tip off

“Spivs and chancers”

In his Friday column, Andrew Bolt launches a best-of-the-rightwing-web attack on the new US President for “surrounding himself with spivs and chancers”:

GOOD thing for Barack Obama that he isn’t George Bush. He’d have been slaughtered for starting so badly that he’s picking a Cabinet of tax cheats.

Only problem is, he isn’t.

In the cabinet of fifteen people (or 22 if you include cabinet-level positions like the Vice-President), Bolt points to dodgy conduct of two. (And one of those he can only attack because her husband screwed up his taxes, not her.) Which isn’t going to sound like “surrounding” Obama to anyone.

So Bolt pads it out. He adds five dodgy politicians who were not selected by Obama. And he adds two Democrats whose finances sound a bit dodgy but who aren’t in Obama’s list of picks and he has to blandly describe as “helping Obama run the economy” – if you can tell me the specifics of what he means by that, I’d be most obliged.

In total the Southbank columnist lists nine people, only two of which are in Obama’s cabinet – hardly the new President “picking a Cabinet of tax cheats” or “surrounding himself with spivs and chancers”, which turns out to be a fairly contemptible slur on the twenty people at whom he can’t even find any particular mud to throw.

Still, he’s playing to the gallery – not seriously trying to persuade anyone not long since converted. He turns the misdeeds of three Democrats into this favourite Republican party line:

Hmm. What is it about Big Government Democrats that they so hate paying the taxes they impose on others?

Well, based on what you’ve come up with today, the evidence for that amongst Obama’s cabinet seems a little thin, doesn’t it Andrew? (Although it’s probably a common attitude amongst very rich people. Should rich politicians who personally want to avoid taxes join the Republican Party, where they’re quite open about wanting the rich to pay less tax and cut services for the poor? I’d tend to prefer that whatever their personal flaws, at least their public activities were positive for the underprivileged, but that might just be me.)

Now, to be fair, Andy is not wrong about the US Democrats being corrupt. He’s just extremely partisan to fail to acknowledge that the US Republicans are just as much, if not more so. The US system, with its permanent, unchangeable two major parties and ludicrously lax campaign finance laws, pretty much guarantees that all politicians need to be both personally rich, and completely sold out to campaign donors. It is not a surprise to anyone to find that the new Administration has difficulty finding any cabinet candidates with both experience in Washington AND clean hands. It also seems to be a bit rough to blame Obama for that.

Of course, Bolt isn’t so foolish as to claim that the Republicans were any more pure – he’s simply complaining that whilst their conduct was seen as dirty and was pilloried in the media, there seems to be little outrage against Obama. His weak suggestion (depending on the reader’s believing in “the Left-leaning media” conspiracy) is that it’s because of who he is:

WHO wants to get tough on America’s first black president?

…Obama, on the other hand, has had little such media criticism, and certainly none of that vitriol.

He can bank on more media goodwill for some time yet.

Until the other side doesn’t have to try so hard, to exaggerate and pad and twist so vigorously, to squeeze out an attack that can actually be published, I suspect, Andrew.

15
  • 1
    confessions
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    what is it with andy and this obsession with the skin colour of non-white people? and is every column he writes about obama for the next 4 years always going to mention he’s black?

  • 2
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    not so much that he’s black, but i think the point he is trying (badly) to get across is that obama does not get the same sort of criticism that bush got because of some reverse racism thing. It’s complete BS but plays well to the moron crowd as some sort of moral justification for their racism.

    obama is the first affirmative action president, rinse, repeat and yawn.

  • 3
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    And he carries on his one-sided look at US politics today. A Democrat’s actions don’t exactly match his pre-election rhetoric – you were lied to!

    And it’s not as if Obama has written something off as a non-core promise – he has extended the period for drawing down combat troops in Iraq by three months from the original plan. After consulting with the military leaders he didn’t have access to during the campaign.

  • 4
    confessions
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    yeah, i get he’s trying to invoke the reverse racism thing, but that’s my point – he always mentions so-called favourable media attention occurs because of obama’s skin colour. Andy can’t have it both ways: knocking the media for supposedly gabbing over him being black while andy does exactly the same thing. all this is just a handy way of dismissing any positive analysis of how obama is actually performing, regardless of whether that analysis is partisan or not. lazy, lazy, lazy.

    he’s also using out of date poll figures. from gallup polling his approval rating up to 67%, and also significant increase in approval rating among republican voters:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/116224/Obama-Approval-Rating-Increases.aspx

  • 5
    DBD
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    God he’s pathetic.

    He is so blinded by ideology he will support corrupt conservatives, because he KNOWS in his heart that they are in the right.

    I wonder where our Conservative hero was when the NSW Libs were accepting nearly $100,000 in bribes from the mafia?

