Thomas Friedman: “I am proud of my president, worried about him, and just praying that he’s lucky”

That’s a very good, sober and real piece from Friedman:

There is an old saying in the Middle East that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee. That thought came to my mind as I listened to President Obama trying to explain the intervention of America and its allies in Libya — and I don’t say that as criticism. I say it with empathy. This is really hard stuff, and it’s just the beginning.

// snip

Welcome to the Middle East of 2011! You want the truth about it? You can’t handle the truth. The truth is that it’s a dangerous, violent, hope-filled and potentially hugely positive or explosive mess — fraught with moral and political ambiguities. We have to build democracy in the Middle East we’ve got, not the one we want — and this is the one we’ve got.

That’s why I am proud of my president, really worried about him, and just praying that he’s lucky.

Unlike all of us in the armchairs, the president had to choose, and I found the way he spelled out his core argument on Monday sincere: “Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And, as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

I am glad we have a president who sees America that way. That argument cannot just be shrugged off, especially when confronting a dictator like Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. But, at the same time, I believe that it is naïve to think that we can be humanitarians only from the air — and now we just hand the situation off to NATO, as if it were Asean and we were not the backbone of the NATO military alliance, and we’re done.

I don’t know Libya, but my gut tells me that any kind of decent outcome there will require boots on the ground — either as military help for the rebels to oust Qaddafi as we want, or as post-Qaddafi peacekeepers and referees between tribes and factions to help with any transition to democracy. Those boots cannot be ours. We absolutely cannot afford it — whether in terms of money, manpower, energy or attention. But I am deeply dubious that our allies can or will handle it without us, either. And if the fight there turns ugly, or stalemates, people will be calling for our humanitarian help again. You bomb it, you own it.

Which is why, most of all, I hope President Obama is lucky. I hope Qaddafi’s regime collapses like a sand castle, that the Libyan opposition turns out to be decent and united and that they require just a bare minimum of international help to get on their feet. Then U.S. prestige will be enhanced and this humanitarian mission will have both saved lives and helped to lock another Arab state into the democratic camp.

Dear Lord, please make President Obama lucky.


144 thoughts on “Thomas Friedman: “I am proud of my president, worried about him, and just praying that he’s lucky”

  1. This is why the left needs to be called out. they should not mention human rights again. Michale Moore , Jon stewart, Thom Hartman GGreenwald, Jane Hamsher these are the idots who are keeping mess up in our own party.

  2. It is indeed an incredible piece. It made me feel very emotional that Mr. Friedman understands how many of us feel on this issue.

    Can’t say I always agree with him, but I am thankful for this piece at this time.

  3. I am ready to strangle Jon S. Is he deliberately working to keep young people from voting for Obama in 2012?

  4. I figure we are already “lucky” to have such a conscious man as our President – and consciousness trumps (pardon the term) luck. A little collective consciousness and massively more positive energy and support wouldn’t hurt.

  5. I’m praying for our President too. I don’t agree much with Friedman but he is absolutely correct in this article. It is “hard stuff” and needs to be seen that way, everything is not black and white. I would like to see the PL start to acknowledge that for a change. They all seem to want everything to fit into a little box they can sell.

  6. The radicals have shown and proven that they would NOT be able to govern effectively because they are too reactionary.

    That’s exactly why George W. Bush’s presidency was such a miserable failure: he was too much of a reactionary.

    POTUS has always looked before he leaped, and that pisses the radicals off. They’re mad because he’s too calm and reasonable, and they’re seeking out a tough guy, a bully.

  7. Amen. I like this piece, and would love for Mr. Friedman to extend the analysis further, noting that we’re lucky with the leadership in the WH, and that this change is taking place right now precisely *because* people feel as if this is a window of opportunity with no cowboy in the United States WH. I like to joke that the planning for these demonstrations and opposition rebellions likely started on the US’ Inauguration Day. The only people who don’t seem to get and value what a treasure we have in the WH is us.

    I’m not worried about President Obama. The man will be just fine; he is family-wealthy, and money-rich. I’m worried about this country undermining itself for numerous reasons, with people flipping out during this period of change and undoing the very careful and fragile spiderweb being woven.

    Mr. Friedman has a high media platform and can help guide his readership away from short-sightedness and overreaction.

