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Bob Cesca Is a Hack and Now I’m Going to Tear Apart His Column

So…for Sunday I was thinking lighthearted and easy. Maybe some fluff about Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann, something simple and stupid that gets the clickthroughs (after all, when you’re just restarting your blogging life like I am, aren’t clicks priority number one?). Then I saw this column by Bob Cesca at HuffPo and, just wow, is it hacktastic. As much as I’d hate to give this guy the traffic, it’s really best enjoyed in it’s entirety. Just to give you an idea of what’s ahead, it’s titled “Are Progressives Losing Touch With Reality?”

To the first two paragraphs of this hackery that Bob Cesca is inexplicably being paid to produce:

This afternoon, Markos Moulitsas wrote an offhanded comment on Daily Kos that seems completely in line with the recent upswing in progressive apoplexy. Referencing a post by Duncan Black about the president’s tax cut deal, Markos wrote, “Tax cuts don’t create jobs. It’s really obnoxious hearing Democrats like Obama trying to make that argument.”

Right off the bat, and not to go all Aaron Sorkin nitpicky on Markos, but it’s President Obama. Come on. Is it seriously that difficult to type the word “president?” And while I agree with the first part, I’m not sure what Markos is talking about in the second part. The president has never once suggested that tax cuts create jobs.

Oh really, Bob? Now, this isn’t to defend Markos, who is also an establishment fellating hack, but I was pretty sure when I read that passage that President Obama has said all kinds of ridiculous shit about tax cuts being good for the economy and creating jobs before. Also, unlike Bob as we will see further down, I have citations to substantiate my assertions. Obama, at the signing ceremony of his Republican tax cut bill, if Bob had bothered to check:

Obama stressed the items he negotiated into the bill, including a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits, as well as middle class tax cuts devoted to such items as college tuition, child care and business expansions.

Said Obama: “Putting more money in the pockets of families most likely to spend it — helping businesses invest and grow — that’s how we’re going to spark demand, spur hiring, and strengthen our economy in the new year.”

Some Democrats accused Obama of caving in to the Republicans during negotiations, and of favoring the rich over such items as new breaks on estate taxes.

Huh. Now I’m confused. Bob told me that Obama “has never once suggested that tax cuts create jobs” and openly wondered whether progressives are losing their minds and touch with reality. It sure as hell looks to me like the President is saying that “putting more money in the pockets of families” with tax cuts and credits are “how we’re going to spark demand, spur hiring, and strengthen our economy in the new year.” Maybe I need to be drug tested or change out of my pajamas or something. Or clap harder. 

I can understand how Bob is a little confused, though. He is, after all, just a hack and the world can be confusing when you have no idea what you’re doing. For instance, Bob fails to see that while Obama doesn’t usually say things as stupid as “tax cuts create jobs” (but sometimes does!) the people he handpicked to advise him and represent the views of the executive branch in the media are constantly saying things that stupid, or even stupider. I give you White House economic advisor Larry Summers, who was specifically sent on a media tour by the Administration to drum scare up support for the tax cut deal:

“If they don’t pass this bill in the next couple of weeks,” said White House economic adviser Larry Summers, “it would materially increase the risk the economy would stall out and we would have a double dip.”


At the same time, Summers conceded that the deal Mr. Obama struck with Republicans “is an imperfect agreement.”

“It’s got things we like and things we don’t like,” said Summers at a briefing for reporters intended by the White House to influence press coverage of the deal.

After Bob either untruthfully or sloppily states that “the president has never once suggested that tax cuts create jobs”, he uses some hacktastic sleight of hand to make it look like he’s citing something when he does nothing of the sort. Instead of supporting his assertion that Obama hasn’t ever said anything like that he just links to this ThinkProgress post about an NPR interview where President Chameleon says the opposite, as if Obama saying the opposite on one occasion means something:

INSKEEP: Let me ask you about something that we heard from one of our listeners… The question that we got was: “Please ask him how keeping the tax rate for the richest the same as it has been for a decade creates one single job.”

OBAMA: It doesn’t, which is why I was opposed to it — and I’m still opposed to it.

Bob then goes on to insult his readers’ intelligence:

Concurrently, the president has obviously been ballyhooing his tax-cut compromise with the Republicans, while commenting that the deal will create jobs — not the tax cuts part of the deal, specifically, but the overall deal. And he’s right. If the CBO numbers indicating $1.61 in stimulus for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits are correct, then extending the benefits will create jobs as the economy grows.

