What I’m Reading
The Lives of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius
To Philosophize is to Learn How To Die by Montaigne (some good stoic thoughts on death. In Egypt they would carry around a painting of a corpse in a coffin and toast “drink and be merry for you will be just like this when you are dead.”
The Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian (Arrian is the student of transcribed Epictetus’ lectures. His book on Alexander is surprisingly fair)
Conquering Gotham: A Gilded Age Epic: The Construction of Penn Station and Its Tunnels by Jill Jonnes (it’s a bargain book so it wasn’t a waste but I was hoping for some urban anthropology and this is not it)
Peter the Great by Vasili Klyuchevsky (very dry but interesting)
The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: A Book of Quotations (his notes for a law lecture are my favorite. tells you how not to be this guy)
The Souls Of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois (worth having a copy of)
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (couldn’t sleep and read most of this on the couch)
I’m using delicious more and writing about each article. I do this for a couple different people’s accounts but you can subscribe to an RSS feed of someone’s links. Here’s mine.
Also, we can talk about it in the comments but I think Obama’s ‘Limbaugh as the voice of the republican party‘ strategy is a huge mistake. He’s the wrong guy to do it to and even if he wasn’t it’s a bad move. Polarity is a defensive tactic so it doesn’t make sense for the party with the momentum to purposely bog themselves down in it. They should be sowing dissension and conflict, not giving them a leader (even if it’s a crazy, loud one). I think it’s an out of touch move that seemed like a no-brainer to a bunch of 90’s Democrats but will end up firming up resistance that wasn’t there previously. Before discussing glance at: Law 42, Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter and Strategy 17, Defeat them in detail: Divide and conquer.
Yeah, you’re on it about Obama/Limbaugh. Get the feeling though that Obama and crew are so overwhelmed that a few mistakes are inevitable.
The gop are pretty well divided as it is between the nutty hardliners and the more reasonable types. The white house would be smart to accelerate this division. At the same time, accelerating the division means a quicker recoalescing of the opposition.
Time will tell.
You make a valid point about Obama’s strategy, and perhaps if it was the 90’s, this might have not been the best move, but I like I said, I disagree.This whole limbaugh issue has created an intraparty battle, and it makes the look the Republicans look like they have no leadership or control of the party. Here they are squabbling over who is their leader, and to have a Radio host — albeit a popular one — who has no real power outside of his influence particularly a problem for them because this is happening in the eye of a shit storm. I mean, it was downright pathetic that RNC Chair steele had to apologize to Limbaugh for his criticisms — and valid they were (for once).
So now, Republicans have a clear, definite leader. What does Limbaugh stand for? Helping out the middle class? It certainly doesn’t appear so. All he seems to do is rant these days about how Obama is a socialist and converting America into socialism. Still going on about free hand outs, when, right now, the banks are the one getting the free hand outs and the middle class has been getting the shaft. People everywhere are out of jobs, and if they aren’t out of a job, they are worried they will be. And here, goold Ol rush is talking about how Government is the enemy, and that we shouldn’t help the middle class or tax the rich, etc. This might not be as damaging to the Republicans if it were the 90’s and the economy was good, but we are facing the worst financial crisis since, well, the great depression, and if people who may have harbored racial or xenophobic fears about electing a black president, or succumbing to some phony outrage that Rush and people like Sarah Palin like to generate, they certainly did not show it back in November and actually voted in their best interests this past november.
Since we are talking RG, and 48lop, we must remember that people are acting out of their own self-interest right now. Their own self-interrest is surving the financial crisis, and it looks very bad when the so-called leader of the Republican party, as even Republicans have pretty much assumed by not disowning Limbaugh’s idiotic remarks, also evidenced by keynote speech at Cpac.
Let me ask you, when the GOP chairman Steele has to apologize to a non-politician, and when other GOP politicians have to apologize to Rush for just making some observations, like Rush being just an entertainer — why wouldn’t anybody assume that he is in a leadership role? For crying out loud, GOP memebers are afraid to say anything bad or go against Rush period. If I could frame the this whole issue myself, I would say Rahm, Obama and other democrats are simply stating the obvious nature of the situations: Rush is, in fact, the leader of the GOP. He is out there giving the Keynote speech at Cpac, republicans have to be in line to what he says, not the other way around. This to me shows weakness in the GOP ranks. Oh, sure there is Ron Paul, but … lol.
