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Old 03-08-2019, 10:52 PM
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I will be working to defeat Ilhan Omar in her next election, if she's still around


Although I do not live in her district, I am a member in good standing of the DFL (what the state Democratic Party is called here in Minnesota), and I have contacted my congressman, state senator, and state rep (all DFLers) as well as DFL Governor Tim Walz and Senator Tina Smith to ask that she be censured or preferably expelled from the party. If that doesn't get her out, I will be donating to her strongest primary opponent next year, and maybe even travelling to her district to volunteer on behalf of that opponent. This is just not acceptable.

https://nypost.com/2019/03/08/ilhan-...AO0S8g0yr3nbF4
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Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar ripped former President Barack Obama in an interview published Friday, belittling his “pretty face” and saying his agenda of hope and change was an illusion.

She cited the “caging of kids” at the Mexican border and the “droning of countries around the world” on Obama’s watch — and argued that he wasn’t much different from President Trump.

I defended her on the "Benjamins" thing, which I thought might be innocent (and she's right that AIPAC is a malignancy on our body politic). But that benefit of the doubt now appears to be unwarranted. She has to go.

(I also posted about this in the Pit, for those who want to see the more ragey version.)
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:34 PM
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For those who want to see the original, it's from Politico.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/st...c-party-225696

I see where she's coming from but I think she's being naive if she thinks her seat is secure. It'll only take an in-party primary challenge to make her compete. And that's not out of the question in that district. And making fun of Obama for any reason in a district that runs 16% black or African-American (Census numbers) is pretty risky.

She's not going to make it easier on herself by overstating and apologizing repeatedly. At some point Pelosi and company are going to decide they need to find someone to challenge her. Even another ardent lefty type might be better. Remember, from the Politico article she's only in her second term as elected anything. There's bound to be someone out there able to take her on.
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:44 PM
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Well said, JC. And as I say, it's not just up to Pelosi. Our state party is so strong, it has stubbornly retained its own special name (DFL), and there are sure to be other DFLers in her district (or close enough that they could easily move in) who are licking their chops over the prospect of taking her on and sort of "jumping the queue" to get into Congress.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:25 AM
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I have no expertise in that particular district and cannot say whether a successful primary challenge is feasible or not. But I would bet that Nancy Pelosi and many other pillars of the moderate Democratic wing are going to be spending quite a bit of time trying to find any way that Omar can be removed from office. Tlaib and AOC as well, probably.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:38 AM
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I'm not a huge AOC fan by any means (I actually Pitted her as well, a few weeks back). But if she has done or said anything that would justify getting torpedoed by Pelosi, I missed it. Tlaib I have only vaguely heard of--what did she do?
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:55 AM
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Rashida Tlaib called the President of the United States a rude word. Also she's an immigrant from a nation that Mike Huckabee doesn't believe exists!

She's my favorite Congressperson.
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:41 AM
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Rashida Tlaib called the President of the United States a rude word. Also she's an immigrant from a nation that Mike Huckabee doesn't believe exists!

She's my favorite Congressperson.

I looked her up on Wikipedia just now, and I don't see any reason to put her in the same category as Omar. Everything they quote her as saying about Israel, I would endorse. On impeachment, she's certainly right on the merits, although I don't know if it's the best political strategy. (She and others might say that this is too grave a question, too important a responsibility, to make political considerations any part of it, and I totally respect that POV even if I don't share it.)
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:25 AM
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She's not attacking Obama, she's making a nuanced criticism of our political system in general - saying that there's something inherently broken on it, such that even a talented and well meaning politician like Obama was unable to overcome its brokenness.
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Old 03-09-2019, 07:58 AM
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For those who want to see the original, it's from Politico.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/st...c-party-225696

I see where she's coming from but I think she's being naive if she thinks her seat is secure. It'll only take an in-party primary challenge to make her compete. And that's not out of the question in that district. And making fun of Obama for any reason in a district that runs 16% black or African-American (Census numbers) is pretty risky.

She's not going to make it easier on herself by overstating and apologizing repeatedly. At some point Pelosi and company are going to decide they need to find someone to challenge her. Even another ardent lefty type might be better. Remember, from the Politico article she's only in her second term as elected anything. There's bound to be someone out there able to take her on.
There's an even bigger danger for Democrats than Omar losing her seat - they could actually lose Minnesota in statewide elections, possibly even the presidential election, although Trump seems pretty unpopular there. But still, what's getting lost is that Minnesota as a state is not a rubber-stamp blue state. They've had a Republican Senator, a Republican governor, and they flirted with Trump in 2016.
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Old 03-09-2019, 07:58 AM
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She's not attacking Obama, she's making a nuanced criticism of our political system in general - saying that there's something inherently broken on it, such that even a talented and well meaning politician like Obama was unable to overcome its brokenness.

