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James Carville Offers Up Some Pointed Criticism of Obama…

November 19, 2010

Those comments have been ricocheting around the blogosphere and even the MSM. I just saw this Google headline about Carville refusing to apologize, telling CNN:

Today he said, “If I offended anybody, I am not sorry and I do not apologize.”


I will say that President Obama does not seem to be able to a) articulate a clear message b) stand up for what he purportedly claimed to believe in in 2008, and c) show the slightest bit of enthusiasm when he is discussing his policies and goals. While there is certainly more to the problem than simply messaging, whoever is in charge of WH or Democratic Party messaging should be tarred and feathered. And then fired.

I keep hearing that the WH thinks the lesson to be learned from the last election is that he should try to appeal to moderates and be bipartisan. Hello? What was “bipartisan” about the agenda, policies and campaign ads from the Tea Party during the Midterms? They openly declared war on Obama and after the election they made clear they wouldn’t compromise. On anything. He spent the last two years trying to be bipartisan and the GOP simply would not play along- even when the policies were originally their idea! As a result, he ended up supporting policies and legislation that was so watered down that he lost the support of the much-maligned liberal base. Here’s a lesson for Obama- a lot of liberal democrats were not excited enough to get off their asses and vote Democratic in the midterms and that could happen in 2012 too.

As for the “move to the right” cheerleading coming from the usual suspects in the media, here’s my rant: could someone please explain to me what was so radically leftwing about NOT having a public option and passing a health reform bill that gave private insurers over 30 million new customers? What was so socialist about moderate reforms to the financial industry-you know, the people who brought down the entire global economy and caused the recession? Reforms which didn’t even deal with “too big to fail,” some of the main problems with derivatives trading etc.? What was so leftwing about staying in Afghanistan forever (the timetable for withdrawal has of course been moved back) and expanding the power of the Executive to engage in actions such as extrajudicial killings/assassinations of suspected terrorists even if they are Americans? Most Americans have no idea about the extent to which Obama has continued Bush’s most questionable terrorism policies. What is so radical about reversing course on offshore drilling? First he was against it, now he is for it. Or reversing the ban on whaling? Or foot-dragging on DADT? Or undeclared secret proxy wars in Yemen and Somalia, in addition to other undisclosed nations? Or caving to pressure from the Israel lobby regarding Mideast peace? Or capitulating to China on everything, going so far as to cancel a meeting with the Dalai Lama and then making him use a separate, back entrance when the meeting finally took place? I could go on and on.

Irrespective of ideology, people like leaders who are flexible but whom are principled and take a stand.

I apologize in advance for any typos- I just blasted off this post and I have to get back to work or I’m never going to be able to get to the end of Friday :).

10 Comments leave one →
  1. PYW permalink
    November 19, 2010 5:53 pm

    Carville can say what he wants. He doesn’t work for Hillary.

    • PYW permalink
      November 19, 2010 5:53 pm

      My point was, I have no problem with what he said. 🙂

  2. November 19, 2010 6:48 pm

    I have no problem with Carville’s statement. The truth hurts:)

    Do many people realize that Obama ordered more drone strikes in his 1st yr than W did in 8 years? Or that he denied more Freedom of Information Act requests in his 1st year than W was doing?

    One of Obama’s issues is that he loves his rhetoric, but he doesn’t back it up with action. When the going gets tough (e.g., financial reform, health reform, stimulus, Guantanamo), he caves and tries to push anything through. Then when the public is dissatisfied because they realize that nothing was accomplished except creating a ton of new regulations, Obama and his team scratch their head and blame the “professional left” for being too idealistic.

