Home / General / Notes on the Ongoing Death of Parody, High Broderism Edition

Notes on the Ongoing Death of Parody, High Broderism Edition


Does Obama have the leadership to lead, with leadership? Can he game-change the Overton Window from the Bully Pulpit on steroids? Ron Fournier has a framework to allow you to answer these pressing questions. Sample:

The pronouns: Count how many times Obama uses the words “I,” “me,” and “my.” Compare that number to how often he says, “You,” “we,” “our.” If the first number is greater than the second, Obama has failed.

More “wes” and “ours,” and Obama could have passed the ACA with unanimous Republican support. WILL HE EVER LEARN HIS LESSON?

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  • Vance Maverick
    • liberalrob


    • Anna in PDX

      That was a thing of beauty, particularly since Liberman has also called out people who criticized Bush for language related things. He has made me think twice about making facile criticisms of public figures when it comes to malapropisms, misuse of grammar, etc.

    • brownian

      Hmm. At first I thought he’d be more likely to use “you,” “we,” “our”, because of his communist tendencies. What’s yours is his.

      But the truth is much worse, and we knew it all along.

      He’s pretty much in the middle of the road, as far as presidents go, and so the implication is clear: he’s a spineless limpnoodle, who can’t pick a direction and stick with it.

      I can haz conservative pundit job now pleez?

      • If “pundit job” is not in the Urban Dictionary yet, it should be.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Try looking under “incontinent bullshitter”

          • AlanInSF

            When I was growing up in D.C., and then studying journalism in a town where David Broder was King of All Journalists, I often wondered what it would be like if Broder was as stupid as he was pompous and obtuse. Now we know.

    • Pseudonym

      Science, bitches!

    • Brad Nailer

      Also obligatory.

  • Gwen

    Wait, this isn’t a drinking game?


    • dmsilev

      After extended exposure to Ron Fournier, drinking isn’t a game, it’s a necessity.

    • Pat

      It’s a way for conservatives to listen to the speech while ignoring all the ideas contained within it.

      Because if they realized the way the tax laws are stacked towards inheritance, they might recognize it as unfair.

      So count away, conservatives! Don’t stray from the fold!

  • D.N. Nation

    Clownish, impotent hack. Just come out as a Republican already, you sniveling putz.

  • dp

    I think what you’re meaning to say is that, much like Generalissimo Francisco Franco, parody is still dead.

  • royko

    Does “fuck you” count as +2 because of the imperative subject?

    • Lee Rudolph

      I see that you are not familiar with English sentences without overt grammatical subject, the masterwork of the late, lamented Quang Phuc Dong of the South Hanoi Institute of Technology. From that paper:

      There is a widespread misconception that utterances such as

      (2) Fuck you.

      which also appear to have the form of a transitive verb followed by a noun phrase and preceded by no overt subject, are also transitive. This paper will study the syntax of sentences such as (2). While it will offer only a tentative conjecture as to what the deep structure of sentences such as (2) is, it will at least demonstrate conclusively that they are not imperatives.

      • royko

        I love the examples, they’re like lost lines from Glengarry Glen Ross:

        (16) *Fuck you, won’t you?

        (18) *Fuck you or I’ll take away your teddy bear.

        (21) *Wash the dishes and fuck you.
        (22) *Fuck you and wash the dishes.

        • malindrome

          Wow, those are amazing. These should be writing prompts for a short story class. Like:”Find a way to incorporate one of the following phrases.”

        • rea

          “Fuck Lyndon Johnson or I’ll take away your teddy bear.”

          • Halloween Jack

            By midnight!

        • wjts

          “Describe and fuck communism.”

          • Aimai

            Fuck you…discuss.

      • Aimai

        This English Sentences… article is possibly one of the greatest things ever written on the subject–or on any subject, actually.

    • matt w

      “Go fuck yourself” is legit, though.

    • Imma just leave this here:

      A History of Fuck

  • Does he sound like a college professor—dismissive, dour, arrogant, and argumentative? Or does he sound like a preacher—inspirational, inclusive, optimistic, and humble? The latter approach is the mark of a great leader.

    Sorry, Churchill, Ron Fournier thinks you failed.