Uhhh...no.

Tina Nguyen in Vanity Fair isn't buying this kind of damage-control PR spin any more than I am:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019...ma-pretty-face

Neither are Tim Alberta at POLITICO, Nate Silver at 538, or Ashley Feinberg at HuffPo:

https://www.mediaite.com/online/poli...nts-distorted/
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:03 AM
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She's not attacking Obama, she's making a nuanced criticism of our political system in general - saying that there's something inherently broken on it, such that even a talented and well meaning politician like Obama was unable to overcome its brokenness.
I basically agree with this, but I think she also needs to understand the consequences of the media she uses to deliver her messages. And fair or not, she's going to be a target.

Since we're talking about Obama, I think there are lessons Omar could learn from the former president. Barack Obama was acutely aware of the political realities he was entering into. He knew he would face unprecedented scrutiny and was extremely careful to navigate those political sea mines. He was realistic about how he would be perceived and he worked with a highly professional team to avoid getting needlessly sucked into culture wars with off-the-cuff remarks.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:04 AM
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There's an even bigger danger for Democrats than Omar losing her seat - they could actually lose Minnesota in statewide elections, possibly even the presidential election, although Trump seems pretty unpopular there. But still, what's getting lost is that Minnesota as a state is not a rubber-stamp blue state. They've had a Republican Senator, a Republican governor, and they flirted with Trump in 2016.

Yeah, good point. One reason MN was uncomfortably close in 2016 is that many Minnesotans (and not just right wing ones by any means) have felt increasingly uncomfortable with the large amount of Somali immigration to the state in the past 25 years, which started from basically zero because of a seemingly random decision by the federal government: https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/...s-locate-here/

Omar is, to say the least, not exactly helping this become a smooth and harmonious integration of the population into our state.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:11 AM
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Uhhh...no.

Tina Nguyen in Vanity Fair isn't buying this kind of damage-control PR spin any more than I am:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019...ma-pretty-face

Neither are Tim Alberta at POLITICO, Nate Silver at 538, or Ashley Feinberg at HuffPo:

https://www.mediaite.com/online/poli...nts-distorted/
I think her comments regarding Obama come from the same place as her comments on Israel. I agree with iiandyii: I don't think she intended to insult Obama, but she did. The problem isn't what's in her heart; it's what she says and writes. She needs an intervention, or she's going to be problematic for Democrats.

Omar's used to sending out tweets without consequences. There's a world of difference between making some remarks during a primarily local campaign and making those kinds of remarks as a national political figure once elected to congress. Her supporters 'got' her, but she's now responsible for helping a party govern, and it's her responsibility not to get in the way. But she's getting in the way, and if it continues, she's going to find herself on an island, and almost certainly primaried.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:32 AM
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Uhhh...no.

Tina Nguyen in Vanity Fair isn't buying this kind of damage-control PR spin any more than I am:

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019...ma-pretty-face

Neither are Tim Alberta at POLITICO, Nate Silver at 538, or Ashley Feinberg at HuffPo:

https://www.mediaite.com/online/poli...nts-distorted/
These aren't in the conflict you think they are. Nuanced takes, nuanced disagreements, and nuanced criticisms. Not the knee-jerk silliness of your OP.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:40 AM
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What did she say that was wrong?

She's claiming Obama engaged in the same cruel practices republicans do. Which is true. Drone strikes, kids in cages, not to mention the prosecution of whistleblowers and the use of massive state surveillance.

(although with kids in cages, that was used sporadically when the US gov though kids were being trafficked. The Trump admin uses that as the default tactic).

Then Obama would go out and try to act charming and hope nobody noticed these policies. That seems to be her point and it is spot on.

