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More Colloquizing With You People

Once more into the breach: arguing with my conservative commenters

Pumpkinface writes: None of the Republican hoopla is as tiny bit as offensive as Obama's lofty heights and liberal pretension betrayed by mediocrity in practice. In government. On this point alone the Republicans have a point. Obama is not a victim. He is simply devoid of any real, magnetic, cultural or political significance this time round. Due to his own hollowness.

MT: Well, I can't really agree with this, of course. The opposition party approached the most desperate moment in American history in decades and chose to use it to try to destroy the president instead of trying to fix the country. That said, sure, Obama made many errors. And contrary to what our conservatives here think, I feel like I've chronicled them, at the Guardian and here. I wrote that it was wrong to push health care in year one (although I also obviously wanted it to pass), I've criticized him on a number of things, I've suggested a wide range of things I think he should have done differently. He is not my hero. He is my president, though, and he's the firewall we have against the lunatics taking over.

Meanwhile, Pumpkinface: I have been reading your comments for two years and still don't have a good fix on your own politics. Would appreciate some clarification if you feel like it.

InLightened says, re my guess that he think liberalism is to blame for Americans having lost moral fiber and resolve: Never said that. Didn't imply that. The world is different now, not just the US but the world. I think things were simpler before Iphones and the 24 hour news and shopping channels. People used to talk to each other a lot more. Now we have Tomasky's blog.

MT: Okay, fair enough. But your party has built this whole phony story around the idea that liberalism IS to blame. I heard that last night more than I heard anything--that liberals don't believe in work and want people to have something for nothing. It's ridiculous. Your tax dollar has more pennies going to corporate welfare than to poor people's welfare (which both parties support, true enough).

I sometimes pine for simpler days too, but what I pine for about those days is that there was a kind of civic compact in this country under which corporations cared more for their workers and we had a broad consensus that there were shared responsibilities to the public weal, even as we disagreed about how broad those responsibilities were. That's what we've lost.