  8. Pretty amazing. And Libya is not out of the woods yet, either. I wish they’d spend that energy closely following developments there and offering reasoned suggestions rather than railing against the Daddy in the WH.

  9. Press Secretary Jay Carney will be answering questions from the jackals momentarily.

  10. Thank God that a lot of us have not forgotten how costly cowboy foreign policy has been to the international comunity as well as to this country.

  11. If that’s what he’s doing, then he needs to be exposed AND called out. If young people see him as enabling the Republicans/Teabigots, who do you think they will abandon-Jon or President Obama? Like Alan Grayson, Jon Stewart needs a reality check. He is letting that “sanity rally” go to his head. It’s less than a year since that rally and today NO ONE is talking about that rally, despite all the hype it received. Stewart as a tv personality/comedian is no match for President Obama – who is not just popular among Americans, but has international star power while making some very difficult governing choices as US president and leader of the free world.

  12. This is why I am so glad we have a President like Obama! The times we live in now the politicians and pundits are so black or white none understanding or caing about the whole picture. I am worried for all of us.

    I usually don’t agree with Freidman, but this is a great article.

  13. Like others upthread, I am not a big fan of Freidman but this is a sobering piece, because it lays out very well both the potential gains and losses in the ME. And I am confidant that the President made his choices knowing full well that this could go either way. But just because something could go wrong does not mean we can’t do something.

    In Iraq, we had an administration that just assumed everything would go beautifully and never even attempted to consider the potential negative consequences.

    And I will tell you one thing. If, somehow, everything turned to ashes in Libya, the President is not one to say, “Hey, not my fault.”

  14. hopefruit2 – Where have I been? Never saw the classification “teabigots” before, but it fits so well! Hope you don’t mind if I borrow it a couple hundred times.

  15. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is speaking to reporters now. Following up on the energy speech.

  16. Whenever you seek to do good and you act on it, things will come out in your favor. i strongly believe it will come out in his favor. President Obama is the only one standing on democratic principles.

  17. See the thing about the PL (far left ) is that they are self-destructive. A little history lesson shows that since the late 60’s.

    For example the anti war movement (which was a good cause) turned and directed all of it’s anger at the Democrats. They hated Humphrey just for being the vice-preident along side LBJ and the fact that he wouldn’t literally tear him to shreds in public. Actually some of the PL wanted Nixon in office because they thought it would lead to a revolution (LOL).

    Then there was Jimmy Carter Moderate Democrat from Gerorgia who cared about the environment, peace in the middle eat, healthcare reform, and a clean energy policy. Despite the massive inflation of the 70’s Carter accomplished a great deal of things including the peace accord between Egypt and Isreal which lasts till this day. The PL turned on him so fast called him a sellout, weak, a traitor, a failure. And then they encouraged Ted Kennedy to run against him which allowed Reagan to coast through the majority of the 1980 election and use ads created by the PL against Carter. (Reagan took this country further to the right and now the PL loves Carter and calls him a hero) LOL !

    And then we come to the 2000 election. Gore vs. Bush during a period of prosperity and peace. The PL called the Dems sellouts once again and attacked Gore as being the same as Bush. They attacked Gore more than Bush which lead Nader to get a good portion of voted which would have went to Gore and avoided the Florida debacle and election of Bush. Which took this country even further to the right.

    Sorry for the rant but the PL (far left) whine so much about how the country has moved futher to the right over the past 30 or so years but they have helped pushed this country by helping Republicans get elected by attacking Democrats.

    Obama is pushing this country back to the left and moving the center but the PL can’t even see it.

  18. Be encouraged and be inspired. Also remember that there are many, many things that Obama and his Administration know that we don’t know. And the media certainly doesn’t know or report on. I remember clearly during the 2008 campaign when the media was reporting consistently on a downward turn and impossibility of Obama’s chances for the presidency. At the same time, he kept telling us over and over and over again to ignore the polls, blogs and media and that he knew what was actually going on on the ground and otherwise. The ground game was out of this world, but because we couldn’t see it, we couldn’t believe it. Obama was called to this Presidency for fulfill a purpose(s), and it will be so.

    An added bonus –

    Obama’s Red Rooster fundraising bash pulls in $1.5 million for Democratic National Committee

  19. Thats why its time to shut the left down. They have for years destroyed their own party chances.

  20. Righteous rant. These radicals would rather see the country destroyed because they believe it will somehow magically lead to a revolution and then their ideological fantasies would become a reality.