    • wjts

      I guess “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is inclusive in a weird sort of way, but I don’t know that I’d call it inspirational, optimistic, or humble.

      • Aimai

        Preach it, brother.

      • postmodulator

        I’d grown up Catholic and didn’t have a lot of exposure to Protestant dogma before someone threw that at me in high school. I had no idea some of you people were so fucked up.

        • wjts

          I grew up in an areligious household so I can count the number of times I’ve been to church for non-funereal/non-nuptial occasions on the bones of one finger on one hand. The most praise I can give to any sermon or sermon-like speechifying that I’ve seen is “mildly interesting and pleasantly brief”. On the other hand, I’ve attended some pretty terrific college lectures.

      • Fournier’s reasoning is essentially that all African-American orators should use the same cadences and repetitions and rhetorical devices as MLK, because they are all supposed to sound the same.

        There’s also the idea among US pundits that preacherly godtalk is all Heartlandy; they can romanticise it from afar for its exotic authenticity.

    • I guess all of his college professors sucked and he has never been near a preacher of the “You’re all going to hell and will burn for eternity” variety.

      Priests I have a lot more experience with and I’m not sure if the 1/2 dozen Latin words puts them too far into the arrogant professor territory.

      Maybe Obama should aim for Rabbi, but Fournicator would probably find that too Imamish.

    • elm

      Hey, I may be dismissive, arrogant, and argumentative, but I’m never dour!

      • Warren Terra

        Ron Fournier might like you being dour – it’s got an “our” in it!

        (Come to think of it: so does “Fournier”)!

    • Matt McIrvin

      If only he’d sounded like Jeremiah Wright!

  • Obligatory

    Republican fuckpuppets have been recycling the Obama Pronoun Use story on a yearly basis for the last six years, and Mark Liberman at LanguageLog has been debunking it with equal regularity. So Ron Fournier is right at the tail end of the Republican-talking-point human centipede. He’s not even making the effort to come up with his own lies, or vaguely original ones.

    • liberalrob

      Should we also be taking note of how many times he blinks his eyes and where his gaze lingers?

      • wjts

        Muslamocommunist leaders often transmit their secret plans to sleeper cells via blinking during public appearances. It is known.

        • joe from Lowell


          “Muslamocommunist” is longer than “Islamofascist,” but I defy anyone to demonstrate to me that it is substantively more incorrect.

          Remember the days of explaining Arab nationalism/Arab fascism/Baathism and their opposition to Islamist politics, and receiving back blank looks?

          • wjts

            Well, “Islam” is actually a word whereas “Muslam” is not, so it’s more incorrect in that sense. But the error is deliberate, because it’s difficult to create a portmanteau more imbecilic than “Islamofascist” without cheating a little bit.

            Remember the days of explaining Arab nationalism/Arab fascism/Baathism and their opposition to Islamist politics, and receiving back blank looks?

            Sadly, Tom Tomorrow’s “Lethal Buddies” comic about the mismatched partnership of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden seems to have disappeared from the Internet.

            • FlipYrWhig

              it’s difficult to create a portmanteau more imbecilic than “Islamofascist” without cheating a little bit.

              Do you remember a mini-campaign to say “fascislamism”? I think Christopher Hitchens was behind it. It also has the virtue of sounding like something Snoop would say in 2002. “Fo shizz, la mizzim!”

    • Liberman’s current approach working the semiotic distinction between bullshit (as in Fournier) and lying is very strong—where lying tries to push a specific untruth on the listener, bullshit is not about truth one way or the other.

      Fournier’s attitude toward linguistic meaning correlates elegantly with his attitude toward political policy, in that he doesn’t especially wish to push bad policies, or good policies either, just thinks politics should be about cooperating without regard to such disagreeable questions as whether the policies are good or bad.

      • David Brooks has competition.

        • Brooksie’s a remarkably versatile liar AND bullshitter, like Roland Kirk alternating on flute and sax. I think he prefers bullshit, as an artistic thing, but lying pays better.

          • matt w

            Surely he’s like Roland Kirk on stritch and manzello, playing both at once?

