Tag Archives: Kevin Drum

More on Obama’s speech from around the interwebs

I was not alone in finding Obama’s acceptance speech lacking.

Kevin Drum in Mother Jones:

Barack Obama’s speech tonight was….OK. But that was about all. It meandered, it skittered, and most of the time it seemed oddly themeless . . . there was nothing memorable, nothing forward looking, and nothing that drew a contrast with Romney in sharp, gut-level strokes.

Michael Tomasky in The Daily Beast

Let’s be blunt. Barack Obama gave a dull and pedestrian speech tonight, with nary an interesting thematic device, policy detail, or even one turn of phrase . . . This was the rhetorical equivalent of running out the clock . . . he thinks he’s ahead and just doesn’t need to make mistakes.

When you’re running against people to whom facts are irrelevant, the way you kill them is with facts. Not with rhetoric that’s vague and too subtle.

And here, Tomasky likes the same word that send those shivers up and down my back:

The only sentence I really liked was the one about citizenship. It makes my heart happy to hear a president use the word, because a lot of them don’t very much, especially Democratic ones, who are probably warned that the word might offend the non-citizen community. So that felt like it might be the start of something interesting, but it too just sort of floated out the window.

Joe Klein at Time Magazine kinda liked the speech, but also said:

He recognized the difficulty of our situation. He cknowledged mistakes. But he did not close the deal. The speech disappointed me, and I’m not quite sure  why.

But I still wonder: What is he going to do with his second term? What are the next things we need to do as a nation?

Klein also said this – not exactly about the speech, but I like it, so here:

To be sure, he gave us more than Romney. Romney has given us practically nothing. And the expansive joy of the Democrats, in all their many wonderful  hues, was far more bracing than the heavily narcotized and traitjacketed rage of the Republicans in tamped-down Tampa last week. The Republicans’ untoward anger, their illegitimate fantasies about Barack Obama, is an American disgrace. I like and admire the President; he’s smart and funny and exemplary. He’s made some very difficult decisions, correct decisions under impossible circumstances. He pulled us from the brink, from an economic disaster largely caused by the plutocrats now criticizing him so shamelessly and falsely. But I want more from him, more guidance, more leadership. Somehow — and this is still true for an electoral majority of Americans — we all do.

What Kevin Drum and I share

My lamb Pinky. Back when.

Liberal fans of the blogsphere probably know Kevin Drum. He launched his independant blog Calpundit around ’02. He later moved to Washington Monthly, where he wrote Political Animal, and a few years ago took up residence at Mother Jones.

The most important thing to know about Kevin Drum is that he invented Friday catblogging (now an actual verb). Before Atrios’ normal and handsome cats began making regular appearances, or the  intoduction of John Cole’s appalingly fat cat Tunch (who now has his own product line) – even before TBogg and his bassett hound  – Kevin was showing us the kitters every Friday.

Turns out we have something surprising in common. He posted this yesterday:

My memory has always been terrible. My mother is nearly 80 and still remembers classmates from her kindergarten days. I barely even remember going to kindergarten. Actually, that’s too charitable: I don’t remember going to kindergarten. Or first grade. Or fifth grade. Or high school. Or college. Or, for that matter, stuff I did two years ago.

Is this an exaggeration? Only barely. I remember occasional shreds from years past, but that’s about it. On the bright side, this means that if I had a nasty fight with you a few years ago, there’s a good chance I have no memory of it. On the not-so-bright side, it means that if we were close friends in high school, I might or might not even remember knowing you, let alone remember anything substantive about what we did together.

Most people don’t believe that an otherwise intact person can have such a profound disability – and I do consider it that, though not the kind that gets one special treatment. In fact, I’ve never met another person whose memory is as lacking as mine.

I sometimes slight people or insult them or even astonish them. It didn’t go down well the time I forgot I’d been an attendant at the wedding of a woman I saw at our 30th HS reunion. I still don’t remember that. I’ve since learned to fudge and be non-committal – I let the other person do the remembering. I figure they’ve probably got it right, so I nod my head. It covers the awkward moments anyway.

Adding to what Kevin said . . . before my father died at 98, I used him as my resource in matters of memory – I turned to him for dates and names and chronologies. He never forgot anything. Like Kevin’s mother, to the day he died he was able to recall all of his schooling, teachers, classmates. I’m kind of jealous of that.

Kevin Drum is another smart man

He had a blog in the early ‘aught’s’ called Calpundit, which is now defunct. He blogged a column at The Washington Monthly for a few years and eventually landed at Mother Jones, a very good fit. Always worth a read.

I beleive Drum was also the one who originated ‘Friday Cat Blogging’ at Calpundit. (The kitteh is in his honor.)

Yesterday he posted a short piece called The Annoying Hypocrisy Trope after Obama was criticized for taking itemized deductions on his income tax filing, after saying he thought they should be phased out. 

Drum’s excellent as usual reasoning is especially relevant to those who call environmentalists hypocrites for using airplanes and cars.

The point of laws is to provide a level playing field, and no one is a hypocrite for following existing law even if they think it should be changed. That goes for congressmen who accept earmarks even though they think earmarks should be banned, it goes for drivers who park for free on city streets even though they think parking meters should be installed, and it goes for rich people who pay taxes at the current rate even though they think that rate is too low.