There is some amazing tunnel vision from James Oliphant in an article on the progressive blogosphere. An article on the subject, or even how it often helps Obama, might make sense. This does not make sense once you get to the second paragraph quoted below:
It’s been a familiar pattern since President Obama took office in 2009: When critics attack, the White House can count on a posse of progressive writers to ride to its rescue. Pick an issue, from the Affordable Care Act to Ukraine to the economy to controversies involving the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi, and you’ll find the same voices again and again, on the Web and on Twitter, giving the president cover while savaging the opposition. And typically doing it with sharper tongues and tighter arguments than the White House itself.
While the bond between presidential administrations and friendly opinion-shapers goes back as far as the nation itself, no White House has ever enjoyed the luxury that this one has, in which its arguments and talking points can be advanced on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis. No longer must it await the evening news or the morning op-ed page to witness the fruits of its messaging efforts.
At least he recognized that sometimes Obama receives criticism from the left further in the column, even if the article does downplay how often this happens. Still, in general, I’ll accept that quite often “the White House can count on a posse of progressive writers to ride to its rescue.” What is wrong is the claim that no White House has ever enjoyed such a luxury.
There are plenty of conservative bloggers to counter liberal bloggers–both having defended Bush when he is in office and in intensifying the attacks on Obama. Obama might have more defenders thanks to the blogosphere, but he also has far more people attacking him, quite often with totally manufactured attacks.
Maybe the conservative blogosphere isn’t as potent a force as the progressive blogosphere. It doesn’t matter. Bush had Fox , which is essentially the unofficial propaganda arm of the Republican Party, actively defending and often lying for him. Bush had the right wing noise machine defending him to a far greater effect than blogs are capable of defending Obama.
When there is not a Republican in the White House, Fox does a 180 degree switch in outlook, having been the biggest attacker of both Clinton and Obama. Fortunately Clinton had his own people to defend him as the liberal blogsophere was not yet a meaningful force back then. Fox provides far more assistance for the right than MSNBC is capable of doing for the left, and there is barely an equivalent to right wing talk radio on the left. On the other hand Obama does have Jon Stewart’s fake news show defending him from the attacks coming from the fake news shows on Fox, when Stewart is not criticizing him from the left.
These days both Democratic and Republican presidents are going to have far more defenders and attackers than was the case in the past, with the progressive blogosphere defending Obama (when not criticizing him from the left) not being anything unique to Obama.
I admit it — last year was rough. Sheesh. At one point things got so bad, the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize.
Of course, we rolled out healthcare.gov. That could have gone better. In 2008 my slogan was, “Yes We Can.” In 2013 my slogan was, “Control-Alt-Delete.” On the plus side, they did turn the launch of healthcare.gov into one of the year’s biggest movies. (Slide of “Frozen”)
But rather than dwell on the past, I would like to pivot to this dinner. Let’s welcome our headliner this evening, Joel McHale. On “Community,” Joel plays a preening, self-obsessed narcissist. So this dinner must be a real change of pace for you.
I want to thank the White House Correspondents Association for hosting us here tonight. I am happy to be here, even though I am a little jet-lagged from my trip to Malaysia. The lengths we have to go to get CNN coverage these days. I think they’re still searching for their table.
MSNBC is here. They’re a little overwhelmed. They’ve never seen an audience this big before.
Just last month, a wonderful story — an American won the Boston Marathon for first time in 30 years. Which was inspiring and only fair, since a Kenyan has been president for the last six.
We have some other athletes here tonight, including Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Jamie Anderson is here. We’re proud of her. Incredibly talented young lady. Michelle and I watched the Olympics — we cannot believe what these folks do — death-defying feats — haven’t seen somebody pull a “180” that fast since Rand Paul disinvited that Nevada rancher from this dinner. As a general rule, things don’t like end well if the sentence starts, “Let me tell you something I know about the negro.” You don’t really need to hear the rest of it. Just a tip for you — don’t start your sentence that way.
And speaking of conservative heroes, the Koch brothers bought a table here tonight. But as usual, they used a shadowy right-wing organization as a front. Hello, Fox News.
Let’s face it, Fox, you’ll miss me when I’m gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.
Of course, now that it’s 2014, Washington is obsessed on the midterms. Folks are saying that with my sagging poll numbers, my fellow Democrats don’t really want me campaigning with them. And I don’t think that’s true — although I did notice the other day that Sasha needed a speaker at career day, and she invited Bill Clinton.a, Bill Clinton, Bill O’Reilly, Captain America, Chris Christie, Community, Donald Trump, Facebook, Fox, George Bush, Health Care Reform, Hillary Clinton, House of Cards, Jeb Bush,
And I’m feeling sorry — believe it or not — for the Speaker of the House, as well. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black.