        • Initially, I read that as “David Brooks has constipation” and it made quite a bit of sense….

          • Snarki, child of Loki

            IF ONLY someone could glue in a plug.

      • Barry_D

        “…just thinks politics should be about cooperating without regard to such disagreeable questions as whether the policies are good or bad.”

        Has he ever pushed Republicans cooperating with Democrats by supporting Democratic proposal? I’ll wager not.

        ‘Cooperation’ for Villagers means ‘Republican proposals always’.

  • Bruce B.

    There is no “I” in “team”, but there are several in “blithering idiot”.

    • Warren Terra

      More to the point, their’s an “us” or two in “Blustering Dingus”

      • mikeSchilling

        And a we in weenie.

        • njorl

          And a “them” in anathema, justifying xenophobia as clearly as possible.

          • Halloween Jack

            And “romance” in “necromancer”, which… wait, what?

            • Lee Rudolph

              There’s a tomato in every automaton.

  • cpinva

    have mr. Fournier and mr. broder ever been seen together? thought not. coincidence? I think not.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      i forget the order in which things happened, but is there any chance fournier is the product of a successful re-animation, like ted williams’ son was hoping for?

      • cpinva

        ted William’s brain being re-animated as ron Fournier? that’s a plot line that even rod serling would be creeped out by!

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          creepier than fournier being the current custodian of david broder’s brain, though?

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          “Zombie Ed Wood is on line 2”

  • Hogan

    If only Obama had listened–really listened–to George Harrison.

    • malindrome

      “My fellow Americans, I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together.”

      • rea

        Corporation teeshirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
        [to Boehner] Man you been a naughty boy. You let your face grow long
        I am the eggman, they are the eggmen [pointing to Supreme Court]
        I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob

        • Baby Needs-A-Nym

          Surely it should be “goo goo goo JOBS”

  • joe from Lowell

    Political scientists hate this one weird trick to understanding the State of the Union address.

    • brugroffil


    • malindrome

      Four Pronouns Barack Obama Probably Won’t Say at the SOTU … But Should!

      • royko


        • John Revolta

          Nah, he’s from Chicago. Try:

          Dat Dere

          • cpinva


    • Bruce B.

      This made me genuinely laugh out loud. Good work.

  • Warren Terra

    If only Obama were articulate, the Republicans would back his policies.

    • Snarki, child of Loki


  • Eh, the SOTU is such a meaningless bit of garbage political theater that Fournier’s framework for grading the thing is probably as worthwhile as anybody else’s. I will never understand why otherwise sensible political minds get so fired up about the thing and act like anything that happens tonight matters.

    • humanoid.panda

      Because most people hardly ever pay attention to politics, and SOTU is probably the only time during a normal year the President speaks directly to them?

    • Malaclypse
  • muddy

    Being that he is a tyrant emperor, I assumed he would be using the royal “we” throughout.

    • Ann Outhouse

      That’s the thing. If he used the plurals more, the ginned-up fauxrage would be over his uppity use of the royal we.

      • Warren Terra

        Except when it was denouncing his evading of responsibility through the Exculpatory We.

        (Note that one doesn’t make Wikipedia’s list of atypical uses of “we”, although I feel we should really have mentioned the “Patronizing We”. And, obviously and relevantly, when I said “We” there I really meant “You”.)

        • Origami Isopod

          I don’t see tapeworms mentioned on that page at all.

          • Lee Rudolph

            There’s one in the mouse in his pocket.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          And the ever-popular MPD “we”.

          (shut up, you’ll give us away)

          [nah, they’ll never suspect]

          (you always say that, but you’re wrong, see the looks we’re getting?)

          [that’s because you’re doing that crazy-eye-roll thing]

          (am not)

          {fuck you both}

  • tsam

    The pronouns: Count how many times Obama uses the words “I,” “me,” and “my.” Compare that number to how often he says, “You,” “we,” “our.” If the first number is greater than the second, Obama has failed.

    This actually made me laugh out loud

  • Bruce Leroy

    Can’t believe you didn’t add a link to this exchange between Fournier and Jamelle Bouie: https://twitter.com/jbouie/status/557564070606692352

    It’s surreal.

