Today’s Really Dumb News Story

Courtesy of Associated Press:

Obama’s issues yet to match earlier presidents’
Scholars say Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman faced greater challenges in office

This is somehow a bad thing? I mean, I’m generally a fan of Obama and all; he seems a smart and generally capable fellow. But given the choice of testing his mettle with a nation-rending civil war and/or the deepest financial collapse in modern history and/or a global struggle against genocidal fascism, or not, I’d personally kind of rather go with not, you know?  Tell me Obama doesn’t have to face the problems of Lincoln, and my response to you is: good. Let’s try to keep it that way, shall we. I assure you, his current challenge level is perfectly sufficient.

48 Comments on “Today’s Really Dumb News Story”

  1. Much agreed, good sir. We should not just be glad that Obama doesn’t have a challenge that daunting, but hope that whomever follows him doesn’t as well. We should hope for no one having to face those problems or problems just as bad again.

    Also, reading Last Colony for the third time, and it always stirs my emotions.

  2. @scalzi I thought along the same lines when I read that.

    Bill, some clarification?

  3. I remember reading in a recent interview (no idea where, sorry) with him where he said something like, “There are more problems than we thought.”

    Which helps me forgive his not getting us Mustangs and/or supermodels yet.

  4. Huh. I figured Bill’s comment to mean that worse things were coming, not as a threat.

  5. I dunno what Bill meant, but I might say the same thing, and *I* would mean, Obama’s only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as how craptastic things are going to get. Through no fault of his own mind you.

  6. Next on the news: News folks, desperate to say something while on the air, because they’re always on the air, say stupid stuff.

  7. This is a byproduct of the Bush years. The standard was set rather low and little was expected of him (except for that brief time following the September 11 attacks). Now everyone expects Obama to perform political miracles. Those are expectations no one can reach, which only allows the media to write silly articles with equally silly headlines like this.

  8. I worry that we are greatly underestimating some of the problems that we do have. Particularly the economic ones.

    In any case, it seems like a profoundly stupid thing to talk about less than five months into his first term.

  9. Ok, so they were looking to give some type of perspective on the challenges (I personally prefer “self-inflicted shitstorms”, but whatever) Obama and the US are facing today.

    I agree with that sentiment – stuff could be worse and ain’t it great it isn’t – but then I guess we can still expect better from the Obama administration, right?

  10. Ah, it’s another “Obama, he ain’t so hot” story. I prefer those to the “he’s a socialist who’s going to steer us into a fascist iceberg” stories.

  11. It’s just blindness – seeing violence as the be-all and end-all of everything. There’s no prospect of invasion, domestic terrorism is at a low level, the usual foreign wars are comparatively calm… therefore nothing is happening.

    The US being effectively bankrupt is not a change, printing money to deflate the currency is not something to talk about, the GFC was last year. The slow demise of big US manufacturing has already been done to death. Until there’s another round of corporate collapse I think the media will downplay the problem.

    I do wonder whether they’re hanging out for the first Obama scandal… a real one, not the “is he a closet Muslim” type. Unfortunately Clinton and Bush have set the bar pretty high there, and I really hope he never clears it.

  12. Dealing with the worst recession in 50 years, global warming, and Guantanamo Bay don’t count? Not to mention peak oil, domestic terrorism, swine flu, and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. And that’s just the first few months of his administration. There’s another three and a half years to go.

  13. This sounds more to me like a “we had to walk to school 10 miles in the snow, uphill both ways” story.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid, slow news day crap.

    On the other hand, underestimating what is really happening in the world is something that all of our economic and financial geniuses have done really well the past 20 years.
    Underestimating what the President is dealing with seems to be more of the same blind spot to me. That does not reassure me at the moment.

    Wake up and smell the coffee AP.

  14. Although I should say that I interpret his statement, “There are more problems than we thought” to read something like, “Holy fuck! What the hell have I gotten myself into?!?!”

    Way back before the election was decided, I expressed sympathy for whomever would win the presidency, ’cause they were gonna have a hard row to hoe.

