In which I am to the left of Obama


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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47 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I figure, I’m biased here. I sort of have a dog in this fight as this kind of case is right in my professional wheelhouse. So the answer — the employer realizes a substantial benefit so it must pay for the employees’ time spent realizing it — seems obvious to me.

    The Administration questioning that logic seems odd to me. But then again, this Administration isn’t so very liberal as the FOX Newses of the world would have us believe.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Burt is right about the left-ness of the Obama administration. They are much more liberal than Bush II and have done some substantially progressive things but they are still far from being radical socialists.

    To be fair, there are also plenty of people on the left who thought Obama would be more liberal like Thomas Frank and Cornell Wilde but I think some parts of the left live to be disappointed in politics and politicians so they can be “Leftier than thou.” One of the most persistent parts of the Obama admin is seeing columnists like Chait constantly remind people that Obama is rather moderate and wonkish. He is not the reincarnation of Eugene Victor Debs and Saul Alinsky. I bet that most people in this country had no idea who Saul Alinsky was until he came up in the fever dreams of Palin.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        I see no calls for the dictatorship of the proletariat in that video. I see ya’ know, a well produced campaign video. I’m sorry if it fooled you, Jaybird.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        man that thing is still really creepy. good on them.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I see no calls for the dictatorship of the proletariat in that video.

        It’s more that I was expecting someone distinguishable from Bush.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        To be blunt @jaybird, Sotomayer and Kagan are enough to show he’s different from Bush on things I care about, mainly, terrible, terrible Supreme Court decisions like the recent VRA cases. Add in the stimulus, the ACA, and so on, and even though Obama is by no means the social democrat I am, he’s still the most liberal President of my lifetime.

        Yeah, he uses drones. Guess what, most people like drones, instead of troops on the ground and considering he got railed for not acting against ISIS sooner, the non-interventionist side of the country still is far from a majority, especially when there’s an idea American’s are at risk.

        So yeah, Obama acted like a politician. I’m stunned.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        If you put blinkers on and squint real hard he’s indistinguishable from Bush. Maybe some folks have bad, blinkered vision and such, ya know?Report

      • Avatar Creon Critic says:

        It’s more that I was expecting someone distinguishable from Bush.

        Have you seen Obama’s UN General Assembly speeches? Put it this way, a concerted effort at international cooperation, climate change, and LGBT rights were not very high on the Bush agenda.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I remember complaints about Clinton and how he was the best Republican president of the last (howevermany) years.

        I can’t help but wonder if I won’t overhear similar complaints about Obama once he no longer requires actively defending.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I find it interesting that you interpret a descriptive comment with a “defense”.

        Not unusual, of course.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Perhaps that’s because I’m remembering Clinton and the defenses given of Clinton until right around the Marc Rich pardon.

        I’m sure that the people defending Clinton at the time would have argued that they weren’t defending Clinton, merely telling the truth about him in response to the lies being told by Republicans.

        Which was really weird when many of these same people started complaining about Clinton being a Republican.

        Maybe you’re right, though. Maybe this time is different.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        No Jaybird. You’re right. We’re all so hopelessly blinded by partisan loyalties that we never see the world objectively.

        And that applies to you as well, no?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        One of the things about having really, really weird loyalties is that it’s a lot harder to find a politician worth lavishing them upon.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        While still being blinded by them.

        Thanks for that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I might be confused but aren’t “partisan loyalties” without a referent known as “preferences”?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        If you think you’re not partisan then you really need to spend some time looking for those blinkers. Self-reflection often suffices.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        For clarity, to what is Jaybird a partisan to?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Are you serious Will? I mean, I need to establish that before offending anyone by outing Jaybird’s Tribal Identity.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        In addition, I should clear it with Jaybird as well before we move on.

        Jaybird, is it alright with you if I tell Will what ism you identity as? It’s cool if you don’t want me too. I understand.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I am curious as to whether you were referring to ideological partisanship (the case is strong here), tribal partisanship (and if so, which one), or something else.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        a), b), and c) too. So, I guess that’s an “all of the above sorta” answer!