    • wjts

      “I SAID ‘GOOD DAY,’ SIR!”

    • Warren Terra

      I love how Fournier responds as if Bouie is being racist, but doesn’t address the actual fact that Bouie is accusing Fournier of being racist.

    • Malaclypse

      Why won’t Jamelle Bouie stop being racist at Fournier?

    • ColBatGuano

      That is some outstanding flounce by Fournier right there.

    • djw

      That’s quite something.

      • snarkout

        That part was… sure something, but I kind of preferred it when Bouie was mocking the column and Fournier was gritting his teeth and pretending he was a good sport about it. “”Does he sound like a college professor or does he sound like Starscream of the Decepticon Army?” made me choke on my coffee.

    • joe from Lowell

      That is exactly what I’m talking about; Fournier is like a monkey with a cell phone.

  • Four Krustys

    we discovered that in any interaction, the person with the higher status uses I-words less (yes, less) than people who are low in status. The effects were quite robust and, naturally, I wanted to test this on myself. I always assumed that I was a warm, egalitarian kind of guy who treated people pretty much the same.

    I was the same as everyone else. When undergraduates wrote me, their emails were littered with I, me, and my. My response, although quite friendly, was remarkably detached — hardly an I-word graced the page. And then I analyzed my emails to the dean of my college. My emails looked like an I-word salad; his emails back to me were practically I-word free.

    See: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-secret-language-code/

    • carolannie

      Third person passive voice. Imperative in all academic writing, and a sign of detached intellect.

      • Lee Rudolph

        In 40 years, I have never (thank goodness) been even questioned, much less criticized, by my forthright use of the first person singular active in any of my (single-author) academic papers; mathematicians basically don’t give a damn, and if psychologists do, fuck them or Henry Kissinger.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          Yes, but when mathematicians write “i”, they mean something completely different and entirely imaginary.

    • Aimai

      I’m not surprised at all: the lower status person has to “justify, argue, explain and defend” themselves to the higher status person and only when they are part of a team can they hide behind “we” and “they” to explain what they mean or to argue for something. Meanwhile the higher status person (on the whole, this doesn’t go for every interaction as any female graduate student who has had to listen to some old fart bore on and on and on about himself and his precious ideas can tell you) generally hides his personal history and information and simply lectures/orders “down” at you in texts. Sharing information (“oh, the same thing happened to me” and offering personal touches/histories/glimpses into the speaker’s life is something that people do when they are exchanging prisoners (i.e. secrets and information) with someone to create intimacy and trust. Something that people don’t have to do from higher to lower.

      • Pseudonym

        You are correct.

  • carolannie

    Then we can also look at his lapel, whether his suit is earth-tone or not, how wide his waistband is and whether he uses a wardrobe consultant. Also if he uses big words to prove his superiority to us or doesn’t use big words to show his condescension. Maybe the congresscritters closest to him can report on his cologne or lack thereof and what that means. And then how he gesticulates or not.

    No wonder parody is dead. The entire right wing is a parody of itself.

  • RPorrofatto

    Shorter Ron Fournier: The worst thing that Obama or anyone could sound like is me, Ron Fournier.

    For truly bogus oratory assessment, I think my favorite was this piece by Charles Kesler in National Review about Obama’s performance in a 2012 debate. It begins:

    My wife, the very shrewd Sally Pipes, penetrated to the heart of the debate in a single sentence tonight when, only about 15 minutes into the exchange, she observed: “Romney’s flag pin is much larger than Obama’s flag pin.”

    Even more important than pronouns. And he’s serious.

    • Malaclypse

      Hold crap, it got even worse from there.

      That pithy saying Edroso has about Jonah Goldberg writing the stupidest thing on the internet, until the next thing he writes? It is not longer true, and has not been true since October 23, 2012 8:16 AM. All that is solid has melted into air.

      • Richard Gadsden

        As long as Vox Day exists, Jonah Goldberg has not written the stupidest thing on the internet.

        He may, however, have written the stupidest thing anyone has been paid to write on the internet.

    • Aimai

      Whoops! I wonder if its this Sally Pipes?

