Filling in the blanks for Bill Keller

posted at 9:24 pm on September 19, 2011 by Karl

Based on his opinion of the state of the Obama adminsitration, fmr. NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller needs someone to fill in some blanks, primarily between his ears:

The decline in Obama’s political fortunes, the Great Disappointment, can be attributed to four main factors: the intractable legacy bequeathed by George W. Bush; Republican resistance amounting to sabotage; the unrealistic expectations and inevitable disenchantment of some of the president’s supporters; and, to be sure, the man himself.

Keller trots out the already tired trope that Obama inherited the wind from George W. Bush:

Unfunded wars, supply-side deficits, twin housing and banking crises enabled by an orgy of regulatory permissiveness — that was the legacy Obama assumed. In our political culture if you inherit a problem and don’t fix it, you own it. So at some point it became the popular wisdom that Iraq and Afghanistan were “Obama’s wars,” and that the recession had become “Obama’s economy.” Given the systemic burden Bush left for his successor, that judgment seems to me to be less about fair play than about short memories.

In Keller’s telling of “historical truth,” the Democrats’ initial support of those wars disappears, their control of Congress from 2006-08 magically vanishes, and our debt has nothing to do with government spending even the Obama administration admits is unsustainable. As for the housing and banking crises, the NYT’s own business reporter seems to find responsible an unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros. Moreover, most Americans continue to blame Bush for the economy; Keller is simply delusional on this point. As I was unable to find any polling on who is to blame for our current wars, I would wager Keller is also indulging his imagination on this point (and one would hope people blame Al Qaeda and the Taliban for the Afghan campaign).

Keller continues:

Another toxic legacy of the Bush years is an angry conservative populism, in which government is viewed as tyranny and compromise as apostasy.

I sort of agree with this, to the extent that the Tea Party grew out of the reaction against the Wall Street bailout. But “Republican resistance amounting to sabotage”? During the GHWBush administration, Democrats supported the war on terror, acquiesced in enhanced interrogation of high-value terror suspects and warrantless eavesdropping on terror suspects, and were part of the consensus that Saddam Hussein and his WMD programs posed a grave and growing threat to our national security — only to cynically disavow all of it when the going got tough… and to end up continuing most of Bush’s war policies in the Obama administration, adding targeted assassination of US citrizens and possibly indefinite detention. Compared to that record, Bill Keller has the unmitigated gall to call the standard GOP opposition to higher taxes, job-killing regulations and unsustainable government spending “amounting to sabotage”? Puh-leeze.

Indeed, Keller’s account of “historical truth” on this point ignores that Obama had a Democratic Congress for two years, including a period where Dems had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Obama got his stimulus, TARP II, Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law. Keller credits for Obama for all of these things later in his column, ignoring that if the GOP is any position to hinder Obama today, it is due to widespread public disappointment with and revulsion against the Obama record.

Keller pooh-poohs liberal disenchantment with Obama. Here again, there is a kernel of truth to Keller’s point. Progressive ideologues are being unrealistic about what Obama could achieve, given how unpopular his agenda has been. And there is partisan cynicism in opposing even Obama’s tiny and practically illusory nods toward entitlement reform. But it is an irony-free observation coming from Keller, who is blaming Obama himself. And his criticism of Obama is hilarious:

Obama can be faulted for periods of passivity (his silence as Republicans have sought to defund financial reforms), for a naïve deference to Congress (his belated engagement in the details of the health care bill), for a deficit of boldness and passion, for not doing more to stiffen the spines of his caucus on Capitol Hill, for not understanding — at least until his latest barnstorming on the jobs bill — that governing these days is a permanent campaign.

Obama’s successes were arguably due to his leaving the grubby work of vote-counting to the Democratic leadership in Congress, while focusing on buying off stakeholders: health insurers, pharmacos, investment banks, etc. Keller is now blaming Obama for not being bold mere paragraphs after dismissing his fellow travelers as politically unrealistic. Moreover, Keller seems to have forgotten all of the town halls, photo-ops, infomercials, press conferences, and the occasional speech to a joint session of Congress in support of the various items on the Obama agenda during the first half of his term. I can almost forgive Keller for blotting them from his mind, given how unsuccessful they all were in moving public opinion. But they all happened. Obama has always understood the permanent campign; indeed, it’s all Obama knows how to do.

Lastly, Keller is perhaps at his worst here:

It’s not just that [Obama] has failed to own his successes. He has in a sense failed to define himself. He is one of our more elusive presidents, not deeply rooted in any place or movement. David Remnick’s biography called Obama a shape-shifter. At the fringes, that makes him vulnerable to conspiratorial slanders: he is a socialist, a foreign imposter, a jihadist, an adherent of black liberation theology.

