Matt Stoller has been taking a bit of heat from the Obama Canonization Network for criticizing a speech Obama made recently that included the comment "I don’t think that George Bush is a bad man. I think he loves his country." I’m sure it was offered up by Obama in the spirit of comity, of archaic Senatorial decorum that the left still endorses but the Newtian right long ago relinquished.
So what’s wrong with a bit of good-natured congeniality for the Prez? I think Dave Johnson from Seeing the Forest said it very well (email, sorry no link):
I think Matt’s more saying, stop backing up RW narratives. The "Bush is a nice guy" narrative brings with it the marginalization of people who oppose Bush. Obama says Bush is a nice guy, and doesn’t know that he is undercutting his own position (along with the rest of us) because he doesn’t know how the narrative operates. It opens the door to dismissing opposition (and polling on impeachment) as coming only from fringe "Bush-haters."
….How do we help people like Obama to understand what the RW narratives are? We in the blogosphere forget that our level of "informedness" is light-years ahead of most people, even people at the core of Progressive leadership and activism. (my emphasis)
Dave’s comments cut to the heart of the problem — they don’t get it. Would Obama’s speech, or the points he’s trying to make, be any the less effective for leaving those two sentences out? No. Does he understand what he and others are doing by reinforcing the narratives that the Mighty Wurlitzer works overtime to seed in the public consciousness? Obviously not.
As Matt Stoller says:
Powerful actors, like the top-down media, will not attack the President unless they think he’s weak. But to make the case that he is weak, he must be treated with contempt, and that cannot happen when party leaders like Barack Obama simply refuse to act creatively and risk driving up their disapproval ratings.
Peter Daou’s predictions for how the NSA wiretapping scandal will play out are pretty dire, but they do not seem off base to me as I watch the high profile Democrats play their part. They’re unwilling to suffer the negatives they incur for being critical, so they wait for wait for others to kick up a stink and take Bush down before they will take a shot. But it’s certainly not the MSM who are going to force him into swinging distance, yet they continue to undermine, marginalize and disparage those who do the leg work necessary to rewrite the very narratives that continues to stand in the way of achieving everything they purport to believe in.
Obama is certainly not the only one nor is he the worst, he is simply one there is reason to hope will hear the message and heed it.