Obama: Not that Bad

I was laughing yesterday at reading yet another conservative blogger refer to Obama as the Messiah.  As a liberal, I’m probably alone in this but I don’t think Obama is the greatest thing since sliced cheese.

I just think he’s not that bad.  I have, honestly, enjoyed feeling like I don’t have to tune in for the press conferences or rush to read the morning news to see what terrible bullshit things are happening in our name.  To me, Obama doesn’t have to be a good president; he just has to be not that bad.

Are there liberal bloggers who run around all “Obama is going to lift us up and save us all?” I’m sure there are.  But in my case, I just kind of like the sense of “Obama is not going to pull us down further.”

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20 thoughts on “Obama: Not that Bad

  1. I like your optimism, B. I was thinking more “he’s not going to accelerate our downward momentum.” He might even slow it down a smidge.

  2. I read a lot of new media political commentators. Categorically, the only ones who refer to Obama in deific terms (and then, sarcastically, as a jab at his supporters) are wingnuts. The more lefty you are, the more likely you are to be critical of his performance for being insufficiently progressive rather than all in love with what he’s currently doing.

    The general tone of things in lefty new media is closer to “The country is really really screwed up and it’s going to take a while to turn things around. It doesn’t look like Obama’s an obvious disaster in most areas and there’s some glimmers that he’s educable. He’s making the effort to lead. Yeah, ok, let’s see where this goes.”

    I’m not actually looking for the next Messiah. At this point, I’ll take some baby step improvements in the policy areas I care about and a generally less evil foreign policy. By that measure, he’s just ok. In some things (like CCA), he’s considerably less than ok. I guess the difference for me is that I think that he’s less of a bastard personally than the past four or five guys in that office and that he has the capacity to change his mind when he’s persuaded that he’s wrong.

  3. Like bridgett, the only people I really hear fawning over obama are right-wingers attempting to make fun of obama supporters. The thing is, I’ve never seen any Obama supporters doing anything like what they’re being satirized for.

  4. I heard Obama supporters fawning prior to the election, and even more so before the primaries… but whatever the psychological or strategical reasons, most of these guys seemed to have settled back in a comfortably optimistic cynicism.

    Myself, I’m willing to be a little less cautious. I mean, I don’t expect a perfectly progressive agenda, as much as I’d like to see what that looks like. But some things have genuinely been made right (global gag rule? Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act?), so even if it’s not much, I’m willing to go one better than “not accelerating downward momentum.”

  5. Well, I read EW, which isn’t supposed to be political but…

    There have been numerous references to him in the context of ushering in a new age, being the symbol of hope, and other odd quasi religious anthems to him buried in things like movie reviews and guest columns about tv shows.

    I think it may not be the kind of thing as readily noticed if you are a supporter because it fits in your worldview more easily. But I personally find it jarring in its fervid misplacedness.

    Come to think of it though it reminds me less of a religion and more like when you have a boy crazy friend who has a crush on some guy so they have to find an excuse to bring his name up at every remotely tangential instance possible.

  6. Kat, around here we call that The Mention. I don’t read a lot of entertainment-related stuff, but I’ll keep a lookout for The Mention in MSM mom/ladies magazines.

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  8. >Well, I read EW, which isn’t supposed to be political but…

    I think that’s part of the problem. I know you know better (at least enough to make a disclaimer :), but it seems like a lot of conservatives have swallowed this whole “liberal media” thing so completely that they think all media, no matter how unpolitical, is somehow part of the liberal establishment. Hence EW does what it does — fawns over an attractive and charming celebrity — and that somehow means the left thinks he’s the messiah.

    Similar things happend during the campaign when rags like US Weekly got wrapped up in all the Palin baby drama, and that too somehow was interpreted as a left wing attack. Sorry, no, that’s a celebrity gossip rag doing what celebrity gossip rags do.