So what is the problem?
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:54 AM
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The problem is that she belongs to the DFL and benefits from that membership. Most of us DFLers (and Democrats more broadly) strenuously disagree with you, and her, and in fact we feel she is engaging in slanderous calumnies against a leader we cherish. (Within an arms reach of where I sit now are both Michelle Obama's biography and Pete Souza's coffee table book documenting in photographic form the Obamas' eight years in the White House.) You and she are entitled to your opinions, but are not entitled to continue to be in good standing as high profile members of the party once you voice them.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:03 AM
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The problem is that she belongs to the DFL and benefits from that membership. Most of us DFLers (and Democrats more broadly) strenuously disagree with you, and her, and in fact we feel she is engaging in slanderous calumnies against a leader we cherish. (Within an arms reach of where I sit now are both Michelle Obama's biography and Pete Souza's coffee table book documenting in photographic form the Obamas' eight years in the White House.) You and she are entitled to your opinions, but are not entitled to continue to be in good standing as high profile members of the party once you voice them.
The RNC thanks you for making no effort to engage in an actual adult and potentially challenging conversation about policy and politics that might move our party forward, but rather slacking into a knee-jerk, nuance-free tantrum that helps them divide us.

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Old 03-09-2019, 09:06 AM
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And making fun of Obama
This didn't happen. Whether her constituents understand this is another matter.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:15 AM
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I'm dividing us. Me. Not Omar. Oookay then.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:21 AM
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I'm dividing us. Me. Not Omar. Oookay then.
No, you're not dividing us. You're just falling into the RNC propaganda narrative -- one that is very popular even in the mainstream media -- that nuanced discussion about Democratic policy and politics within the party is unthinkable. Engaging nuanced criticism of the party and politics in general, like Omar's criticism, is a good and positive thing for the party. Dismissing it in a knee-jerk way, as you're doing, is a bad and negative thing that hurts the party and helps Trump and the Republicans. Please don't do their job for them. Put some thought into it and actually engage, in a thoughtful and adult way, this sort of reasonable and nuanced criticism. It doesn't mean you have to agree with it, but this is how adults can and should talk about policy and politics.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:23 AM
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The problem is that she belongs to the DFL and benefits from that membership. Most of us DFLers (and Democrats more broadly) strenuously disagree with you, and her, and in fact we feel she is engaging in slanderous calumnies against a leader we cherish. (Within an arms reach of where I sit now are both Michelle Obama's biography and Pete Souza's coffee table book documenting in photographic form the Obamas' eight years in the White House.) You and she are entitled to your opinions, but are not entitled to continue to be in good standing as high profile members of the party once you voice them.
So any criticism of Obama is off the table?

What about criticism of Bill Clinton for his triangulation or his allegations of sexual impropriety?
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:28 AM
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So any criticism of Obama is off the table?

What about criticism of Bill Clinton for his triangulation or his allegations of sexual impropriety?

I think that stuff is way overdone as well. But this is the full, pure, Chomsky/Zinn attack line, that Obama is essentially a mass murderer with a polished image and smiling face to mask the evil. That's beyond the pale!
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:28 AM
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I think that stuff is way overdone as well. But this is the full, pure, Chomsky/Zinn attack line, that Obama is essentially a mass murderer with a polished image and smiling face to mask the evil. That's beyond the pale!
I stand with you against this criticism that Omar did not make!
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:34 AM
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A bunch of the lefties I know absolutely believe she DID make this criticism, and are frustrated that she didn't stand her ground.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:38 AM
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A bunch of the lefties I know absolutely believe she DID make this criticism, and are frustrated that she didn't stand her ground.
Ooh, what a convincing anecdotal argument!

The other option, of course, is an attempt at engagement and nuanced discussion (and nuanced criticism, which is entirely reasonable if you disagree) on how the party should govern and communicate going forward. That's what Omar was doing. The Fox Newsification of politics, part of which pushes for everything being reduced to a toddler's level of simplicity, is very bad for the country, and I'd hope that folks would recognize this and fight against it rather than fall for it over and over again.

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Old 03-09-2019, 09:53 AM
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I think that stuff is way overdone as well. But this is the full, pure, Chomsky/Zinn attack line, that Obama is essentially a mass murderer with a polished image and smiling face to mask the evil. That's beyond the pale!
I disagree with you. I support moving the overton window to the left, which requires criticism of centrist dems for being too conservative.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:59 AM
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I think that stuff is way overdone as well. But this is the full, pure, Chomsky/Zinn attack line, that Obama is essentially a mass murderer with a polished image and smiling face to mask the evil. That's beyond the pale!
Show us the quote where you think she actually said this.