      Why yes, yes it is:

      Early in July extreme left-wing Mother Jones magazine published a piece claiming that Sally Pipes, the head of the Pacific Research Institute, was not doing a very effective job of leading the San Francisco-based conservative, free-market think tank. Unfortunately, whether the magazine is left-wing or not and whether these questions make me comfortable or not (they don’t), there seems to be some truth in the story.

      The magazine focused on the excessive amount of money that Pipes has requisitioned from the think tank to pay for Public Relations agencies to assist her in writing the many books, papers, articles and the like that carries Pipes’ name. Calling her “supernaturally prolific,” Mother Jones reported that Pipes employs Keybridge Communications to do the writing.

      In fact, according to Mother Jones, Pipes has spent “nearly $1 million — $400,000 alone in 2010” on the services of Keybridge. This is a substantial amount of money considering that the institute has an annual budget of only $4 million. To have spent such a huge chunk on “research assistance” is quite a lot, indeed.

      Pipes has a very high profile in conservative circles. She is a sought after speaker with a specialty in healthcare. She’s worked with such big name groups as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and her work appears in newspapers, magazines, and websites everywhere — such as Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and National Review. Pipes is also listed as the author of at least a half dozen books.

      Pipes is a naturalized American originally from Canada and made her first mark as the Assistant Director of the Fraser Institute, Vancouver, Canada. Using her familiarity with the Canadian healthcare system, Pipes became known in the U.S. for raising the clarion call warning America against socialist healthcare systems.

    • Lee Rudolph

      The only time (that I’m aware of) I’ve been in the presence of a man wearing a flag pin, it was James Schlesinger (at a sort of wake for one of his college roommates, but not for parody); and his was very small and so discreet that I might not have noticed it had I not been closely attending to the earnest explanation he was giving to a teenage girl of the history embedded in the German word Friedrichwilhelmhöhenzollernstrasse as we all milled about around tables of funeral bakèd meats in the lobby of a closed fire station repurposed as a little theater somewhere in Somerville.

      [Added in afterthought: I see I’ve told this story here before, in January 2014. Perhaps I should make it an annual tradition; but, perhaps, not.]

      • Vance Maverick

        Dude, no umlaut on that ‘o’.

        • Warren Terra

          Well, not in German, maybe. But have you considered that it might be a Metal Umlaut?

    • wjts

      Makes you long for the days when presidential candidates debated one another on real matters of substance.

  • Davis X. Machina

    Apparently Refrigerator Poetry Magnets has a competitor…

  • Brett

    The Assassination of Parody by the Coward Pedantism.

  • Gary K

    According to the transcript:
    I — 68
    Me — 8
    My — 13
    You — 25
    We — 127
    Our — 144

    That’s 89 to 296.

    • Vance Maverick

      Given that Fournier obviously doesn’t care whether his criterion makes sense, do you suppose he cares whether Obama meets it?

    • John Revolta

      The politics of failure have failed! We must make them work again!!

      • cpinva

        the politics of failure can’t fail, they can only be failed!

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Arithmetic has a well-known liberal bias.

  • Bitter Scribe

    Teleprompters. He forgot the teleprompters.

    • Manny Kant

      Nah. Not talking about teleprompters is a shibboleth to distinguish faux-moderate moronic “mainstream” journalists from actual wingnuts. If Fournier started talking about teleprompters or Benghazi, the game would be up.

  • Murc

    I will just say that I am waiting for the very first President to have the balls to send to Congress a cocktail napkin with “The Union is doin’ fine” and their signature to Congress.

    • This was pretty good though. If the mic wasn’t mounted on the podium, he might have done a mic drop after the “won them both” line.

      It may not have been President Camacho, but it kind of set the stage for him….

      • Now if only G. W. Bush were paying enough attention to feel the burn…

      • The Pale Scot

        I never cared for Hector, but I gotta say he took his beating from Chavez like a man

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    i assume senator ernst was meh?

    • cpinva

      I understand she was busy castrating some pigs. priorities man, priorities!

    • Bitter Scribe

      Fairly meh. She tried to keep it positive–apparently all the kids in Iowa tied bread bags over their feet on rainy days to protect their good shoes, Heartland values blah blah blah. She did get in a couple of shots at Obamacare and the Keystone pipeline, with its “thousands” of jobs.

