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March 15, 2012 10:40 AM Obama’s Radical Plan To Make America A Better Place

By Ed Kilgore

If I were a conservative, I’d be extremely intolerant of the “vetting” project that the late Andrew Breitbart charged his successors to undertake, and that the wingnutosphere in general seems to be taking up with great enthusiasm. Of all the reasons one might cite to persuade swing voters to evict Barack Obama from the White House, there are quite a few more immediate and persuasive than anything you might find endlessly pouring over everything the president said when he was at Harvard or in Chicago.

Perhaps I should just be pleased these unpleasant people are wasting their time with this crap, but it is fascinating in a sick sort of way. Today’s big shocker is the discovery that in a 1990 newspaper interview, then-law-student Barack Obama said he wanted to be part of an effort to “reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous.”

According to The Gateway Pundit, a prominent right-wing blog, this proves Obama just flat out hates America, always has, always will.

Sometimes you just have to wonder if people give even five minutes thought to the attack lines they pursue. Who else in our society—you know, other than racialist Marxists pursing Saul Alinsky’s strategy for destroying the country—is prone to encouraging Americans to be less mean-spirited and more generous? Could it be every single official and unofficial representative of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition—the tradition that these same conservatives claim Barack Obama is waging a war to the death to suppress?

Lord have mercy, next thing you know, “the vetting” will produce evidence that Barack Obama once said he wanted to make America a “shining city on a hill.” What true patriotic citizen could abide a president who ever said that?

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • stevio on March 15, 2012 10:55 AM:

    stupid is as stupid does...Ah, Forest. He must have been a progressive...

  • smerdyakov on March 15, 2012 10:56 AM:

    You missed the real story: If Obama made this statement in 1990, it means he was part of an Alinskyite conspiracy with Peggy ("kinder, gentler") Noonan.

  • SYSPROG on March 15, 2012 10:58 AM:

    Ah yes. I have been 'trolling' right wing sites in the last few weeks and it is AMAZING the stuff they spew. If you engage (trying to make a POINT) they call you a dirty librul that wants to destroy America. If you cite Republicans that backed up your 'theory' just 5 years ago, they call you a 'liar'. FEAR and LOATHING has done SO much for this country.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on March 15, 2012 11:01 AM:

    Black Black blackity black blackity black .

    There we have completed our investigation and vetting

  • mike on March 15, 2012 11:05 AM:

    Wow - scroll through the comments section . . . there is some real crazy in this country.

  • Caffiend on March 15, 2012 11:06 AM:

    Wait...you mean a college student at an ivy league institution who had been raised in paradise was idealistic?!?

    O the horror! Fetch the smelling salts and help me to the fainting couch.

  • Ron Byers on March 15, 2012 11:08 AM:

    I think the cliche is "grasping at straws." The entire Andrew Breitbart crew just sounds stupid these days. You think they have outlived their 15 minutes? Maybe? Just a little bit?

  • boatboy_srq on March 15, 2012 11:12 AM:

    What sick-n said.

    That, and buried in all those transcripts and term papers and the odd book, there has to be a Whitewater or a Monica Lewinsky someplace, right?

  • gocart mozart on March 15, 2012 11:16 AM:

    From the comments: Kerners are Go!

    bobbi85710 commented:
    Why would anyone have this particular page saved out of Section 3 in the newspaper for over 20 years? Doesn’t the page look too built? Fold marks on the left hand side running vertically, type sets are irregular with obvious curvatures, i.e. the Toys R US banner at the top, and spotty placements, i.e. The Grand Opening leans to the right, and the Harvard article leans to the left. A photocopy would not do this! An edited microfiche however could produce this as the creator would not notice the obvious flaws until a larger view/print out occurred and that they really never expected to surface. ALSO, hmm?, wouldn’t that put him close enough to Connecticut to pick up a deadman’s SS#? When did the previous owner die? Just saying!

  • nitpicker on March 15, 2012 11:18 AM:

    It's even worse. Obama went as far as to say, "As surely as black Americans were scarred by the yoke of slavery, America was scarred by injustice." That's just disgusting, to suggest this glorious country was ever--what? That was Reagan too? Fuuu-u-u-u-u-uuuu...

  • jpeckjr on March 15, 2012 11:20 AM:

    There are a great many representatives of the Judeo-Christian tradition who are not encouraging a an American that is less mean-spirited and more generous.

    I call them Catholic Bishops and Southern Baptists, Sometimes use other names, too.

  • stormskies on March 15, 2012 11:32 AM:

    We can be amazed at the sheer stupidity of these people, stupidity bordering on cretinism. We can all be amazed at the sheer hysteria of their delusional minds that symbolizes a true psychological sickness that apparently goes untreated.

    Yet it is these very people who 'elect' they fellow crazy people all over our country: the likes of Jan Brewer, Michelle Bachman, Louie Gomert, all the Repiglican governors, senates, and congresses in different states that are responsible to trying to turn the clock back to the 1890's in which Corporations had complete rule, women had no rights, and their were no child labor laws.

