Obama’s shtick is getting tired, even with some Democrats

posted at 8:41 pm on January 21, 2015 by Noah Rothman

One of the president’s favorite rhetorical tricks is to place himself at the center of any debate and to banish his critics to the extreme fringes.

It was a technique he perfected during the 2008 campaign. For example: “At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either ‘too black’ or ‘not black enough,’” Obama said during his speech on race relations in March of that year. In this way, the president frames himself as a centrist and all others as irrational and hopelessly partisan.

On the right, this technique has evolved into a running gag. “Some say that we should lob a volley of nuclear weapons at Iran tomorrow while others insist that we unilaterally normalize relations and formally apologize for the overthrow of Mossadeq. I reject this false choice.” Of course, no one is suggesting either of these extreme positions, but Obama has bravely cast them aside in favor of his eminently reasonable approach.

It is a cynical ploy, and it’s wearing thin. Even among Democrats.

Obama might have no sharper critic on the issue of Iranian nuclear negotiations than fellow Democrat, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Today, Menendez accused the White House of adopting a position on new sanctions against the Iranian regime that aligns perfectly with the propagandist rhetoric coming out of Tehran.

The schism between Menendez and Obama has roots in a more personal gripe, apparently. According to CNN, Obama deployed his old rhetorical trick against Menendez during a Democratic retreat in Baltimore. There, the president implied that his approach to Iran was noble and virtuous and all others who disagree, including Menendez, are bought and paid for by special interests.

Menendez wasn’t having any of it.

The unusually sharp exchange, between a senior senator and a president from his own party, occurred during a Senate Democratic retreat at a hotel in Baltimore. A senior administration official also confirmed details of the exchange, which was first reported by the New York Times.

Obama said that as a former senator himself, he understood how outside forces — like special interests and donors — can influence senators to act, one of the senators recounted.

That’s when Menendez stood up to challenge the President, telling Obama he took “personal offense” to his assertions, the New York Times reported, arguing that he has worked to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions for many years and was not motivated by political considerations.

Every Democrat that CNN spoke to about this incident downplayed the confrontational nature of this exchange, but it speaks for itself. It looks like Obama’s preferred oratorical maneuver is losing its luster.


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Barack Hussein ibn Fraudi 0b00ba will be one of the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history. He will have no defenders or fans in ten years. You saw it here first.

Akzed on January 21, 2015 at 8:44 PM

Barack Hussein ibn Fraudi 0b00ba will be one of the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history. He will have no defenders or fans in ten years. You saw it here first.

Akzed on January 21, 2015 at 8:44 PM

Akzed on January 21, 2015 at 8:46 PM

Barack has a PHD in strawman construction.

OhioJones on January 21, 2015 at 8:53 PM

Some say that Obama will be one of the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history.
Others say that Obama will be the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history.

justltl on January 21, 2015 at 8:54 PM

Joe Biden was right.

He has a big shtick.

fogw on January 21, 2015 at 8:54 PM

Obama said that as a former senator himself, he understood how outside forces — like special interests and donors — can influence senators to act, one of the senators recounted.

Translation: Joooooooos.

Wethal on January 21, 2015 at 8:54 PM

One of the president’s favorite rhetorical tricks is to place himself at the center of any debate and to banish his critics to the extreme fringes.

His debating methods really are the “JV team” he accused ISIS of being. And after he executes one of these methods, he’s just so pleased with himself, he’s halfway to an orgasm. It’s a patten with him.

LashRambo on January 21, 2015 at 8:56 PM

On college campi (to use a Rushism) coeds who later regret a sexual encounter get to cry “rape.”

I suspect many will cry rape in the next few years.

rbj on January 21, 2015 at 8:57 PM

In other words: they can;t vote for him anymore so they are now focused on the next lying POS to destroy the nation with.

Barack is yesterday’s IED.

profitsbeard on January 21, 2015 at 8:57 PM

Some say that Obama will be one of the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history.
Others say that Obama will be the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history.

justltl on January 21, 2015 at 8:54 PM

These are the extreme edges of the debate. Me, I take the middle ground — Obama will among the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history.

