Links, 8/3/10

  • Jay Cost, “Obama’s Vanity is a Liability for Democrats” – my brother and I discussed this, and I think we resolved that there’s something fishy about accusing the President of being vain in this context. It may be the case that persuasion and using the Presidency as a bully pulpit loom larger for modern progressives than the non-rhetorical/non-symbolic powers of the Presidency (being Commander-in-Chief first and foremost). That isn’t to say I agree with his going on “The View” or even with any of the President’s policies or ideas. It is to say there is a more sober way of looking at what I think is a really stupid idea: the President appearing on every show and magazine cover and then some.
  • Megan McArdle, “Administration Still Double-Counting Medicare Cuts” – from the article: If you used the savings to “pay for” the new spending, you can’t also say that you’ve used them to shore up the finances of Medicare.
  • David Hiscoe, “An Academic Rip Van Winkle” (h/t aldaily) – from the article: The percentage of college faculty members who are tenured or on the tenure track sank to 31 percent in 2007 and has probably fallen below 30 percent by now. Including graduate teaching assistants, only about a quarter of all instructors have some sort of tenure.
  • Ario Farin, “Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Germanland” – from the article: And, perhaps, no wonder the Germans are more prone to romanticism, self-reflection and psychoanalysis: their sky invites them to project and busy its blank screen with dreams and visions to compensate for its static quality. The self becomes a film projector of skin and bone, showing the latest blockbuster of worries, cravings, fantasies in effortless 3D.


  1. Re: The President going on “The View”.

    I am irritated that he chose that over being in Washington and participating in the Boy Scouts Jamboree celebrating their 100th year. I have never had a boy in Boy Scouts, but I have a few friends who sent their kids to that because it was the special 100th year. Many past Presidents have gone to this event and some haven’t, but this one is special and should have had a priority over “The View” that could have been done anytime. That is disappointing.

  2. Obama’s a businessman. He was already a millionaire from just selling books before he even thought about becoming President. He appeared on Oprah before he was President and other shows also. He isn’t doing anything different. His publicist probably told him it would be better to make an appearance on the view. Not saying that I agree with that.

    I love Obama though. I can tell the person who wrote that doesn’t care too much for him though, or is a republican. I don’t know of him enough to know.

  3. @ Wayne – the person who wrote that is more conservative, certainly. But I linked to that because he’s far more impartial than 99% of the stuff out there, Left or Right. If you really want to see anti-Obama invective, there’s far nastier stuff in more popular blogs and even the news.

    The “vanity” argument I don’t care for – it’s not impartial enough. But he’s grasping at a distinction between “when is a media appearance strategic / when is the primary concern celebrity” that I know is serious political science. Unfortunately, he’s not working on developing the distinction in the abstract enough.

  4. Ashok,
    I have to agree with you here, the author of the first piece did a fairly good job simply stating the facts, without adding too much of a personal spin in this piece. When it comes to news I try to avoid pieces that are biased, even if their beliefs happen to align with my own. At times we need to give those we support an honest evaluation.

    I do agree with Melinda, that some of the things that Pres. Obama has done might not have been the smartest moves to make, especially being in his position, at times I wonder what the heck people advising him are thinking.

    Ashok, you’ve included some great links. I wouldn’t have discovered them without this article. I’ve passed along to a few friends that I know will enjoy this and they’ve been Stumbled.

    I’ve Stumbled this piece…

  5. @ Moondancer – thank you. I do vote – and actually give – to the Republican party. And sometimes this blog is unashamedly and blatantly partisan. What’s strange is that this is not one of those times, and the more recent link posts do document the excesses of things like the “Tea Party” even while offering some mild criticism of things happening in DC.

    I’m a political scientist. If I do indulge in partisanship, I have a responsibility to offer the other side. I actually think I did that in the comment above – there is a theory that holds the Presidency is more about “persuasion” and thus about the media, and it looks to me like the President’s advisors are sold on that theory.

  6. Our President is a vain child pretending to be a man. He has narcissistic tendencies that are evident in his constantly seeking approval from those that he views as his betters. Our President is not there to be on day-time TV, but rather to be governing us as a nation.

    Hmmmm, what a novel idea a President that governs instead of a President who preens and struts in front of the Mob.

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