The Washington Post is already working on crafting Obama’s presidential legacy story once he leaves office next January – and it isn’t just any legacy they are attributing to him – it’s an “unusual” legacy. Why? Well, The Post certainly couldn’t use Obama Care which was shoved down the throats of Americans and far exceeded projected costs. They couldn’t use the issue of Immigration that Obama so passionately ran on during his campaign – especially after it was just smacked down by the Supreme Court earlier this week. No – Obama’s “unusual” legacy was being “a good dad,” something that had nothing to do with his presidency.
Osama bin Laden routinely referred to his main Western enemies as “crusaders.” Conservative-bashing author Neal Gabler, the longtime Fox News Watch panelist, adapted OBL’s analogy in a Thursday Salon piece that originally ran at BillMoyers.com. Gabler also griped that if most Americans don’t understand just how fanatical Republicans are, blame the media.
“For three decades,” Gabler commented, “the MSM have been collaborators with the GOP, pretending” that it’s “a normal party,” when it’s really “closer to a religious cult…It operates on dogma, sees compromise as a moral failing, [and] views enemies as pagans who must be vanquished…That isn’t politics; it’s a modern version of the medieval Crusades, and as the ancient Crusades did to Europe, it has inflicted untold damage on our country.”
In a Sunday post, The Washington Monthly’s D.R. Tucker urged Bern-feelers to follow the example of conservatives who “rebounded from Barry Goldwater’s spectacular  loss [and became] a dominant force. By forming influential think tanks and media outlets, pressuring the mainstream press to focus on issues right-wingers considered important, and voting consistently in even the most ‘minor’ of elections, the right seized power…Barry Goldwater was not the man to lead a conservative revolution, but he unquestionably inspired one. Perhaps [Sanders’s] supporters could pick up where his campaign left off and lead a revolutionary effort to move this country to the left.”
If there were a restaurant called Clinton Scandals, Kevin Drum has an idea of what the house specialty would be. “Whitewater was a nothingburger. Travelgate was a nothingburger. Troopergate was a nothingburger. Filegate was a nothingburger,” asserted Drum in a Wednesday post. “The Vince Foster murder conspiracy theories were a nothingburger. Monica Lewinsky was Bill's problem, not Hillary's. Benghazi was a tragedy, but entirely nonscandalous…Emailgate revealed some poor judgment, but we've now seen all the emails and it's pretty obviously a nothingburger.”
When liberals call Republicans “deniers,” it typically has to do with climate change. Jonathan Chait alleges big-time GOP denial on a non-scientific matter. “Republican voting support is increasingly coterminous with white racial resentment even as conservatives firmly believe in their own racial innocence,” wrote Chait in a Tuesday post. “Conservatives deny the existence of racism in the Republican Party as a matter of doctrinal sanctity, just as Soviet authorities had to officially deny the existence of poverty in the USSR.”
While Chait has no use for the economic and fiscal proposals advanced by Paul Ryan and other House Republicans, he acknowledged that their ideas “have no intellectual connection to racism.” Nonetheless, “the trouble for Republicans is that building a real-world constituency for these policies does rely on racism. Conservatives stopped the momentum of the New Deal in the mid-1960s only when they associated it with support for the black underclass. Republican politics has grown increasingly racialized over time, a trend that has dramatically accelerated during the Obama era.”
FX’s The Americans, the under-watched but very compelling drama about husband and wife undercover KGB spies in suburban Washington, DC in the early 1980s, concludes its fourth season tonight. This season the program showed a side of the Soviet Union rarely, if ever, seen on U.S. television: the method and speed in which the Soviets killed those who helped the U.S. and how Soviet technological incompetence almost led to a nuclear attack on America.
Like almost everyone who has the sense God gave geese, Deadspin founder Leitch thinks O.J. Simpson is an unconvicted murderer. Unlike most of those people, Leitch also thinks Simpson’s acquittal “may have been one of the biggest civil-rights victories” of the 1990s. In a New York magazine review of the seven-hour, 43-minute documentary O.J.: Made in America, which airs in five parts next month on ABC and ESPN, Leitch remarked, “The verdict was just cause for all that national celebration from African-Americans, even if [Simpson] was guilty. Shit, especially if he was.”
To Leitch, the acquittal amounted to partial recompense for the black community of Los Angeles, given “the city’s [history of] scabrous racial politics, from the southern blacks who came to Los Angeles expecting acceptance and discovering something far different, to the Watts riots…to former LAPD chief Daryl Gates’s horrific racial attitudes…It all exploded with the Rodney King riots, which were less about King and more about the seeming impossibility that a black man could ever win anything in a court of law in the city of Los Angeles.”
Brian Beutler expects that Donald Trump’s campaign will attempt to “hoodwink first-time voters or people who weren’t paying close attention…into believing known lies” about Hillary Clinton that first surfaced more than two decades ago. As for whether journalists will “debunk” Trump’s “whoppers,” Beutler’s not so sure.
“Unless a critical mass of media figures agrees to treat the things Trump exhumes from the fever swamps of the 1990s with the appropriate contempt, Trump will enjoy the benefit of the doubt most major-party nominees expect,” wrote Beutler in a Friday article. Beutler speculated that as Republicans unify behind Trump, reporters might be less inclined to criticize the presumptive nominee for his outrageous statements and more inclined to present him as a “partisan mirror image” of Clinton.
After nearly eight years in office, President Obama no longer cares if he seems to be trolling the rest of the country. He is. Now, he’s heading to Hiroshima (by way of Vietnam) to push his choom-fueled dorm-room vision of a nuclear-free world. His purpose is shallow and silly. His timing – Memorial Day Weekend – is egregious. And his media coverage is predictably fawning.
Even though Donald Trump is “dumb” and “racist,” he might constitute an upgrade in the Republican party’s leadership, suggests Rolling Stone’s Taibbi. That’s because before Trump turned into the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, the public faces of the party were “mean, traitorous scum.” Republicans, wrote Taibbi in the magazine’s June 2 issue, “dominated American political life for 50 years and were never anything but monsters…Their leaders, from Ralph Reed to Bill Frist to Tom DeLay to Rick Santorum to [Mitt] Romney and [Paul] Ryan, were an interminable assembly line of shrieking, witch-hunting celibates…the kind of people who thought Iran-Contra was nothing, but would grind the affairs of state to a halt over a blow job or Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.”
Mount Rushmore has become an ongoing reference to historical greatness. GQ editor Jim Nelson recently proclaimed Barack Obama was “Mount Rushmore great.” In 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed, NBC reporter Jim Maceda gushed its last dictator Mikhail Gorbachev deserved a place on Mount Rushmore.
Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reports that Washington Post bigwig Bob Woodward envisions Bill, Hillary, and even Chelsea Clinton on Mount Rushmore, at least in their minds.
Universities have generated countless breakthroughs in science, technology, and medicine. Then there’s the product of higher education that Kevin Drum discussed in a Saturday post: “The first concrete movement toward gender-neutral bathrooms started at universities. Now it's becoming mainstream. Good work, idealistic college kids!"
Drum remarked that some current campus obsessions -- “safe spaces, microaggressions, trigger warnings” -- might be considered “dumb,” but added, “I've always found it hard to get too exercised about this stuff. These kids are 19 years old. They want to change the world. They're idealistic and maybe too impatient with anyone who doesn't want to move as fast as they do. So were you and I at that age. Frankly, if they didn't go a little overboard about social justice, I'd be worried about them.”