    I love how they say that Obama = Bush, Obama is a Republican, DLC, appeaser, etc etc etc… it shows and proves that they can’t argue on the merits and are reacting out of emotion and ideology.

    And they wonder why they are ignored and not listened to.

  21. It’s time to quit referring to them as “the left,” because there are members of the left who are reasonable.

    They act like radicals because they ARE radicals, they advocate radical ideas and radical methods to implement them.

    It’s time to quit referring to them as “liberals,” “progressives,” “the left” and rightfully call them radicals.

  22. good point. or maybe we should stop calling ourselves the left because this who they identify themselves as and don’t want to be lumped in the same category. I am a democrat.

  23. Like I said before. The PL are the Republicans best friend. They never look at the good of Democratic presidents while in office. They just complain about one thing after another or how they sold out. FDR, JFK,LBJ, Carter, and now Obama all attacked by the PL but now they think FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Carter are gods. LOL !

  24. One major quibble with Friedman is reinforcing the “Obama is naive” meme. Neither helpful nor necessary. Hopefully, we all give him relatively positive feedback but in our e-mail replys, work to quash that unfair meme. To me, when I see “naive”, I think the person is calling him “boy”.

  25. I am grateful for the tone and content in these postings. I say we have high consciousness on our side, and we seem to be cultivating some skills as a people in speaking such that we can create more and more openings and listenings among ourselves.
    It is a high pleasure and satisfaction to be living and learning in these times. Thank you again, BWD, for creating this venue.

  26. It’s as though they WANT to repeat history because it is more important to be right than to DO what is right for America.

  27. Juan Cole:

    And the other thing is, you know, let us be practical, let us be pragmatic. We are people of the left. We care about the ordinary people. We care about workers. We care about the aspirations of the people, and the United States should certainly be putting pressure on the Bahrain monarchy to accommodate them. And in fact, the U.S. has put pressure on it, to the extent that the Saudi government is furious with the United States. I mean, we’re saying it’s not doing enough. The reactionary forces in the Gulf are angry that we’re doing too much. And however, you know, a military intervention in Bahrain is not a practical option, and I cannot see in what way it could even have any hope of success. The Bahraini protesters themselves would object to a direct U.S. or NATO military intervention in Bahrain.

    In Libya, the people asked for this intervention: they asked for a no-fly zone. And I would be the first to admit that this is going beyond a no-fly zone. There’s also a no-drive zone. The British and the French and the American fighter pilots have taken out tank positions and artillery positions that had been used to subdue villages and towns that had gone into opposition. The Gaddafi regime has been rolled back by these attacks, and that’s part of what the Western understanding, or the NATO and the Arab League understanding, of the U.N. resolution is, is that Gaddafi was wrong to roll tanks and artillery against these civilian crowds and that those have to be withdrawn. And where they’re not withdrawn, they’ll be attacked.


    This was during the course of a debate with someone who opposes the Libyan intervention. The person who opposes the intervention very curiously stated that he doesn’t think that Gaddafi would have been able to carry out a massacre, and insisted on inflating the US’ role and purpose for this intervention. Cole’s factual recitations were far more compelling. This is the type of analysis which I’m thrilled to see back in the discourse: nuance, pragmatism, high premium placed upon facts.

  28. To my mind, it’s very simple: when you PUSH FROM THE LEFT, you move people to the RIGHT.

    If you are on the left, and want people in the center to move left, you have to PULL, not PUSH. That is, you have to persuade, reason, flatter, and charm, as opposed to demand, patronize, insult, and offend.

    Until a majority of those on the left learn this, we will never get what we want.

  29. Eye-popping-ly (I know that’s not a word, lol) high quality leadership, I’m not worried about this man at all (WH blog):

    Late Entry in New York City Science Fair

    During his trip to New York City yesterday, and between interviews with three network news anchors and a speech dedicating a new building to late-Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, President Obama made an unexpected detour. The President dropped in on the New York City Science Fair—a venue that pretty much sums up the meaning of “win the future.” And the reason why? “Whenever I get a chance to go to a science fair, I go,” the President said.


    It’s like before and after. And the world knows it too, which is why these events are popping off now.

