Obama Might Be Able to Convince Liberals to Say Nice Things About Him If He Didn’t Distort What They Say

By way of John Aravosis, we read this statement by President Obama made during a 60 Minutes interview:

Obama also expressed impatience with his liberal supporters for not understanding the deep divisions in the country – and that overcoming them was not simply a matter of a better message.
“I will say that when it comes to some of– my supporters– part of it, I think, is– the belief that if I just communicated things better, that I’d be able to persuade– that half of the country that voted for John McCain that we were right and they were wrong.
“One of the things that I think is important for people to remember is that– you know, this country– doesn’t just agree with the New York Times editorial page. And, I can make some really good arguments– defending the Democratic position. And there are going to be some people who just don’t agree with me. And that’s okay.”

When I first read this, I thought perhaps “liberals” was in error and he meant “Blue Dogs.” Because I know many liberal Democrats.


And we’re definitely not saying he should have reached out to the McCain voters. After being called weaklings and quislings for opposing an immoral war, a war predicated on lies an deceit; after being called sluts and whores because we think our sisters, mothers, spouses, friends should control their own bodies and not corrupt preachers, priests, and prelates; after being told that we are not ‘real’ Americans…
…does Obama really think we believe we can convince these bozos…of anything?
A longtime reader and Democratic loyalist once told me his definition of change: “Now, it’s our turn to give them the business.” As I wrote about Todd Henderson, we do not come to win them over, but to defeat their inanity (and insanity too).
If there is anything I learned from growing up in Virginia, it is to be wary of the Cumbaya Fallacy:

That’s a foolish strategy, and it’s what I call the Kumbaya Fallacy. During the 80s and 90s, there was a popular revisionist version of the history of the Civil Rights movement that claimed that we all one day just realized that denying black people the vote and lynching was bad and that it needed to stop (i.e., we just held each others hands ’round the campfire and began singing Cumbaya).
Not exactly. The Civil Rights movement shamed enough people into forcing the end of segregation–often at the point of a federalized guardsman’s bayonet. If the Civil Rights movement had waited to convince the overwhelming majority of Americans of the justness of its cause, black people still wouldn’t be able to vote. There will always be those who don’t want to face reality, whether it be cynical self-interest, fear, or slavish devotion to a worldview. No mystical or mythical incantation of the right, focus-group tested, perfect phrase will alter this.

We were told we needed a Democratic House, sixty seats in the Senate, and a Democratic president. Well, we got that. And liberals were under no illusions that playing nice was necessary–we expected you to use these gifts and ram home some good legislation. Do you think we wanted to play nice with those assholes? Really?
We wanted action, not talk. Instead, your bipartisan fetish gave us post-partisan depression.
But, clearly, punching a Dirty Hippie in the Face is the appropriate response.

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6 Responses to Obama Might Be Able to Convince Liberals to Say Nice Things About Him If He Didn’t Distort What They Say

  1. Silent Service says:

    The big O just doesn’t get it. The Religious Right declared this a culture war. They understand that they are fighting a war for hearts and minds. You win such a war by outliving your enemy and indoctrinating his children with your propaganda. If we want to have a chance, we have to get up there and put our policies into practice and show their children that YES YOU CAN live with equality for all and fair play in the market place. Right now we’re living with a hodgepodge of Rethuglican policies with a few stripped down democratic ideas tagged on.

  2. D. C. Sessions says:

    Shorter: we voted for Lyndon Johnson, and we got Jimmy Carter.

  3. Rick says:

    I rather think, had we GOT a Jimmy Carter, many of you would be asking how he got so liberal… Because he always WAS a liberal.
    Then, now, and every spot inbetween.

  4. Tercel says:

    This is a great post, and I wish more people thought like Mike. I do think it makes a bit too much out of one isolated statement from Obama, but it is still dead-on with respect to democrats in general.
    On a bit of a tangent, I have a minor issue with the comment is the last sentence of the post. The continuing association of liberalism with dirty hippiedom drives me crazy, and it needs to end. So of course, I don’t like to see it promoted by fellow liberals. Liberal thought is based on solid reasoning and factual reality (at least mine is). It only hurts our credibility to let ourselves be represented by people who think activism means wearing tie-dye and holding drum-circle protests against thing of which they are proudly ignorant.

  5. The Dirty Fucking Hippie (def 2)is a running sarcasm leveled at the Obama administration because they seem to think that the progressives who helped elect him really don’t understand policy-making because we were pissed that he didn’t even present single-payer as an option, which is something that “only the dirty fucking hippies” who grew up to be progressives wanted. Everyone else, you see, was a realist who agreed that giving up before the game is even started is the proper way to negotiate with the Party of No.

  6. Rick Spisak says:

    Speaking as a historically minded, free spirit artist… Who grew into an ashram living, commune dwelling young man and a professional systems manager, research scientist, father and Adult Activist. I can tell you this. The hippies I knew, and know, however they are disguised today. Were never dirtied by hate, prejudice, greed, poisoned by consumerism, or religious one-upsmanship.
    We might have been barefoot and dignified by the honest dirt. We showered in the rain and the river to wash away the sweat of working together, in our little socialist utopias.
    You too may turn to our group living again, since the greed-heads, are determined to destroy you hope of holding private homes, and gardens of your own.
    When I hear those administration sell-out call us names, the old school-yard bully calling out nervously… I got the bat, I got the ball – whatchoo got. I didn’t want to play his game then, and I don’t want to play it now either.
    Call me a hippy – no problem, I’m not a money grubbing, catch-up with the consumer next door bozo – Who never smelled the flowers, or looked long enough to see our connected lives. I laugh everyday. I may even laugh last.
    solidarity & peace

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