  15. @Steve: you forgot secretly jewish.

    This is all part of the “let’s judge this presidency for history’s sake based on the first 1/8 of the first term.” News isn’t enough for news organizations anymore. They need results. Partially because if we can write the history books of the future now, it saves a lot on overhead for actual reporters.

    Also, it’s probably easier to make a list of presidents that did Not have enormous challenges to face. Difficult challenges kinda go with the job. And, anyway, using FDR is a cheat in this comparison, what with his unfair advantage of being elected to the office four times.

  16. Unfortunately, Obama does have to deal with an ecological crisis that could, in the not-yet-ruled-out worst case scenarios, render big parts of the world uninhabitable. This is at least as big a problem as Lincoln or Roosevelt or Truman faced.

    He’s probably better equipped to deal with this than any other American politician. I hope that’s good enough.

  17. LOL! No kidding. Although the world is probably a far more complicated place, economically, ecologically, socially, etc. than either of those two presidents had to deal with so there’s that of sorts.

  18. I almost hate to be snarky or mean today, but I think in a perverse way MSNBC is disappointed about this because the cooler heads over there realize they won’t be able to officially crown him “TEH BEST PREZDENT EVAR” unless he DOES face bigger challenges.

  19. Nonetheless, I do sincerely believe that the times are going to be getting very interesting over the next few years.

  20. “Getting” very interesting? I’d say they’re *already* very interesting – in the “may you live in interesting times” sense – and have been for the last decade or so.

  21. Matt@21 “…an ecological crisis that could, in the not-yet-ruled-out worst case scenarios,…”

    Of all the things to worry about. It’s also not yet ruled out that: the Earth could be burned up by a massive solar ejection if we fail to cover the entire surface North America in reflective solar panels; or that Iran and N. Korea both launch nuclear warheads causing the U.N. to issue yet another sternly written notice with “please” in all caps this time; or that China refuses to buy more hastily handwritten Monopoly money and the US economy collapses to the local barter of chickens, toilet paper, and carbon credits.

    Or in the really-not-yet-ruled-out worst case: that by using million-year-old stem cells of fetuses encased in amber nuggets, evil big pharmaceutical companies recreate ADD-enraged dinosaurs which later escape from their sanctuary at the then-abandoned Guantanamo facility (thanks to the greedy oil companies’ rolling blackouts disabling the electric fence). Said dinosaurs then seek revenge on all the Dubya-era hatemongers by eating all the evil white “terrorists” in the world who think it’s better to try to create wealth rather than the “peaceful” hoarding of virgins through explosive public martyrdom. I mean, that’s not ruled out yet is it? Poor Obama’s inherited all kinds of potential worst case scenarios :)

    [to the wielder of the “mallet of loving correction”, this isn’t a straw-man troll, it is an offering of wildly fantastical ideas for a wonderful fiction story]

  22. I’m reminded of an old comparison used to illustrate dumb comparisons:

    “Joe cut his finger on a sheet of paper; Jack had his head cut off. Jack’s cut is worse than Joe’s.”

  23. As much as any American other can wish the President a care-free term of officce, it’s not in the job desription.

    History gives us pretty solid evidence that some Presidents were the right men at the right time because of their character, experiences, values, etc. Others weren’t, fortunately most of those that weren’t were not faced with huge crises during their terms.

    In trying to be polite, I’ll say from what I’ve seen so far, I hope there are no more harder challeges for this administration in the future, they seem to have enough on their plates already.

  24. This is why I think it’s not so bad that a lot of these older traditional news providers are going tits up.

  25. If da Prez really wants to show his 1337ness, he needs to ditch this lamer “very hard” difficultly level for the “verifiably impossible” level that HARDCORE presidents play at.

  26. My favorite is Newt Gingrich’s assertion that Obama has already failed. I give him about two weeks to retract that.

    I like Gingrich when he’s not campaigning. Unfortunately, he’s campaigning now. So he sounds dumber than Limbaugh when he needs to be smarter than Ben Stein.