  30. Basically friedman is saying what we, pragmati, have been saying here about the need for the n-fly zone and american role in it. As for his prayer that the President get lucky, he is just blowing hot air as usual. You make your own if you’re smart and this Prez and SOS are smart.

    That’s my opinion on friedman’s ‘opinion’.

  31. Forgive me if this is already posted but….

    American Embarassment
    by Joe Klein


    “…This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. … this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012…”

  32. Answer to Glenn Greenwald

    Posted on 03/30/2011 by Juan
    I think he answered him well

    Answer for Glenn Greenwald, for whom I have enormous respect: Yes.

    Iraq was an illegal war, for no pressing national interest & with no UNSC authorization.

    The Libya intervention is legal and was necessary to prevent further massacres and to forestall a threat to democratization in Tunisia and Egypt, and if it succeeds in getting rid of Qaddafi’s murderous regime and allowing Libyans to have a normal life, it will be worth the sacrifices in life and treasure. If NATO needs me, I’m there.

  33. In response to a question from Jake Tapper, Jay Carney said that some of the questioning has a feeling of…..


    Thanks for saying that out loud Jay. That’s exactly what I have been feeling watching the press briefings.

  34. (warning: rant)

    For people who like the epic rants, here’s one of such utter beauty that it’s near-unsurpassed; my mouth dropped open reading this. Broken down like a fraction doesn’t begin to describe it:

    It’s titled “MEMO TO THE ALLEGED ‘BLACK INTELLECTUAL CLASS'” and the comments section is also not to be missed. Brilliant commentary all through the section, and Roland Martin, a national media guy, dropped in to try to defend the Congressional Black Caucus a little, which elicited another round of brilliant comments.


  35. LOL at the ” I don’t think Ghaddafi would be capable of genocide”

    The guy has a military which means he could do anything he wants to the Libyan people.

    The PL are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

  36. I have to disagree. A lot of this is completely out of PBO’s control. He can do 9 things perfect, but if the 10th doesn’t work, it can destroy everything. He needs luck, that’s just the way it is.

  37. When I read that, I knew that his viewpoint was just about a general aversion to war (which I share), and had little to do with the facts on the ground as pertaining to this situation (which loses me, makes me disregard the entire argument). There is simply no way that a fact-optional, reality-optional viewpoint has any merit to me any more.

  38. makesense4tulips stay calm please Michael Moore= Opportunist J. Stewart= Comic and Greenwald is a total jerk. What all of them have in common MONEY.

  39. They are off the hook. she so eloquently told the truth. I have been critisizing the CBC for the longest. I email them once a month. Way to go. Roland Martin will think the next time he tries to defend the CBC.

  40. Now THAT’S a rant I can get behind. Absolutely delicious, and I haven’t even gotten to the comments yet.

    I definitely peeped West’s and Smiley’s games from the jump, before I even heard of an Obama. So I don’t have stars in my eyes regarding PBO. I knew Tavis and his annual logo-covered “State of the Black Union” revival meeting wasn’t accomplishing JACK for “the community” except lining his pockets.

    I don’t even have the time to go into what I think of those two ______s right now — especially Tavis F’in Smiley. Good thing I don’t have to, as that blog says it all for me.


  41. Whats this about the NAACP having their show on Fox. I got to look into that.

  42. Dorothy R – I, too, don’t always agree with Tom Friedman, but at least he’s credible about that region – and sort of fair here. I say “sort of fair” (I must say I enjoyed most of his piece) because he has insisted on joining the others in using the term “luck,” as it relates to PBO. That always frosts me.

    Although, because the region he speaks of is a hot mess, and because I’m Irish, even I understand his hope that President Obama is lucky, although we all know that his luck is mixed with the intellectual capacity to see things a lot more clearly and broad based than just about anybody. Plus, his heart’s in the right place.

  43. co-signed. He can’t control everything. The thing about him is that I think he does the best he can at looking at what all the possibles are and in his mind already has his reactions planned out.

  44. My point exactly. He is not the one to leave things to luck (which is what friedman was insinuating, imo). I agree luck will play its part in the final outcome but to imply he was being a crapshooter in Libya is nonsense.

