April 3rd, 2010

Obama: mockery in Maine

Two days ago President Obama was in Portland, Maine, to give a speech promoting the HCR bill.

I’ve observed before that sometimes Obama will put two contradictory assertions in the same address, hoping the discrepancies in logic will go unnoticed. But he usually places them some distance apart from each other. This time, however, they followed one another in fairly rapid succession in his speech.

Judge for yourself. Here’s Obama in his familiar folksy, sarcastic, and contemptuously mocking mode, having a fine old time egging the crowd on to laugh at those who’ve had the audacity to criticize the bill by pointing out its profound dangers (I’m not sure whether the relevant parts of his address were scripted or ad-lib):

THE PRESIDENT: You turned on the news, you’d see that those same folks who were hollering about [HCR] before it passed, they’re still hollering, about how the world will end because we passed this bill. (Laughter.) This is not an exaggeration. John Boehner called the passage of this bill –

AUDIENCE: Booo!

THE PRESIDENT: — no need to — we don’t need to boo, I just want to give the facts — called this passage of this bill “Armageddon.” You had others who said this is the end of freedom as we know it.

So after I signed the bill, I looked around. (Laughter and applause.) I looked up at the sky to see if asteroids were coming. (Laughter.) I looked at the ground to see if cracks had opened up in the earth. You know what, it turned out it was a pretty nice day. (Laughter and applause.) Birds were still chirping. Folks were strolling down the street. Nobody had lost their doctor. Nobody had pulled the plug on Granny. (Laughter.) Nobody was being dragged away to be forced into some government-run health care plan.

But the thing is, though, you have to love some of the pundits in Washington. Every single day since I signed the reform law, there’s been another poll or headline that said “Nation still divided on health care reform. Polls haven’t changed yet.” Well, yeah. It just happened last week. (Laughter and applause.) It’s only been a week. (Applause.)

Can you imagine if some of these reporters were working on a farm? (Laughter.) You planted some seeds, and they came out the next day, and they looked, and nothing’s happened! (Laughter and applause.) There’s no crop! We’re going to starve! Oh, no! (Applause.) It’s a disaster! (Laughter.)

Let’s review: those who warned that Obamacare would have severely negative results are birdbrained idiots because the first week after it was signed life goes on as before. And those who point out that his polls numbers haven’t risen as a result of the passage of Obamacare are birdbrained idiots because of course nothing about it has gone into effect yet.

I’m sure many if not most in that cheering crowd got caught up in the giddy delight of the whole enterprise of gleefully mocking one’s critics after a victory. Who cares that the coach is speaking nonsense, completely contradicting himself, when it’s so much fun to spike the ball in the endzone and do a jubilant victory dance?

Mocking his serious critics is one of Obama’s favorite activities. I can’t say I recall hearing any previous president (Democrat or Republican) do it very much in public (although in private it no doubt was a very different matter). The only person who comes to mind—although I don’t think Obama would like this comparison very much—was Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew, who had to resign amidst bribery and tax evasion charges in 1973.

Agnew was known for relishing a verbal battle. But looking back, Agnew was the soul of sophisticated wit compared to Obama:

With the help of White House speechwriters Pat Buchanan and William Safire, Agnew developed a distinctive, jeering speech style that mixed some heavy fun into the contempt.

In a 1969 speech against war protesters, he said, “A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.” “In the United States today,” Agnew told a 1970 audience in San Diego, “we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.” He went after “pusillanimous pussyfooters” and “vicars of vacillation” and “the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.”

Agnew (or perhaps Safire or the offputting Buchanan) apparently was fond of alliteration. Obama is not.

One thing Obama is fond of, however, is delivering the usual nonsensical reassurances without actually answering his critics’ analyses of the issues. You know the drill: you can keep your insurance if you like it. The Republicans want total deregulation of the insurance companies; no controls at all. Obamacare will be good for the elderly. It will reduce the deficit. And so on and so forth.

