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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Type O Negative?

posted by on February 14 at 6:41 AM

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial this morning that tries—voila GOP playbook—to recast Obama as “negative.”

They strip out all the soaring rhetoric of hope from one of his recent speeches to find a lot of angry Edwards-style populism.

They write:

Here is the edited version, stripped of the flying surfboard:

“Our road will not be easy … … where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns record profits … That’s what happens when lobbyists set the agenda… It’s a game where trade deals like Nafta ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wage at Wal-Mart … It’s a game … CEO bonuses … while another mother goes without health care for her sick child … We can’t keep driving a wider and wider gap between the few who are rich and the rest who struggle to keep pace … even if they’re not rich …”

But here’s the flaw with the WSJ’s interpretation: Obama himself doesn’t strip out the soaring, positive, rhetoric of hope. In fact, he relies on it.

So, really, what we’ve got here is a rare thing: A hopeful messenger who, at his core, carries left-wing Democratic analysis.

I have one thing to say to the GOP: Burn on you.

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For so long the GOP assumed they would run against Hillary and they were super thrilled! Now that they may not be running against her I suppose their world is crashing down on them. HA HA HA!!

Posted by Andrew | February 14, 2008 7:34 AM

For those playing the "Josh Feit SLOGGIN': The Home Game", thats:

"Burn on ___."


"___ unwittingly makes my point about ___."


"[1970's Washington Bullets reference]"


One out of three!

Posted by Will/HA | February 14, 2008 7:44 AM

Must . . . eat . . . brains.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | February 14, 2008 8:03 AM

I'm kinda with you here, Josh... Either Obama's "left-wing Democratic analysis" (as you put it) is correct, or it's not.

The fact that Democrats are turning out twice as many people for primaries and caucuses in the election season so far would seem to suggest that the right-leaning WSJ editorial board simply doesn't understand how out of touch many people in this country think the Bush administration has been.

And I don't see McCain challenging much of the Bush doctrine when it comes to economics and where the focus of our government should be.

Posted by Mickymse | February 14, 2008 8:32 AM

"... angry Edwards-style populism." Looks like you're reading from the same lazy-ass playbook, Josh.

Posted by DOUG. | February 14, 2008 8:43 AM

i don't have the time, but somebody could give the WSJ treatment to reagan's speeches. that would make for a fun read

Posted by some dude | February 14, 2008 8:55 AM

I like Obama, but seriously, what are his concrete plans? Soaring rhetoric is energizing, but is that it? Obama is a little spooky to me, it's like waiting for a shoe to drop.

Posted by hairball | February 14, 2008 9:00 AM

"My God, when we strip out all the positive-sounding words, he sounds angry!"

Witness the awesome power of the ellipses!

In other news, check out Lindy West's review of National Treasure: Book of Secrets:
"But if it were up to me to ... sum up this movie, I’d say ... it’s the best movie I’ve ever seen."

Posted by flamingbanjo | February 14, 2008 9:02 AM

Is anyone else struck by the similarity between this "analysis" and the previous one about the Clinton campaign's spin on why losing primaries doesn't matter?

Both rely on stripping out key bits of information to adjust the truth to fit a foregone conclusion. If you only look at half the truth, Clinton is well positioned. If you only look at half the speech, Obama is angry and populist.

Posted by also | February 14, 2008 9:04 AM

Yeah, Obama needs to have definite ideas or Hillary will wipe his butt of the face of the planet. And I will have to rethink my support of Obama. But then, I'd like Hillary to have some definite ideas too. Beyond her "35 years of experience".

Posted by Andrew | February 14, 2008 9:06 AM

Get a clue, hairball.

Posted by Fnarf | February 14, 2008 9:26 AM


Stop being a fucking douche and go do some reading:

Then you can come back and talk with the rest of us.

Posted by NaFun | February 14, 2008 9:46 AM

seriously, why cant people look up where obama stands on his website? speeches are to inspire, not wax policy.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 14, 2008 9:55 AM

Republicans would *love* to see Obama insert more policy into his speeches. Then they could cast him as a boring, out-of-touch wonk like they did Gore.

