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March 14, 2009

Conduct Unbecoming

Karl Rove nails it:

Presidents throughout history have kept lists of political foes. But the Obama White House is the first I am aware of to pick targets based on polls. Even Richard Nixon didn't focus-group his enemies list.

Team Obama -- aided by Clintonistas Paul Begala, James Carville and Stanley Greenberg -- decided to attack Rush Limbaugh after poring over opinion research. White House senior adviser David Axelrod explicitly authorized the assault. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel assigned a White House official to coordinate the push. And Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gleefully punched the launch button at his podium, suckering the White House press corps into dropping what they were doing to get Mr. Limbaugh.

...Why did the White House do it? It was a diversionary tactic. Clues might be found in the revelation that senior White House staff meet for two hours each Wednesday evening to digest their latest polling and focus-group research. I would bet a steak dinner at Morton's in Chicago these Wednesday Night Meetings discussed growing public opposition to spending, omnibus pork, more bailout money for banks and car companies, and new taxes on energy, work and capital.

What better way to divert public attention from these more consequential if problematic issues than to start a fight with a celebrity conservative? Cable TV, newspapers and newsweeklies would find the conflict irresistible. Something has to be set aside to provide more space and time to the War on Rush; why not the bad economic news?

Can you imagine the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that would have ensued, had the Bush White House launched a coordinated assault on Keith Olbermann?

This was a guy who made a career of shouting to the rooftops that we were living in a fascist police state in which our civil rights were slowly wending their tortuous way through the large intestine of Barney the White House terrier.

In Keith's world, conspiracies and crimes against humanity lurked in every shadow. Some might have detected minor logical inconsistencies between Keith's million dollar salary, his frenzied nightly truth-to-powering, and the notion that under George W. Bush our free speech rights had been reduced to little more than fertilizer for the rose bushes on the presidential lawn.

Some might even have wondered: if, as Keith claimed, the White House was brutally repressing all forms of uber-patriotic dissent why wasn't Mr. Olbermann - illegally and in defiance of evolving international standards of decency - promptly rendered to an airless dungeon at Gitmo to have the frilly panties of fascist oppression stretched over his screaming maw?

But I digress.

Everyone understands that the rhetoric of politicians rarely conforms to the reality on the ground. They preach comity and practice division and vicious partisanship. But even a parliament of whores has some standards. Mr. Hope and Change has been scolding his opponents representing the concerns of the voters who elected them (it being a fairly safe assumption that Republican congressmen have largely Republican constituents who want them to fight for Republican ideas).

Going after your political opponents is one thing. But a Republican president who purposely targeted the media would have been accused of intimidation at best and censorship at worst. Even more troubling is Mr. Obama's seeming lack of respect for the office to which he's been elected.

The President of the United States does not stoop to attack private citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights. It is both improper and unseemly. Countering arguments is legitimate.

Attacking the person who makes them is conduct unbecoming the leader of the free world. The last President understood that.

This one carves out time every Wednesday night to stick his finger into the wind. It's hard to imagine Abraham Lincoln focus grouping while the Civil War was tearing the country apart. But since Mr. Obama's legacy is in the hands of a media firmly in the tank for him, this most unpresidential behavior will no doubt be quickly consigned to the rubbish bin of history.

Posted by Cassandra at March 14, 2009 08:59 AM

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Clinton did the same thing. While he is not the first PUTAS to get poll data, I think he was the first to knee-jerk...uh, react to them. Obama is carrying on the tradition.

Posted by: Cricket at March 14, 2009 10:23 AM

But even a parliament of whores has some standards.

What's this one's?

Posted by: BillT at March 14, 2009 10:33 AM

Well, they have MEETINGS on Wednesday night to get rid of all dissent. They are going to be purified by Teh One. Their idealism, unmarred by the taint of opposition will now be seen for what it is!

BillT, I snorted my cranberry juice after I read that...thank you very much...

Posted by: Cricket at March 14, 2009 10:51 AM

I owed you one for PUTAS...

Posted by: BillT at March 14, 2009 01:34 PM

What fricken' dodge.

Ferchissakes, how do we allow this bs to go unchallenged?

Oh! I know! I know! If you question the One, then you are a devotee of Rush Limbaugh, and thus a partisan "ditto-head" unworthy of a meaningful response! Plus, WE OWN THE GOVERNMENT."