  9. Oh, Jon! You hurt my heart. I don’t think that at all. What I DO think (tying this in with a post I wrote yesterday(?)) is that magazines which are headquarted in New York City likely draw their staff from that geographic area. And since that’s one of the parts of the country suffering the most economically–coupled with the fact that periodical circulation is dying at a rate eclipsed only by video rental stores and newspapers–and your workforce is suffering from a severe malaise. Those are the folks most likely to want someone who proffers a change for the better in charge. So they’re giddy with hope and can’t help themselves but to talk about it. It has little to do with Left Wing Control of The Media and everything to do with this part of this medium being centered in one of the three parts of the country hardest hit by the housing bubble burst.

    I think it’s a subtle distinction between “wanting a captain who can steer the ship out of rough water” and “wanting a Messiah”. I assume that when the other conservatives make their point that’s probably a lot of what they’re addressing.

  10. I’ve seen a lot of giddiness around, but it’s almost entirely of the “OMG OMG OMG He didn’t screw up!!!!” variety. Squealing fannishness, yes, but not deification. And that makes sense to me – it’s like jumping for joy when you find out you got a C – on a test you failed. Or wandering around giddy because a car you swore was coming your way swerved at the last minute. Doesn’t necessarily mean anything awesome happened, just that you were bracing for having it a lot worse.

    Which … is kinda how I feel. He was my favorite choice of the choices we had, (though I’d’ve been satisfied with Clinton too – really, anyone who wasn’t a raving lunatic, which is kind of the whole point) but he’s not magic and I’m not expecting him to be. If ‘elect Aunt B queen of the world’ had been a choice, well now, maybe I’d be jumping up and down with joy, but that’s not on the menu. The world just couldn’t handle that much awesome. ;)

  11. I’m in the “he’s not progressive enough” camp, but I can certainly understand the Right’s confusion. Obama can appear god-like, when contrasted with the evil, stupid, pricks who spent the previous eight years screwing things up.

  12. Mag, I should totally be queen of the world. What is wrong with this place that that’s not completely self-apparent to everyone?!

  13. Right wingers seem to have real difficulties with distinguishing their own interests from everyone else’s. Most of these guys really did worship Bush, so it stands to reason that they would expect us to worship Obama. The fact that there is absolutely no evidence to support this, well, that never mattered to them anyway.

  14. Most of these guys really did worship Bush

    There’s enough straw in that man to feed a herd of cattle for an entire winter.

  15. While I’d agree that most conservaives didnt’ worship Bush however there was that evangelical church they showed in Jesus Camp, that brought to cardboard cut out of Bush out for the kids to all kneel in front of and pray to for.

  16. Eh, dolphin, while I think it’s fair to say that much of Bush’s support, late in his presidency, came from those who supported him (and who support political candidates generally) for religious reasons, and who therefore may be too ready to ascribe religious motivations to those who support other candidates, I also think Lee is right that it’s a far cry from that to claiming that they “really did worship Bush.”

  17. Oh, I’d agree, just pointing out that there certainly ARE examples of fanatical, religious like reverence to Bush.

  18. There’s enough straw in that man to feed a herd of cattle for an entire winter.
    Dear sweet diety you guys fling the phrase ‘straw man’ around a lot. If Lee is correctly invoking the strawman defense here then I must not understand what it means. Could someone please illuminate my ignorance?

  19. W, the most common definition of the fallacy is that is it generally an irrelevant conclusion arrived at by treating the interlocutor’s position not in its actual content but in some weaker version of it that is easier to defeat. Think of the “Three Little Pigs” where we learned that a house made of straw is easy for the Big Bad Wolf to blow down. When confronted with an argument built of bricks, one tries to replace it with straw in order to defeat it and hope that no one will notice but think that it was the brick house that was blown down.

    Seems to me that autoegocrat’s claim might just be a hasty generalization (from a few worshipers to most). But I think the point Lee gestured to was that “being loyal to” or “being supportive of” are solid and defensible positions whereas “worshiping” is a straw version that most would reject easily. So if we characterize them as worshipers, then we will dismiss them more easily and unfairly.

  20. Now that is a take different from what I was thinking. Perhaps I’m too literal, but I was thinking of it more as a scarecrow analogy. An argument puffed up to look big and scare people, but with no substance.

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