And the crowd cheered on.

22 Responses to “Obama: mockery in Maine”

  1. ipw533 Says:

    Let him and his supporters crow–for now. What he and they do not realize is that this is waking up and galvanizing more and more Americans daily. As this goes on even those who supported him will rethink that–classic buyer’s remorse. Obama clearly never heard of Dale Carnegie, or at most he thought he was the clerk who rang up his free-range organic arugula in Hyde Park….

  2. anna Says:

    UGH I could not stand the local newspapers, all they had for the week leading up to the visit and days after was barf-inducing fawning articles – GAG!!!! it was horrible.

    Although they did print one photo of some protesters with a denigrating caption. how can they even look themselves in the face after that pathetic attempt at “journalism”. and yes, that newspaper was one if the ones taken in by the “ellie light” scam artist.

    What is funny is that the local newspaper website allows people to post comments. As time has gone on they have gotten more and more anti-obama, which gives me hope. and the day after the healthcare vote there was a poll that asked “do you support the healthcare bill” and it was 68% against. I sent it to mike michaud, no response.

  3. Baklava Says:

    My girlfriend and I had a discussion again.

    She said, “At least Obama is doing something. Republicans didn’t do anything about health care. Obama’s doing something.”

    She taunted. She got disrespectful. she called me radical and brainwashed. I called her on that. I said that kind of behavior and treatment of me is not acceptable in this relationship.

    I asked her if she knew anything about what is in the 2733 page bill. She didn’t.

    I personalized it with her boss who is doing things but she doesn’t like the policies and solutions her boss is implementing.

    I said, “I don’t care about identity politics. To me, it doesn’t matter if it’s Obama, republicans, or whoever. What I try to discuss with you is the policies and solutions.

    I told her that she is failing to recognize that this bill negatively affects her and our family in the future and for that matter all americans. This is a bill that is one of the worst ever passed.

    I listed investment income taxes (a new tax). I listed the bribery and back room deals it took to get this monstrosity passed and I asked why if it was so good did it take that kind of bribery and arm twisting? I listed the 16,800 new IRS employees to impose the new taxes (during a recession) that this bill imposed.

    I listed the companies that have to report costs and revenue and whatnot to the SEC (Securities and Exchange commission) that are reporting new and LARGE expense obligations due to the HCR bill.

    And Congress is asking these companies to explain themselves – yet they are required to report to the SEC.

    During a recession – this bill raises costs for most businesses and families and will only cause more misery, many doctors have said they will quit their practice – causing rationing and costs to rise.

    I talked about 25 things in the bill asking each time if she knew that was in the bill.

    I asked her again if she would be glad to know that her boss Maria is at least doing something yet imposing negative consequences on her, her unit and her department.

    And is the blind follower radical and brainwashed or is the informed person on the policies and solutions brainwashed?

    And if her boss was being sued by 25 states because of her policy – just like the HCR bill is being litigated – wouldn’t someone start to wonder if this bill truly is the best way of reforming health care.

    And dear liberals,

    The poor had access to Medicaid, the elderly had access to Medicare and the children 200% above the poverty line had access to SCHIP.

    25 states had already made laws concerning pre-existing conditions – California wasn’t one of those states (non-Republican state).

    What was this monstrosity of a 2733 page bill so important for? Was it illegal immigrants? Was it to buy more voters?

  4. Baklava Says:

    This kind of irresponsible governing and legislating needs to be rewarded with truth and then consequences.

    The only thing bi-partisan about this HealthCareReform bill was the no votes.

  5. mikemcdaniel Says:

    Let’s not forget that Obama, the greatest orator ever to read a teleprompter, does not speak unless it is in front of handpicked crowds, crowds carefully screened for smiling, true believers. No dissent is tolerated when The One is present.

    Notice too that often, appropriate costumes are provided, such as white coats for visiting physicians. Hmm. Why yes, I recall seeing my doctor in his white coat at the local supermarket. Why wouldn’t he, or any other physician, wear it to the theater, out to dinner, or even to the White House?