Ya know, these kind of political antics, left unchecked, historically have driven people to embrace the certainty of tyranny. What the Republic needs right now is a heavy dose of "STFU, I'm thinking here."

Posted by: Dancing With The Stars at March 14, 2009 02:20 PM

It's all about the guilt by association...

...which was a low-down, despicable "low blow" when The One was campaigning, but has suddenly regained its luster as a political tactic :p

Posted by: Cass at March 14, 2009 03:45 PM

I owed you one for PUTAS...BillT

De nada.

Teh One guilty by association? He developed a teflon hide during the campaign. A whole lexicon of phrases and words have been coined overnight because of him.

He can do no wrong!

*faints in a tizzy of vapors*

Posted by: Cricket at March 14, 2009 04:54 PM

He can do no wrong!

Well, he *did* just shock the Brit Libs out of their "fawning-from-afar" attytood...

Posted by: BillT at March 14, 2009 05:23 PM

Team Obama...decided to attack Rush Limbaugh after poring over opinion research.

Funded by Karl Rove, I'll wager, to distract their attention from the *real* threat of -- Karl Rove!

*dry hand-wash*


Posted by: BillT at March 14, 2009 05:34 PM

Um, (*looking down at feet and digging toe in the dirt, wearing dunce cap*) would someone please tell me (*blush, clearing throat*) what PUTAS means? (*running and hiding behind mother's skirt*)

Posted by: MathMom at March 14, 2009 08:18 PM


When I was a kid in high school in California, one of my latino buds, a fellow named Ybarra, told me that it was not a word to be used in polite company... It was high on the list of Spanish fighting words, particularly if directed towards a family member.

In other words, I'm not touching it with a rented 10' pole.

Posted by: bt_careful-with-that-spanish-Eugene_hun at March 14, 2009 09:59 PM

I suspect that Ms. Cricket's original intent was to type POTUS, but with my typing proess... porwses, prowess, I cast no keyboard, on any occasion, at anyone.

Posted by: bt_careful-with-that-spanish-Eugene_hun at March 14, 2009 10:03 PM

Ok, then! Off to Google Language Tools! (though I can probably guess now - I was trying to figure out the acronym!)

Posted by: MathMom at March 14, 2009 10:54 PM

Hmmmm...PUTAS...Our representatives....yeah, I see how they could be confused....'specially since they are one and the same. And with SanFranNan as the Madam....and Dingy Harry as the leading gigolo.....and Pbo as Pimpdaddy....


Posted by: CW4 at March 14, 2009 11:32 PM

You got it. I were raised in California tew...and the root (no pun intended this time) is the same in Italian as it is in Spanish. I found this out during the Junior High School Christmas Around The World Play rehearsal when one of my friends was playing 'Old Bufana' from Italy, and mistheard the narrator, thinking he said 'Old Putana.'

She froze and asked him to repeat it. He said 'Old Bufana,' and she told him what she thought he'd said. He didn't know what that was, as he was a transplant from Oregon. One of the other kids 'splained it to him.

MathMom, a puta is a woman of ill-repute.

Posted by: Cricket at March 14, 2009 11:46 PM


If we are to be precise, we pay those folk you mention to go away to Washington. The other folks are paid by their customers for intimacy.

I've always agreed with, was it Will Rogers or Samuel Clemens, anyway I think we'd all be the better if we paid the former to remain in a perpetual state of recess... Far less damage would we suffer.

Now, is this point where I must offer a heartfelt apology for the insult paid to working strumpets and trollops everywhere who are justifiably offended by the comparison? It seems like I should.

Posted by: bt_careful-with-that-spanish-Eugene_hun at March 14, 2009 11:58 PM

Having grown up in SoCal as well...

Puta/Politician...all one in the same. In a sense.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at March 15, 2009 04:19 AM

If we are to be precise, we pay those folk you mention to go away to Washington. The other folks are paid by their customers for intimacy.

However, with the latter group, the screwing *stops* when your wallet's empty.

Posted by: BillT at March 15, 2009 10:24 AM

"...the screwing *stops* when your wallet's empty."

Unless you have plastic....

Posted by: DL Sly at March 15, 2009 12:47 PM

Yeah, but I've heard plastic tastes awful.

Posted by: BillT at March 15, 2009 01:06 PM