  27. The curse “May you live in interesting times.” comes to mind. Personally, I think we deserve some boring news for awhile.

  28. I think the idea that Obama isn’t facing any great crises is pretty much ignoring all the stuff that’s been going on in the last 8 years. Major Constitutional issues, destruction of the checks and balances between the branches of government, warrantless wiretapping (the Obama administration pushed to have that ignored), ‘legalized’ discrimination (Obama administration pushed to continue “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”), rendition of foreign prisoners (Obama administration is continuing this), the refusal to prosecute the previous administration for war crimes (which, according to our treaties with other countries, is ALSO a war crime), etc.

    The very foundations of our system of government are at issue here. Only Washington & Lincoln ever faced anything more serious, IMO.

  29. IMO climate change is as great a challenge as any of the others you mentioned.

  30. “Major Constitutional issues, destruction of the checks and balances between the branches of government, warrantless wiretapping (the Obama administration pushed to have that ignored), ‘legalized’ discrimination (Obama administration pushed to continue “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”), rendition of foreign prisoners (Obama administration is continuing this), the refusal to prosecute the previous administration for war crimes (which, according to our treaties with other countries, is ALSO a war crime), etc.

    The very foundations of our system of government are at issue here.”

    Been there, done that. None of this is especially new or unique to the last 8 years. I especially enjoyed the comment “legalized discrimination” as if the don’t ask, don’t tell policy is more terrible than previous instances of legal discrimination. Get some perspective please.

  31. Well, with all the secessionist talk from the right lately who says he won’t be facing another civil war?

  32. What secessionist talk from the right (I mean from someone not wearing a tinfoil hat)?

  33. eviljwinter@32: Unfortunately, Newt is not going away. Many of us here in Georgia keep hoping he will, but then up he pops again, just when we don’t want him to open his mouth.

    And as I keep reminding folks, we didn’t get into this mess overnight, it took years (probably more than just the 8 years everybody wants to blame)…and it cannot be corrected overnight by waving a magic wand or dreaming it away. So I shall reserve judgement for a later time.

    But I can say I’ve been pleased by what I’ve seen so far.

  34. 41–My understanding from his statements and writing is that he was advocating enforcement of the 10th amendment and states rights within the federal system, not secession. Please don’t confuse the wingnuts in his audience with his actual views.

  35. I actually have no problem with the idea of states seceding from the Union, as long as some fair system of compensation for federally-funded things in said state(s) is worked out (and no nuclear weapons, nuclear weaponizable fuel or nuclear weapon fuel-making facilities are left there). Honestly, I think it’d be absolutely hilarious to watch the South secede and instantly turn into a new third world theocracy. I suppose it’d be a ‘green’ country, based on hot air and all. I’ll definitely be wanting that border fence, though. We can hire Mexicans to build it!

  36. Jonathan @ 42:

    “There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

    Talk of “dissolving the Union” != “advocating enforcement of the 10th amendment”. The difference between him and the wingnuts in his audience is that the wingnuts want to secede NOW while he’s saying they’ll only need to consider that if Washington (read: Obama) doesn’t do what he wants.

  37. The AP article at the time noted:

    “Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that.”

    I’m no fan of Perry for other reasons, but I don’t read his words as a real threat of actual secession. He was saying Texans would be so fed up they would want to secede, not that they actually would. I read this as similar to the rhetoric in 2000 and 2004 from Democrats saying they would move to Canada if Bush won.

    Perry later wrote:

    “About a month ago, I stood with a bipartisan group of Texas legislators to speak in support of a resolution honoring the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The resolution simply restates the Constitution’s principle of federalism — that powers not granted to the national government, nor prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states or the people.


    I can’t say I was surprised that critics recast my defense of federalism and fiscal discipline into advocacy for secession from the Union. I have never advocated for secession and never will.”

  38. [Deleted because, dude, the article is two years old and no longer anywhere near current — JS]

  39. Hey Matt, do you realize you just commented on a post that is almost two years old? I find that odd.

    Yeah, I know I just did the same thing, but I am a notorious hypocrite.

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