    Notice too that those in view of the adoring camera, those standing directly behind Obama, are always a careful, and visually obvious, mix of gender and race, and all insipidly smiling and nodding their heads.

    The only exception is our military, such as those in Afghanistan, who are obliged to be polite. Even so, I didn’t see many smiling faces, and not a nodding head in sight when he spoke there. How could this be?

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Baklava: so what did you girlfriend respond?

    The idea that doing something is always better than doing nothing boggles my mind.

    Another good point to make is that government, like doctors, would do well to follow the adage: “first, do no harm.”

  7. Baklava Says:

    Yep. Do no harm. But you have to remember the mindset of the liberal – they can’t possibly believe that Obama would do harm – so then it gets into identity politics.

    She responded actually with amazement about all of the things in the bill.

    This has happened before. She admits that I know much more on the topic with regards to politics. I turn that back around on her saying, “I don’t even like politics. I care about what the legislation says and the solutions and discussion of the ideas are what is exciting to me.

    So then… she tells me something new.

    She said, “I trust you and I defer to you on the direction of our family and what we should do.”

    I thanked her and said, “Have you ever known me to do anything radical?”

    This was a surreal discussion having just heard an hour previously that she thought I was brainwashed and radical.

    But I thought to myself that maybe after hearing the things in the bills she understands my point of view.

    I don’t know.

    I’ve had hope before.

    Then she does this stunt.

    She repeated that about 3 times. Each time I said there is nothing to do except for move forward in a positive direction. Yes, our family will pay more because we earn more. Yes, our children will be negatively impacted in the job market (i pointed out that the unemployment rate for young americans is in the 25% – 35% range depending on where you are and who you are.

    But you really can’t do anything except for spend less as a family, earn more and plan for those rainy days with rainy day funds.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Baklava: well, maybe it will be two steps forward one and a half steps back in terms of you and your girlfriend. Change can be slow. It’s the direction that counts.

    But a promise to always defer to you is probably unlikely to be kept :-)

  9. Granny Jan Says:

    The comments were scripted, Neo. He used the exact same words in his previous town hall.

    The WashPost had a funny story on how he took 17 minutes to answer a question in Maine and wandered all over the place. It’s on You Tube but it was too painful to listen to.

    Why does he do it? Does he just like the sound of his own voice, is he filibusting, or is he’s an idiot?

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Granny Jan: that’s much worse, then. If it was ad-lib, I’d cut him a little more slack on his logical inconsistency.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Granny Jan: why does he do it? My theories:

    (a) he adores the sound of his own voice

    (b) he gets feedback that others adore the sound of his own voice

    (c) he has received so much praise and adulation for so little, and has been challenged almost never, that he has become unused to having to back up his arguments or rhetoric. He has learned in the past that, in the political arena, his word quantity can substitute quite adequately (with his backers, and with the MSM) for thought quality.

  12. gcotharn Says:

    Obama’s modus operandi on the stump –
    in lieu of quality reasoning: chin up!

  13. Granny Jan Says:

    Drudge is leading with the 17 minute story.

  14. Dewey From Detroit Says:

    Another excellent post, neo. In the “sizzle and steak” department, the Won’s at best the A-1 sauce. And no one outside the blogosphere ever calls him on his logic fails.

    And as far as Spiro goes: his “nattering nabobs of negativity” has been my favorite alliteration since I first heard it (although at the time, I’m sorry to say, I believe he was talking about me.) At least he knew how to pronounce “corps”

    And Baklava: argh! Your GIRL FRIEND! Yikes. Good luck with that relationship. I just had an acquaintnce tell me how “passionate” she was about her liberal politics and in nearly the same breath admit she didn’t really understand how the deficit worked or how HCR could effect it. You don’t have liberal politics hon, you’ve got liberal feelings. “Stupid but feeling really good about myself” award of the week. Please save your passion for protecting Algore from hurting himself with sharp objets.