  3. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    November 19, 2010 7:13 pm

    I remember Carville making this remark during the primaries — when he and Paul Begala were the only two Hillary supporters at CNN being shouted down by all of those ostensibly impartial commentators (like “undeclared superdelegate” Donna Brazile). At the time, I shared Carville’s sense of frustration and laughed at his remark, despite the vaguely sexist undertones, as if fortitude is testicular only, i.e. an exclusively male characteristic (rememeber Jack Nicholson saying Hillary was the “best man for the job,” ouch, wince).
    Now his remark just annoys me, not because of the subterranean sexism but because it’ll stir up all the paranoia about Hillary conniving behind the scenes for Obama’s job blah-blah-blah. Can’t you see it coming?

    • November 19, 2010 9:31 pm

      True- Carville does have a tendency to use very gendered and at times sexist phrases. I’ve always liked Carville but I guess it’s a tad hypocritical of me to overlook his language b/c of that. Maybe he should have said “brass ovaries” or something like that.

      I basically took his statement to simply mean that Obama needs to stop complaining, stop backing down and stand up to the GOP and whomever else he seems to cave in to (the military comes to mind) at the first sign of resistance.

      There are some people who will be paranoid about Hillary’s motives irrespective of what Carville does or doesn’t say. Those people are beyond help.

  4. filipino-american4hrc permalink
    November 20, 2010 5:18 am

    Bravo for the rant, Stacy! And bravo for Carville! The irony of his propensity for sexist/gendered phrasing is that, because of the sexist political and media environment, he got everyone’s attention — especially the intended target. The White House expressed “outrage,” and Obama himself responded to Carville. . .the latter obviously drew blood, and probably created more enemies by telling CNN that he’s not sorry and will not apologize. Now, if only his remark and the ensuing controversy push Obama to show some spine in fighting for core Democratic values, though I doubt it. But maybe he can try with the New START ratification.

    When Hillary had her press availability with Kerry and Lugar , she looked very presidential. And when she challenged Republicans and Democrats to come together in defense of America’s strategic interests — which “Americans expect of their leaders” — I couldn’t help but wonder if I was looking at a sneak preview of a future presidential campaign. Oh well, I can dream.

    On a slightly different subject, here’s a behind-the-scenes diary by Leigh Sales, the Australian news anchor who hosted Hillary’s townterview in Melbourne:

    Here’s a small excerpt:

    On stage, the Secretary of State easily charms the audience with her mixture of intelligence, wit and knowledge. It’s hard not to think, watching her, that we have very few Australian politicians with such rhetorical skill and policy depth. She manages to convey an appearance of frankness without actually being very revealing at all, a skill common to the best political operators.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      November 20, 2010 10:33 am


    • November 20, 2010 10:42 am

      fa4hrc- From a purely political perspective and being totally objective- it was STUPID for the admin. to respond to Carville and express outrage- duh! He’s proving Carville’s point- Obama has to toughen up and stop lashing out at every critic- he lashes out at the left, he lashes out at MSNBC, he lashes out at Carville, he lashes out at the blogosphere- does he think he’s a monarch above all criticism and that we’ve all sworn loyalty to him? Interestingly, he never lashes out at the Right, which I think is very telling- it tells me that Obama is no liberal and never was- he was faking it all along- simply putting himself out there as anti-Establishment and then proceeding to surround himself with establishment figures and pursue business-as-usual beltway politics.

      I used to begrudgingly admit Obama was a good politician during the election and even thought he was a decent speaker on the stump but since he became POTUS it’s become apparent he is neither. If you can’t articulate your message to the people, you are going nowhere fast.

  5. November 20, 2010 8:51 pm

    Pointed! I found it rather rounded and smooth. Rather than causing a puncture wound, it inflicted blunt-force trauma. The Ragin’ Cajun dances on using the same gliding movement he did on CNN about the Hillary 2012 question. Smooth indeed!

    • November 21, 2010 6:15 pm

      Carville cracks me up. I love listening to his interviews- the way he talks 100 miles a minute and is totally politically incorrect. He’s an excellent political adviser, no doubt about it. And he’s right- Obama needs to find his spine. I don’t think he could find it even with a map at this point.

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