obligatory reaction post on Obama’s healthcare address



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar greg says:

    Why do you frame any commentary on the speech as “mindless,” when you obviously write to make a comment? I would have preferred a more FDR style speech in which the President didn’t play nice to conservatives, but I am nonetheless impressed with Obama’s effort to place this moment of health care reform within the history of American liberalism. For quite some time, we haven’t had a president with even a knowledge of history, let alone a willingness to place his agenda squarely and publicly within a historical tradition. He should have hit this point home more forcefully — socialism? I’m talking about American liberalism this century people! — but in any case his civility and his openness about history is welcome to me. Why should one be evasive? Where do you stand, Will?Report

  2. Avatar mike farmer says:

    About the only people I hear mentioning the word “socialism” these days are the people criticising the use of the word “socialism”. I really don’t hear much regarding Obama’s Afro-centrism either. I read and listen to a lot of news and commentary, and most of the criticism is directed toward progressive policies. I hardly ever judge a speech by style because it’s so misleading. Most of Obama’s critics concede he gives a reasoned, calm speech. I was struck last night, not by anything in Obama’s speech, but by the mechanical emptiness of it all — the responses, all of it. A lot of the recent criticism of Obama has been mostly about his failure to effectively perform his job — it’s a nice diversion to think crazy people are still yelling “socialist”, but that fringe faction has been effectively marginalized — Obama supporters, or just objective commentators, are going to have to address the real concerns — progressive policies and confusion in government right about what to do with the economy, healthcare and the wars.Report

    • Avatar Ryan in reply to mike farmer says:

      Clearly you don’t hang out with actual Republicans. My office is full of them, and “socialist” is a word I hear from their mouths several times a day.Report

      • Avatar mike farmer in reply to Ryan says:

        Of course you do. Are you harrassing me, or flirting?

        I actually meant in the media and on political blogs, which is what I thought the comment referenced. But, yes, if I go to Ida’s Truckstop Cafe for breakfast, I’m likely to hear people call Obama a “GD socialist — that SOB is out to get us, fellas” — “You’re damn right he is!” — “Did y’all hear he was setting up detention camps?” — “No, shit? Well, he’ll have to get past Ol’ Betsy (his endearing name for his shotgun on the rack in back of his Chevy pick-up, dontcha know) if he thinks he’s goin’ put me in a detention camp.”

        But, back to the national conversation on blogs and such — I don’t really read much about the socialist angle — certainly not the Afro-centrim angles — but I’m open to links to prove me wrong.Report

        • Avatar Will in reply to mike farmer says:

          Mike –

          The Afrocentric Marxist stuff was intentional hyperbole. Although I do hear the ‘socialism’ stuff thrown around quite a bit.Report

        • Avatar Ryan in reply to mike farmer says:

          Remind me again how much of the national conversation actually takes place on blogs. Compare and contrast that with the amount that takes place in the office, over the water cooler, etc. Granted, I work in DC, so politics comes up a lot, which may bias things, but I’m guessing my experience is not that atypical.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

            I don’t know about where other people work, but my work tends to be populated with folks who say stuff like “that’s a pretty big word” unironically. Not just here, but at my last three or four jobs. Discussions centered around who was or was not like Hitler and who was or was not interested in protecting The Children (either from terrorists or from disease). There was very much as “The Broncos, right or wrong” thing going on. At least in my old jobs.

            Blogs contain a conversation insofar as it’s a lot less likely to be made fun of for using words like “insofar”. (“Hey, are you gay or something? It’s in so far!!!”) On top of that, it’s possible to put together a coherent essay in response to reading a coherent essay. At my various jobs (which, again, may not be representative), people pretty much figured out whether you wanted more of The Children to be safe or whether you didn’t care about them and, at that point, the conversation was over.

            But, again, maybe it’s different at other places of business.Report

            • Avatar Ryan in reply to Jaybird says:

              I don’t think it is. And, to be clear, when people I work with call Obama a “socialist” (which they do with alarming regularity), it’s much more like when Joe the Plumber called him a socialist than it is a detailed understanding of the philosophy of Marx and the ways in which that philosophy was implemented in Europe in the 20th century.Report

          • Avatar mike farmer in reply to Ryan says:

            You are absolutely right, Ryan. I don’t know what i was thinking.Report