Which side is a person on?
Those who want to help or Rush-GOP-LEADER-Limbaugh as a guy who thinks that any help is going to bring us into a satanic world of socialism? On one end, you have a reasonable, calm, confident man — Obama — trying to steer us out of this shit storm, and on the other, you have a hate-filled, controversy-evoking, could-care-less-about-the-middle-class. Maybe Obama isn’t what I just described, but when he is pitted against Limbaugh, he comes out on top.
Right now, people are interested in a all-out culture war like Limbaugh would hope. They are interested in keeping their jobs. Culture wars may thrive in good times, but not right now.
I think the strategy is smart.
Think about this sentence: “So now, Republicans have a clear, definite leader.”
I think you’re going to have a hard time arguing that a political party is worse off in any situation by having a leader than by not having one – regardless of whether they are obnoxious or controversial or a bad stereotype.
You’re looking at this very narrowly. The fact that Limbaugh is obviously a clown shouldn’t let you assume that this move was a necessary one. Bush was a master of polarizing his opposition and saddling them with leaders they didn’t want to be associated with (Michael Moore). How did that work out?
As for Steele, he apologized for some comments he made on DL Hughley’s cable show for christsake. If people weren’t desperately looking for confirmation for this strategy it would be a non-event.
>>>>Bush was a master of polarizing his opposition and saddling them with leaders they didn’t want to be associated with (Michael Moore). How did that work out?< He won two presidential elections, what's your point?
You had to post that comment six times? And not once did you stop and think about how retarded it was?
I think Obama’s strategy adheres to Rule 42. It clearly divides the Republican Party by creating a split between the moral majority and the libertarian/business part. This was the obvious place to split the party, their union under Reagan was paradoxical. You have part of the Republican party trying to control the lives of consenting adults behind closed doors, and you have the other group who try to keep the government out of things. Limbaugh is a polarizing figure, Republicans who don’t adhere to his kind of conservatism will look elsewhere, not join up to defend this guy.
I see what your saying, but even if Republicans rally around him, I don´t think it is going to help. Republicans supposedly rallied around Sara Palin last fall, and we all know how that ended up. Rush likes to stir up trouble, talk trash about anything besides his own ideology, and generally proposes no solution but no government at all, and if there is government, it is socialism. I am one of those progressives who actually listens to Rush. He is entertaining, and just likes to say stuff to stir up trouble because it gets him ratings. He´s got a good voice for radio, and he can be funny. But the thing is, he never proposes any meaningful solutions.
And right now, real people want real solutions. Not a culture war that Rush and people like Hannity and Oreilly like to drum up phony outrage over.
Here is the money quote from Frum:
“Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be sidelined.¨
Read the rest here:
We could talk RG all day long, but that´s what so great about RG´s books. You can interpret them in many different ways, and many laws can be used to interpret many different situations, some might be right, some not. RG is a big proponent of having a clear enemy to fight against, right?. What is one of the most hated things by liberals? Obnoxious commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity who act like what they say is written in stone and have no regard for fact at at all. In fact, many view people like them as one of the main things wrong with political discourse these days. What could liberals live with? Liberals could have lived with John McCain circa 2000, or a moderate Republican who isn´t going to alienate the dems. Refer to Law 7 ¨Transform Your War into a Crusade: Morale Strategies¨ of RG´s WAR, from the pg 79: ¨The secret to motivating people and maintaining their morale is to get them to think less about themselves and more about the group. Involve them in a cause, a crusade against a hated enemy.¨ I mean, it could go both ways. I would say RG´s book are more principles to live and strategize by, rather than in-stone rules.
But let´s consider another idealouge: Sarah Palin
Here is David Plouffe´s comments on Palin (Obama´s number 2 or, was it number 3, guy during the campaign season?):
“She was our best fundraiser and organizer in the fall.”
If anything, Sarah Palin, another Republican who represented everything the democrats absolutely hated about the Republicans. At least during the campaign season, she tried to drum up a phony culture war and fake outrage like no other and this just pissed off democrats, including myself, even more. Many dems and progressives absolutely hope she is on the ticket in ´12. The republicans would have no hope should this be the case. The democrats would be so enraged and they would fight like hell against something they hate.