        More seriously, I’m actually really confused that you’re confused about this, Will.

        Do you think Jaybird views politics and culture from a better, cleaner, more wholesome place than I do? IF so, why?

        If you think he doesn’t, then why the hell not????Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        My own view is that Jaybird views politics through a particular ideological prism wherein the differences between Obama and Bush are viewed as less stark as when viewed from a different position. I think the “Tribal Partisanship” charge is somewhat weaker, though that’s a less easy assessment to make because I’m not positive which tribal affiliation is being referred to (which is why I asked).

        I think Jaybird’s ideological perspective is sufficiently strong and comparatively distant that I would not necessarily consider him a particularly reliable narrator in making the differentiation. I also do not consider those with particularly strong affinities to one side or the other of the big two to be particularly reliable narrators, either.

        “Purity” doesn’t really factor into it, in this case.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        Or I should prolly say, along more PC lines, I agree.

        Jaybird as a more pronounced agenda in his comments on this site than even the most liberal commenters (morat or Jesse, for example). On the conservative side, only notme (in my opinion) passes him in ideologicdrivenosity.

        This is a person who’s succumbed to the ismness of isms. His chosen ism. He internalized it. Yay Jaybird.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        To me, Jaybird seems to have a monomania when it comes to national security issues and the war on some drugs. These seem to be his issues above all.

        I’ve been through this with Jaybird and many other libertarians before. Yes, I disagree with many Democratic politicians when it comes to the fights against ISIS, National Security, and the War on Some Drugs but I am not a Snowden fanatic. I am not going to vote for the politician who is critical of the Drug War and National Security stuff if I also perceive said politician to be anti-Welfare State, anti-Labor, indifferent to income inequality, anti-Marriage Equality, anti-Environment, etc.

        I have a while range of issues I vote on and I am voting for the person who is close enough with me on as many issues as possible.

        In Jaybird and Conor F. land this means I am a horrible human being it seems. I simply see Rand Paul as a broken clock.

        Single issue voters seem to have a very hard time understanding the more complicated calculus of being a multiple issue voter.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Alsotoo, just to clear something up that seems like a semantic issue, here’s a definition of “partisan” that might be enlightening:

        a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person; especially : one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance

        That’s from Merriam Webster, so you can argue with me all you like, but I wouldn’t advise going against them. They’ll f*** you up.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I don’t think “agenda” factors in much at all. Rather, I think it’s that he is viewing things from a particular place. And the view from that place is that the differences between Bush and Obama are marginal. That’s true from a lot of perspectives, globally speaking.

        Personally, my perspective is quite different. That’s why I don’t consider him a particularly reliable narrator. Not because he’s being dishonest, but because he is seeing different things than I am, as his priors are different.

        I use a more loose definition of “partisanship” than the M-W definition. It doesn’t require blindness. It’s mostly a matter of the extent to which our perceptions are influenced (by implication unduly influenced, though none of us like to think of it that way) by our priors (ideological partisanship) or associations (tribal partisanship). Something to which we are all susceptible.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Will, I neither agree nor disagree with your comment. We’re way into meta land now, and as is well known, metaland contains no reliable truth predicate. I will agree with you about this point, tho: That partisanship doesn’t require blindness, that it’s

        Something to which we are all susceptible.

        Which is exactly where this whole thread began. With me challenging Jaybird on his partisanship even as he criticized others (circularly? I dunno, but maybe!!!) for exhibiting their own.

        To cut to the chase on all this, tho: If partisanship constitutes a legitimate criticism against anyone’s views then we’ve effectively eliminated discourse as a useful tool in social progress. A tool which, if anyone on this site, Jaybird believes in. So his criticism amounts to a reductio on his own chosen methods. Because he doesn’t recognize how partisan his comments, critical of other’s partisanship, actually are.

        Enlightemnent, baby. It’s not just for the mountain-cave bound.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Sorry, went out to dinner.