  45. Very well said. People always hate being pushed, but pull through persuasion can work.

  46. “i strongly believe it will come out in his favor”

    One of the things that I respect the most about PBO is how different he is from other politicians. I believe that when he makes decisions, they are not made thinking of how it will work out in is favor(politics). I believe he makes decisions that come out in the American peoples favor.

  47. I had to give him up a few months ago, but TPM always points out jon’s moments of evil talk about Obama. He is a piece of dirt. What do these liberal comedians think they are doing? They attack the president, but not so much the repubs.
    I hope to god those idiots get in line sometime soon. They think Obama is not liberal or mean enough, wait until they get a repugnant in power.

    The next thing I imagine will be jon saying he will have to hold his nose to vote for Obama.

    And, yes, he ego has gotten to be enormous.

  48. Yup, it was beautiful. Make sure to drop a note to the wonderful people of wsy if you have a disqus account. Wait till you read the comments. I laughed myself silly at some of them. Someone called Smiley and West the “beavis and butthead of the revolution.” Oh mah lawd.

  49. My CBC rep hasn’t emailed me back in a while, lol. To her credit, she did recently host a jobs fair. But she was not the business during the tax cut deal. I called her office during that time, incredulous, asking what her alternative plan was. The office rep said she didn’t have one. Enough said.

  50. If this isn’t finished by the summer, this will certainly hurt Obama’s reelection campaign. So I am also praying that he will get lucky and Gadhafi will fall.

  51. Agreed. I don’t know what’s wrong with Stewart lately. Does he need material? Does he feel he needs to bash in a bipartisan fashion? But I have mostly stopped watching The Daily Show because it’s not a good thing to try to go to sleep hopping mad.

  52. What is so sad and scary about Joe Klein’s plea for somebody “decent” to run against PBO is that a Republican nitwit could actually be elected. Whenever people say to me, “Oh, surely that couldn’t happen,” I always say, “They put George W. Bush in the White House twice, didn’t they?” Anything can happen if we let our guard down.

    Now I wish I had wine in the house.

  53. Hey, I’m fairly radical myself, so anti-establishment that I even think most of the medical system is a scam rather than a vehicle for healing, though I believe in everyone’s right to have access to it. However, I live in reality and have a good idea of what can and what can’t, what will and what won’t, get accomplished in government and in the culture at this point in time. I believe deep change happens from the ground up and includes changing the form of things as well as the substance (and our President is an admirable leader in this respect, far better than his petulant predecessors). A few silly people in the media and the blogosphere should not be able to taint far left ideas, and the fact that these people are snide, rude, perpetually-enraged and totally negative in outlook should make clear that they are neither humanitarian, progressive, or even very nice people.

  54. GN,
    I read that when I came home from church last night. She really hit the nail on the head with this one.

    Roland is such a tool. He seems more interested in sports and star gazing then doing the work of a real journalist.

  55. That rant should be on the fron page of the chicago defender. as a matter of fact im getting ready to do email blast and ask them to send it to everyone. LOL!

  56. Exactly! Radicals = Adolescents. They rebel against anything they perceive as authority and agitate for revolution at every turn. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t respond well to having it pointed out to them that they are still stuck in adolescence and need to deal with their authority issues before they open their mouths.

    It’s incumbent upon us to stop taking them seriously and ‘reacting’ to everything they say and do. Surely someone here has experience with raising teenagers into adults who could give us tips on how to ‘respond’ to these overgrown teenagers.

  57. The radicals need a cause,because they love the sh*tstirring, and the cause becomes their ‘raison d’etre’ as they gripe,make noise, and then abruptly move on to the next one for the week or month.

  58. I so co-sign, bwd. He looked at all the variables and made a tough decision. That’s why we need a president like Obama: he makes the most considered, most adult decision in a chaotic world with no guarantees.

  59. The ultimate oxymon (underscore moron) – decent and Republican. Gone are the days of a decent Republican that you could sit down with and have an intelligent and truthful conversation.

  60. Points taken, and yall are tickling me with “cosign.” I’ve never read japa do that before and for some reason it just tickled me silly.

