...the disillusioned left, which is easily, almost perpetually disillusioned because it has such an ample supply of illusions. (A lot of lefties, notwithstanding their scorn for “the system,” seem to have an implicit naive faith in the workability of the mechanisms of American governance. Hence their readiness to blame the disappointments of the Administration’s first two years mainly on Obama’s alleged moral or character failings—cowardice, spinelessness, insincerity, duplicity, what have you.)Gah. The dismissive tone of that remark really annoyed me. Me and my "ample supply of illusions"! And yes, I happen to think that Obama's failure to hold the previous administration (not to mention Wall Street bankers) accountable for rather significant criminality, and his own 180 reversal of his campaign promises regarding Bush terrorism policies represents "moral failing" - So shoot me! (No don't - thank you.)
Look, I get that Obama has to deal with some daunting systemic constraints. But let's not forget that he swept into office with huge public support, world-wide, and Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Then look at what GWB managed to ram through Congress with a fraction of that advantage, and don't tell me that Obama is just hog-tied by "the system". Bullshit. I never expected miracles from him, but I honestly don't believe that it is unreasonable for me to be keenly disappointed in his record so far, especially with regard to civil liberties, terrorism policies, and the economy. Shall we ask Bradley Manning if he has "ample illusions" about what an ex-Constitutional law professor now Democratic Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning president should be capable of?
Ack. Well, I started this off as a post to show you what I heard from Ms. O'Brien. So here's the entirety of our email exchange. First, my email to her:
Hello Barbara,About 15 minutes later, her reply:
I am stunned at your response to my comment. I am sincerely interested to hear from you how you think I misrepresented what you said. I don’t mean to be argumentative or difficult. The only people I quoted were Hertzberg and Steve M. Please let me know how I mis-read you.
I have read your blog for many years and have found much to like and agree with there, and I have responded to your email requests, twice, to post your essays on my blog. I hope that you will at least afford me the courtesy of a respectful disagreement.
I don't have time to discuss it; but it seemed to be you were selectively editing what Glenn and Steve wrote in order to distort Steve's arguments. Please don't do that. I am so damn tired of the petty bickering over whether Barack Obama is well meaning but not as effective as he could be, or that he was a stealth conservative who planned to deliver us to the Koch brothers all along. The latter view is, IMO, nuts, and I am not tolerating it.To which I wrote:
Barbara,So that's it. Ms. O'Brien seems not interested in anything I have to say, so I will spare her any more of my "whining."
Thank you so much for answering me, and I won’t take up your time. You are right – that latter view is nuts. It’s also nowhere near what I was saying. I’m sure I don’t like being misrepresented any more than you do.
I wish I had saved my post so that I could re-read it and try to find how I distorted Steve’s arguments. Stupid of me – It was long, and I spent a couple of hours putting it together. I never dreamed you would delete it. Oh well, live and learn.
I wish you well,