Saturday, October 12, 2013


I'm putting together what may be a kind of lengthy piece on and around the subject of Leonard Downie's analysis of "The Obama Administration and the Press" written for the Committee to Protect Journalists in which I will be in danger, not for the first time, of appearing to agree with some people I absolutely can't stand and opposing some people with whom I ought to have a great deal in common, like young Kevin there, who is completely wrong on this point, and before I do I'd like to put out the following statement of clarification.
I call myself a leftist, and I like President Obama. Notice I said "and", not "but". It's not that I think Obama is a leftist (though there's always a chance the wingers are right about this one, and he's really a secret Fabian planting the socialism seeds that are going to germinate 50 or 60 years from now, if there's any part of the country left that hasn't either drowned or burned). It's that I think his nonideological-pragmatist goals are somewhat better than just compatible with my leftist ones, and that he's been really, really skillful in navigating a terrifyingly bad set of circumstances. Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt skillful, but let's-face-it like FDR nonleftist too (remember it took FDR some seven years to stop campaigning for a balanced budget, apparently in the sincere belief that it was not only possible but would do the country good). I can't agree with him on lots of stuff, as I wouldn't have been able to agree with FDR, and I can sometimes wonder if he isn't really willfully stupid on this issue or that (especially education, as readers are aware), but I can't accept that he's wrong because he's evil; say, that his military policies in West Asia and the Middle East can be truthfully described as "slaughtering Muslim children by the dozen" or that he has tasked the NSA with spying on US citizens. Gandhi and King were unquestionably far better human beings than Nehru and Johnson, but it is in some respects a good thing Nehru and Johnson were around to do some of the needful lying, manipulation, and strongarming to put some of Gandhi's and King's ideas into practice. I get along better with Obama than with Nehru or Johnson.
I do not get along with certain centripetalist Democrats who would support Obama if he ate babies for breakfast; who cheered in the last term for plans to break the Social Security compact and more recently to destroy Syria because they believed (mistakenly, as it happily turned out) that that was what he wanted, and booed the sentencing of Chelsea Manning because they thought it wasn't long enough for a "traitor" (I've said more than once that Manning should be pardoned). I'm a card-carrying ACLU member (actually I don't know where my card is, but I know how much money I send them every month, and I started doing it specifically during the 2008 presidential campaign when Senator Obama went back on his promise to vote against immunity for telecommunications companies illegally cooperating with abusive US intelligence practices; and if I'd been blogging at the time I would have posted a statement that it was money I'd otherwise have given to Obama, because that's what I had in mind; I never have given him any money, in fact, except $3 in 2012, because I'm still fairly pissed off about the way he lied to me, and singlehandedly destroyed the hard-won public presidential campaign financing system, five years ago).

But "far worse than Bush admin"? Uh, no. Not in any respect whatsoever.

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