Posted by Orv | February 14, 2008 10:00 AM

...and John "I've Got A 15-Point Plan" Kerry.

Posted by DOUG. | February 14, 2008 10:19 AM

They're very worried.


Posted by Will in Seattle | February 14, 2008 10:32 AM

I had already read his issues page, but it's all boilerplate and spin. For example he says:

The Bush tax cuts give those who earn over $1 million dollars a tax cut nearly 160 times greater than that received by middle-income Americans.

But he doesn't realize that the top 50% of wage earners pay over 90% of the income taxes. Obama is recyling class warfare spin. The rich get large tax cuts because they pay large taxes (loopholes aside) period.

Posted by hairball | February 14, 2008 11:01 AM


It's not that he doesn't realize that. He, and everyone else here, knows it. But the rich pay large taxes because the tax system works proportional to what you can afford. Why do we first cut the taxes of the rich when, as one of the richest countries in the world, the gap in incomes is widening and people are struggling nationwide?

If you don't think this is a problem, I wouldn't expect you to even vote for a Democrat.

Posted by Hm | February 14, 2008 11:14 AM

That's ridiculous Hm. What incentive would there be for anyone to become successful if they knew that the wealthier they got, their taxation would increase disproportionally without relief. Name the last poor person that gave you a job.

I vote democratic, not socialist.

Posted by hairball | February 14, 2008 11:32 AM

Then it's great that that's not what's happening! Instead it's the middle-class, average worker who goes without relief.

Proportionate taxation is not socialist, and flat tax is stupid.

Posted by Justin | February 14, 2008 11:40 AM

hairball, I know you weren't proposing a "Flat tax"-- just saying that incentive to become successful should include some taxation relief. I don't think that's a priority.

The average CEO makes more than 230 times his employees. I think that's incentive, even if you have to pay European taxes.

It's a fallacy to believe that being poor is necessarily a result of not working hard enough or being unmotivated. Many wealthy people in corporate positions are rewarded by their hand-picked boards whether their company turned a profit or laid off thousands and cut into pensions.

And if you're a government employee, I suppose you could argue that the working people of the United States pay your salary.

Posted by Hm | February 14, 2008 11:49 AM

"That's ridiculous Hm. What incentive would there be for anyone to become successful if they knew that the wealthier they got, their taxation would increase disproportionally without relief."

It's hard to tell of this is a talking point or just plain stupidity. The incentive to "become successful" (e.g. earn more money) is that you take home a shitload of money at the end of the day. This is true whether you pay a marginal rate of 35% or 39%. Add or subtract a few percentage points of tax and you'll make a small difference in take-home pay, but add a million or two to your salary and you make an enormous difference. Big earners should pay a lot into a system that they take a lot out of.

Posted by Bison | February 14, 2008 11:52 AM

Also, hairball, remember that you're just defending the Bush tax cuts here. Both Clinton and Obama want to roll them back.

Posted by Hm | February 14, 2008 12:00 PM

Remember also that the big postwar economic expansion took place during a time of incredibly confiscatory tax rates. The modest increases under discussion today aren't going to hurt anybody.

Posted by Fnarf | February 14, 2008 12:42 PM

I actually noticed that if you stick a bunch of positive sunshine and lollipop palaver into my posts, they sound much more happy and optomistic, as well.

I'm sure there's a correlation, somewhere.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 14, 2008 1:33 PM

Someone doesn't understand marginal tax rates. When you get bumped into a higher tax bracket, you aren't paying a higher tax rate overall, you're only paying a higher tax rate on that additional money that you've earned.

It amazes me when middle class people oppose progressive taxation and even embrace such asinine ideas as the "fair" tax. Progressive taxation helps the middle class. If you're not obscenely wealthy, you should support it too.

Posted by keshmeshi | February 14, 2008 1:42 PM

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