Saturday, December 24, 2011

Posturing Left, Working for the Right

Last week 60 Minutes released the full video from their interview with the President, and it included this unaired quote:
I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history.
What happened next was predictable: right-wing bloggers immediately spun this as Obama calling himself the "4th best president" (some actually put quotation marks around it, falsely suggesting that he had used that exact phrase). In a matter of hours, the meme was firmly established in the political discourse (Politico, ever helpful, nudging it along with a story about the right-wing reaction).

Obviously, there is an enormous difference between what the President actually said and what the wingnuts say he said (Jonathan Capehart is good on this point, providing additional context for the quote). It may have been more candid than wise to say it, but taken on its own terms (legislative and foreign policy achievement), it's hard to argue with: the 111th Congress is generally acknowledged to be the most productive in decades, and the President's foreign-policy sucesses are impressive by any standard. But never mind all that: for anyone on the right, the established narrative is crazy narcissistic delusional egomaniac Barack Hussein Obama calling himself the fourth greatest president. That's the reality the right has constructed for itself.

Well, fine; that's what they do. At least the left doesn't do anything like that.

Oh, wait...

Wednesday, self-appointed Obama scourge Dylan Ratigan jumped on the bandwagon, saying the President had claimed to be the "fourth best president ever". Same false meme, exact same wording.

On Twitter, Matt Stoller saw their "fourth best" and raised it:

Yup, that's right: a guy who thinks of himself as "progressive" is tweeting the same meme with the same wording as an ad funded by American Crossroads.

This isn't about substantive criticism of the President. This is peevish, petty sniping...done in a way that advances the narrative of the other side

Here's the deal, guys: if you're echoing false right-wing memes, you're not a liberal; you're not a progressive; you aren't anywhere on the left. You are, at best, a useful idiot for the right.


Danp said...

I wonder why 60 minutes didn't air that section of the interview. Despite the simplistic analysis of pundits and blowhards, it was a bold provocative statement that deserves discussion. It sure beats, "Did you compromise too much or too little?" as Steve Kroft asked repeatedly.

c u n d gulag said...

How can that Sambo be on that list of greatest Presidents, and not Jefferson Davis?
Hell, Jeff even had a Jew as his VP!

And as for Ratigan, who I usually like, he sometimes pulls a Matthews, and lets his mouth run a marathon while his mind only prepped for a 100 yard dash.

PR said...

Libruls and Pwoggies aren't "on the left" either. They are capitalist swine just like their conservative allies. 30 years of the librul/conservative coalition is what has brought us to this ruin.

merlallen said...

I have to admit, I don't much care for the fictional Obama that the wingnuts hate.
The real one is OK.

BH said...

And so, PR, the solution is a TeaParty/Firedoglake coalition? Spare me.

Oso said...

So you assholes are ok with blowing Wall st, just so long as your party's in the oval office.


Tom Hilton said...

Congratulations, Oso: you made an even sillier comment than PR.

Don't get too complacent, though. I'm sure someone will come along and top yours.