Well, Obama did attend a church based on black liberation theology for 20 years. Under Bill Keller’s leadership, the New York Times did its best to ignore the story, to avoid the sort of religious vetting that Keller has argued should be standard for presidential candidates. Barack Obama touted his “blank screen” quality in The Audacity of Hope, yet in 2008, Keller and his fellow travelers in the establishment media did little to fill in the blanks Keller now complains about. I know teenagers with a better sense of self-responsibility than Bill Keller.

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that dude looks like Bob McDonnell

ted c on September 19, 2011 at 9:28 PM

And this is surprising to anyone? It’s the freakin’ NYTimes.

iurockhead on September 19, 2011 at 9:31 PM

Well, there are some folks who understand Rick Perry. Even Charlie Rangel was sucked in!

http://themorningspew.com/2011/09/19/charlie-rangel-nuttier-than-we-thought/

bloggless on September 19, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Unfunded wars, supply-side deficits, twin housing and banking crises enabled by an orgy of regulatory permissiveness — that was the legacy Obama assumed. In our political culture if you inherit a problem and don’t fix it, you own it. So at some point it became the popular wisdom that Iraq and Afghanistan were “Obama’s wars,” and that the recession had become “Obama’s economy.” Given the systemic burden Bush left for his successor, that judgment seems to me to be less about fair play than about short memories.
================================================================

Oh ya,your deal’n with Team Right,an Elephant doesn’t forget,
and a Conservative women,has a super-computer memory thingy,
that will amaze,in her ability to recall events,like a taped
recording.

Anywho,INHERITENCE,ain’t gonna work!!

canopfor on September 19, 2011 at 9:35 PM

actually progressive ideologues have been very successful over the last 20 years in shaping the country via laws, regs and extra-democratic means. For example:

About three-quarters of the energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions from washing a load of laundry come from heating the water — a practice that, scientists say, is often wasteful and unnecessary.

Procter & Gamble, the consumer products giant that makes brands like Crest and Gillette in addition to Tide, takes credit for the innovation in North America, which emerged from an evaluation of the company’s energy footprint in 2003.

After realizing how much energy was used to heat water for laundry, Procter set a goal to convert 70 percent of all washing-machine loads to cold water by 2020;
by Procter’s estimate currently 38 percent of laundry loads globally were done in cold water.

The left hates modernity. Edison’s light bulb…ban it. Hot water for washing clothes, make them use cold.

The joys of hot water and incandescent light needs to be thrown on the ash heap of history.

Actually, of course, they hate the modernity of little people, the great unwashed who don’t deserve the level of consumption that they enjoy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/business/cold-water-detergents-get-a-chilly-reception.html?_r=1&ref=science

r keller on September 19, 2011 at 9:35 PM

enabled by an orgy of regulatory permissiveness
=================================================

That is called Stimulus!!

canopfor on September 19, 2011 at 9:35 PM

In the end it still comes down to one thing for these liberals: An inability to admit that they, the smartest people in America, were snookered by an unaccomplished, two-bit, grifting, huckster.

So they make excuses.

Bishop on September 19, 2011 at 9:36 PM

As for the housing and banking crises, the NYT’s own business reporter seems to find responsible an unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros.

This simply cannot be repeated enough.

rickyricardo on September 19, 2011 at 9:37 PM

enabled by an orgy of regulatory permissiveness

Oh, would that be a failure by Barney Frank and Maxine Waters?

You remember Barney Frank, don’t you Billy? Said he was “blinded by ideology”. Would that be the ideology that you espouse Billy?

Do us all a favor, shove your head back up your rectum and help fight global warming.

GarandFan on September 19, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I wonder what it must feel like to live in a Lefty brain,where after 3 or so years,one realizes that Obama is another failed
Liberal,and your HOPES and DREAMS are shot down,once again!!

So,as expected,the Liberal wagaons are circling Hopey,
and,

THEY ARE ALL PLAYING THE VICTIMIZATION CARD!!

Obama was victimized by Bush
The Democrat seat loss in November,were victimized by
the Tea Party,er,by Sarah Palin,more to the point!

The Union Goons were victimized by Scott Walker

The Teachers were victimized by Wisconsin State

The ObamaVoterBots are victimized by Obama himself!

And the victimization list goes on to infinity~!!

canopfor on September 19, 2011 at 9:48 PM

Indeed, Keller’s account of “historical truth” on this point ignores that Obama had a Democratic Congress for two years, including a period where Dems had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Obama got his stimulus, TARP II, Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law. Keller credits for Obama for all of these things later in his column, ignoring that if the GOP is any position to hinder Obama today, it is due to widespread public disappointment with and revulsion against the Obama record.