I agree that she took a swipe at Obama, but if anything, it was incidental and I don't think anyone reading her quote, even out of context, would seriously believe that she's labeling Obama, specifically, as a mass murderer hiding behind a smile. In context, it's clear that she's basically saying "Just because previous presidents weren't assholes like Trump doesn't mean that they didn't have destructive policies" and she obviously included Obama among them. But that's a very far cry from what you're suggesting above. You should know that.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:02 AM
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"Criticism of centrist dems for being too conservative" would be something like complaining that they are too cautious, that their proposed regulations on polluters are weak tea, that kind of thing. Calling them cold-blooded murderers who mask their atrocities with smiling, polished masks is not that. Neither is saying that they are "corrupt", that the "system is rigged", etc.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:03 AM
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"Criticism of centrist dems for being too conservative" would be something like complaining that they are too cautious, that their proposed regulations on polluters are weak tea, that kind of thing. Calling them cold-blooded murderers who mask their atrocities with smiling, polished masks is not that.
She didn't do this. This is where the disagreement lies.

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Old 03-09-2019, 10:04 AM
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I disagree with you. I support moving the overton window to the left, which requires criticism of centrist dems for being too conservative.


In other words, as long as the party is pure enough for you and that stupid window is moved to the left, you're fine?

Of course, that pesky business of winning elections and being able to implement policy has to be of less concern than moving the window.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:10 AM
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In other words, as long as the party is pure enough for you and that stupid window is moved to the left, you're fine?

Of course, that pesky business of winning elections and being able to implement policy has to be of less concern than moving the window.
The GOP has been moving further and further to the right and it hasn't harmed them in elections.

I value winning elections more than party purity. I would much rather have a conservative democrat win an election than have a liberal democrat lose an election. Joe Manchin is vastly, vastly superior to any republican that WV would've given us. And geography plays a role, some parts of the US are more conservative (the south), and some are more liberal (the northeast or west coast). You have to plan accordingly.

However the public are to the left of both political parties on the issues. And politics needs to move left to reflect the will and agenda of the public on issues like income inequality, poverty, health care, taxation, trust busting, etc. Because the democrats keep trying to pass tepid, pro corporate legislation they're having trouble keeping their base motivated, and rural whites aren't seeing any economic incentives to vote democratic.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:12 AM
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Meanwhile, Trump is still putting kids in cages and Kushner's got a suitcase full of state secrets he's willing to give to Saudi Arabia. I can't believe people are acting like this is important. You don't have to like what the Congresswoman has said, but it's hardly a national emergency.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:20 AM
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Dale, great post. Enthusiastically cosigned!


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This is where the disagreement lies.

Indeed it is. I will again note that my lefty friends and family members are interpreting her words the same way I am--the only difference being that they endorse that judgement of Obama.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:22 AM
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I will again note that my lefty friends and family members are interpreting her words the same way I am--the only difference being that they endorse that judgement of Obama.
Or maybe they understand that the criticism is actually pretty nuanced and reasonable, and entirely different from how you're characterizing it, but aren't interested in getting into a silly back and forth with you. But it's an uncited anecdote, and therefore not really worth discussing.
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Old 03-09-2019, 10:32 AM
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You seriously don't know these kinds of left wingers, who characterize all U.S. presidents of either party in the starkest terms as evil "corporatist" mass murderers? I'm surprised.

ETA: The lefties I'm talking about take their cues from guys like Glenn Greenwald: https://woldcnews.com/965942/critics...l-get-support/
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:17 PM
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You seriously don't know these kinds of left wingers, who characterize all U.S. presidents of either party in the starkest terms as evil "corporatist" mass murderers? I'm surprised.

ETA: The lefties I'm talking about take their cues from guys like Glenn Greenwald: https://woldcnews.com/965942/critics...l-get-support/
Those folks are way, way to the left of Omar. Trump and the RNC will lump all these folks together, despite very significant differences (most importantly whether they're working within the party for change or attacking it from the outside); you shouldn't be helping them.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:23 PM
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This is the most sober view of Obama I have heard coming from a national Dem. Of course it can’t be tolerated by the party. I have been wondering when the left wing of the party would get around to him.