So, I guess, my point is, it can be open to interpretation. I still think it is a good move, because there is nothing that enrages dems more than people like limbaugh and his idiotic comments and drummed up, phony outrage. This is just going to make progressives fight even harder, particularly when, a mere five years ago, if you even questioned the former president´s decisions, you were weak, a traitor, etc, and this for merely questioning the president. Limbaugh is hoping for an outright Obama failure. See what I´m getting at?
As an aside, the Blog No Quarters was anti-Obama during the primary, and he decided to use the 48 laws to interpret how Obama was campaigning. This, too, could be up for interpretation. I don´t read the site, but it was kind of interesting to read.
Here is the link:
One might agree or disagree with that, but again, his own interpretation. He does make a lot of good points, of course.
Point is, the case could be made for pro and con, and I guess the whole limbaugh strategy could be the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do. We´ll see, I guess.
One more thing. As for Steele, it wasn´t just steele who had to retract …
p.s. Since you have inside knowledge and we be talking RG, any news on his latest book?
I think it’s delusional to act like the republican party wasn’t already in complete disarray. They just lost the presidency to a black junior senator and are minorities in the house and Senate.
Thus, a polarizing figure even if he’s one that doesn’t represent the entire party is better for them not having one.
Hannity or Palin both would have been better people to go after.
I probably wouldn’t be making the same argument if they had.
The only good I could see coming of this is that Obama wants his opponents to be strong ones. Weak ones are seldom worth defeating when trying to win the attention of the people you’re trying to convert.
For the great unwashed masses that listen to that poor deluded soul on the radio on bated breath as if Rush was more than just his nick-name at prescription lobbyist parties (They make the best psychedelics), you can identify that population’s loudest, fattest, most obnoxious scent in the conversation and eliminate it.
That’s what Bush would do.
Obama should take that lesson and realize, which I’m assuming he does, that within the gap that he can create within the Republican platform by cutting the head of the snake he called out in public lay an opportunity to redirect that previous populations intentions.
OK, that was a bit rambly.
By choosing his opponent he has already set the stage for the battle. Choosing a strong scapegoat is a lot more effective than choosing a weak one.
In essence all he did was provide himself the forum to tear down the opposition even further.
As long as the segment of the population that believes in him sees him torn to shreds in a national arena of debate, this can only be a good thing.
So tell me how a strong scapegoat is better than a weak one? It makes me think you don’t know what the word means.
Book of Dead Philosophers
Compare and contrast the philosopher’s ideas against his death. Awesome
A scapegoat is only as useful as the amount of people it is capable of distracting from something. On a macro scale, a scapegoat is just used to lead an audience, distracting its attention to wherever the puppet master wills it.
If Obama did make this as a calculated move I can only assume given the rest of his tactics of keeping his political rivals close to him, this may just be his form of Self Directed Warfare. We’ll see how this plays out.
In the bible the scapegoat took all of the sins of the tribe away when it was slaughtered. Today we call this working on the hearts and minds of others.
I think it would be a very smart move to attack Limbaugh if we were two years into a very successful Presidency, but we’re not.
I find it kind of funny that normally intelligent people will get sucked into this- I personally don’t align myself with Limbaugh, but I certainly don’t want the President dictating who I should be listening to, either. That alone should pique your curiosity and have you asking questions.. even if you don’t agree with the delivery.
That’s a decent point. The move has this vague self-destructive feel to it. He just won the presidency and the first order of business is to attack a talk radio host who hasn’t been truly relevant to political culture for nearly a decade? And said move bogs him down in the exact 24/7 media circus that paralyzed the Bush presidency?
Also, they are coming at this with the assumption that they can drag Limbaugh through the mud like they would any other politician, but have completely missed the fact that he’s not playing that game (nor is he campaigning against them in a race).
The more they chew, the louder he will get. This is a guy who essentially owns his own media company and has a dedicated fan base (not unlike Tucker, really). Relevant or not, he’s getting free publicity from the highest office in the land at a time when people are focusing on and questioning the moves of a new administration.
Team Obama = Gawker.
IMHO I think they picked this fight thinking it would be a worthwhile distraction (or a bone to pick, if you will), but may have ended up feeding the beast instead of sending it off to the glue factory.
