October 3, 2012
THAT OBAMA DAILY CALLER VIDEO: Most interesting as proof of media hypocrisy. “For starters, the hypocrisy meter has now blown a gasket. The media crowd that would consider Mitt Romney’s hair-cutting episode to be front page news and has played pin-the-gaffe-on-Romney for an entire election cycle now sniffs that this video is not only not important, but not even news. The mainstream media clown show continues unabated.”
Meanwhile, reader Tim Ryan writes: “I’m thinking the dismissive journalists are right – the video won’t hurt Obama that much, because everyone knows he’s a crypto lefty . . . but it is another body blow to the MSM, which I think will never recover its reputation lost during the Obama presidency in general and in particular their intentional dereliction of duty for two consecutive elections.”
Among those who were uncovered to be part of the plan to quell Wright coverage were Richard Kim of the Nation, Michael Tomasky of the Guardian, Thomas Schaller of the Baltimore Sun, Holly Yeager of the Columbia Journalism Review, Slate magazine contributor David Greenberg, columnist Joe Conason, Chris Hayes of the Nation, and Spencer Ackerman — then of the Washington Independent.
Strong reported that Ackerman even once “urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, ‘Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.’”
Hey, was Conor Friedersdorf a member of JournoList?
Meanwhile, Nick Gillespie comments:
Whatever else you can say about Barack Obama before he beat John McCain four years ago, his actual presidency has been far, far worse than could have been predicted. Was his boyhood mentor “Frank” a secret communist? Did Bill Ayers write his books? Did young Barry harbor a soft spot for Franz Fanon and smoke dope like a Cheech & Chong extra? Did he get into Columbia despite being an adult illiterate raised in Kenya by Rosicrucians? Let’s play along and say yes to all this and more.
So freaking what? Compare any and all of that to the grim landscape that Obama has presided over like a dime-store Ozymandias. The guy got just about everything he wanted – expanded auto bailout, mega-stimulus, health-care reform, troop surge in Afghanistan, a free pass to deport immigrants and raid legal-under-state-law pot dispensaries. And it hasn’t worked. The best that the Obama administration can do to defend its objectively awful record – don’t forget the inability to muscle a goddamn budget through the Democratic Senate or deliver a deficit under $1 trillion – is to say that it would have been even worse if McCain had been elected. That sort of counterfactual – and the insistence that it’s alway George W. Bush’s fault – is the last resort of a scoundrel. That was the essence of Clint Eastwood’s bizarre but memorable appearance at the Republican National Convention: Obama hasn’t gotten the job done. If anything, he’s made things worse.
That’s certainly true. But then the media didn’t just tell us he was post-racial. They also told us he was smart and competent. Equally true, I’d say.
Obama was one of a small minority in the Senate who voted against the bill that waived the Stafford Act that made assistance funds available to the New Orleans Katrina victims without their having to match them with a 10% contribution.
That’s the same Stafford Act he lied about in his 2007 Hampton speech, the waiver that had actually occurred several weeks before he made the speech, the waiver that he voted against.
See this for a list of those who voted for and against. You’ll note that Obama’s “nay” vote was one of only 14 cast against the act, almost all of them liberal Democrats. No doubt he would say he knew the act would pass and so he felt okay voting against it in order to protest the Iraq war funds that were also part of the bill. But there’s something profoundly distasteful and almost grotesque about him voting against the waiver, knowing the bill had passed despite his vote, and then lying to the audience to make them angry that the waiver hadn’t happened.
MORE STILL: Thoughts from James Taranto:
That the 2007 video is getting wide attention only now does tell us something unflattering–albeit again something hardly novel–about the media. The speech got some coverage at the time–the Chicago Sun Times’s Lynn Sweet published an “as prepared” transcript that left out some inflammatory improvisational bites–but it might have been worth a closer look, if not in 2007 then the following year, when Obama was clearly a serious presidential contender and his association with Wright was blowing up in his face. But journalists in 2008 largely did not take the sort of adversarial approach toward Obama that they are taking today with Romney. Yet while that is a good reason to mistrust the media, it is not a particularly strong argument against voting for Obama.
One other observation is worth making about the difference between 2007, when Obama gave the new old speech, and today: The then-senator’s implicit premise, that America still regarded blacks as something less than full citizens, is manifestly false today in a way that it was not then. America has disproved it precisely by electing a black president.
The left, predictably enough, has responded to the video with shrieks of racism. This is partly reflexive and partly defensive–i.e., an effort to make absolutely certain that the video doesn’t hurt Obama. But suppose Obama gave a speech today like the one he gave in 2007. Could anyone seriously argue that he would not deserve to be held to account for divisive racial demagoguery? There’s a reason why the 2012 video announcing “African Americans for Obama” was so (you’ll pardon the expression) vanilla.
For decades racial appeals have been understood to be evil when directed at whites but acceptable when directed to blacks. That double standard was justifiable when white supremacy was a reality, then a recent memory. It becomes less so with every passing year, and especially with milestones like the election of a black president. The left’s overwrought reaction to the new old Obama video probably doesn’t say much about the state of the 2012 campaign, but it does portend difficulty in maintaining a worldview in which paranoia about racism plays a central role.