January 29, 2010
How to Sandbag a Captive Audience, Presidential Edition
Randy Barnett points out just what was wrong with Obama's drive by criticism of SCOTUS:
In his State of the Union address, the president of the United States called out the Supreme Court by name for sharp condemnation and egged on his congressional supporters to jeer its recent decision:
"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong."
Even before he finished, hundreds of Democratic senators, congressmen and cabinet officials surrounding the six seated justices stood, applauded and cheered.
Suppose for a moment that you were a justice seated there as the president of the United States singled you out for criticism and the room stood and cheered. Could they take it? Yes, of course. Should they have been put in this position? Absolutely not.
The opposition party gets to respond formally at the end of the speech, so a certain amount of political grandstanding towards them is fine. (Less fine: calling your opponents liars to their faces, then acting like you're the one who deserves an apology when they give you the lie right back.)
The Supreme Court has no such opportunity to speak directly to the People. They may not, by protocol, even applaud things they like from the President's speech, nor stand to applaud, nor cheer. They are supposed to be outside of politics, and they cannot answer the blow.
It does not help that the President's claim about just what they had done was a... well, it was 'not true.'
The Justices did not deserve to be treated in that way. It was an honorless insult, and a cowardly act.
Listening to the Prez the other night, I couldn't help noticing that Obama always follows the same M.O.: begin by whacking away at the opposition and then plaintively ask why both sides can't bury the hatchet?
It occurred to me then that getting along with the opposing party isn't all that much different than getting along with the opposite sex. In both cases you're dealing with two parties who don't think alike, don't have the same priorities, needs or goals, and frequently misunderstand each other. The idea that comity between the sexes or between the parties is going to magically occur without a concerted effort is pretty laughable.
If he really wants to gain the cooperation of Republicans, maybe Obama would profit from applying some of the same tactics used by happily married couples. Items 2, 4 and 5 seem particularly apt.
The rest, when I imagine 'Bam applying them to Congressional Rethugs, just make me laugh.
Whether it's a marriage or a professional relationship you're trying to save, two old bits of advice seem particularly apt:
1. If you want to get along with others, don't be a jerk.
2. The common element in all your failed relationships is you.
More along the same lines in the comments section of this Althouse post:
... Obama acted true to form. He took advantage of a forum in which he's apparently allowed to say whatever he wants, true or not, but if his opponents react or rebut in any way, they're somehow breaking protocol and should just shut up.
You know who Barack Obama is? He's the guy who will only hit you when someone else is holding your arms. And in his political career, there's always been someone to hold the arms of his opponent.
His political opponents have their divorce records released. Criticize Obama, and his sycophants try to drum you out of polite society with the racist charge. When he gets called a liar, his Democratic allies come up with a resolution condemning the man. And when a Supreme Court justice mildly disagrees with a crass, cheap, dishonest attack, Greenwald and his ilk slither out of the weeds to grab those arms.
Because of all that, Obama struts around thinking he's tough.
It's never his fault and he's always the victim... even when he picked the fight. Presidential, that.
Posted by Cassandra at January 29, 2010 08:59 AM
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What bothers me even more, on reflection, was Congress' action. It was mannerless and cowardly to strike at people who could not reply. But it was even worse for Congress to stand up and applaud as they did.
This was Congress' house, and the Justices were present there as guests. It was Congress' duty to resent any affront to their guests, such as striking them where they might not reply. It was Congress' duty to defend their guests, rather than to rise and press against them like a mob.
It was an ugly moment in our democracy. Only the Justices acted well: the one branch of government that was never elected, and the one we are supposed to be able to trust least according to the Founders.
Posted by: Grim at January 29, 2010 12:26 PM
You speak as if you think the composition of the Congress is, in the aggregate, honorable.
I suspect that you know better but have only allowed your own sense of honor to sway your expectations.
Note the use of an exclamation points. Nup, nothing the Foggy Bottom Cur collective does prompts surprise.*
Posted by: bt_semi-consciou...er-semi-retired_hun at January 29, 2010 01:36 PM
or absence of an exclamation point...
*resets neural net to digit comm link*
Posted by: bt_semi-consciou...er-semi-retired_hun at January 29, 2010 01:38 PM
"He's the guy who will only hit you when someone else is holding your arms." That's what I took Grim to be saying, too. Yeechhh.
Posted by: Texan99 at January 29, 2010 03:17 PM
From the fact that we are supposed to refer to them each as, "The Honorable" such-and-so, with a capital "H," I can only assume that the Founders intended that they should behave with a certain amount of honor. Of course, it could be that "honorable" with a small "h" means "honorable," whereas "Honorable" with a capital "H" means "jackass."