  61. I, too, have a general aversion to war, well, actually, I think it is a moral crime and it, like all violence, serves in the long run to strengthen the status quo idea that violence is a valid means of settling conflicts. However, I do take note that the people of Benghazi (sp.?) have welcomed the intervention, and they most likely would have met a horrible fate had Qaddafy’s troops been allowed to enter the city. President Obama has acted in the best way a President could act in this situation in the current American zeitgeist. A complex issue, as are all issues, though I maintain that if one wants to stop violence, one must first not use violence oneself, though I can’t think of a government in the world that would agree with me right now. But humanity must begin to use its compassion and imagination to a much fuller extent than now so that situations in which some might believe violence is warranted can be averted before they arise.

  62. I get the message. I get so sick of all the pundits and their nastiness. I feel foolish. Thanks for the feedback. dr

  63. Co-sign, gn. Not to be missed for only its brilliant commentary but how ACTIVE they are beyond bitching on a blog.

  64. I was doing some reading on the Swiss Universal healthcare system. I didn’t notice until I read up on it that the ACA (obamacare) is very similar to their system.

    They require everyone to purchse insurance from a highly government regulated private system. And if people have trouble purchasing a basic plan the government gives a susbsidy.

    The ACA gives tax credits for small business (Swiss system does not do this) while also giving subsidies to people so they can get coverage. (similarity)

    I noticed another difference in our new system and the Swiss. Basic plans are non-profit but Swiss insurers make profit on supplemental plans. Their healthcare spending and costs have been under better control since it’s implementation in the early 90’s. It’s universal, the peoples there love it, and it’s based on the private system with government regulations and controls without a Public option. I wonder what the PL thinks about that ?

  65. I think he just knee-jerked. He saw them mentioned in a piece critical of some portions of the black leadership, and knee-jerked with the whole “the CBC is not supposed to be a rubber stamp for POTUS” meme, which was a strawman response.

    Too many people are still locked in Bush-era thinking: “with me or against me.” I didn’t realize just how much this has influenced the discourse in this country.

    They don’t get that you can see the WH as an asset and ally, not needing to agree with everything, but not needing to try to seem independent or intelligent by running to the cameras with meritless, uninformed complaints either. President Obama has really ushered in a “sh*t or get off the pot” moment for numerous black leaders and leaders on the left, and I think that quite a few are running scared, and deflecting that onto unmerited criticism of the WH.

  66. I think the economy will be the main issue. I don’t think that this Libyan situation will really effect the election unless something really crazy were to happen.

  67. Glad to hear it! I don’t know what’s going on with Cornel West, but I used to think that he was terrific, and that’s definitely changed.

  68. Nice analysis, Jeremy. Both plans regulate health insurance companies as public utilities, with the US implementing new regulations on how much insurance companies may profit and use on overhead.

  69. we have to start informing ppl especially in our communities. This is great its called a rant but its a fact based commentary that needs to be a letter to the editor of every African American news paper.

  70. I totally agree! Let’s not let the fringe define the meanings of progressive, left, even radical. There are a whole bunch of things I’d like to reshape and build from the ground up, which I guess makes me radical. But I’m completely pragmatic about what can happen at any one time. I don’t like labels, anyway.

  71. Sheila, in general I totally agree with you. My son is in the Army has has been in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t want to see him or any other people (not just Americans) put in harm’s way. I do want to say that, so far at least, the violence we have used appears to have been as surgical as possible. Although Ghadhafi has claimed civilian losses, there is no evidence of that.

    Additionally, I think it would be accurate to say that Obama and the other countries involved did not jump at violence as the first recourse, but made active diplomatic and other efforts to stop the potential slaughter that would have happened without our intervention.

  72. But, Michael Moore is holding a photo of Dennis Kuicinich, begging the evil Obama to just look at it.

  73. Thanks !

    Yeah both systems are very similar but I didn’t notice how similar they are. I knew that Japan and the Swiss had a private-public type of system and that Obama and the Dems modeled their plan off of those systems.

  74. I dont really think that it was knee jerk with Roland. I have gone back and forth with him regarding PBO and CBC. He seems to always defend the CBC. Roland is actually a conservative and if I am not mistaking I remember him saying that he voted for Bush the first time around.

  75. Amen to that. If PBO considered only his own political advantage and poll numbers, he would play it safe all the time–no HCR, no financial reform, no bailout of the auto industry–just safe, middle of the road. Instead he takes measured risks based on what’s good for us and what will benefit the most lives. Republicans always operate with the political advantage in view because they lost sight of what “for the people” actually means.