What’s so difficult to understand about this?

Let me help you with that, Bob. What’s so hard to understand is that your position is bullshit. Complete bullshit. The President and his media sycophants have repeatedly said things along the standard conservative economic narrative of tax cuts->money in pockets->spend->jobs. The “commenting” link in there doesn’t support your point at all as it links to a stupid Bloomberg/Business Week blurb about how Obama is convinced the deal will create jobs, without any quotes that qualify between tax cuts and other provisions. You’re really, really reaching here. And here you are trying to tell us that we’re just losing touch with reality by believing our lying eyes and ears.

Unbelievably it actually gets worse, for this bullshit is just the foundation for a big ol’ house of veal pen suckery. Let’s follow Bob down that path for a minute:

There’s a larger and growing crisis within the progressive movement. I’m worried that certain factions of the movement are losing touch with reality.

No, this tax-cut deal isn’t perfect. We’re all well aware that tax cuts for the richest two percent won’t create jobs, nor will they stimulate the economy. But — and this is the case the president is making about the deal — the only way to pass some form of economic stimulus (unemployment benefits) is to achieve a whip count that includes Republican votes.


President Obama understands this. And while the optics and his performance in trying to sell the deal have been lacking, the politics are best case, given the opposition party’s carpet-bombing strategy.

Somehow, though, certain progressives don’t get it. They believe the president is betraying progressive principles and deliberately sticking it to “the base.”

Again, I’ll help you with this, Bob. The President doesn’t need any Republican votes to pass legislation until next month. None, zero, zip, zilch, nada. Also, just for the sake of argument, let’s say he did and the Democrats forced the Republicans to let all the tax cuts expire while they hold out for the tax cuts for the rich. Boehner himself said he’d settle for the middle class cuts alone, so why you acting like the President had no choice?

We don’t think that the President is betraying progressive principles; we think he doesn’t have them. We also don’t think that he’s deliberately sticking it to “the base” either. We think he says one thing and then does another.

Speaking of saying one thing and doing another, Bob has chosen the Bestest Example Evar of progressive insanity: the public option. After some more tripe about progressives whining, throwing tantrums and being pathetic (seriously, read the whole thing) he goes after Keith Olbermann for calling out the White House on preemptively taking single payer off the table and dealing away the public option to the hospital industry:

Last week, Keith Olbermann delivered a Special Comment about the tax cut deal. In it, he predictably eviscerated the president for accepting the tax-cut compromise. Fine. I get it. And I like Keith.

But within the cablecast essay, Olbermann noted how the president engaged in a “preemptive abandonment” of both the public option and single-payer…


The public option wasn’t “preemptively” jettisoned either. Like every aspect and line item contained within the various health-care-reform bills that were ricocheting around Congress, it was up for negotiation. Every policy within those bills was negotiable. Not just the public option.

And despite that, it was still alive by November and December of 2009 — at the end of that protracted battle. The president himself even promoted the idea in his joint session address in September of 2009, deep within the belly of the process. Hardly a “preemptive abandonment.”

Apparently Bob didn’t get the memo about how the Administration and the hospital industry killed the public option behind closed doors in summer of 2009. Maybe he could have read about it at HuffPo which, regrettably and bears repeating, pays him for his writing. Hey, Bob of the reality based community, are you really arguing that the President wasn’t lying through his teeth about the public option in that Congressional address in September?

And it continues:

And yet, out of some sort of manic-depression or desire for hipster cred, we’ve become overly preoccupied with tearing down the most liberal president in decades using non-reality-based criticisms instead of laser-focusing our efforts and resources on tearing down the real killers — conservatives, Tea Party people and the GOP.

No, no, no. The most liberal president in decades, eh? Clinton was clearly much more liberal. After all, it’s the Clinton tax rates that Obama just refused to let go back into effect for anybody. Also, the Great Progressive Healthcare Victory is the Heritage Foundation’s plan in response to the Clinton healthcare effort in the 90’s and was first implemented in it’s basic form by a Republican governor. When even Clinton rejects your health care plan as a Republican plan, you’ve got no argument to liberalism in Obama.

One last time, Bob:

But mainly, enough with the pouting. We have to stop mistaking petulance for “principle” and get something done.

You’re right, Bob. Quit pouting that others who are much, much smarter see through your BFF’s kabuki schtick. I can’t wait to read your upcoming columns on how the President’s newest agreement on exactly what the Republicans want is good because he’s “getting something done”.

Did I mention that Bob Cesca gets paid for this?

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