      • Murc

        You know, when I hear a story like that, I don’t hear “Heartland values,” I hear “someone somewhere is cheating those kids parents out of the money they need to buy their kids durable, long-lasting shoes and replace them as needed. Who is this asshole, let’s find them and beat the shit out of them.”

        • Nothing like a cute, heartwarming anecdote about what poor people do to survive.

          • Pseudonym

            As a justification for capital gains tax cuts.

      • So, she was laying out the case for legalizing sex work and bringing them out of the underground economy! Good for her!

      • witlesschum

        Is that what she actually said? The traditional Midwestern use of bread bags is inside the shoe or more commonly boot keeping one’s feet dry and warm when the non-waterproof boots get wet.

        • Barry_D

          Even when pushing ‘Heartland’ bullsh*t, she can’t get it right.

          Not quite Palinesque, but reaching for it.

        • Bitter Scribe

          Yes. Specifically, she said she didn’t worry about being seen as a poor hick because when she got on the bus, all the other kids had bread bags over their feet too.

          But come to think of it, you’re right; that story makes no sense. Bread bags worn outside the shoes would have been shredded in two minutes.

      • mds

        She tried to keep it positive–apparently all the kids in Iowa tied bread bags over their feet on rainy days to protect their good shoes

        Alternatively, she was spraying flagrant pigshit. For a while, our small-town Iowa family was receiving that government cheesefood, for two years we lived in a tiny Iowa community from which I took the bus to high school in a somewhat-larger town, and no-one—I mean, abso-fucking-lutely no-one—ever wore breadbags to school over their shoes. And this woman is my age, too. Ring ring, Joni, it’s the cluephone: Most small-town Iowans of my acquaintance were apparently not as needlessly miserly and/or fucking stupid as your family and their peers, as they found a way to get cheap boots that we could switch for our shoes at school. Maybe you should have tried some of that church charity you sharted on about during the campaign?

        … Oh, wait, that’s right, she’s from far western Iowa. Never mind, there’s an especially large population of proudly stupid reactionary imbeciles over that way. I’m surprised they figured out pants.

        • Malaclypse

          Alternatively, she was spraying flagrant pigshit.

          Yep. When I was a kid, we had bags under our shoes, because having soaking wet socks all day sucks. Hell, I still keep some plastic grocery bags in my bike bag in case I get caught in the rain. When I use them, they go between my shoes and my socks, because I ride in sneakers, and you can throw sneakers in the drier. But you can tell she’s repeating a story second-hand, because if she ever did it she’d understand how it fucking works.

          • jafd

            OK, let’s Go Back To First Principles, and get this thing correct.

            It’s impossible, in really wet weather, to keep feet completely dry. But what you can do is to keep a layer of warm liquid – sweat – next to your feet and keep that from mixing with cold water outside. (same theory as scuba divers in wetsuits)

            So, get plastic bag (i’ve found the best are the outer bags from the fancy breads that have an inner cellophane wrapper). Put thin sock over foot, wrap in plastic bag, then thick oversock and shoe.

            This will keep your feet warm. On the udder hand (as we say in the dairy business) when you take off plastic bag, the smell will be extremely repulsive.

            (As I said to the young lady, “I’m not a foot fetishist, but I am looking for a soul mate”. ;-) )

      • You must mean THE KEYSTONE JOBS BILL! What’s a “pipeline?”

      • liberalrob

        the Keystone pipeline, with its “thousands” of jobs

        Oh, that pipeline that’s not going through her state?

    • joe from Lowell

      She was all, “Hello Iowa! Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to rock, Iowa?!? Well all right!”

    • Charlie Pierce has her number; she was told to shut it with the crazy during her election, and she kept the crazy under wraps, and dialed up the folksiness.

  • MDrew

    I’m a little dubious that it wouldn’t have been different if it had been a Muslim born somewhere in Asia with brown skin who had been given an Islamic-sounding name by his parents, rather than a white man born in America who had been given an Anglo name by his parents and converted to Islam.

    • MDrew

      Posted this in the wrong thread.