    Thanks. I feel better now. Probably ate too many chocolate eggs.

  15. JuliB Says:

    Baklava – how tough. Before I met my fiance, I decided it was time to get serious about who I would get involved with – no more random relationships. My two ‘must haves’: conservative, Catholic.

    I just cannot imagine being with someone liberal in these trying times. There’s no places in our lives that are untouched by politics and Washington, it seems.

  16. Baklava Says:

    The interesting thing for those who know me is that I have been persuasive.

    My best friend is black and he did not vote for Obama. He converted to conservatism and told me I was responsible back in 1999.

    Neo has talked about her friends and I relate to her. There are people all around us who either do not pay attention or just watch abccbsnbccnn and can’t acknowledge that there might be other points of view on the current events of the day.

    I do believe I’m making progress.

    I appeal to her on the basis that we are the most generous nation in the world and personal responsibility comes from each of us.

    In a free market system it is up to each and every one of us to make good decisions.

    You want to buy a home? Put 20% down. Finance the rest with a conventional 30 year or 15 year fixed. And do not buy more than you can afford.

    She has lived this. She had to foreclose on her home and have her car repo’d. She understands how her decisions caused this. She’s been employed with a great paycheck for the state of CA for 25 years !!!

    Who came in and bought a home and rented to her? Who did the same with her car? And who helped her get her son’s braces? Me.

    I believe she is connecting the dots of personal responsibility and who we should be electing in government to implement policies that reward good choices instead of poor choices.

    We here all know this! We eat breathe and sleep this stuff. There are so many that when they turn on the tube turn on Entertainment tonight also – like my girlfriend. It’s a constant barrage of hate bush and republicans on those shows.

    This is why i say – I don’t do identity politics. I talk about the issues and solutions.

    And for any liberal coming to this blog…. Can you tell me if health care is a basic human right – why is Obama making everyone pay for it and implementing 16,800 more IRS employees (a 17% increase in their workforce)????

  17. Sergey Says:

    The notion of basic human right assumes it is something government is not allowed to deny anybody. My right to get married does not mean that government is obliged to provide me with a spouse.

  18. Granny Jan Says:

    I picked a couple of the best clips from the 17 minutes along with some cute Barry pictures and audio. It’s called Obama Speaks Libberish_ Liberal Gibberish.(You Tube)

    I got the word libberish from a comment at Breitbart. Click my name to see it.

    Remember when Obama told Harry Reid, Harry, I have a gift. Obama actually thinks that what he has to say is brilliant. Afterall, it’s what he has been told his whole life. So 17 minutes of his talking is just his way of spreading the gift.

  19. Baklava Says:

    Exactly Sergey.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Sergey: in this country, for the most part, conservatives believe in preserving basic rights by government getting its hands off our lives (except for essential services to protect such as military, or basic things such as roads). In this country for the most part, leftists and liberals believe in extending rights past those basic ones and guaranteeing them through heavy government intervention, and that it be done in such a way that things are more “equal.” The two points of view are basically incompatible.

  21. Nolanimrod Says:

    gleefully mocking perhaps, and, to use O’s Negro Dialect he employs when doing his Aren’t you glad to be with us because what would it say about you to be with them? bit, ‘n’ when they realize jes what they signed up for they’ll be singin’ another song entirely. By Crosby, Stills, & Nash: Helplessly Hoping.

  22. Hong Says:

    I tried explaining some of the costs of Obamacare to the libs here at the office and the leader of the pack told me to stop talking about it. Basically she couldn’t bear having her opinions challenged but used the excuse that such a discussion might draw too much attention from the manager. A neat dodge considering they talk loud and constantly with each other. When I, the token conservative speaks, it’s ‘too loud’ or ‘too disruptive’. I’ve pointed out the double standard and at least one other noticed it herself but they still remain closed to the danger of this fiscal suicide bomb and apparently wish to remain ignorant.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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