Not Seeing What You Don't Want To See

Steve Benen:

I just haven't seen the evidence that the White House considers the netroots and progressive activists in general as some kind of annoying sideshow to be ignored. On the contrary, I've seen the opposite.

Heh. I would take the time to refute this, but Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher and John Aravosis prebutted Benen's silliness. I do not think Benen is a shill, in that he is not intentionally in the tank for the White House, but rather he WANTS to not see what is obvious to reasonable people. In essence, he is part of the Dem Village. There is a lot of that going around.

Speaking for me only

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    I don't buy it (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:43:19 PM EST
    A CNBC talking head "quotes" an anonymous source to back up a spurious allegation, and when the WH denies the quote everyone immediately jumps on with the talking head.

    I'd prefer a little more evidence before picking sides. And considering CNBC's credibility on most issues, I wouldn't trust them if they said water was wet.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:56:13 PM EST
    Let's forget everything else that has been said and done.

    Benen would be proud of your ability to stick your head in the sand.


    I'm not forgetting that (none / 0) (#12)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:11:41 PM EST
    Harwood's topic was how Obama doesn't care what LGBT folks think of him - the day after Obama publicly stated that he cares very much, thank you.

    Not so much sand around here, just good Iowa topsoil.


    He did say that didn't he? (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:13:56 PM EST
    But the words don't reflect actions, and pointing that out makes one a shrill pajamas person.

    Actions, actions....we are always about the (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:25:59 PM EST
    actions around here :)  I only caught blips of the speech but you are supposed to be patient andgarden just like the military is supposed to be patient about whether we are staying or going any place on the globe right now. We are supposed to remain frozen in time and like it damn it!  Nothing is decisive with this President, and wafflers tend to drive me batty until I realize they mostly blow smoke!  Then I understand, and only those who grab the mirrors to defend "Sir Smokes a Lot" start driving me batty :)

    There is so much good stuff in (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:36:18 PM EST
    Glenn's post today, and this is one of the best parts:

    UPDATE II:  As for the "you-have-to-wait" justification, here's the time-line of the Democratic Party mentality on all such matters:

    2004-2006:  "You have to wait until we win a Congressional majority in the 2006 midterms."

    2006-2008:  "You have to wait until we win the White House in 2008."

    January-May, 2009:  "You have to wait until we have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate."

    Currently:  "You have to wait until after the 2010 midterms so we preserve our majority" or "you have to wait until Obama is safely re-elected in 2012."

    Once Obama is safely re-elected, it will be:  "you have to wait so you don't jeopardize the 2014 midterms."   That's the mentality that produces majority power which exists for no real purpose but to perpetuate itself.

    And here we thought majority power was about finally getting some things done that have long needed doing.  How silly are we?


    I'll just be on their arse night and day (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:41:18 PM EST
    My kids tell me I'm a pro.  I do love me some internets though when it comes to accountability.  It has become very difficult for the past to simply fade into the mist :)

    And Then the Next Step (none / 0) (#21)
    by The Maven on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:48:21 PM EST
    after the worries over the 2014 midterms will be, "you have to wait until after the next Democratic president is elected in 2016 because we don't want to jeopardize his/her chances," followed by "you have to wait until the new president settles in and has a chance to deal with more immediate issues," followed by concern over the 2018 midterms, etc., etc.

    Thus do the concerns of the 'loony left' get swept aside for the better part of a generation, by which time those issues have quite possibly been rendered moot.  Problem solved!


    Interestingly (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:14:26 PM EST
    Just to avoid that distraction, my quote clips any mention of Harwood.

    Apparently, you disagree with Benen on the topic of my post.


    I do agree with Benen in that (none / 0) (#23)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:04:35 PM EST
    anonymously sourced smears don't equate to facts.  They do, however, accomplish exactly what Harwood apparently wanted: an anti-Obama reaction on the part of the left wing bloggers, as you cited in your post.

    What Harwood wanted? (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:08:33 PM EST
    Harwood is irrelevant. What did the anonymous source want?

    Bingo (none / 0) (#27)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:31:39 PM EST
    He/she certainly knew what tasty morsel to give Harwood.