    • Warren Terra

      The North Pacific isn’t Asia. Hawai’i is not on any of the continents. Obama was not born on any of our great landmasses – it’s like he wasn’t born of this Earth at all!

      PS Glad it’s in the wrong thread, because it’s hella confusing.

      • He wasn’t. He’s obviously a Vulcan.

      • Vance Maverick

        Not to mention that the layers of negation in “I’m a little dubious that it wouldn’t” leave one in a state of dubiety.

  • He Didn’t. Even. Try.

    • Malaclypse

      He should use the bully pulpit. You know, give a high-profile speech, or something.

      • liberalrob

        I still don’t understand how a president can create an extralegal gulag without an act of Congress but can’t close one.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Not the same president, and perhaps there’s some way in which they’re different, though I’m struggling to put a name to it.

        • joe from Lowell

          The President doesn’t need an act of Congress to close Gitmo.

          He merely needs Congress to not pass an act of Congress forbidding him from spending money to close it, as they’ve done every year since 2009.

          Oh, btw, Bush did need an act of Congress to open Gitmo. Its legal basis is the September 2001 AUMF.

          All this factual/legal stuff is totally beside the point for you, though, isn’t it?

          • liberalrob

            The AUMF didn’t authorize the president to create an extralegal gulag, I don’t care what John Yoo and David Addington said. And yeah, the factual/legal stuff is beside the point. The United States should not be in the business of establishing extralegal gulags, period. I thought we signed a bunch of treaties and fought wars cold and hot for that principle.

            I’d love to see the Congress try to impeach him for ordering all the military forces at Guantanamo to relocate to CONUS. Who’s the Article II Commander-in-Chief?

            • sibusisodan

              And yeah, the factual/legal stuff is beside the point.

              If you’re angry, like us, at the twisting of legal principles into balloon animals in order to allow and justify the practices at Gitmo, then this isn’t true.

              The rule of law is the point. Which means that remedying the situation also has to be within the rule of law. A tyrant who acts outside of his authority to do things you like is still a tyrant.

          • Richard Gadsden

            Surely there’s a way of closing it without spending money, though? Pull the troops out and let the ex-prisoners have the place.

            • Malaclypse

              Are the troops hitchhiking home? And are we just leaving all those weapons unsecured? Because unless the answer to both of those is yes, even your plan involves spending money.

              • rea

                Hell, it costs money just to have a White House clerical worker type up the order.

              • liberalrob

                Are you saying the president can’t order troop redeployments without Congressional approval? There isn’t some kind of discretionary budget for that? It seems that somehow his deployment orders get carried out in other cases; he was able to order the intervention in Libya without Congressional approval and sent troops and authorized expensive combat operations there.

                And anyway, he’s the Commander in Chief. Since we’re apparently OK with relying on John Yoo’s authorization to create lawless gulags, John Yoo said those determinations were the president’s alone to make. So make the determination.

                • Hogan

                  So what’s your plan for the detainees? Unlock the doors and wait?

                • sibusisodan

                  Since we’re apparently OK with relying on John Yoo’s authorization to create lawless gulags

                  You are a card.

                  From Wiki, one of the restrictions on earlier funding was this:

                  bars the use of funds for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 to transfer detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries unless specified conditions are met.

                  So, yeah, I’d say evacuating the base and leaving it to Cuba probably results in the prisoners being under the ‘effective control’ of a foreign country.

                  Now, I don’t know the precise details. But neither do you – nor do you seem to want to know.

  • Pseudonym

    Shorter every Ron Fournier column: Will Obama lead with leadership by following the GOP, or will he act all uppity again?

    How does this man have a job?

    • Have you NOT been paying attention? The Kochs can blow BILLIONS on this shit and still not feel it.

  • Now we know why we can’t have nice things: instead of listening to what the President says and weighing its value, people are actually counting the words.

    • Vance Maverick

      Even that would be an improvement. They talk about counting the words, then segue into an arbitrary conclusion without actually carrying out the counting step.

      • Lee Rudolph

        It’s the gold standard of Wingnuttian Anti-Science: conclusion first, experiment and analysis never!!!

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