LashRambo on January 21, 2015 at 8:58 PM

Obama’s shtick is getting tired, even with some Democrats

Not with the low-information cultists in academia though.

Star Bird on January 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM

Obama’s shtick is getting tired

A lawyer, an illegal immigrant, a black guy, a Muslim, and a Harvard man walk into a bar.

The bartender looks up and says, “What’ll you have, Mr. President?”

Emperor Norton on January 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM

On college campi (to use a Rushism) coeds who later regret a sexual encounter get to cry “rape.”

I suspect many will cry rape in the next few years.

rbj on January 21, 2015 at 8:57 PM

.
Dude, that’s why you gotta get a signed Letter or Form of Consent from your partner. CYA….. First.
( Then ya get her to sign a non-compete. ;)

FlaMurph on January 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM

Limp shtick

txag92 on January 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM

The entire nation is getting sick of him.

Viewership of the State of the Union address continues to wane, with early numbers suggesting perhaps the lowest tune-in for the annual event in 15 years.

People didn’t tune out Bush like this.

The Notorious G.O.P on January 21, 2015 at 9:02 PM

On the right, this technique has evolved into a running gag. “Some say that we should lob a volley of nuclear weapons at Iran tomorrow while others insist that we unilaterally normalize relations and formally apologize for the overthrow of Mossadeq. I reject this false choice.”

For years I’ve figured Obama’s 2nd amendment stance as somewhere between these two extremes: “Some would put no limits on arms for personal use, including automatic weapons, grenades, flame-throwers, tanks, and small nuclear arms. Others propose to ban all forms of arms, including guns of all kinds, bows and arrows, hatchets, hammers, and nail files. I take the middle ground.”

LashRambo on January 21, 2015 at 9:04 PM

One of the president’s favorite rhetorical tricks is to place himself at the center of any debate and to banish his critics to the extreme fringes.

Oddly enough, that’s your schtick, too.

wolly4321 on January 21, 2015 at 9:04 PM

That would make Menendez a racist, at least that’s how it worked in the old days.

Bishop on January 21, 2015 at 9:10 PM

One of the president’s favorite rhetorical tricks is to place himself at the center of any debate and to banish his critics to the extreme fringes.

Oddly enough, that’s your schtick, too.

wolly4321 on January 21, 2015 at 9:04 PM

If Obama had a son … … …

VorDaj on January 21, 2015 at 9:11 PM

Today, Menendez accused the White House of adopting a position on new sanctions against the Iranian regime that aligns perfectly with the propagandist rhetoric coming out of Tehran.

“There are those who say Senator Menendez flies to the Caribbean for trysts with underage sex slaves. My position has evolved and I no longer reject this notion.”

forest on January 21, 2015 at 9:13 PM

As BarackNapoleon is trying to deceive the countryside he is also tricking his own sheeple. The scapegoat will soon again be the TeaMonster. Whenever anything goes wrong it will again became usual to attribute it to the TeaMonster. In fact most of his claims begin to sound completely ridiculous to the objective mind. Of course, his Squealer Propaganda Ministers in the MSM have as their main mission to keep everything clouded in the minds of the sheeple.

VorDaj on January 21, 2015 at 9:16 PM

Television ratings for President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday are in and the news is that America just isn’t into this president anymore. Viewership appears to have plummeted to a 15 year low.

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015 at 9:17 PM

One of the president’s favorite rhetorical tricks is to place himself at the center of any debate and to banish his critics to the extreme fringes.

What do you expect? Obama has nothing else. That’s what you have to do when your resume is paper-thin and you’ve never taken any bold stance on any major issue for fear of being stereotyped or pigeonholed into one position (see — Mitt Romney for a perfect illustration of this).

