some were former union. Only a few og us have been to college. And excluding my immediate family, who consist of hopeless religious nut cases who make Sarah Palin look like a moderate, they are good people, with an abundance of intelligence. I despise the way the party and its activists have been treating them and it will lead to decades of a broken left. The people who broke it should be partially responsible for putting it back together. And the first thing they can do is stop acting like their delicate sensibilities have been injured by people like me. *We’re* the ones who were injured.

  9. RD:

    I disagree with the indiscriminate application of your analyis (and its tendency to be a little divorced from fact), not that the analysis itself is wholly inapplicable. Less politely, you spew a lot of rage-based toxic shit in some very inappropriate directions. Yes have at it with Ezra Klein, he fits the bill, but get real about others. But take Hedges to whom you have responded with screed: there’s not a single shred of proof that he advocated, encouraged or supported voting for Obama (and ironically, you share many similar ideas, although admittedly you reach different conclusions on key points, and your familial backgrounds are basically the same). It’s just patently clear you have only passing acquaintance with his work. Take Ian Welsh, whom you’ve also bashed and seem to know more of – he was just blistering on Obama before the election. I went back and read his writing; I’m not a scientist, but I think it’s fair to say your theorem wouldn’t stand up to peer review for a failure of research.

    Most importantly, what’s the endgame for you? You’re gonna have to ally with someone and alliances are not forged by savagely attacking those who are coming around to but may never share your exact point of view, no less attacking those who never stood very far from you in the first place. Also, y’know the results of another very bleak ecological study published on IPS today and 390 + ppm – how much fucking time should we devote to truth and reconciliation while they are literally dismantling the systems that support our continued existence? You don’t have to identify as Cassandra – you only share her fate by self-imposition: you weren’t a prophet in the wilderness and plenty of people are coming around to similar if not exactly the same ways of thinking.

  10. Felt the urge to re-watch this after the above exchange.

    Here’s Hedges in April of 2011 at WV State University. Hedges is usually slightly stiff and seems uncomfortable in front of a crowd and the camera. I think that’s because, like an unseasoned actor, you see too much of the work (Hedges pulling on his training to be a preacher while a student at the Harvard Divinity School). He can come off as a little stentorian though i believe him to be pretty humble.

    He’s never less than compelling and forceful and remains one of our most important moral voices. This is a man who gave up a stellar career at the NY Times because he refused to yield his highly principled stance against the Iraq War. Contrast that with Judy Miller who be found by future historians (if there are future historians) culpable in part for that war and who largely staged an unnecessary prison sentence in some deluded attempt to salvage her undeserved reputation.

    But here, maybe because this is late in this speaking tour (though he’s stiff again in later speeches on the same tour), you can’t see the work of the preacher. There is just the “Word” and the “Truth”. It’s remarkable testimony in the best sense of that word.

    Some strange A/V issues, intro starts at 6:30. Chris’ speech starts at 16:30.

Comments are closed.