        Go for it.

        Anyway, I did the whole “partisanship” thing on behalf of politicians once before. I found myself arguing about how half a loaf is better than none, how you need to look at the big picture, all that stuff. Then I found myself trading away the stuff I actually believed in because “the other side was worse” and then, granting that half a loaf was better than none in theory, I started noticing how I wasn’t even ending up with half and then making excuses on behalf of the politicians for that.

        Feh, I say. Feh.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Jaybird, read the definition of “partisanship” I quoted. You’ll realize that your talk is dung dust. And partisan dung dust at that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person

        I’m silly enough to see differences between adherents to parties/factions/persons and to a cause.

        one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance

        I suppose we could disagree about blindness, prejudice, and what constitutes “unreason” as well.

        But hey.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Then use a better fucking word.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Partisanship is a form of bias, and it should be talked about in that context. It’s rarely helpful to any given conversation to say “You only hate Obama (or Obama’s latest initiative) because he’s black” or “You only support Obama (or Obama’s latest initiative) because you’re a Democrat.” Even though in some cases they’re quite true.

        But it is nonetheless there. And extremely important. And the fact that we’re all susceptible to it doesn’t really take it out of consideration.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Christ, JB, I don’t know why I voluntarily go in for the bullshit of actually having a discussion with you. But DO I NEED TO REMIND YOU that you’re the ^*^*&%##^ guy who defined “partisan loyalty” as expressing “preferences”??? Which is entirely made the fuck up? By you?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I did! I suggested “preferences”!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Stillwater, I said that partisan loyalty without a referent was “preferences”.

        That whole “without a referent” clause is pretty essential. If you take that clause away, it changes stuff pretty considerably.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Good grief. I can’t believe I have to close comments on a post on the topic on labor law.

        But here we are.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        OK. Good.

        Then no one is a partisan. They just have preferences.

        Whew! Can you and I agree, in private like this, that we’ll never bring this topic up again? That you’ll we’ll never call other people partisan for expressing their preferences again for all of time for ever so long as we shall live? That they nust have preferences that we disagree with?

        O, thank you Jaybird. We’ve made real progress here, dontcha think?Report

  3. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I have a theory that Former President Obama will be significantly less moderate than President Obama. Righties will consider this significant, though I’m not sure how. Lefties will wonder where this new liberal version was when he had the actual power to enact policy.

    Maybe not, but… maybe.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      That’s incredible a credible prediction. After all, Actual Nixon and Actual Reagan were both to the right, but both less far to the right than Historical Nixon and Historical Reagan.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Very possibly. It would fit with the common liberal notion that O, naively, believed R’s would be amenable to working with him and take compromise as a sign of good faith. Once he doesn’t have to try to work with R’s he may show more liberal positions since he won’t think this will hurt the politics.

      Another reason its possible is that Clinton, when he was prez, was histories greatest monster, trying to destroy the country and horrible left winger. At some point, leaving aside the disgust at his improper use of his Willie, he morphed into a more moderate Dem.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        there’s also a deep psychological need being fed in the narrative of “he was stymied by his evil opponents” as opposed to the reality of “i spent eight years hallucinating a presidency that never was”.

        the second is a bit rough on the psyche, no doubt.Report

      • Avatar Coke-Encrusted Hollywood Exec says:

        I spent eight years hallucinating once, it wasn’t so bad! I won my first Oscar and learned how to snow-ski!Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @dhex Once we get a real leftie and the great Revolution we won’t have psyche’s anymore. But we will all where Mao jackets.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        given the average bmi of most americans, mao jackets are going to look positively segalian.Report

    • NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

      I think the part that people won’t want to confront is that a fair bit of what makes Obama reflexively moderate and reactive is race. There is a much narrower range of emotional responses he’s “allowed” to make as a black man in a position of power.Report

  4. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    Are there government agencies this might affect? If the TSA and others have been doing the same thing as Amazon, that would explain why he’d want the ruling revisited without needing to speculate on his politics.Report