Look, I know, Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever. Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town you have to wonder: What did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad?
One issue, for example, we haven’t been able to agree on is unemployment insurance. Republicans continue to refuse to extend it. And you know what, I am beginning to think they’ve got a point. If you want to get paid while not working, you should have to run for Congress just like everybody else.
Of course, there is one thing that keeps Republicans busy. They have tried more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare. Despite that, 8 million people signed up for health care in the first open enrollment. Which does lead one to ask, how well does Obamacare have to work before you don’t want to repeal it? What if everybody’s cholesterol drops to 120? What if your yearly checkup came with tickets to a Clippers game? Not the old, Donald Sterling Clippers — the new Oprah Clippers. Would that be good enough? What if they gave Mitch McConnell a pulse? What is it going to take?
Joel McHale, star of Community and The Soup, did an excellent job. #sixtimesashostandamovie. He has followed a long line of top comedians who have roasted politicians and the media and previous events. The all time best speakers was Stephen Colbert who roasted George Bush in 2006. The full transcript of his speech can be found here.
Good evening, Mr. President — or as Paul Ryan refers to you, yet another inner-city minority relying on the federal government to feed and house your family.
I’m a big fan of President Obama. I think he’s one of the all- time great presidents — definitely in the top 50. Please explain that to Jessica Simpson. You’re right. That was low.
All right, how about the president’s performance tonight, everyone? It is — it’s amazing that you can still bring it with fresh, hilarious material. And my favorite bit of yours was when you said you’d close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. That was a classic. That was hilarious, hilarious. Still going.
All right, look, I know it’s been a long night, but I promise that tonight will be both amusing and over quickly, just like Chris Christie’s presidential bid.
It’s a genuine thrill to be here in Washington, D.C., the city that started the whole crack-smoking-mayor craze.
The vice president isn’t here tonight, not for security reasons. He just thought this event was being held at the Dulles Airport Applebee’s. Yes, right now Joe is elbow-deep in jalapeno poppers and talking to a construction cone he thinks is John Boehner. Also true.
Hillary Clinton has a lot going for her as a candidate. She has experience. She’s a natural leader. And, as our first female president, we could pay her 30 percent less. That’s the savings this country could use.
Hillary’s daughter Chelsea is pregnant, which means in nine months we will officially have a sequel to “Bad Grandpa.” It also raises the question, when the baby is born, do you give Bill Clinton a cigar?
Jeb Bush says he’s thinking about running. Wow, another Bush might be in the White House. Is it already time for our every-10- years surprise party for Iraq? Yes.
As it stands right now, the Republican presidential nominee will either be Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, or a bag of flour with Ronald Reagan’s face drawn on it. A bag of flour. All right.
People are asking, will Donald Trump run again? And the answer is, does that thing on his head crap in the woods? I actually don’t know. I don’t know.I don’t know if that thing on his head has a digestive system.
Governor, do you want bridge jokes or size jokes? Because I’ve got a bunch of both. I could go half and half. I know you like a combo platter. Now, I get that. I’m sorry for that joke, Governor Christie. I didn’t know I was going to tell it, but I take full responsibility for it. Whoever wrote it will be fired. But the buck stops here. So I will be a man and own up to it, just as soon as I get to the bottom of how it happened, because I was unaware it happened until just now.
I’m appointing a blue-ribbon commission of me to investigate the joke I just told. And if I find any wrongdoing on my part, I assure you I will be dealt with. I just looked into it. It turns out I’m not responsible for it. Justice has been served. He’s going to kill me.
Mr. President, you’re no stranger to criticism. Ted Nugent called you a subhuman mongrel. And it’s comments like that which really make me question whether we can take the guy who wrote “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” seriously anymore.
Your approval rating has slipped. And even worse, you only got two stars on Yelp.
Mitch McConnell said his number one priority was to get the president out of office. So, Mitch, congrats on being just two years away from realizing your goal. You did it — kind of.
But thanks to “Obamacare,” or, as the president refers to it, “Mecare,” millions of newly insured young Americans can visit a doctor’s office and see what a print magazine actually looks like. That’s awesome.
Now over 8 million people have signed up for “Obamacare,” which sounds impressive until you realize Ashley Tisdale has 12 million Twitter followers. So that’s pretty good.
Sir, I do think you’re making a big mistake with Putin. You have to show a guy like that that you’re just as crazy as he is. He invades Crimea. You invade Cancun. Russia takes back the Ukraine. America takes back Texas. Something to think about.
The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, is here. Finally I can put a face to the mysterious voice clearing its throat on the other end of the phone. It was weird.