Obama himself said he was a blank screen which is no different than an empty canvas — make of him what you will, for Barack Obama can be anything to anyone and everything to everyone. This is why you had some on our side saying that Obama was a good choice for ‘conservatives’ in 2008, a claim that was laughable then and is even more laughable in hindsight.

For Obama, simply uttering nonsensical words and painting oneself as the centrist conduit to both parties is all you need to do — because once it inevitably fails, you can turn around and blame one party or the other for pulling you too far to the right or left. The reason this tactic fails miserably is because everyone with half a brain can see Obama is never ‘pulled’ to the right — he’s firmly on the far-left and none of his major policy proposals end up with him taking on his own party.

Which is not surprising — since some surveys had Obama ranked as the most liberal Senator in Congress and the man only had a voting record for 2 years before running for president. It’s not easy to be to the left of Ted Kennedy — but Obama succeeded. It is insulting to human intelligence for Obama to be portrayed as anything other than a partisan, demagogic, left-wing Democrat. There’s nothing moderate or centrist about him, his administration, style, his policies — nothing.

Obama said that as a former senator himself, he understood how outside forces — like special interests and donors — can influence senators to act, one of the senators recounted.

You gotta love the sheer chutzpah of that alleged remark from Obama. As if him becoming POTUS means he’s magically immune to outside forces ‘like special interests and donors’ — this is the guy constantly campaigning, raising money, and focusing on a legacy above everything else.

Aizen on January 21, 2015 at 9:21 PM

It surely took Democrats a long time to realize that, did it not?

ojfltx on January 21, 2015 at 9:26 PM

My guess is Menendez is getting serious questions from New Jersey voters and donors, Jewish or not, about just what Barack Obama is doing with his Middle East plans, and it comes down to how far towards Iran and away from Israel do some Democrats in Congress think the White House can get before the start having a serious problem with turnout and donations, to the point that both could go over to the Republican side.

There’s only so far pols like Bob Menendez or even Chuck Schumer can go in alibiing away the Obama Administration’s actions in the Middle East, before they decide — or get feedback — that it just isn’t working any more. In the case or Iran and Israel we may have reached that point, where Menendez has to think about his and other Democrats’ future re-election chances, while Obama has no more elections to run, and can finally start doing the things he’s wanted to do all along.

jon1979 on January 21, 2015 at 9:27 PM

Obama Distilled

By Jay Nordlinger

I’d like to cite one little passage from Obama’s State of the Union address. To me, it distills the man. First, some prelude.

There is a bill in the Senate, sponsored by Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican, and Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat. It would impose new sanctions on Iran if Iran fails to conclude a nuclear agreement by the deadline: June 30. Obama has vowed to veto the bill (of course).

At a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats, he said he understood the situation of people like Menendez: They were facing pressure from “donors.” To this, Menendez took “personal offense.” That’s what he told Obama. His position on Iran, said Menendez, stemmed from his understanding of that country and the world, not from any pressure applied by “donors.”

Some of us wondered, “Why does Obama think that opposition to his Iran policy is based on ‘donors’? Is opposition to his Cuba policy based on donors? His Russia policy? His anything policy? Why this one area of Iran?”

Hmmm … Does it have anything to do with “rhymes with ‘choose,’” as Rick Brookhiser would say?

Anyway, I now get to the State of the Union address. Obama said that he would veto any new sanctions bill that “threatens to undo” his “progress.” Then he said, “The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.”

So, you see? Support for sanctions — in the event of failed talks — equals support for war. Sanctions-supporter equals war-supporter.

That is untrue. And not a very nice thing to assert. And so, so Obama. Absolutely typical. Perfectly Obama.

And he’s right: The people elected him twice. Great.

Resist We Much on January 21, 2015 at 9:31 PM

Not with tingles and wolfie

cmsinaz on January 21, 2015 at 9:37 PM

Michelle has a weener.

Akzed on January 21, 2015 at 9:38 PM

For years I’ve figured Obama’s 2nd amendment stance as somewhere between these two extremes: “Some would put no limits on arms for personal use, including automatic weapons, grenades, flame-throwers, tanks, and small nuclear arms. Others propose to ban all forms of arms, including guns of all kinds, bows and arrows, hatchets, hammers, and nail files. I take the middle ground.”