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Old 03-09-2019, 12:56 PM
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This is the most sober view of Obama I have heard coming from a national Dem. Of course it can’t be tolerated by the party. I have been wondering when the left wing of the party would get around to him.
Didn't you read iiiandyiii's explanation? She's not talking about Obama really. You see, Obama didn't order drone strikes, the system did. Obama didn't have bad policies, the system did. Even a super talented and well meaning person like Obama couldn't stop the system from drone striking all over the place. That's what she meant when she said "hope and change" was a mirage.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:58 PM
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Didn't you read iiiandyiii's explanation? She's not talking about Obama really. You see, Obama didn't order drone strikes, the system did. Obama didn't have bad policies, the system did. Even a super talented and well meaning person like Obama couldn't stop the system from drone striking all over the place. That's what she meant when she said "hope and change" was a mirage.
Not really. At least that's not how I interpret what she was saying.
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Old 03-09-2019, 01:08 PM
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That's because you aren't interpreting- you're just making stuff up. Tell me what part of that story led you to think that she meant "even a talented and well meaning politician like Obama was unable to overcome its brokenness."? Because I don't see anything in that politico article that could be considered such a compliment.
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Old 03-09-2019, 01:22 PM
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That's because you aren't interpreting- you're just making stuff up. Tell me what part of that story led you to think that she meant "even a talented and well meaning politician like Obama was unable to overcome its brokenness."? Because I don't see anything in that politico article that could be considered such a compliment.
That she's praised Obama on numerous occasions. I try take all of a speaker's statements that I'm aware of into account when trying to interpret nuanced statements on complicated topics.
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Old 03-09-2019, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
She's not attacking Obama, she's making a nuanced criticism of our political system in general - saying that there's something inherently broken on it, such that even a talented and well meaning politician like Obama was unable to overcome its brokenness.
Or, she’s about as good of a politician as Jill Stein. I’m gonna stick with that theory for now.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:08 PM
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That she's praised Obama on numerous occasions. I try take all of a speaker's statements that I'm aware of into account when trying to interpret nuanced statements on complicated topics.
I guess I'll take your word for it. She did praise Obama in this interview after all -- she said he was polished and had a pretty face.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:08 PM
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Jill Stein! Slowly, I turned....
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:34 PM
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I guess I'll take your word for it. She did praise Obama in this interview after all -- she said he was polished and had a pretty face.
I don't think the "pretty face" was about Obama at all, but rather a throwaway line about vapid politicians.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:50 PM
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Didn't you read iiiandyiii's explanation? She's not talking about Obama really. You see, Obama didn't order drone strikes, the system did. Obama didn't have bad policies, the system did. Even a super talented and well meaning person like Obama couldn't stop the system from drone striking all over the place. That's what she meant when she said "hope and change" was a mirage.
I still think her comments are being blown out of proportion, but wasn't Obama fairly directly involved in drone strikes? Like, staying up late personally overseeing them involved?

The system may have a lot baked into it, but the drones weren't running on auto AFAIK.
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:50 PM
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I don't think the "pretty face" was about Obama at all, but rather a throwaway line about vapid politicians.
Was this not about Obama, either?

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"?
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Old 03-09-2019, 04:56 PM
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Was this not about Obama, either?

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"?
Huh? What are you talking about? Is this an attempt at a hijack?

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 03-09-2019 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
I don't think the "pretty face" was about Obama at all, but rather a throwaway line about vapid politicians.
Here is her statement in the original source (the Politico interview):

Quote:
“We can’t be only upset with Trump. ... His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was. And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”
[ellipsis is in original article]
https://www.politico.com/magazine/st...c-party-225696

"The people who came before him" doesn't seem to be a reference to politicians in general, but to Presidents. I don't see how you can argue otherwise.

And "get away with murder because they are polished," again, refers to "the people who came before him"---and she is explicitly saying that some of those "people" literally got away with murder. Not figurative murder, but actual murder.

...I don't have a problem with Democrats criticizing previous Democratic presidents.

I do question Omar's clear choice to practice Whataboutism here. She is saying 'Trump is bad, but other Presidents were bad, too.' How does that help?
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:17 PM
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I don't think the "pretty face" was about Obama at all, but rather a throwaway line about vapid politicians.
I think you're working real hard to give her the benefit of the doubt. In the actual quote, it's not a throwaway line and is basically making an equivalence between "polished" and "pretty face". Here's the bit:
Quote:
“We can’t be only upset with Trump. … His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was,” Omar says. “And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”
They flow together. They got away with it because they're more polished but we shouldn't let them get away with it because of their pretty face. And since no one would accuse Bush of being polished, there's only a couple of suspects as to whom she's talking about.

Last edited by CarnalK; 03-09-2019 at 05:21 PM.
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