Subjective Objectivity – The Blog of The Reasonable Man

August 12, 2010

Because somebody needs to hate on Nile Gardiner

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikeshotgun @ 2:52 pm

The Telegraph blogs have another vapid expectoration post from GOP Propagandist and overall smarmy prick Heritage Foundation hack, Nile Gardiner. For those of you who don’t know about Nile Gardiner, he is an object lesson in how to be a despicable ass, yet still get a talking post in the Very Serious Daily Telegraph. His sole purpose in that stable of idiocy is to outline, usually in excruiatingly turgid and factually challenged lists, often stating as truth talking points that are basically unhinged from reality. I sometimes wonder if he is simply a parody of a deranged right-winger, and the Telegraph is playing a hilarious joke on us all.

Anyway, to his column. It’s entitled The Stunning Decline of Barack Obama: 10 key reasons why the Obama Presidency is in Meltdown. Reading this morass of bullshit, I am drawn to the conclusion that his method of attack is just launch volley after volley of bullshit, and defy people to actually rebut every point while he cravenly sets to building his own reality in the meanwhile. I shall go through them.

1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people

In a previous post I noted how the Obama presidency increasingly resembles a modern-day Ancien Régime, extravagant, decaying and out of touch with ordinary Americans. The First Lady’s ill-conceived trip to Spain at a time of widespread economic hardship was symbolic of a White House that barely gives a second thought to public opinion on many issues, and frequently projects a distinctly elitist image. The “let them eat cake” approach didn’t play well over two centuries ago, and it won’t succeed today.

Here Gardiner just states this as fact, before levying just one example (Michelle Obama taking her daughter to Spain whilst visiting a grieving friend) to establish that the President, who did not accompany his wife (presumably letting your wife go on holiday is “out of touch”). He cites himself as a source for all this by the way, then “cleverly” draws a comparison with fall of the French monarchy, and presumably Marie Antoinette. This begs the question, is Nile Gardiner being elitist in using a European history example. Couldn’t he have found a good old fashioned American history point to illustrate his point?

I don’t want to get drawn into this collosal non-story, but the fact the first point on the list is a cheap shot at the President’s wife pretty much sets the tone of this contemptible excuse for “analysis”. Next.

2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership

This deficit of trust in Obama’s leadership is central to his decline. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, “nearly six in ten voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country”, and two thirds “say they are disillusioned with or angry about the way the federal government is working.” The poll showed that a staggering 58 per cent of Americans say they do not have confidence in the president’s decision-making, with just 42 per cent saying they do.

I’m not wild on individual polls with vague questions, but this particular poll comes showing a fair decline in the trust voters have in the US government generally. It doesn’t signal voting intentions, and crucially both Obama and Democrats beat Republicans in Congress in terms of faith. But these are low figures right? Obama is determined to be a one-termer, if we take Gardiner’s thesis. Well, no:

Obama’s overall standing puts him at about the same place President Bill Clinton was in the summer of 1994, a few months before Republicans captured the House and Senate in an electoral landslide.

President Ronald Reagan, who also contended with a serious recession at the outset of his first term, was a little lower at this point in 1982, with a 46 percent to 45 percent split on his approval ratings. Republicans went on to lose about two dozen seats in the House that fall.

So, Obama’s in the same position as the Big Dog, and St Ronnie, and in a comparable position with the latter (Clinton’s slide in popularity was in large part due to the failure of healthcare reform). Nice try Nile.

3. Obama fails to inspire

In contrast to the soaring rhetoric of his 2006 Convention speech in Chicago which succeeded in impressing millions of television viewers at the time, America is no longer inspired by Barack Obama’s flat, monotonous and often dull presidential speeches and statements delivered via teleprompter. From his extraordinarily uninspiring Afghanistan speech at West Point to his flat State of the Union address, President Obama has failed to touch the heart of America. Even Jimmy Carter was more moving.

Poor Nile’s heart strings are no longer being tugged, as they were when Obama’s convention speech in 2006, which didn’t actually occur. Oh, he means 2004? Seems like a pretty obvious mistake. In any event, this really has no bearing on anything. Unless Gardiner has a poll that shows 80% of Americans want to be “inspired” then my reaction is “so what?”. Indeed, if the President was giving soaring speeches, number 3 in this list would be “Obama just gives flowery speeches while Rome burns” or some such bollocks. He’s also using the old favourite, the teleprompter meme, something  discredited as a substantive critique over a year ago. Bonus points for the Jimmy Carter reference.

4. The United States is drowning in debt

The Congressional Budget Office Long-Term Budget Outlook offers a frightening picture of the scale of America’s national debt. Under its alternative fiscal scenario, the CBO projects that US debt could rise to 87 percent of GDP by 2020, 109 percent by 2025, and 185 percent in 2035. While much of Europe, led by Britain and Germany, are aggressively cutting their deficits, the Obama administration is actively growing America’s debt, and has no plan in place to avert a looming Greek-style financial crisis.

While reasonable men can differ about whether other European economies mightfind themselves in Greek-style financial crises, the idea that the biggest economy in the world will is fanciful nonsense from our faux deficit hawks. In any event, allow me let me give this graph a whirl again:


5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat

The relentless emphasis on bailouts and stimulus spending has done little to spur economic growth or create jobs, but has greatly advanced the power of the federal government in America. This is not an approach that is proving popular with the American public, and even most European governments have long ditched this tax and spend approach to saving their own economies.