    So we can of course be amazed at this wingnutery manifested on these crazy blogs, yet a large chunk of our population is in fact those very same crazy, psychologically sick, people.

    And that, indeed, is the true tragedy of our country.

  • T-Rex on March 15, 2012 11:37 AM:

    Well, if he said that America should be a shining city on a hill, but didn't say that he wanted it to be a gated community that admitted only the "right kind of people," (wink), yes, that would be a horrifically radical sentiment.

    BTW, the right-wing blogs are convinced that it was Soledad O'Brien who was "humiliated" by her dispute with the Breitbart wannabe who was trying to explain why the sight of Obama hugging Derek Bell was the most incriminating sight imaginable. It's the funniest thing since they had to try to portray Katie Couric as a big meanie who asked "gotcha" questions.

  • Anonymous on March 15, 2012 11:38 AM:

    An edited microfiche however could produce this as the creator would not notice the obvious flaws until a larger view/print out occurred and that they really never expected to surface. ALSO, hmm?, wouldn’t that put him close enough to Connecticut to pick up a deadman’s SS#? When did the previous owner die? Just saying!

    Well, of course Obama edited the microfiche in the Harvard Library! He is known to have time-travel powers, as we've seen from the Honolulu birth announcements.

  • Perspecticus on March 15, 2012 11:39 AM:

    Yes, it certainly seems that the sad state of the GOP nominating process has finally driven the right blogosphere over the cliff below the cliff they've already gone over. The number of dittos attached to articles expressing outrage over Obama's pledge to make America "less mean spirited and more generous" is sadlarious. As I so cleverly noted at one such site, making statements like that surely demonstrates Obama has no idea what it means to be an American.

  • June on March 15, 2012 11:57 AM:

    Why are these people so goddamned stupid? Is it the self-segregation... er, "home-skooling," that's completely stunted their critical thinking development? They should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves - not only as human beings, but as Americans - but they don't even have the brain cells or conscience to understand that!

  • Shelly on March 15, 2012 12:12 PM:

    The comments on right-wing blogs are mind boggling. I was describing them to my daughter, reading them aloud against a rational comment submitted by a dirty librul who tried to engage. It didn't matter what he said. They went right on with their nonsense as if he hadn't just completely refuted their crap with facts. I boasted to my daughter that lefties don't do that. Then, much to my horror, I saw lefties doing it on ThinkProgress on the story about the man who equated women with farm animals, Georgia Republican Compares Women to Cows, Pigs, And Chickens. The article states that the bill "makes it illegal to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks even if the woman is known to be carrying a stillborn fetus or the baby is otherwise not expected to live to term". Clay Stringer took issue with that, even showing the bill, which does not define removing a stillborn fetus as abortion and would not make it illegal. But the commenters plow over him like right-wingers! It really upset me. I mean, it has shaken me to the core.

  • Mitch on March 15, 2012 12:25 PM:

    @Shelly

    Many internet commentors are attention whores with no sense of propriety or decent behavior. This is true no matter what sight you visit; being able to leave anonymous messages seems to make many people into trash-talking scum. We're really lucky to have such a good community here at WaMo.

    But all-in-all, I do find it much more common on conservative sights than progressive one.

  • Meanie-meanie, tickle a person on March 15, 2012 12:26 PM:

    Of all the reasons one might cite to persuade swing voters to evict Barack Obama from the White House, there are quite a few more immediate and persuasive than anything you might find endlessly pouring over everything the president said when he was at Harvard or in Chicago.

    You know the old joke about the drunk looking for his keys down on the corner, where the light was better? There ya go...

  • shadow on March 15, 2012 12:36 PM:

    “reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous.”

    And there is Jim Hoft, doing his part to make sure that doesn't happen.

  • bdop4 on March 15, 2012 12:46 PM:

    "Sometimes you just have to wonder if people give even five minutes of thought to the attack lines they pursue."

    Actually, five minutes of contemplation and introspection on a given topic is fairly substantial for most people.

    I don't think these morons give five SECONDS of thought to anything.

  • jim filyaw on March 15, 2012 12:54 PM:

    i know you're supposed to not speak ill of the dead, but things like this prove that breitbart was one big pile of crap. his legacy is an organization that, like bacteria, seems to thrive in it.

  • June on March 15, 2012 1:05 PM:

    @Shelly, your post intrigued me, so I went over to check out the ThinkProgress.org posting you provided a link for. Currently, there are (0) comments showing for that posting. I also looked up the text of HB 954, and although I read it a few times fairly quickly, it does seem to say exactly that - that a woman has to carry a 20-week-old fetus to term, and that even if it causes her mental anguish to the point of wanting to kill herself, she still has to carry it to term. The only exceptions are if carrying the child would kill the woman or "cause substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function," or if terminating the pregnancy would "preserve the life of an unborn child."

    Here's a pdf of the text of the bill; I'm interested in how others read its meaning:
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_03/obamas_radical_plan_to_make_am036071.php#comments

  • June on March 15, 2012 1:10 PM:

    Apologies - hit that "enter" too soon! Here's the text of the bill:

    Georgia HB 954
    http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/pdf/hb954.pdf

  • Zagloba on March 15, 2012 2:15 PM:

    I believe the word you're after is "poring", not "pouring".