  76. I’m not saying we shouldn’t speak up and be heard with an opposing viewpoint. I’m saying that viewpoint needs to be informed by OUR agenda and not theirs. If we engage (react to)their arguments and tantrums, they win. If we counter (respond to) their arguments with facts and reason, we win.

    We respond by telling the media and Party apparatus that we won’t watch their shows or donate to their machine if they don’t put a stop to the bashing. We call in or write to the media with good information and positive spin. We DON’T argue with the radicals. Ever. We set the limits of behavior we’re willing to tolerate and let those limits be known and what the consequences will be if those limits aren’t honored.
    Consequences = withhold viewing, clicks, supporting advertisers.
    Consequences = withhold donations until behaviors are changed (no keys to the car for junior till he does his homework).
    Consequences = we tell our friends and fellow volunteers about the tricks the Republicans are playing by posing as the petulant left.

  77. Thats how act on a daily basis. Action speaks louder. Words are powerful and you have to nip things in bud. We also have to hold people accountable for what they say. thats why i say we should react.

  78. Yeah, I don’t give Roland Martin the benefit of the doubt, starting with the fact that I don’t think he’s a particularly bright or insightful man. He’s rather simple-minded, and his analysis is always lacking depth, no matter what topic he is speaking on.

    Plus I don’t like his Steve Harvey/T.D. Jakes suits. So there.

  79. In my eyes, he is just another of the long list of individuals who are not real supporters of PBO, but uses PBO to fill their financial coffers.

  80. That is not a complete list, but it is a good one. 🙂

    These people don’t care about the slaughter of innocents that President Obama stopped. They only care about self aggrandizement at the expense of the President.

  81. I thought he was terrific, that is until I started paying more attention to politics and really listening to what he was saying. He continues to be stuck in the past. There can be no progress if you stay stuck in the past. I started to realize that he and the others were all talk, with no substantative action. I have yet to see what they have accomplished for any community.

  82. Indeed – their mission to “save” Bradley Manning, who committed a serious crime and put many lives in danger, is nothing compared to President Obama actually saving lives that were at risk of massacre. The PL are just empty wind – full of causes, but no integrity whatsoever.

  83. It was strange, because aleth’s rant extended far beyond merely the CBC, but this is what he immediately keyed into. The anti-POTUS cottage industry is a crying, crying shame. I’d love to starve the beast.

  84. That’s extremely true, but there’s also a hazard in that: reacting continues to give certain individuals an unwarranted importance. People like GG and Hamsher love, love, love the controversies which is why they always have some mess going on. Not only does this crisis-making allow them a very keyed-up, highly emotional group of followers to manipulate, but it’s guaranteed to draw outrage and keep them relevant. I don’t know if there’s a great answer to this, because the other side of the coin would indeed allow some ridiculous content to go unchallenged.

    That’s why I think that in possible response to this conundrum, we might cultivate a few spaces which exclude reactions entirely to draw in the audience who these folks have completely turned off, an audience which refuses to give them attention at all, while continuing to try to have balanced good news mixed with reaction discussions overall.

  85. Absolutely, Betsey. Would l like the President to be further left? Of course. But I am not under the illusion he would get much done were that the case. Perhaps it takes more courage to enter the arena knowing everything you do will be a major compromise and yet still doing something rather than taking a firm stance and accomplishing nothing, while still attempting to change the way politics is done in our country (albeit unsuccessfully) by treating opponents with respect rather than confronting them with the testosteronic rage the frustrati demand.

  86. I agree, Tien Le. Most of these people have neither charm, wit, incisiveness, accurate information, nor compassion. Why bother with them?

  87. I agree, japa, that this intervention was done in as good a way as possible. Furthermore, I do not expect most people to agree with my extreme pacifism. I can go so far as to say I would prefer to be killed than kill (though I do believe one can live in such a way to ensure that will never be a necessary choice), but I do not expect others to agree with me on this, and I do not look down on them if they do not do so.

  88. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

    —–Original Message—–
    From: CNN Breaking News []
    Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 2:10 PM
    Subject: CNN Breaking News

    — Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa arrives in London and tells government he has resigned, UK Foreign Office reports.

  89. I am with you GN. He is a man of many powers. He has so much to offer. Plus, his pretty family and indeed, he is rich.