We must all pledge to remind people of this as often as possible, preferably on a daily basis. It has been glossed over by the MSM to point of being illegible.

cynccook on September 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

So let’s get real. Yes, Obama could do better. But we could do a lot worse.

This article is what is known as journalistic fellatio.

Think of how bad the economy would be if it wasn’t for Obama.

Think of how many jobs he saved.

Think of how many wars he didn’t start. (kinetic military actions don’t count)

George Bush didn’t win a Nobel Prize.

Look at the reform he instigated in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, etc.

Yeah, I suppose it could be a lot worse. But it’s difficult to see how.

BobMbx on September 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

I’ve never been an overly religious man, and I rarely wish ill things on other people, but after this sh*tbag passes I sincerely pray there is a special ring of hell reserved for him and his friends.

May his circle of hell be nothing more complicated than the daily reminder of the damage and pain he cost his country and it’s people.

Tim Zank on September 19, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Oh, would that be a failure by Barney Frank and Maxine Waters?

GarandFan on September 19, 2011 at 9:40 PM

GarandFan:True dat:)
=======================

Paul Shanklin-Banking Queen Barney Frank

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxdL_olcpjo

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Maxine Waters (D) Slip of the Tongue Reveals True Intentions (Socialism for America)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3I-PVVowFY

canopfor on September 19, 2011 at 9:53 PM

In the end it still comes down to one thing for these liberals: An inability to admit that they, the smartest people in America, were snookered by an unaccomplished, two-bit, grifting, huckster.

So they make excuses.

Bishop on September 19, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Bishop:You do have a way of weaving da words,and ya nailed it!:)

canopfor on September 19, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Sure this guy ain’t the CEO from qwikster?

John the Libertarian on September 19, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Great post.

tom0508 on September 19, 2011 at 9:58 PM

We must all pledge to remind people of this as often as possible, preferably on a daily basis. It has been glossed over by the MSM to point of being illegible.

cynccook on September 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

cynccook:That is why,come 2012,everyone needs to be loaded for bear
in regards to Facts on Obama’s performance,and to use his
own words against him!:)

canopfor on September 19, 2011 at 9:59 PM

It’s amazing how hard the MSM is trying to shove the first two years of the 0bama regime down the memory hole.

Rebar on September 19, 2011 at 10:05 PM

In the end it still comes down to one thing for these liberals: An inability to admit that they, the smartest people in America, were snookered by an unaccomplished, two-bit, grifting, huckster.

So they make excuses.

Bishop on September 19, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Bingo.

KMC1 on September 19, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Give me a break. Bill Keller is nothing but the Chief Hack in Hack-town. And that writing is pure idiotic high school idealist moron. Such pathetic, delusional dreck.

How anyone can read that nonsense and not laugh out loud is beyond me.

My absolute favorite trope has to be this constant drumbeat over “unfunded wars”. Good lord. BOTH wars have cost a TOTAL of about $1.3 trillion. Obama’s deficit in EACH of the years 2009, 2010, and 2011 have been bigger than ten goddam years of the terrible no-good “unfunded wars”.

Take your ridiculous talking points and stuff them in your a–.

deadrody on September 19, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Another toxic legacy of the Bush years is an angry conservative populism, in which government is viewed as tyranny and compromise as apostasy.

No, a whole bunch of people have always absolutely loathed people like you jackass…and up until the last year or so, a whole bunch of people didn’t really care…

But that’s changing. Big time.

BigWyo on September 19, 2011 at 10:35 PM

We must all pledge to remind people of this as often as possible, preferably on a daily basis. It has been glossed over by the MSM to point of being illegible.

cynccook on September 19, 2011 at 9:49 PM

You say that as if the “glossing over”, per se, wasn’t purely intentional. Clearly it was.

deadrody on September 19, 2011 at 10:38 PM

My comment copied from the “blame Bush” headline thread:

Ya know, Bill, if you would read some other paper, other than your fishwrap of record or one of its derivatives, you would know that the numbers don’t support your position. So far, obama had added more to the debt in less than three years thaan Bush did in eight years. Of course, Bush did not have the problems of obama, unless you except 9/11, Afganistan, Iraq, pirates in the Indian Ocean, and a democratic majority in the congress that blew his budget – no don’t count that. Of course we can’t compare a Bush budget to an obama budger, (wait for it ………) because the dimpcrapts have never produced a budget during the obama presidency.

The American people knew Bush good enough to know not to worship him, unlike you do obama. You see, we knew he really was born here (but the dems threw a fit about McCain being born on a Navy base in Panama). We knew Bush’s grades, because you ridiculed him. We don’t know anything about obama so if we don’t worship him like you, we are racists. By the way, did you know that obama went to Oberlin on a fullbright scholarship for foreign students? He claimed Indoneasian citizenship and to be a muslim to qualify for the scholarship.

