In a recent post that is supposed to detail how Barack Obama is an empty suit, Charles Lemos of NoQuarterUSA attacks Barack Obama’s policies and character in such a way that makes it hard to see how he ever supported Hillary Clinton in the first place. Lemos’s argument is confused and incoherent. The fact that this piece is headed with a picture of Barack Obama in an oversized suit, and entitled “Empty Suit” strikes just the right note of incoherent blathering that the article itself indulges in.
Along the way, Lemos manages to indulge in such right-wing agitprop as attacking war hero John Kerry as an “out-of-touch effete liberal”, while mentioning John Edwards’s “$400 dollar haircuts”, and to paint the Democratic nominee as a student of Lenin. There are few right-wing smears that the No Quarter blog does not indulge in.
Except those about the Clintons. No Quarter blog doesn’t traffic in these, as they would offend his PUMA audience. They also ignore the right-wing smears against McCain, Larry Johnson’s new best friend.
One of the arguments Lemos makes uses the existence of every smear against Obama and other prominent Demcrats as proof-positive that they cannot win a national election. Yet oddly, the same reasoning does not apply to the woman who has been the victim of more smears than any other: Hillary Clinton.
Lemos demonstrates the willful blindness of partisans that is destroying our politics – as he focuses on irrelevancies to make his confused case against Barack Obama. He smears Obama as a friend to “an unapologetic terrorist” – William Ayers. He doesn’t mention Hillary Clinton’s work defending radicals like Ayers in law school; or Bill Clinton’s pardoning of Puerto Rican terrorists and members of Ayers’ own organization. Lemos attacks Obama’s comments about Jersusalem – saying they would have set off riots in the Middle East if he were president. Yet he ignores the real diplomatic fallout from Clinton’s promise to “obliterate Iran”. He touts Clinton’s endorsements by members of the military – as if Obama did not have more endorsements from the military.
A mental gymnast, a skilled mental contortionist, No Quarter blog attacks Barack Obama’s health care plan as entirely inadequate – a mere sop to the insurance industry. Yet Lemos fails to mention that Hillary Clinton’s plan would have to be described in the same way. He attacks Obama for his connections to lobbyists, yet Hillary Clinton’s were far greater and more pervasive. Most of the rest of Lemos’s piece is a compendium of attacks that directly and explicitly parallel those that stuck to Hillary Clinton:
- He has no conviction other than his own political welfare.
- He is the candidate of corporate interests…
- [H]e is one of those clown punch bags. He may come back up but he just gets walloped down again.
- He is unelectable even before the 527s get started.
- But Obama is such a panderer…
Within the entire piece, Lemos keeps making the same incoherent argument holding the PUMAs together:
- Barack Obama cannot win.
- We need to stop him before he wins!
But the key passage is this one:
But how can I trust that shiftless soulless hypocrite who with each passing day changes yet another of his positions? It’s backtracking with Barack. So far he’s trampled on the Fourth Amendment, a women’s right to choose, the health care of all Americans and now the cornerstone of what brung him to the dance in the first place, that magical speech in 2002 that had to be re-recorded so it could be replayed again and again and use your opposition to a fruitless war as his springboard to power.
It is the fact that comments like this get traction outside of the PUMA movement that gets me frustrated with generally astute bloggers like Kate Stone who should – and in fact do – know better than to equate John McCain’s policies with Barack Obama’s. But when bloggers like Kate Stone post about the extreme changes Obama is making to his policies rather than portraying them as the out-of-context remarks, minor changes, and the one reversal that they are – they help create the atmosphere that PUMAs like Larry Johnson are trying to exploit to elect John McCain president. I remember when Maureen Dowd kept attacking Al Gore as a serial exaggerator in 2000 – misrepresenting his mis-statements and awkward comments for humorous effect. But her portrayal of him stuck – even though it was inaccurate. Such is the power of the media.
I’ve often found it is easy to get caught up in the moment and react (and overreact) to the news spin of the day (generally as set by The Drudge Report). That’s how I see the reactions to Obama’s supposed move to the center. I don’t doubt that Obama is trying to move to the center – but aside from the FISA turnaround and the adjustments to his view on timetables for Iraq withdrawl – I don’t see any policy changes. Instead, what seems to be outraging some progressive critics, is that Obama is reaching out culturally to different groups of conservatives – and demonstrating that he respects their concerns even if he disagrees with their policy prescriptions. That’s what I see.
Of course, Lemos, subtle and nuanced thinker that he is sees it differently:
Anyone who supported Obama after March 2008 is clearly either a delusional Obama cultist or a head in the sand idiot…
Ah, if only this were comedy. I hope that Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert can get Larry Johnson on one of their shows soon. What better way to discredit someone than to let them make a fool of themselves while they try to be serious.