Posted by: Grim at January 29, 2010 04:08 PM
Of course, it could be that "honorable" with a small "h" means "honorable," whereas "Honorable" with a capital "H" means "jackass."
That was snortworthy, Grim.
Posted by: Cassandra at January 29, 2010 04:17 PM
"Well I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."
Wow -- that's biting the hand that fed you right off at the wrist. Think he'll do the honorable thing and re-open the FEC investigation into his campaign fundraising, or will he continue to be just plain Honorable?
Posted by: BillT at January 29, 2010 04:48 PM
Posted by: Texan99 at January 29, 2010 07:49 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the Obama war chest have funding from places like Kenya and the Middle East, and that was under McCain-Feingold?
The comedy writes itself.
Posted by: Cricket at January 29, 2010 09:38 PM
We can't prove it, Cricket: they turned off the tracking on their online contributions, and the Obama Administration isn't going to investigate themselves for breaking campaign finance law...
Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 30, 2010 01:45 AM
Posted by: Cricket-with-the-Viking-attitude at January 30, 2010 05:53 AM
Now gee, why am I not surprised at that? You can *turn off* the tracking but it was still tracked.
There is always a record, somewhere.
Posted by: Cricket at January 30, 2010 05:54 AM
Obama told his people to cut out the credit card fraud protections.
Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 30, 2010 01:16 PM
Btw, does anyone here actually trust Obama to know when to use or not to use the Nuclear Football? Do you think he should lose it permanently, sort of like Clinton did?
Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 30, 2010 01:19 PM
The Supremes are there simply as window dressing to make the great monarchical political pageant look better. They don't have to be there. A story goes that the then Chief Justice (memory fades) did not attend one of Carter's State of the Union addresses because he'd paid $25 for a water coloring course at the YWCA and the State of the Union address conflicted with one of the scheduled classes. He didn't want to waste the money but not attedning the class. In light of the nonsense that took place at Obama's SOTU on Wednesday night, Chief Justice Roberts should have taken a similar course and made more valuable use of his time. If Obama insists upon sandbagging the court in future SOTU speeches, I think they'll all take a "Pasadena" on future sessions.
Posted by: Mike Myers at January 30, 2010 03:20 PM
Sorry about spelling on that one--didn't want to waste the money "by not attending" class.
Posted by: Mike Myers at January 30, 2010 03:21 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the Obama war chest have funding from places like Kenya and the Middle East...
There were at least three instances where the same credit card number was used by a dozen different names -- one card number was traced to Saudi Arabia, another to the Palestinian Authority, and a third to the PRC. Ymar is correct -- the credit-card fraud avoidance feature was an integral part of the program, and was purposely deactivated. Team Obie claimed it was inadvertently turned off by a careless staffer, which was impossible -- the code had to be accessed by a system engineer and purposely re-written.
Which was only *one* of the reasons that launched the rapidly-aborted FEC investigation.
Posted by: BillT at January 30, 2010 04:43 PM
Team Bambi should stick with proven methods of laundering foreign campaign contributions, like holding fund raisers in Buddhists temples.
Posted by: bt_semi-consciou...er-semi-retired_hun at January 30, 2010 05:34 PM
The plot sickens. The same number with different names? All in different places? I know how that would be possible. Would the code have had to be rewritten to accomodate said donation? Which means *someone* highly placed knew who and when the contributions would come through?
Posted by: Cricket at January 30, 2010 07:30 PM
This has the story. I would link it, but I am barely able to function. I have ONE PAGE written.
Out of 8-10 that are required.
There is not enough gum on the planet.
Posted by: Cricket at January 30, 2010 07:43 PM
Which means *someone* highly placed knew who and when the contributions would come through?
Someone highly-placed authorized the software to be deactivated when it was first *installed* -- thereby allowing *all* donations to escape the attention of the fraud-catcher, regardless of when they were made.
Posted by: BillT at January 31, 2010 09:58 AM
Rest easy. The DOJ has assigned their crack team of investigators to the case.
Posted by: bt_and justice for all_hun at January 31, 2010 10:20 AM
Selective enforcement from Foggy Bottom. It is painfully obvious that whatever BHO says his minions do the opposite with more enthusiasm. Right out of the Alinsky playbook.
Posted by: vet66 at January 31, 2010 12:20 PM
Posted by: Cricket at January 31, 2010 12:41 PM
I agree with Cassandra. Obama should get along with those who oppose him. If he wants to remain respected even by the Republicans, he should not be a "jerk."
Posted by: Mark @ Israel at February 9, 2010 02:42 AM