LashRambo on January 21, 2015 at 9:04 PM

Prolly worst worse.

“I don’t believe people should be able to own guns,” Obama told Lott one day at the University of Chicago Law School.

Lott explains that he first met Obama shortly after completing his research on concealed handgun laws and crime.

“He did not come across as a moderate who wanted to bring people together,” Lott writes.

After he introduced himself to Obama, Lott suggested that they have lunch one day to discuss their views on guns. According to Lott, Obama “grimaced and turned away.” That was the way many conversations with Obama ended, Lott says.

Although the Law School was famous for the openness of its faculty and friendly engagement, Lott says, “Obama…preferred silent, scowling disdain to collegiality.”

President Barack Obama describes his views on guns much differently now that he is on the national stage, Lott believes, pointing to an interview on Fox News in which Obama states, “I have said consistently that I believe that the Second Amendment is an individual right.”

But, Lott isn’t convinced:

“Despite his assurance to Fox News that he understands the Second Amendment, it’s a good bet that the positions Obama took on guns during his time at Chicago reveal his true convictions.”

The chapter documents the actions that Obama has taken on guns, citing the following:

In 1996, Obama supported a ban on handguns
In 1998, he supported a ban on the sale of all semi-automatic guns
In 2004, he advocated banning gun sales within five miles of a school or park, which would have shut down nearly all gun stores

Mimzey on January 21, 2015 at 9:43 PM

The Dems don’t do anything that hasn’t been thoroughly forced through a political prism. Is Menendez truly speaking out against Obama’s policy with Iran or is it just another game of good cop, bad cop to create political cover?

Obama has nothing to lose and fully intends to do what he wants, regardless. The Dems in Congress however, have to be re-elected and so feign faux opposition. Kabuki, is what it is; just theater played out by Democrat politicians behind a mask of deception.

Dan_NV on January 21, 2015 at 9:50 PM

So they’re stepping away from emperor zero as he straps on his suicide vest?

Doubtful. May they be caught up in the blast.

HumpBot Salvation on January 21, 2015 at 9:53 PM

Is Menendez truly speaking out against Obama’s policy with Iran or is it just another game of good cop, bad cop to create political cover?

Dan_NV on January 21, 2015 at 9:50 PM

Could very well be. \The slow, incremental, building the persona of a more “realistic” dem….”someone we can trust”.

Mimzey on January 21, 2015 at 9:55 PM

Some would suggest that we simply exterminate everyone with a combined family income below the poverty level, thus instantly eliminating poverty. Others would suggest that we exterminate the rich and give their houses and worldly belongings to poor people.

It is not clear who would clean the houses, in the first case, or who would run the businesses, in the second case, but this is what those on either extreme of this issue would suggest.

Then again, others suggest that we tie the Members of Congress in an upright position, tape their eyes open and play “We Won’t Be Fooled Again” on eternal repeat, several decibels above the level of a screaming mother-in-law. This seems to be far more reasonable, while having nothing whatsoever to do with the first two examples.

/big sarc/

IndieDogg on January 21, 2015 at 9:56 PM

Barack Hussein ibn Fraudi 0b00ba will be one of the most ridiculed and despised figures of American history. He will have no defenders or fans in ten years. You saw it here first.

Akzed on January 21, 2015 at 8:44 PM

Not really. I’ve seen it tons of other places, too.

I hope you’re all right.