    And where was he when Amanda Vanstone intervened in the deportation proceedings of an Italian illegal immigrant who has since been charged with importing over $400 million worth of ecstasy into Australia.

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/antimafia-police-slam-vanstone-20080927-4pde.html?page=-1

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/libs-link-to-mafia-visa-inquiry-20090222-8er5.html?skin=text-only

    He has been alerted to this story by several readers of his Blog Of Freedom over the last few days, but I guess he was too busy launching attacks on Obama, the PurePoison crew and The Greens to write a post on it.

    The responses of his fans to commenters who have drawn attention to this scandal have been incredible. Mostly attempts to justify Vanstones behaviour, deflections about how Labor are corrupt too (Yes, they are. What’s your point?), or personal attacks on the person who drew attention to it.

    Corruption is obviously only a bad thing when its from a democrat or a “small l” liberal.

  • 6
    Marek Bage
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    While it’s true that corruption can be found within all political groupings, it seems that some are better at it than others.
    Republican Offenders.

  • 7
    wah
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Apart from becoming President despite not actually winning the election, what criticism did George W Bush recieve in his first 100 days in office?
    Obama hasn’t even warmed up his chair and Bolt is saying he should receive the same criticism as a man who took America into an unlawful war and oversaw the biggest financial collapse in his country’s history.
    If Obama stuffs up like Bush did I’m sure the condemnation will flow think and fast.
    And does Bolt beleive he can make a difference to stopping the Obama juggernaught when despite his best attempts his beloved Liberal Party is in as bad shape as the economy?

  • 8
    bertus
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I remember these same things happening to Bill Clinton, who in my opinion was the best President America has had in 50 years. From the day he took office the Repugs and their attack dogs were after him like a pack of seagulls after the last chip….

    …sorry about saying that seagulls line over and over, I just love it, it’s not mine, but it perfectly describes what the BoltZombies and their equivalents in America are like…..

    …..and the end result was they wore him down, they finally got something to pin on him – Monica and the cigar – and managed to turn him into a very tired man who in a bad moment, signed the legislation (was it Glass-Steagal?) that brought about the current GFC by enabling a whole class of financial operations and companies to go almost completely unregulated and unscrutinized.

    Jesus I hate these creeps. I sometimes think Stalin had the right idea – line a million or so of ‘em up against a wall…….

  • 9
    bertus
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    OK, it wasn’t Glass-Steagall. I speaketh from my back passage. Try “Commodity Futures Modernization Act (2000)”

    In passsing, here’s an excellent article from CBS about the GFC, for anyone who’s interested:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/10/26/60minutes/main4546199.shtml

  • 10
    bertus
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    DBD – Not only Bolt would be going nutso over those mafia stories; the Parliamentary Libs would be going ape-crap. Or should I say MORE ape-crap than usual.

  • 11
    Posted February 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    “I sometimes think Stalin had the right idea – line a million or so of ‘em up against a wall…….”

    That’s of course a nuts thing to say that we completely disown and condemn.

    Are you sure you’re not a rightwinger pretending to be a leftwinger? I mean, now Andy’s put that idea in my head…

  • 12
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    For God’s sake Bertus, after all the kerfuffle over offensive comments in the last fews days, what would make you write something as stupid as that?

  • 13
    DBD
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    That republican offenders site is great, Marek!

    A list as long as my arm of Republican felons.

    How sweet it is…

    Betrus, Surname is right.

    Dont give these people ammunition. Comments like that (although im sure it was meant in jest) don’t do anyone any favours.

  • 14
    bertus
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    OK. Sorry. Just venting. Won’t happen again.

  • 15
    AR
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Doonesbury did a nice strip on Shrub’s corrupt cronies (recycled from Poppy, recycled from Raygun – consistency in corruption & criminality being apparently endemic) showing a Repug flack demanding “innocence until proven..” so Mark the interviewer said “OK, just those actually serving time.” And went on to list them which took the next couple of days.

4 Trackbacks

  1. ...] Bolt’s Friday column was an embarrassing stretch, attacking Barack Obama for “picking a Cabinet of tax cheats”, despite only being able [...

  2. By Bolt’s Great Big Obamabash - Pure Poison on March 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    ...] today’s posts document just the latest in Bolt’s laundry list of Obama flaws. There was Bolt’s list of people with dodgy tax records, almost all of whom had not been appointed to Obama’s administration. [...

  3. ...] cheats (”why are Obama’s big taxers big dodgers?”, look at this list I’ve heavily padded with people who are not in his administration or who weren’t anything to do with him in order [...

  4. ...] published on 28th February and 1st March – again, without prior moderator approval. You can see the “Stalin comment” here, and note that it was quickly condemned by Jeremy as well as several other commenters. The [...

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