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Oct 17, 2010

Comments

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Preston Earle

Ed, you have used the term "breitbarting" several times referring to this event. IIRC, Breitbart was supplied an edited video by someone which showed Shirley Sherrod making apparently racist comments. Very soon after this, he was supplied with the full video and context around it which showed the comments weren't racist at all. He promptly retracted his statements and apologized. I believe this is what happened to you. It is then YOU who may have been "breitbarted" in this event, but not Coleman. If anything, Coleman has been Sherrodized, but you should leave Breitbart out of this argument.

John

Ed; I would just like to see a ballot sheet so I can know how much charcoal to put in my respirator on November 2nd. Seems the Guilford County Board of Elections has no such page. There is a link to it, but the page does not exist. BTW; I think it is a crying shame no-one is running against those in power on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners; I thought Arnold was stepping down to take the high paying and omniscient job of county planner.

John

OKAY! Seems cfox@co.Guilford.nc.us got my email from this morning!

justcorbly

>>...our cautious, business-as-usual president...

He had an opportunity immediately after the election to explain the severity of the problem we faced, which might have generated the political support needed to move the GOP in the Senate off the can. Frankly, though, it's clear the GOP decided as soon as the Senate numbers became clear they were going to stonewall everything.

That doesn't account for Obama's seeming listlessness. It's a "Give 'em hell" time, but that's sure not his style.

"Saner than Boehner" is apt, as in "We're not quite as nuts as those guys."

Steve Harrison

One of the ironies of this election season: One segment of the voting population is despondent from what they perceive as very little change; another segment of the population sees so much change they are pushed to the edge of open rebellion.

And both groups are operating from a reality-deprived point of view.

Andrew Brod

Breitbart "promptly retracted his statements and apologized"? Nice try.

This spin attempt represents a particular type: One makes a claim like this so many months after the fact that others can't remember what happened. Did Breitbart actually apologize or did he merely acknowledge the inaccuracy of his Sherrod posting while simultaneously refocusing his line of attack?

I think it was the latter.

Account Deleted

Ed: Might the truth not lie somewhere in the middle? If Adkins was the only foreign sounding speaker in the group that later booed Coleman, to which she did respond on the video, might not her "I'm from America" line be influenced by Adkin's accent?

Andrew Brod

Steve, is Obama cautious and listless? Or is he just pathologically compelled to "echo his opponents’ arguments," regardless of how wrong they are and regardless of how doing so legitimizes his opponents and undermines his own case? I wonder if this is one of those traits that works in the classroom but not in the political arena.

Andrew Brod

Jeff, might not that be one hell of a stretch?

Preston Earle

Andrew Brod: " Nice try."

-----------------
Thanks.

(Actually, I do see the note of sarcasm in your response.) I was recalling Breitbart had apologized for fact he posted an edited video, not for the perception the video gave, which he stood behind (accurate but fake, so to speak). My writing he "retracted and apologized" is a mis-recollection. But my point remains. By linking this Coleman video to Breitbart, Ed gives it the aura of accurate-even-if-edited, which I don't believe he means to do.

Steve Harrison

Andrew, Krugman is guilty of the very same reality deprivation I mentioned above. To posit that a phrase as common as "tightening the belt", spoken fifteen months after Boehner said it, is somehow "echoing" the opposition? Come on. ;)

Each President presents pundits with a (personal) standard for what qualifies as a "remarkable/outrageous" statement. Many of Dubya's needed no explanation, or were so inscrutable they couldn't be explained. Most of Obama's statements, on the other hand, require an often convoluted, Seven-Degrees-Of-Kevin-Bacon approach to "expose" his flaws or secret agenda.

Maybe Obama needs to fall down some stairs, snow ski right into a tree, or say something like, "Statue of limitations", to earn himself some Presidential creds.

Andrew Brod

Preston, let's see if I understand this. Your semantical point was based on Breitbart having apologized for posting the falsified Sherrod video, but now that you've admitted that he never apologized for any such thing, you claim that your "point remains."

Um, no.

If Ed was Breitbarted, then so was Breitbart. And that's silly, because it implies that Breitbart was a victim in the Sherrod affair. What did he do? Breitbart posted a video and claimed it as evidence of a broad claim about the NAACP and reverse racism. After its falsification was established, he noted blandly that it was misleading (though he said pointedly that he would not apologize) and he continued to use it as evidence of a broad claim about the NAACP and reverse racism.

That's precisely what Coleman opponents have done, arguing (contrary to the plain facts) that she's a bigot.

By linking this Coleman video to Breitbart, Ed gives it the aura of a lie, which I believe he meant to do.

But I agree with you that Coleman was "Sherrodized."