I wonder if you guys actually listen to Rush and have been paying attention to all these conservative columnists and commentators. Rush started this. I kid you not, the first day after the election, Rush was going on about how we are in the Obama recession/depression. Seriously. I listen to the guy. He’s been talking smack ever since, hoping for an outright failure. It would be one thing if Limbaugh didn’t have a huge following of dittoheads, but he does. You don’t ignore that in politics. Sure, it may not mesh with ones own interpretation of 48lop, but, perhaps we should look at some examples of dems who have ignored attackers. There is the old saying in politics: Leave no shot or attack unanswered. The same could be said in PR. Companies that ignore a problem tend to look worse in the long run. Pretending to take the high ground and acting like your above it will only work some times, and if the threat isn’t really a threat.
In politics you don’t let any charge go unchallenged. You particularly dont let a charge by an influential pundit like Limbaugh go unchecked. Maybe you don’t fight back directly — perhaps indirectly. But you must fight back, or you will lose the narrative. Maybe this is counterintutitive towards RG’s maxims, but it is the reality.
Candidates who lost control of the media narrative, and tried to take the high ground when baseless attacks were inflicted upon them.
Al gore (even though he did probaably win, he should have won by large margins)
Who won, aside from Obama? Clinton, a man and team who would go head to to head and attack their challengers. 90 percent of the time they regained or at least broke even in the spin game. The Lewinsky scandal aside.
To say Limbaugh isn’t relevant is wrong. People like hannity and limbaugh pretty much spew how the conservatives want the narrative of the week to be portrayed. They are the main source to get the rights talking points out into the open. And, sadly, the mainstream often picks up on it, over and over, after they keep saying and doing their thing.
So you think Obama is more in control of his media narrative (what the press reports on and how they frame the political landscape) today than he was during the campaign or immediately after the inauguration?
I understand where youre coming from Ryan, but you just don’t have the political understanding to really grasp how this situation is going to go down, and how it would have been impossible to paint anyone else as in opposition.
Obama couldn’t have put Hannity or Palin in this position, they do not have the kind of power Rush does over it’s highly activist base and they wouldn’t be interested in filling that role – Palin especially.
You compared rush to moore in this situation, but where that comparison differs greatly is that Democratic leaders and officials never had any priblem cutting Moore loose or completely ignoring him. The Republicans cant afford that luxury, because about 1/3 of their party treats Rush’s word as gospel. This is an excellent marginalization technique. You make Rush a de facto leader, because no leading Republican dare say anything bad about him, and the Republican party will lose, and not regain, moderate republicans and independents.
It would be foolish for Obama to ignore a broad constituency on the basis that playing with retards makes you retarded. To that end, it is particularly foolish for a politician of all people to ignore a retarded constituency. That’s just a groundswell of support waiting for someone shinier than the bright object already in front of them. Making that shiny object appear dull and uninteresting, or, retarded, if you will, just gives the masses a new light to view their now discolored object of adulation.
YOU don’t have to listen to Limbaugh nor do I think that Obama wants you to listen to him. All he did was point to the same person all the other tards were looking at and said, “you will be next on the list.”
Granted if Obama fails, this is another issue entirely. But I really don’t think this comes to anything more than identifying a target whose constituency is worth engaging.
Ahh, the worst parts of political discourse online: the “You just have to trust me and my non-disclosed credentials, but I know more about this than anyone else” argument.
Explain to me why Obama HAD to do this period. I think you can make a case for how he has done a good job of bring Rush into the spotlight thus far but tell me what are the merits of this strategy and how why it was necessary. If anything, the political landscape is now more contentious and it no longer looks like Obama is the leader of some sweeping epochal moment. It’s politics as usual.
And Ator, everyone has been ignoring your comments because they have been rambling, incoherent messes up to this point.
You’re right- CANDIDATES shouldn’t take the high ground, for all the reasons and examples you mentioned.
But Obama isn’t a candidate (although you could make a case that he is campaigning for 2012) and neither is Limbaugh.
Obama is accountable to the American people, Rush is just a side-show monkey who entertains and (sometimes) informs his listeners. He could evaporate tomorrow and no one would be worse off.
IMHO the President should note these attacks and move behind the scenes to turn the tide; anything less than that and it looks as if Rush is dictating action items in the Oval Office.
To put the shoe on the other foot, what would’ve happened if Bush had gone after Dan Rather in a public forum?
I don’t think he HAD to choose Rush. But he had to choose someone. I just don’t think Rush is that bad a choice. When parrying the national dialogue between ideas and policy, you need someone to say you will never become. I’d say Rush is good a candidate as any for that end.