  • emjayay on March 15, 2012 2:44 PM:

    I got to the right wing pro gun site with the whole text of the article. There is absolutely nothing there that Obama said that would be the least bit unusual for an even mildly progressive guy of his age and background and education. For gods sake, he got on the law review because conservatives and liberal students thought he would be OK.

    I guess it's no surprise that readers of that sort of site would think anyone who suggests even the smallest bit of possible improvement in the US is a Communist or Marxist. (which is repeatedly the theme of the comments)

    One comment listed two Obama quotes - one old one saying he was all for single payer health care, and a newer one saying we're not going for single payer health care. Thus proving he is a total liar - even though the comments from years apart are not contradictory at all. Unless you lack basic thinking skills of course. Oh, wait.....

    1990 was of course 25 years after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. Now were almost twice as far away from those days, and Republicans are reinstituting quasi-poll tax and literacy tests for voting. Definitely no need for any improvements now.

    One can also read similar comments on for example Yahoo news items, although once in a while they are surprisingly sane. Actually probably a good place for political guys to check out and see what the common folks are thinking.

    Yeah, it's the country we live in.

  • T2 on March 15, 2012 2:59 PM:

    June.....home-schooling = sit around and watch FOX News all day.

  • shadow on March 15, 2012 4:34 PM:

    @June

    I have to agree with Shelly.

    From you link to the bill, line 89: (1) 'Abortion' has the meaning provided by Code Section 31-9A-2.

    From Georgia Code Section 31-9A-2: (1) "Abortion" means the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant. The term "abortion" shall not include the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device employed solely to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous abortion. The term "abortion" also shall not include the prescription or use of contraceptives.

  • Shelly on March 15, 2012 4:35 PM:

    @June,

    The important part is in Section 3, line 89 where abortion is defined. If you look at Code Section 31-9A-2 it says that the word "abortion" does not refer to removing the unborn who have died.

    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/Default.asp

    The story was about forcing women to carry dead babies. The legislation is bad, but it doesn't do that.

    What upset me was that the commenters simply would not accept the fact that ThinkProgress had it wrong.

    When I follow the link to the ThinkProgress article it shows 198 comments.

  • Shelly on March 15, 2012 4:37 PM:

    @June,

    You beat me to it!

  • Another Steve on March 15, 2012 4:59 PM:

    I must have been having another opium dream when I imagined that the guy who was president in 1990 said in his acceptance speech that he wanted "a kinder, gentler America." Has to have been the the dope, because I swear I can't shake the idea that president was a Republican.

  • June on March 15, 2012 6:38 PM:

    Hey @Shelly - I do take your point about the commenters (although for some reason, I'm still getting (0) comments on my screen for that posting) - but I've taken my fair share of enough intertubes pile-ons to not exactly be shocked that our side can also bring the crazy. :)

    That said, thanks for the link to the language - I can see where that language could be used to refute that women would have to carry a stillborn fetus to term. However, it seems to me that there's a gray area there that provides wiggle room to the anti-choice crowd:

    The language:
    "(1) "Abortion" means the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant. The term "abortion" shall not include the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device employed solely to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous abortion. The term "abortion" also shall not include the prescription or use of contraceptives."

    Because of the very specific term used of "spontaneous abortions," I looked it up:

    "A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. (Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called preterm deliveries.)
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002458/

    It seems to me, therein lies the rub in this bill. If I'm reading this bill correctly, it is directing that no abortions be performed if the gestational age is determined to be 20 weeks or over (unless it can be determined that there's a high chance that the woman will die or, to "preserve the life of the child").

    So what happens to those who are technically determined to have not had a "spontaneous abortion" but a "preterm delivery" under this law?

  • Shelly on March 15, 2012 8:32 PM:

    @June,

    Oh. My. God.

  • June on March 16, 2012 12:35 AM:

    @Shelly -- hello! That was exactly my reaction, too.

  • True American Patriot on March 18, 2012 12:57 PM:

    "We've come far, but I think we need a new harmony among the races in our country. And we're on a journey into a new century, and we've got to leave tired old baggage of bigotry behind." - George H. W. Bush.

    "Where is it written that we must act as if we do not care; as if we're not moved? Well, I am moved! I want a kinder, gentiler nation." - George H. W. Bush.

    "So today I am outlining the next steps to welfare reform; the next actions we must take to build a more just and generous nation." - George W. Bush

  • Bea Seattle on March 21, 2012 1:32 PM:

    @June:

    Taking the time to really dive into the often vague, at times intentionally "gappy" (meaning leaving out details imperative for the common folk to grasp exactly what these laws are saying) vortex of government documents impressed the heck out of me and I appreciate you doing it. Your work on finding the 'preterm delivery' definition really drove your point home. I hope you don't mind, but (of course giving you credit), I'm copying your findings and putting them on the current discussion on the Huffington Post and wherever else I find it. Good work!