  90. Then if its a hazard for you don’t respond. you can’t a person how voice their actions. Nor can you assume that they are negative. You and Tien are always comment on what others should when discussing the events. if it fits your agenda its ok but when others, state you then say you have ignore. Thats your opinion and i respecet that and i have mine. please don’t tell me that ihow or when i should respond to the negativity. When you are doing the exact same thing.

  91. all of you who keep, assuming that one is not acting. I am . That is why i posed the comment

  92. I don’t agree with the assertion that I “always comment on what others should be discussing,” untrue. I do agree that I have been back and forth with the ignore/react opinions. But no matter. This is an ongoing meta debate which is not personal in nature. Having a few threads on special occasions without the punditry isn’t an assault on anyone’s free expression is my thinking, nor is the continuing meta debate about how to deal with the PL. Those who don’t like the advice about ignoring the PL at times, don’t have to take it, no? Just as you argue that we must react to the PL, Tien Le is free to argue that we must not, and I’m free to see the merit of both opinions and discuss potential solutions so that this site can be comfortable reading for all viewpoints.

    Not trying to belabor this, so you can have the last point tulips.

  93. I agree, gn, the attention only feeds them and those with similar temperaments. Why else is the blogosphere filled with people saying the same things over and over again to each other?

  94. I don’t think we are assuming that, makessense. Some of us do not have the temperament to deal with people we do not respect, even in conflict. I do not fault you for feeling it is meaningful to do so, nor do I think your efforts are worthless. They are just not for me.

  95. Jon S. is not a liberal but an opportunist. He lost me when gathered thousands of young people on the capitol mall and didn’t bother to tell them how important it was for them to go and vote.

    This both side equivalence argument that he puts forth has grown old and tired. Now those young people that he gathered on the mall are seeing cuts in higher education assistance.

  96. Hey Everyone:-)

    I just tweeted John Stewart…lol

    here’s what I said.

    ahsai Kasai
    @TheDailyShow John u becoming so boring and kinda sick like every1. bashing the president makes u feel a little taller..

  97. I think JS is desperate for ratings and continued relevance. Unfortunately for him, he is no longer as popular as he used to be. He’s still trying to be “cool” and “edgy” but he just comes of as clueless and out of touch, not to mention dishonest. There’s no bigger turn off to young adults than an aging former hipster trying to stay “in”.

    Believe me, the youth of America will not side with Stewart over Mr. Obama. Not gonna happen.

  98. He totally bashed the president with the most nasty condescending, and bs rant I ever heard from him. Weiner, schultz,and rachel praised obama totally. Schultz praising but jon bashing. Something makes no sense. Jon has been lying with this president quite often. He was like the msm and politico with obamas mosque words. He took them out of context. He trashed the media for doing that. He has perpetuated false equivlancies often. Jon sounded like a total asshole.

  99. He doesn’t want to waste this opportunity to leave the world a better place. Everything he does is for his children – and all children, I believe. And he mentioned in that documentary about Pete Souza (“The President’s Photographer”, I think), you don’t fight to be President to BE something, you fight so you can DO something.

  100. Yes, the PL on Stephanie Miller’s show this morning refused to be blamed for the midterm results, and said they categorically refused to believe that their constant “criticism” of the President caused the Republicans to win back the House and some seats in the Senate. They are blind.

  101. You’re so right with this analysis – I was just thinking today that they are like children/teenagers. They’ve never grown up.

  102. Great speech, Mr. President, and I do see all of the good things you are doing.

    I do believe.

  103. I know my history, do you?

    Define for me these terms –


    You tell me, who is the middle ground, and where is the direction our future should hold?

  104. …and yes we nations have international concerns, but that is why we have international realations, and it is why we have coalitions.

    I hope you understand the difference between using trade as a tool for humanitarian purposes, and just opening all of our economic and physical borders as a traitor would suggest.

  105. As a firm Muslim supporter of President Obama, I refuse to buy into him deliberately and willfully going in and attacking Libya, a majority Muslim country. I asked myself, why on earth would he even want to do this, since he spent four years of his early childhood in Indonesia, a majority Muslim country? That makes no sense. I can’t even imagine what his Muslim relatives in Kenya are going through right now. I know they are keeping close watches on what is happening in Libya and watching how their relative, the President of the United States, is handling it. Above all, I know they are praying very hard for him to be successful. And so am I.

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