    This is the typical reaction (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:37:08 PM EST
    Harwood, with a gun to the head of a WH type, mage them say it.

    This is precisely a species of people only seeing what they want to see.


    If by typical reaction you mean (none / 0) (#30)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 04:35:35 PM EST
    a logical analysis in which a conclusion is inferred from given facts, sure.

    One fact is that Harwood made an assertion that Obama didn't mean what he said on Saturday about LBGT folks because the WH considers them a fringe group.  Another fact is that Harwood then tried to support that assertion by citing an anonymous source within the WH who slammed left-wing bloggers.  As insulting bloggers doesn't logically back up his statement that Obama wasn't being honest, he must have had another reason for repeating the claim.  As the most apparent result has been to get a reaction from the blogs, a reasonable person may draw the conclusion that was his intent.


    Now from column 3: 11 dimensional chess! (none / 0) (#33)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 05:30:43 PM EST
    No one knows what the anonymous source wants (none / 0) (#34)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 07:20:29 PM EST
    because obviously, she/he isn't on the record.  Harwood is on the record, and as it is what he said that caused this ruckus he is certainly relevant to the discussion.

    Read the Greenwald post BTD cites (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:02:32 PM EST
    It's not an isolated incident, or any old talking head. Harwood is as inside the village as it is possible to be. Though you are right, that in itself does not mean he is credible. But the WH is not denying Harwood's reporting, just saying that what the anonymous source said does not reflect the general WH opinion. Which is itself a purely subjective assessment.

    Greenwals puts it all in context. I put that post in the 'if you only read one post all week, read that one' category.


    Are You Talking About This? (none / 0) (#9)
    by BDB on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:56:15 PM EST
    "That sentiment does not reflect White House thinking at all, we've held easily a dozen calls with the progressive online community because we believe the online communities can often keep the focus on how policy will affect the American people rather than just the political back-and-forth."

    Because that is not a denial that someone in the WH said what was quoted.  It's damage control.


    I'm on about how Harwood (none / 0) (#11)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:04:31 PM EST
    was denying what Obama had just been saying this weekend about LGBT issues, and he threw out the anonymous quote as proof of his point - that Obama was lying.  Insulting the bloggers was icing on the cake for CNBC.

    Ah, I Understand Now (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by BDB on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:19:16 PM EST
    and I agree that the anonymous quote was weak proof that Obama was lying.  It's amazing how lazy the media is because there is much better evidence that Obama is lying, his actions:

    Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) said yesterday that he withdrew an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have weakened the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy because of "pressure" from the White House and some "congressional colleagues." Hastings' amendment would have prohibited "spending money to investigate or discharge members of the military who reveal they are homosexual or bisexual." Saying he didn't want "to get into names," Hastings added, "I didn't talk to Barack Obama." During an appearance with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night, Hastings expressed his agitation:

    HASTINGS: If something is bigoted and if your intent is to see to it that it does not continue, then I did not understand the leadership of Congress or the White House in saying that the time is not right. My position is: The president has said he wishes that this matter be repealed. My colleague, Patrick Murphy, now has more than 170 co-sponsors on a measure to repeal it. Secretary Gates has said, I`m glad he is now saying when we change our policy. Last year, he would have been saying "if." But my view is, that the time is now to eliminate this bigoted law once and for all.


    PS Of course comparing gays/lesbians to incest/pedophilia in his official court defense of DOMA wasn't exactly the smartest thing to do was it?

    Too many people, IMO, treat Obama's speeches as if they are actions when they are not.  Often, they are just words.


    You're absolutely right about actions vs words (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:35:00 PM EST
    but one thing I learned back in my Poli. Sci. days, and from working in gov't., is that sometimes what looks easy to a candidate may loom damn near insurmountable to a position holder.

    Not apologizing for Obama's inaction on this issue - I want him to grab that 3rd rail and hang on - but I suspect he's discovered firsthand over the last 8 months that living in the WH doesn't make things easy.  Just ask Bill Clinton about that. :-)

    That being said, Obama wanted the job, and if he wants to keep his current address after Jan. 2013 he'd better find some insulated gloves.