The Rogue Tomato on January 21, 2015 at 10:01 PM

I predict that by the Fall of 2017 there will be at least 10 books on the market having to do with “The Truth About Barack Obama”. These books will be written by reporters who investigated Obama between 2007 and 2016, and kept all the notes locked away because they didn’t want to help his enemies, or hurt his Presidency.
The books will tell us about his grandparents, his mother, his father, his childhood, his time in Indonesia, his high school years, his college years, what kind of student he was, who his friends were, how his education was financed, how his political career was launched and promoted, and how the press got him nominated and elected. We will find out that at least 90% of the horrible things suspected about him were true, and we will know why so much was concealed, and why if it had been revealed, he would never have been elected.
These books will be written in a last ditch attempt to save the reputation of the nearly bankrupt and discredited media, and a corrupt and anti-American Democratic Party.
The course of American history will be determined by whether these attempts succeed or fail

Frank_D on January 21, 2015 at 10:09 PM

Some say he’s more incompetent than Jimmy Carter. Some say he’s as incompetent as Jimmy Carter. I hold the middle ground.

Deadeye on January 21, 2015 at 10:13 PM

Some say he’s as useless as a box of rocks.
I disagree. I had a pet rock. I don’t think I’d ever own a pet obama.

Deadeye on January 21, 2015 at 10:15 PM

It looks as if no one was impressed with Hemingway Jr.’s speech last night.

onlineanalyst on January 21, 2015 at 10:18 PM

It should be no surprise to any of these people at this point, the political animal they’ve unleashed on us all. Jack Ryan was a cautionary tale a decade ago on what happens when you stand on the tracks when the Hopey Changey train is coming through.

The Schaef on January 21, 2015 at 10:29 PM

If mussolini had an imaginary grandson, he’d stick his chin in the air like Obama does.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on January 21, 2015 at 10:31 PM

It looks as if no one was impressed with Hemingway Jr.’s speech last night.

onlineanalyst on January 21, 2015 at 10:18 PM

Barack Obama Jr. is not a “Jr.”. Jr. is the JV team. Obama is a combination of Einstein, Edison, and Steve Jobs. He is Jobs, he creates jobs. He’s cool, and he cools the planet. Even the wind and the sea obey him. What manner of man is this? He’s The Bomb, and he’s LeBron, babee. Give him the ball.

Obama did a full day’s work. Time for him to go golfing. He’d be better than Michael Jordan, if that’s all he had to do all day.

/but that IS what he does all day

LashRambo on January 21, 2015 at 10:37 PM

Making speeches is his one “shovel ready job.”

GrumpyOldFart on January 21, 2015 at 10:47 PM

Democrats are finally awakening to the fact that King Barack is a fraud?

Who knew?

GarandFan on January 21, 2015 at 10:55 PM

It’s not a “shtick”…it’s full-blown mental illness on display.
The Won deserves to have his own rubber room complete with straight jacket, not a bedroom at the White House…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 21, 2015 at 11:10 PM

I haven’t read the comments but I’m sure by now you’re all aware that Mossad disagrees completely with Bibi and Menendez and the pubs, and agrees completely with Obama.

everdiso on January 22, 2015 at 12:23 AM

Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions

The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations….

…an initial warning from Israeli Mossad leaders was also delivered last week in Israel to a Congressional delegation — including Corker, Graham, McCain and fellow Republican John Barrasso; Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly and Tim Kaine; and independent Angus King — according to lawmakers who were present and staff members who were briefed on the exchange. …

…Two senior U.S. officials tell us that the Mossad has also shared its view with the administration that if legislation that imposed a trigger leading to future sanctions on Iran was signed into law, it would cause the talks to collapse.

The Israeli view shared with Corker and other senators also mirrors the assessment from the U.S. intelligence community. “We’ve had a standing assessment on this,” one senior administration official told us. “We haven’t run the new Kirk-Menendez bill through the process, but the point is that any bill that triggers sanctions would collapse the talks. That’s what the assessment is.” Another intelligence official said that the Israelis had come to the same conclusion.

