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Hullabaloo


Monday, December 08, 2008

 
Hippie Punch Of The Day

by dday

I am gobsmacked by this HuffPo piece by Steve Hildebrand, punching the hippies on the left for... having opinions. Hilbebrand begins by outlining the challenges President-elect Obama faces - on the economy, on Iraq and foreign policy, on repairing the nation's reputation around the world, on the crisis of the uninsured, on global warming - all problems that this amorphous "left" knows all about and has been describing in detail for several years, and then he says this:

I could go on and on. The point I'm making here is that our new president, the Congress and all Americans must come together to solve these problems. This is not a time for the left wing of our Party to draw conclusions about the Cabinet and White House appointments that President-Elect Obama is making. Some believe the appointments generally aren't progressive enough. Having worked with former Senator Obama for the last two years, I can tell you, that isn't the way he thinks and it's not likely the way he will lead. The problems I mentioned above and the many I didn't, suggest that our president surround himself with the most qualified people to address these challenges. After all, he was elected to be the president of all the people - not just those on the left.

As a liberal member of our Party, I hope and expect our new president to address those issues that will benefit the vast majority of Americans first and foremost. That's his job. Over time, there will be many, many issues that come before him. But first let's get our economy moving, bring our troops home safely, fix health care, end climate change and restore our place in the world. What a great president Barack Obama will be if he can work with Congress and the American people to make great strides in these very difficult times.


First, note the "some people say" technique, marginalizing critics by disembodying them. Then, note the frame, that only the very serious people are thinking about these challenges, while "the left" is screaming about ideology, because they want the world to go to hell, I guess. It's also "not a time" to draw conclusions about Cabinet and White House appointments. In other words, you should just STFU and enjoy the new dawn with your dear leader.

That's not really how America works. And this lashing out from a senior Obama aide at a really small group of critics, who aren't really displaying much more than concern, and who for the most part have offered support for the policy pronouncements coming out of the transition, is extremely depressing. I don't think he's serving his former boss very well by seeking to silence dissent and building straw men on "the left," lying about their interests and concerns.

David Sirota dispatches with this pretty easily. But I'm really frustrated by it. Instead of writing a letter to, say, the actual people that are going to obstruct Obama's agenda, like the ones who will filibuster the auto industry rescue, Hildebrand finds it important to break up all gatherings of five hippies in a field. That's important to the survival of the nation. That's worth the effort.


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