And CNN is desperately searching for something they’ve been missing for months — their dignity. Totally. That was just that table. At this point, CNN is like the Radio Shack in a sad strip mall. You don’t know how it’s stayed in business this long. You don’t know anyone that shops there. And they just fired Piers Morgan.
Fox News is the highest-rated network in cable news. Yeah. I can’t believe your table — that far. And it’s all thanks to their key demographic, the corpses of old people who tuned in to Fox News and haven’t yet been discovered.
Former “Inside Edition” host Bill O’Reilly is not here. He did host that. Bill’s got another book coming out soon, so he’s making his ghost writers work around the clock. Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity are the Mount Rushmore of keeping old people angry.
This event brings together both Washington and Hollywood. The relationship between Washington and Hollywood has been a long and fruitful one. You give us tax credits for film and television production, and in return, we bring much-needed jobs to hard-working American cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Vancouver again.
Hollywood helps America by projecting a heroic image to the rest of the world. We just released another movie about Captain America, or, as he’s known in China, Captain Who Owes Us $1.1 Trillion.
There’s a lot of celebrities here tonight. They’re the ones that don’t look like ghouls. Look around. The cast of “Veep” is here. That’s a series about what would happen if a Seinfeld star actually landed on another good show. I like “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” I swear.
I’m not going to spoil the shocking twist on “House of Cards,” but just know that it was so surprising that Nancy Pelosi’s face almost changed expression. Did you like that one, Nancy? I can’t tell.
Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter, is here. So if any of you congressmen want to cut out the middleman, just show him your penis. Not now! Are you nuts?
And here’s why America is the best country in the world. A guy like me can stand before the president, the press and Patrick Duffy — and tell jokes without severe repercussions. And instead of being shipped off to a gulag, I’m going to the Vanity Fair after-party. That’s right. This is America, where everyone can be a Pussy Riot.
For a long time it felt like the Republican Party and the Vatican represented a type of axis of evil, both pushing to impose antiquated religious teachings on everyone else. Pope Francis has taken a step back from the dark side in recent interviews, saying the Church should not be “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. As Jon Stewart points out in the video above, the Pope is no longer on the same page as Republicans, who are obsessed with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. Will Republicans change? More likely they will follow the lead of Bill O’Reilly in promoting their own alternate religious history to match their alternate history of the United States while promoting their own view of the Constitution.
It would be great if Republicans would take the lead of Pope Francis here. At very least, assuming they do not change their views, could everyone try to stop letting them get away with claiming to support small government and liberty?
I’ve often pointed out that the Tea Party defends a version of the Constitution which exists only in their heads, and certainly not the one supported by the Founding Fathers. During the American Revolution the revolutionaries were the liberals while today’s conservatives would be the Tories. After the Revolution the Tea Party would not have supported the Constitution. Their position is far closer to that of the Anti-Federalists who supported the Articles of Confederation. Thatdocument established a weak federal government which was much closer to the ideas of the Tea Party. The Constitution was written due to the failure of a government established upon the ideas now held by many in the Tea Party.
Bill Maher made a similar argument last night, telling teabaggers that the Founding Fathers would have hated their guts. The video is above via Mediaite. The full text follows:
And finally, New Rule, now that they’ve finished reading the Constitution out loud, the teabaggers must call out that group of elitist liberals whose values are so antithetical to theirs. I’m talking, of course, about the Founding Fathers, who the teabaggers believe are just like them, but aren’t. One is a group of exclusively white men who live in a bygone century, have bad teeth, and think of blacks as 3/5s of a person. And the other are the Founding Fathers!
Now I want you teabaggers out there to understand one thing. While you idolize the Founding Fathers and dress up like them and smell like them, I think it’s pretty clear that the Founding Fathers would’ve hated your guts. And what’s more, you would’ve hated them! They were everything you despise. They studied science, read Plato, hung out in Paris, and thought the Bible was mostly bullshit. And yet, here is a popular painting in wingnut America.
Yes, that’s Jesus with the Founding Fathers behind him, presenting the Constitution to America. Either that, or it’s a settlement offer for that boy after he sued the rectory.
Super-religious guy Glenn Beck likes to play dress-up as Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine, an atheist who said churches were “human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind”. John Adams said, “this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it”.* Which is not to say the Founders didn’t have a moral code. Of course they did. They just didn’t get it from the Bible. Well, except for the part about it’s cool to own slaves. It’s in there, folks, I didn’t make it up.
The Founders disagreed amongst themselves about that, and most issues. But the one thing they never argued about was that political power must stay in the hands of the smartest people, and out of the hands of the dumbest loudmouths slowing down the checkout line at Home Depot.