We all know that obama was far more qualified than Palin (prez vs VEEP) because we were told that was so by you. However, you have never, Never, NEVER backed that claim with any evidence. All he has ever done is vote present and pontificate – sorta kinda like you.

Don’t choke on that silver spoon in your mouth you elite pos.

Old Country Boy on September 19, 2011 at 10:55 PM

May Keller implode professionally.

David Remnick’s biography called Obama a shape-shifter.

Should have called him a snake shifter.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2011 at 11:00 PM

an orgy of regulatory permissiveness

Makes me hawt!

disa on September 19, 2011 at 11:11 PM

Given Keller’s deliberate attempts to sabotage the war on terror, I classify Keller as a traitor. He, and his boss, “Pinch”, should have been hanged as traitors long ago.

georgej on September 20, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Keller and his fellow travelers in the establishment media did little to fill in the blanks Keller now complains about. I know teenagers with a better sense of self-responsibility than Bill Keller.

For 8 years all we heard from democrats was “It’s Bush’s fault…the buck stops at the Presidents desk”….

Now we get this from the “adults” in the room:

WAAAAAAAA!!!!!…..
……………….WAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

…………………..”It’s not me….It’s not me”

There really is no better example of the total failure of “Hope and Change” than the fact that 3 years into Obama’s Presidency democrats are still whining about Bush.

Absolutely pathetic.

Memories:

“For ultimately, the buck stops with me. … When the system fails, it is my responsibility.”

Barack Obama

“My administration has a job to do as well. That job is to get this economy back on its feet. That’s my job, and it’s a job I gladly accept……

Barack Obama

Mr Obama said: ‘I don’t want to quell anger – I think people are right to be angry. I am angry. Ultimately, I am responsible as President of the United States.

Barack Obama

…when are democrats going to man up and take responsibility for their actions?????

Baxter Greene on September 20, 2011 at 12:58 AM

LOL. This idiot will take the NYT down faster than it was already descending.
Nothing worse than a moron who thinks he is a genius.

pat on September 20, 2011 at 2:08 AM

We have two parties in America. The socialism party and the moralism party. You have one choice. Both. Or else.

MSimon on September 20, 2011 at 4:32 AM

Who is Bill Keller?

Khun Joe on September 20, 2011 at 4:59 AM

This is why you cannot consider the NYT to even be considered competent journalism anymore. The fact that their Editor in Chief is forever stuck in BLAME BUSH mode shows that you cannot trust a single solitary thing that comes out of that rag.

If anything, this is proof why the NYT should be just ignored and shunned. I wouldn’t even report anything they have to say anymore, not even here at HotAir. They are not worth wasting the space for anymore.

pilamaye on September 20, 2011 at 5:47 AM

Didn’t the Democrats have Congress from 2006 through 2010?

Cindy Munford on September 20, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Progressive ideologues are being unrealistic about what Obama could achieve, given how unpopular his agenda has been.

Yes, they are and were unrealistic. Which is what makes your side as believable on elections as used car salesmen. That’s why you had a presidential candidate running against “policies that fail” (aka “failed policies”) without the press taking it apart for its vapidity!

Axeman on September 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Sooooooooo:

Keller’s argument is that Obama has made NO DIFFERENCE!!

It’s almost as if nobody has showed up for work at the White House since 2008!!!

landlines on September 20, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Didn’t the Democrats have Congress from 2006 through 2010?

Cindy Munford on September 20, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Yes, but Republicans couldn’t just sit down and shut up, they wanted to have a say in the matter. Jeesh!

Because they were still making a noise when they held not one of the 4 bodies of the 3 branches of government, and even when the Senate voted down every Republican-authored amendment to the Healthcare bill, and tried to lock Republicans out of committee meetings, they are disgraceful human beings, who can’t take a clue about when they’re not wanted. They showed their contempt for the rest of Congress by offering “non-serious” (according to Reid) amendments that nobody wanted!

When you don’t control nothing, the spirit of bipartisanship is to sit down and shut up. Bill Keller wouldn’t have as much bad to say about you better if you were better losers.

Axeman on September 20, 2011 at 12:41 PM

From some parallel world of 2008: “…I’ve got a better plan! It may not work if there are problems when I get to the office–or earthquakes and oil spills later–so keep that in mind. But, the people want a SOLUTION, and I believe I can provide that kind of solution–but c’mon, be realistic. …YES WE CAN!…if circumstances allow…

Axeman on September 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM

The one word response to, “It’s all their fault.”

Obamacare.

Pythagoras on September 20, 2011 at 1:37 PM