Monday, January 26, 2009

Longer Bennett and Obama


Bill Bennett disagreed with fellow conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh, who said that he wants President Obama "to fail." On CNN's "State of the Union," Bennett said, "The locution 'I want him to fail' is not what you say the first week the man's been inaugurated ... the rhetoric could be improved." Watch:

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.... There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats; we shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."

"Not a good idea for the President to personalize it and talk about Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh's an entertainer, as he will tell you. Of course, if you're talking about policies with which you disagree you don't want them to succeed. The locution "I want him to fail" is not what you say the first week the man's been inaugurated. ... Anyway, the rhetoric could be improved.

"But I think the President, then, pointing to Limbaugh just gins that whole thing up again. If he's looking for bipartisan support that doesn't ...

"Remember: Bill Clinton used to talk about Rush all the time, and it never helped Bill Clinton; it certainly helps, it certainly helps Rush. But, this is a sidetrack, this is not where we want to go."

Longer Bennett:

Never mind the substantive points to be made about Limbaugh and his ilk. He's just a clown, as he demonstrates every single day, and is proud of. Not to be taken seriously, the significance of his locutions -- the pernicious meme-gangs he "gins up"; this can have nothing important to do with the pathology of this week's rhetorical gamesmanship over Obama's 'bipartisanship' drive. It's just a sidetrack. That's not where we want to go.

Where we want to go is this way: we want to get back on message on our 'bipartisan promise = straitjacket' talking point: Although, entre nous, this isn't the rhetoric I ought to use at this early stage of the rollout, in our view, Obama has to completely transform all of his ideas and proposals to whatever the Republicans demand if he hopes to live up to his 'promise' of bipartisanship. (I've got that right, haven't I, Senator Kyl? It's our Audacity of Nope strategy.)

And did I mention Bill Clinton? Well ... Bill Clinton. QED. More specifically:
  1. Obama's bipartisan 'promise' is 'broken' if he doesn't do what we want.

  2. Rush's ill-timed locution "I want him to fail" should not be taken seriously as a factor detracting from the bipartisan cooperation necessary to address the hard issues facing the nation. He's obviously a clown: he doesn't know enough not to conceal this bit of unpatriotic hypocrisy, which makes all of us uncomfortable (not because we don't want Obama to fail, which of course we do; but because it's just dumb PR strategy).

  3. Y'see, it's like this: Obama is the one whose actions are threatening bipartisan cooperation -- he's creating a sideshow by getting personal with Rush. He's the one ginning 'that whole thing' up, not Rush. Rush is just clownin' around, just an entertainer. Not a factor -- (just like those clowns Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert). If Obama's looking for bipartisan support that doesn't ...

  4. I'm not going to say what it doesn't. And I don't want to talk about what 'that whole thing' is. I would just like to say, at this juncture, "remember Bill Clinton."

  5. Bill Clinton made the same mistake as Obama. You see, if I don't like the way you depict the truth about a person, I get to say that you have violated the 'can't get personal' cardinal rule as a way of ending further discussion on the merits of whatever aspects of your depiction I'd rather not discuss. So never mind the merits of the situation, YOU, President Obama, have transgressed. You are making the same mistake as Bill Clinton. Poof, the merits are gone. Now we're side-stepping the merits of whatever it was Bill Clinton might have had to say about Rush & his ilk -- not so much side-stepping them as consigning them to some settled category of CW case-history about PR strategy wars, according to my ipse dixit historical summary judgment.

  6. I know I am not doing myself any good by explicating the form of this stratagem at this early stage of the rollout, but it is so devilishly clever that I just can't hold back: it is an ad hominem, attacking Obama for going ad hominem. Such beauty. And before the whisker can snap back, the second blade hits 'em with the brilliant Clinton diversion excursion. Just like my friend Senator Hatch (background).

  7. It's Schopenhauer 16 (ad hominem) times Schopenhauer 26 (turn the tables) times Schopenhauer 2 (homonymy), all raised to the power of Schopenhauer 29 (diversion). All hail Thrasymachus, the patron saint of disingenuous rhetoricians.

Longer Obama:
Shut up, doofus boy.
Well, I shouldn't put divisive words in his mouth. It's more like:
For the true pilot it is necessary to pay careful attention to year, seasons, heaven, stars, winds, and everything that’s proper to the art, if he is really going to be skilled at ruling a ship. And I know, doofus boy, that you don't suppose that it’s possible to acquire the art and practice of how one can get hold of the helm, and at the same time to acquire the pilot’s skill. But here I am self-exemplifying that for you. Here I am steering a course directly at the truth about you, doofus boy, on the merits. And I don't budge when I don't have to, which has proven effective. The transparent mist of your rovean rhetoric will not impede the ship of state.

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1.27.2009 HuffPo

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Emily Bazelon: "If there's a moment where you could go after Rush Limbaugh, I guess it's now."

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1.27.2009 C&L / MSNBC

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1.29.2009 CNBC c/o C&L - Marc Haines interviews Rush

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1.30.2009 TPM - Labor vs. Limbaugh

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2009.02.06 TPM - Polling re the Rush Strategy

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2009.02.27 The Plum Line [Greg Sargent] - party of rush

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