    Or Ask George Bush (none / 0) (#22)
    by The Maven on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:02:56 PM EST
    who was pounded rather mercilessly in 2004 when he repeatedly said (during one of the debates, IIRC) that being president was "hard work".  Well, no sh*t -- if we're supposed to cut Obama some slack because he's still figuring out how to cope with all the difficulties of forces trying to pull him in opposite directions as well as institutional inertia, then that should be read as an admission that perhaps he wasn't yet quite ready for the job in the first place.  Obama pretty clearly loves speechifying; governing, not so much.

    Ah, but W was the decider (none / 0) (#24)
    by Farmboy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:07:35 PM EST
    How hard is that? :-)

    Apparently, it's a lot harder than we (4.00 / 4) (#26)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:25:00 PM EST
    thought, since Obama cannot seem to decide where he stands on a number of issues, publicly anyway.  He's for something, then he wants to open the door to some other good idea, then he goes back to a former position, then he's back talking with conservatives and going all Reagan on us.  Meanwhile, he cannot actually DO anything until he decides what it is he believes.  The paralysis of popularity, I guess.

    Behind the scenes, however, he's had little problem supporting many of the Bush policies we wanted changed - maybe that's just about less work?


    Which was exactly the point (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 03:33:15 PM EST
    ... is that sometimes what looks easy to a candidate may loom damn near insurmountable to a position holder

    Many people made in questioning his decision to run at this time - he didn't fully grasp what the job entailed.


    While I have sympathy for the (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by tigercourse on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:53:23 PM EST
    "progressive" and liberal activists that the administration often brushes aside, I have to say that the blogs and "netroots" have it coming. Years ago now Obama delivered somewhat sharp critique of Daily Kos after he had posted a statement their. I agreed with him then and I agree with him now. By and large, the blogs deserve the White Houses disdain. Why respect the weak, subservient fools who believe anything you say, do anything you ask and defend everything you do?

    They never earned any respect. And complaining that none has been given makes them even more deserving of ridicule.

    That's a good point (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:55:27 PM EST
    I think I made it in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 . . .

    It bears repeating. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by tigercourse on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:56:11 PM EST
    "Weak Minded" does come to mind... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Salo on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:56:09 PM EST
    ...when you read the verbal hoops they are willing to jump through to deny his obvious distain for the blogeratti.

    It's probably Rahm on both ends. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Salo on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:53:51 PM EST
    Sounds like his sort of smarter and tougher than though cynicism.

    thou (none / 0) (#4)
    by Salo on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:54:02 PM EST

    It's all good. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:31:04 PM EST
    I imagine Rahm plans on replacing the votes with right wing bipartisan support, since they are making such strong inroads into that market. :-/

    Benen stikes me as just... (none / 0) (#31)
    by pluege on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 04:39:06 PM EST
    a nice guy. He doesn't see much ugliness in politics and the source of that ugliness: people - the very bad people that have infected American politics. So its not so much that Benen has a special affinity to Obama to turn a blind eye to the fact has not lived up to any of his promises or billing. Its that Benen haa an affinity to everyone - the quintessential liberal.

    Unfortunately, the modern republican/conservative party launched by the vile reagan and compounded ever since makes traditional nice guy liberal, 'can't we all just get alongism' a very dangerous commodity in America.

    I understand the point you're making (none / 0) (#32)
    by Gisleson on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 04:41:08 PM EST
    But I don't understand your hostility towards Steve Benen. He's often been called the hardest working blogger we've got, he's not a preening talkshow prima donna, and he's generally fairly neutral in his presentation of the news.

    I cannot think of another lefty blogger with a more prodigious output, and I'm speaking as someone who blogs about a million words a year (literally).

    I do not see the hostility (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 08:50:44 PM EST
    I write this way about everyone who I think writes something silly.

    Feel free to do the same to me.


    Ditto (none / 0) (#36)
    by Gisleson on Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:45:26 PM EST
    Although you'll have to use my old factory initials (MF) since the full nickname won't post here for some reason.