Andrew Brod

Steve, I meant to tie my comment to justcorbly's, not yours. For what that's worth.

As for Krugman, I think you're over-interpreting his remarks. He's not talking about the Obama presidency in general, which is how I read your comment (and I agree with your comment in its general application). Rather, K is talking very specifically about economic recovery, the stimulus, etc. In that specific context, I think your claim of reality deprivation makes no sense. Obama has indeed given great oratorical credence to the notion that we have to tighten our belts and watch that debt, even though those are long-run considerations and are actually damaging in the short run. Tightening our belt in the short run is a great way to repeat 1937.

Now, it's fair to question whether Obama giving credence to Republican talking points actually gives the GOP cover for their opposition. Perhaps Obama isn't merely unfocused or overly wedded to law-school classroom technique. Perhaps he shares the GOP's views on debt and was squeamish about doing a strong stimulus. More's the pity.

justcorbly

>>is Obama cautious and listless? Or is he just pathologically compelled to "echo his opponents’ arguments," regardless of how wrong they are and regardless of how doing so legitimizes his opponents and undermines his own case? I wonder if this is one of those traits that works in the classroom but not in the political arena?

Ah, well.

Obama has actually changed a considerable amount, given the thickheaded opposition he faces. But the style strikes me as one adopted by someone who is determined not to get his hands dirty. I think the right is prime for being attacked Truman-style but that doesn't seem to be what Obama wants to do, whether that's due to his academic background or failing to cast off the persona of a junior senator.

In any case, I'm convinced that if he had continued to beat on the right and the GOP after the elelction -- red meat to the base -- the base would be more likely to vote next month. It's right-wing culture, right-wing ethics, and right-wing politics the base fears. That's a much stronger motivator than supporting mainstream Democrats. Obama has made a mistake by failing to convince it he shares those fears.

bubba

"That's precisely what Coleman opponents have done, arguing (contrary to the plain facts) that she's a bigot."

The plain facts indicate she's a bigot. There is no other explanation or rationale for what she said. All the false equivalences or bogus comparisons you can invent cannot change that.

You, Ed Cone, and any other apologist can babble away on this subject to your heart's content, but it still won't change the obvious, whether you like it or not.

Roch101

Curious, Ed, why didn't you name the offending TV station?

Steve Harrison

Andrew, my issue with Krugman's evaluation(s) is that he tries to portray Obama as a President seeking to curry favor with Republicans, and he often uses absolutist phrases such as, "systematically echoing and giving credibility to all the arguments of the people who want to destroy him".

In fact, Obama has (several times) called a spade a spade, pissing off both Congressional and Judicial Conservatives. And as far as that "echoing Boehner" observation, the President wasn't talking about backing off on Stimulus or other recovery efforts, he was referring (specifically) to efforts within the Defense Department to cut back X so they can better fund Y.

As to the Stimulus itself, Obama has/had some very detailed ideas for targeting funds, and some pretty solid economic reasons for them. The "shovel-ready" focus (regardless of how many shovels were actually ready) held two strong elements: 1) funding injected relatively quickly, 2) monies had already been spent by states, cities, and counties for planning, design, impact, etc. In other words, completing those projects would literally rescue them from red hell. But you know all that.

My point is, Obama isn't getting cold feet over the recovery, but he's also going to praise frugality and efficiency when he sees it.

Andrew Brod

"Systematically echoing and giving credibility to all the arguments of the people who want to destroy him" is an "absolutist" phrase? Dude, really? I guess we're all absolutists now.

I think it's demonstrably false that Obama hasn't gotten cold feet about the recovery. The 2009 stimulus was small relative to the gap between actual and potential GDP, and without a second stimulus it's hard to know just what the federal government can do at this point. With the GOP about to take back control of the House and come very close in the Senate, it's pretty clear that Obama had his one shot already, and it was insufficient to do more than stave off catastrophe. Mind you, avoiding catastrophe is pretty important in my book, but it's obvious that he's getting no credit for that.

I don't know if the reason Obama aimed so low on the stimulus was fear of the opposition or agreement with their concerns. But now it's too late. Now we just muddle through and see if this nearly 10% unemployment rate will cure itself. Are we confident yet?

And yet the austerity measures of the GOP are worse, regardless of how common-sensical they sound to the Tea-Party mind.

Roch101

About the video, according to Joe Guarino:

"It turns out they are the handiwork of 13-year-old Addison Riddleberger, who is an 8th grader at Greensboro Academy, the charter school on Battleground Ave. Addison, the son of Barrett and Jodi, derives much enjoyment from attending meetings of the Guilford County Board of County Commissioners."