Ahem. TARP and the bailout of the banks both occured during the Bush administration, as did half of the bailouts for the car industry. The stimulus? Well, look again at the graph.

6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake

In an extraordinary act of political Harakiri, President Obama leant his full support to the hugely controversial, unpopular and divisive health care reform bill, with a monstrous price tag of $940 billion, whose repeal is now supported by 55 per cent of likely US voters. As I wrote at the time of its passing, the legislation is “a great leap forward by the United States towards a European-style vision of universal health care, which will only lead to soaring costs, higher taxes, and a surge in red tape for small businesses. This reckless legislation dramatically expands the power of the state over the lives of individuals, and could not be further from the vision of America’s founding fathers.”

No it isn’t. Americans don’t really understand the Affordable Care Act, because it is rather complicated, to and they’ve been deceived by bullshit obfuscation by Heritage Foundation scumbags like Gardiner. Also, the cost of the healthcare reform are only marginally more than doing nothing, only 30,000,000 or so extra people are insured now. Notice how, in support of this contention, Gardiner cites himself and a pollster known for its Republican bias.

7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive

While much of the spilled oil in the Gulf has now been thankfully cleared up, the political damage for the White House will be long-lasting. Instead of showing real leadership on the matter by acing decisively and drawing upon offers of international support, the Obama administration settled on a more convenient strategy of relentlessly bashing an Anglo-American company while largely sitting on its hands. Significantly, a poll of Louisiana voters gave George W. Bush higher marks for his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with 62 percent disapproving of Obama’s performance on the Gulf oil spill.

The poll is irrelevant, comparing as it does apples with cardigans. The suggestion that the Obama administration could in anyway do anything to stop the oil spill is plainly wrong. The expertise to do so lay with those responsible for drilling in the first place, i.e. BP, which they did. The US Government is not in the business of offshore drilling, and Gardiner and his ilk would probably be horrified if they were, complaining of an overbearing state. You see, fetid wingnuts are all against government intrustion until it’s necessary to clean up the mess made by rampant capitalism.

8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration

It is hard to think of a single foreign policy success for the Obama administration, but there have been plenty of missteps which have weakened American global power as well as the standing of the United States.

New START Treaty, greater co-operation with China in general measures, not starting a pointless and protracted war,

The surrender to Moscow on Third Site missile defence

Surrender to Moscow? The Cold War is over. Also, it was unpopular in its host countries.

the failure to aggressively stand up to Iran’s nuclear programme,

Oh, I guess Gardiner thinks that not starting a pointless war is a failing. I see.

the decision to side with ousted Marxists in Honduras

Because wingnuts do love a good illegal South American coup

the slap in the face for Great Britain over the Falklands

Don’t be stupid

have all contributed to the image of a US administration completely out of its depth in international affairs.

I suppose if that’s the conclusion you were going to draw regardless of what happened, you’d be about right.

The Obama administration’s high risk strategy of appeasing America’s enemies while kicking traditional US allies has only succeeded in weakening the United States while strengthening her adversaries.

Bonus points for use of the word “appeasment”. Again, bald assertions with no real basis in fact beyond the demented neo-con worldview.

9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security

From the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to the War on Terror, President Obama’s leadership has often been muddled and confused. On Afghanistan he rightly sent tens of thousands of additional troops to the battlefield. At the same time however he bizarrely announced a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces beginning in July 2011, handing the initiative to the Taliban. On Iraq he has announced an end to combat operations and the withdrawal of all but 50,000 troops despite a recent upsurge in terrorist violence and political instability, and without the Iraqi military and police ready to take over. In addition he has ditched the concept of a War on Terror, replacing it with an Overseas Contingency Operation, hardly the right message to send in the midst of a long-war against Al-Qaeda.

I guess Nile and I have to agree to disagree here – he seems to want limitless protracted war in unwinnable theatres of operation. Though I’d say establishing an open-ended commitment to a costly war in an ungovernable region against public opinion and without real justification is more bizarre than not doing so. But I guess Nile Gardiner is the smart one here. Also, the last sentence doesn’t make sense on any reasonable interpretation of facts or language.

10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness

Barack Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism, and has made apologising for his country into an art form. In a speech to the United Nations last September he stated that “no one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.” It is difficult to see how a US president who holds these views and does not even accept America’s greatness in history can actually lead the world’s only superpower with force and conviction.

Again, we descend into notions of power, where Gardiner thinks the US should try and dominate the world.bonus points for the apology tour meme, where Gardiner once again cites himself as authority. It seems to me that what Obama doesn’t believe in is a belligerent and aggressive foreign policy, with America as boss of the world. If you think that’s a bad thing, then you’re a deranged sociopath, seemingly intent on bankrupting the USA both financially and morally, who you’d think would have learned some humility despite being proven almost entirely wrong by history and facts Nile Gardiner.

Aside from roughly summing up a couple of dubious polls, I’m not certain a single paragraph in this article isn’t utterly laced with falsehoods. Nile Gardiner might be the worst member of the Daily Telegraph blogs, and that is not a race won at a canter.

Cross-posted at Something Quotable


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