This is not the first time Israel’s Mossad has been at odds with Netanyahu on Iran. In December 2010, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan told Israeli reporters that he had openly opposed an order from Netanyahu to prepare a military attack on Iran. At the time, Obama was also working to persuade the Israeli prime minister to hold off on attacking Iran….

everdiso on January 22, 2015 at 12:32 AM

One of the president’s favorite rhetorical tricks is to place himself at the center of any debate and to banish his critics to the extreme fringes.
-Noah Rothman

Oddly enough, that’s your schtick, too.
wolly4321 on January 21, 2015 at 9:04 PM

Bullseye!

bluegill on January 22, 2015 at 1:05 AM

At all stages of his Presidency many have said Obama is foolishly incompetent or totally incompetent. I will take the middle ground and settle for incompetent.

albill on January 22, 2015 at 7:25 AM

OLIAR is also known as senator “PRESENT”

ARIZONAVETERAN on January 22, 2015 at 7:44 AM

Obama’s shtick is getting tired

Hoodwink and Bamboozle

Willys on January 22, 2015 at 9:22 AM

I haven’t read the comments but I’m sure by now you’re all aware that Mossad disagrees completely with Bibi and Menendez and the pubs, and agrees completely with Obama.

everdiso on January 22, 2015 at 12:23 AM

So what we see here is that even when fellow Democrats in the Collective begin to show signs of sentience and even sanity, it cannot penetrate the unconditional adulation with The One in the most devoted cultist drones.

Star Bird on January 22, 2015 at 9:23 AM

everdiso on January 22, 2015 at 12:32 AM

Nice cut-and-paste job there. Too bad it isn’t true:

Jerusalem Post

In an extremely unusual step, the Mossad issued a statement Thursday denying the intelligence agency was lobbying US lawmakers against stiffer Iran sanctions and saying that such legislation may lead to a collapse of talks with the Islamic Republic.

Were the Mossad to take that position, it would directly contradict the policy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is calling for tougher sanctions on Iran.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently referring to a briefing Pardo held with a high-level group of seven US senators earlier this week, said that an Israeli intelligence official said a tougher sanctions bill at this time would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.”

According to the Mossad statement, the agency’s head Tamir Pardo met Monday, with Netanyahu’s approval, with the senate delegation and emphasized the “exceptional effectiveness of the sanctions imposed on Iran in recent years,” noting that the sanctions are what drove Iran to the negotiation table.

Pardo said that in talks with Iran it is is”essential” to present both carrots and sticks, and that currently the sticks are lacking. He also said that in the absence of strong pressure, the Iranians will not make meaningful compromises.

Regrading the use of the phrase “throwing a grenade,” cited by Kerry, the statement clarified that Pardo did not use that expression regarding the imposition of sanctions, which he believes are the “sticks” necessary to reach a “good deal with Iran.

Rather, the statement read, Pardo used that expression “as a metaphor to describe the possibility of creating a temporary crisis in the negotiations at the end of which talks would resume under improved conditions.”

The statement said Pardo made it clear that “the bad agreement taking shape with Iran is likely to lead to a regional arms race.”US Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently referring to a briefing Pardo held with a high-level group of seven US senators earlier this week, said that an Israeli intelligence official said a tougher sanctions bill at this time would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.”

According to the Mossad statement, the agency’s head Tamir Pardo met Monday, with Netanyahu’s approval, with the senate delegation and emphasized the “exceptional effectiveness of the sanctions imposed on Iran in recent years,” noting that the sanctions are what drove Iran to the negotiation table.

Pardo said that in talks with Iran it is is”essential” to present both carrots and sticks, and that currently the sticks are lacking. He also said that in the absence of strong pressure, the Iranians will not make meaningful compromises.

Regrading the use of the phrase “throwing a grenade,” cited by Kerry, the statement clarified that Pardo did not use that expression regarding the imposition of sanctions, which he believes are the “sticks” necessary to reach a “good deal with Iran.

Rather, the statement read, Pardo used that expression “as a metaphor to describe the possibility of creating a temporary crisis in the negotiations at the end of which talks would resume under improved conditions.”

The statement said Pardo made it clear that “the bad agreement taking shape with Iran is likely to lead to a regional arms race.”

Thanks for playing, twit.

Athanasius on January 22, 2015 at 2:06 PM