Steve Harrison

Of course it's absolutist, professor! Without even going into full Derrida mode: "Systematically" implies Obama has developed some sort of a program (with the accompanying staff) to monitor these statements so they can be later echoed, and "all the arguments" means, you know, just what it says.

If one of your students wrote that in an analysis, what would you scribble in the margin?

:)

Jon A Firebaugh

"And yet the austerity measures of the GOP are worse, regardless of how common-sensical they sound to the Tea-Party mind.

Dr. Brod,
Spoken like a true believer of Keynesian nonsense, and as a Woodrow Wilsonesque believer in the elitist enlightened superior intellect, dismissive of the common man. I don't think Will Rogers would approve. Governments everywhere are the worst predictors of the economy, its direction, and what to do about it.
Divorcing yourself from reality won't change it.

Everywhere in the world without exception governments that overspend eventually must bite the bullet. You can't name one that has spent itself out of debt, and your assertion that austerity is wrong is just nonsense. Of course you can contravene the law and steal from old ladies with bonds in Chrysler Corporation, but that won't cut it with the general population.

The "Socialist Democracies" in Europe are acting more austerely now, but educated fools everywhere who two years ago were telling us we had to behave like Europe, are now quite mum on the subject, asserting that "austerity is wrong".

If Democrats had a shred of integrity they would be campaigning on their voting record, but most are are hiding behind their Burkas, suddenly fiscally conservative.

New Zealand was on the road to financial ruin do to the entitlement culture but took steps more radical than the GOP is proposing and succeeded in transforming a sick economy into a responsible one. You can read about it here.

Now, for the record, for all of Greensboro to see, predict the economic trend for the next two years, the unemployment rate, the GDP growth or lack thereof, the state budget deficit or lack thereof based on the scenario of a GOP takeover of the state House and Senate or the return to the status quo, and the same scenario in Congress with Obama not casting any vetoes if the GOP controls both houses or return to the status quo. Tell us the gloom, doom, or boom.

It's an open book test, and feel free to use the brilliant minds of Christina Romer, Ben Bernanke, Peter Orzag, Larry Summers, or our own Dave Ribar(sorry to include you in this group Dave). Use Paul Krugman at your own risk.

Roch101

"Spoken like a true believer of Keynesian nonsense, and as a Woodrow Wilsonesque believer in the elitist enlightened superior intellect, dismissive of the common man" -- Jon

Seriously? An enlightened superior intellect is something to be mocked now? Wasn't the desire to see a society where the superior intellect could rise to the top one of the central themes of Atlas Shrugged?

Roch101

Ed, why didn't you name the offending TV station?

context is a terrible thing to waste

.

Ed Cone

Sorry, Roch, missed this earlier.

Can't say I made a conscious decision to leave out the name, but writing it that way made the point I wanted to make about how untruths spread.

Roch101

Thanks. Local TV news is very obstinate, practically immovable, when it comes to acknowledging errors and setting the record straight. A mention that it was WGHP might have been the poke in the eye they deserve.

Andrew Brod

I can indeed name an economy that spent itself out of debt: The United States, circa 1940s. Massive fiscal stimulus finally ended the malaise of the Great Depression.

But hey, thanks for sharing your theology with us, Jon.

Tony Wilkins

Roch, I was left wondering why that information was left out also.
"Who" made the allegedly lying video? "Who" was the commenter that pointed it out? And "who" was the TV station mentioned?
My first reaction was that someone else wrote Ed Cone's column.

"The only thing we knew for sure about Henry Porter is that his name wasn’t Henry Porter" Bob Dylan 1986

Andrew Brod

Jon, I do agree with you about the Democrats. On the other hand, neither party has cornered the market on shreds of dignity. If there's one thing we understand about politicians of both parties, it's that most of them will say whatever the voters want to hear.

I heard a radio commercial just today in which the incumbent Democratic candidate (for a seat in the General Assembly) touted his budget-cutting. Well, that budget-cutting, while absolutely necessary given the state's inability to run a deficit, has very seriously hurt the state economy. But if you want to be elected, you can't tell the voters that, no matter how true it is.

Andrew Brod

Steve, I presume you see this as being really, really absolutist.

Steve Harrison

Absolutely. Good rule of thunb: Never say never.

Unless you're talking about never saying never, which is okay. ;)

Ed Cone

TW, you're right that the column provides more of an overview of the issue than specific reporting -- although that was not a conscious decision on my part, I think it's related to my current once-a-month column sked, in which I find myself recapping events that have been covered here and on other blogs, sometimes a couple of weeks earlier...

This is the second time in the last three outings I've done a series of short items rather than a full write-through, and I'd guess we'll see more of that in the future.

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