But to that end, why choose someone no one gives a shit about? By this I mean, no one that you are trying to convert particularly gives a shit about.
You are right when you say the landscape is more contentious, but when has Obama not thrived in that environment? I don’t have any credentials to speak of, but even Marcus Aurelius knew to keep verbal sparring partners around.
The field may be more contentious but Obama made it that way. He dictated where the conversation would go instead of letting the media do it for him.
Think about Relative Superiority and how once you have it, the flow of battle is a lot easier to control and manipulate. Of course, in a situation as tenuous as politics, I’m not saying Obama can’t fuck it up. Everyone is perfectly capable of failing on their own merits. Including me. He could very well fuck it up and in two months I could be blushing looking back on this.
Would I do what Obama did? Sure, if I was him and thought myself capable of winning the war. But I’m not him, I’m just a dude with a computer wondering how it will all play out.
Again, this isn’t your Thanksgiving dinner political discussion. Explain why he HAD to do this or don’t make the statement.
Some perspective on how this is working: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/03/democracy-corps-limbaugh-drags-down-republicans—-but-the-base-loves-him.php?ref=fp3
Ator, it seems like it’s very difficult for you to understand why someone would disagree with Obama.
He didn’t have to choose anyone in order to “convert” the opposition (that was an odd choice of words, by the way), nor was there a “war” until he decided to single out Rush. Actions, not words, will dictate whether or not conservatives will jump ship during his time in office.
This isn’t some brilliant strategic move on his part; on a broader scale it’s Obama’s ego poking at the first amendment to see what happens.
Chris you made some very good points that I am not capable of and I agree with mostly everything you said in your other comments as well, but it’s when you say that there wasn’t a war until Obama declared (or I guess I’m saying that it was declared) is just wrong, and it hits at the point I was attempting to explain.
In politics, I believe, saying that a war doesn’t exist with your rival (even an arbitrarily chosen one) ignores the voice of the people most likely to start a movement. Rush has been saying he wants Obama to fail long before Obama ever called him out.
Does this appeal to his ego? Probably, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t also be based in sound strategy. Maybe he HAS to because his ego won’t allow him not to. A good growth sttategy means working on the hearts and minds of others, so what does he have to lose by going after the person most directly attacking him?
I have no reason to not disagree with Obama. Rush has been perverting the dialogue for years now and of seems that most people are relatively sick of that. Taking on Rush directtly forces the rest of the republican party to sound just as insane as he is (or I am I guess) as they rally behind an idiot or forces them too look around at alternatives.
Here’s a better way of phrasig my point, how many people do you think are going to reconsider joining the republican party now that his face represents them? Ryan, you are correct, this may have a polarizing effect, but have you considered that it might end up working out in Obama’s favor?
Let me give you some insight into conservatives (because I think you’re playing with theory right now).
We’re not going to abandon our ideals because one radio talk-show host is being dragged through the mud. We do not agree with everything that comes out of Rush’s mouth, but a good majority (if forced to choose) would rather hook their carts to him given the alternative of supporting Obama and company.
It might be a shocking thought.. but some of us see a vote for Obama as the crazy factor in this equation. We’re not in the business of making a lot of noise about it- that is what Rush does best, so a lot of us are content to let him take the front line while we figure this all out.
I’m just trying to point out that conservatives are just that- conservative. We sit, plan and think about how a person in office will affect us and avoid the knee-jerk reaction whenever possible (vote for him, he’s not Bush!!1!). We look at mass media with a skeptical eye, and we know that our elected officials have sold us down the river (on both sides) and to our detriment, we don’t get wrapped up in movements unless our liberty is being directly threatened.
Long story short, this won’t work in Obama’s favor because it’s ridiculous to infer that we’re as easily swayed as the average Macbook-owning-fixed-gear-riding-Obama-voting hipster blogger. I know what I want, and I look at this objectively without letting campaign promises or group think blur my vision.
NOTE: You’re done. You mean very well, it seems, but you’re literally just regurgitating bits and pieces from other sources without understanding what they mean or why you’re saying them.
Look, Obama may or may not be making a mistake with this. I think it’s an interesting point to roll around but you’ve completely derailed the discussion and written way to much. Relax. Think more. Talk less. – Ryan