And yet, Sarah Palin once said of Obama, “we need a Commander-in-Chief, not a professor of law standing at a lectern”. How gay is that! Well, I hate to break it to you, but:
They were not the common man of their day. Ben Franklin studied scientific phenomena like lightning and the aurora borealis, and were he alive today, he could probably explain to Bill O’Reilly why the tides go in and out.
James Madison was fluent in Greek and Latin, and could translate Virgil and Cicero. John Boehner can’t translate Fareed Zakaria. And Thomas Jefferson was an astronomer and a physicist who founded the University of Virginia, played the violin, and spoke six languages. Or as Palin would say, “all of them”.
The text came from a Daily Kos diary by BruinKid who also added the links in the transcript. His diary also includes additional background information, including calling out Maher for quoting John Adams out of context.
The move came after Mr. Williams, who is also a Fox News political analyst, appeared on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday. On the show, the host, Bill O’Reilly, asked him to respond to the notion that the United States was facing a “Muslim dilemma.” Mr. O’Reilly said, “The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.”
Mr. Williams said he concurred with Mr. O’Reilly.
He continued: “I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”
Mr. Williams also made reference to the Pakistani immigrant who pleaded guilty this month to trying to plant a car bomb in Times Square. “He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,” Mr. Williams said.
There has already been considerable debate on line over these comments. Taken by themselves there is a lot of room for discussion and disagreement, but if we are solely looking at these comments alone I personally do not believe they were sufficient to fire Mr. Williams.
Things get more complicated when looking at the specific duties of Williams’ position and the long history of problems. Williams really should have been removed as a news analyst long ago. If he had an show where it was more appropriate for a host to express their own opinions it would be a different matter, but a news analyst should be held to a higher standard. I believe Williams should have been removed as a news analyst long ago, just as I agreed with NBC in removing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as anchors of debate and election coverage. Williams should not appear on Fox for the same reasons other NPR correspondents have been instructed that they should not attend Jon Stewart’s upcoming rally.
At best Williams is a second rate journalist and his removal will be to NPR’s benefit. Williams cannot reliably serve as an objective news analyst if he also works for Fox. Fox has repeatedly been exposed as an operation formed to promote extremist right wing views and support the Republican Party and is not a legitimate news outfit. Williams’ work at Fox has long been an issue at NPR. It was naive to think that Williams could fill his roles at both networks. Williams was moved from correspondent to analyst due to the credibility problems raised by his work at Fox but such bias is not appropriate for either position. NPR should have given Williams the choice long ago of either discontinuing his work at Fox or leaving his role as a new analyst at NPR.
It was a mistake to fire Williams over specific comments as opposed to the overall problems created by Williams working for both a legitimate news organization and a right wing propaganda outfit. I might feel sorry for Williams if his career and livelihood had been ruined over these comments alone but his income will actually increase tremendously from both an expanded role at Fox and potentially elsewhere in the right wing noise machine.
Unfortunately most of the discussion has centered on Williams’ latest comments as opposed to his overall suitability to remain at NPR. The reasons are better clarified in this memo to the stations:
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2010 12:05 PM Subject: Juan WilliamsDear AREPS,
Thank you for all of your varying feedback on the Juan Williams situation. Let me offer some further clarification about why we terminated his contract early.
First, a critical distinction has been lost in this debate. NPR News analysts have a distinctive role and set of responsibilities. This is a very different role than that of a commentator or columnist. News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that’s what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview – not our reporters and analysts.
Second, this isn’t the first time we have had serious concerns about some of Juan’s public comments. Despite many conversations and warnings over the years, Juan has continued to violate this principal.
Third, these specific comments (and others made in the past), are inconsistent with NPR’s ethics code, which applies to all journalists (including contracted analysts):
“In appearing on TV or other media . . . NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist. They should not participate in shows . . . that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.”
More fundamentally, “In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist.”
Unfortunately, Juan’s comments on Fox violated our standards as well as our values and offended many in doing so.
We’re profoundly sorry that this happened during fundraising week. Juan’s comments were made Monday night and we did not feel it would be responsible to delay this action.
This was a tough decision and we appreciate your support.
After demonstrating that he is not ready for prime time (or to serve in the United States Senate), Rand Paul has now chickened out of a planned appearance on Meet the Press. Actually David Gregory should be a lot easier to handle than Rachel Maddow.I doubt Gregory has the intelligence to challenge Paul’s beliefs, and demonstrate how absurd they are, as Maddow did.
If he’s not going to appear on MSNBC or NBC, does he have the guts to do another interview on NPR? I’d love to see him do an interview with Terry Gross as I think back to what she did to Bill O’Reilly (who walked out without finishing the interview).
I imagine he’ll do what Sarah Palin did when she couldn’t handle real interviews and spend a lot of time on Fox.