‘The Punditry vs. the Presidency’


Michael Cohen: The Punditry vs. the Presidency

How the constant chorus of ‘do something’ Obama foreign policy critics gets it wrong

There is a fun foreign policy game making all the rounds in Washington D.C. this summer: Pin the tail on Barack Obama.

Its appeal is not hard to understand; it’s so easy to play.

Step 1: Pick a foreign crisis that touches even slightly on U.S. national security interests. This shouldn’t be hard, because the United States defines practically everything in the world as being an American interest.

Step 2: Make clear that this is no garden-variety problem but rather “the defining crisis of [OBAMA’S] presidency”……

….. Step 6: Publish your condemnation in a major newspaper or news outlet. Wait for a phone call from a booker with a Sunday morning talk show.

There are no points for understanding how international relations work, how U.S. power is actually utilized or how other countries interpret their own interests. There’s no space on the board for tracking the real-life impact of your recommendations.

Foreign policy stewardship would be easy if it were as simple as playing this game. If, as President Obama joked recently, America “control(led) everything around the world,” there wouldn’t be much to decide at all.

More here

98 Responses to “‘The Punditry vs. the Presidency’”

  1. 3 desertflower
    August 31, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    ABSOLUTE Must Read! Evening, TOD:)

  2. August 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Designed and produced in Austria, the Johammer J1 motorcycle is the first serial electric bike capable of reaching beyond 200 kilometers in range thanks to its innovative energy supply system. applying a chopper-like aesthetic, the electric gears and controls are integrated in the back wheel for a maintenance free ride. at the core lies a newly developed battery system; the shortest connection between the two axes being a direct line. the middle-frame is made from aluminum, which provides space for spring damper and battery pack. two high-resolution 2.4 inch rear view mirrors provide relevant driving information in a compact display.

    A Johammer battery pack is characterised by an impressive level of safety and extended life cycle. The Johammer Motorcycle Project guarantees a service life of 200,000 km or four years with a residual capacity of at least 85% when used in accordance with our instructions. Johammer also offers a range of exchange options as soon as new, even higher performance technology is available. Johammer battery packs are designed to be reused as stationary storage modules for electricity generated by photovoltaic systems. Following an extended secondary life cycle of up to 20 years, the battery packs are then carefully recycled.

    “The supplies of all raw materials on this planet are limited. When we use valuable raw materials, it is our duty to ensure that the products we make from them are designed to last as long as possible. Recycling is inevitable and all very well, but something is always lost in the process, in addition to consuming even more energy.” -CEO Johann Hammerschmid

  3. 11 Nena20409
    August 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    LP has the Au ⭐ 🙂

    The Punditry Vs The Presidency.


  4. August 31, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Urge your Senators & Reps to pass “Zizi’s Law” …..

    Yes We Can

  5. August 31, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    “When most people walk along Corsica’s white sand beaches, they admire the beautiful vistas and perhaps keep an eye out for a seashell memento, but artist Gilles Cenazandotti is constantly on the lookout for litter. As a child, the native Corsican collected driftwood to build forts, and now as an adult he crafts three-dimensional collages made from discarded plastic fragments that wash up on shore. Cenazandotti’s latest collection is called Future Bestiary and is intended to be an homage to the animals whose lives and habitats are threatened by pollution. The series combines Rachel Carson’s activist instincts with Walt Disney’s flair for brightly colored animal caricatures. In Cenazandotti’s hands, discarded sunscreen bottles, sandals, and other flotsam are transformed into an artfully constructed menagerie composed of leopards, hyenas, and other exotic creatures.

    The artist’s creative process is organic even if his materials are entirely synthetic. Cenazandotti scours the shoreline, especially stretches that aren’t frequented by tourists, and collects bags of material. Each of these beachcombing sessions yields standard parts like containers and toys, as well as more exotic “treasures” like the odd mountain ski, spent syringes, electronic components, and sadly, a life jacket from a plane. Each piece of junk is treated like a jewel in the rough, is purified with rainwater and organic detergent, and then organized by theme, color, size, and shape.

    Sometimes, color alone acts as the cue. An eight-foot-tall polar bear is the centerpiece of Cenazandotti’s series and was initially inspired by the large amount of white plastic he found on the shore. He was struck by dissonance between the color’s symbolism and the degraded reality of the material. “Usually it’s the color of purity, but for me it doesn’t have that meaning anymore,” he says…..

    …While Cenazandotti hopes to change people’s attitudes about pollution and raise awareness about the risks trash poses to endangered species, he’s also inventing tools to collect garbage before it reaches the beach. The primary goal is to prevent animal suffering, like birds whose bellies fill with plastic that causes them to starve to death, while also providing him a source of fodder for his next creations. His works are largely driven by concern for wildlife and the environment, but he is also concerned that his animals could be a dark omen for the future, perhaps in the aftermath of a pollution-driven apocalypse. “In a bad future we could meet them, like robotic animals that replace real ones,” he says.”

  6. August 31, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    He is at it again…..

  7. August 31, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    from the article
    The punditry vs the president…

    But the recognition that any U.S. strategy will be dependent on the contributions of others, will develop and evolve over time and, above all, cannot be constructed on the fly, should be welcomed. While U.S. engagement may help defeat ISIS, it almost certainly will not be decisive. Inevitably it is Iraqis who will shape the destiny of Iraq.

    Understanding this with some measure of humility is not a strength of American pundits, for whom everything is about the United States – and, even more simplistic than that, about its President

  8. 21 africa
    August 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Excellent Read. Thanks for sharing, Chips!!

  9. August 31, 2014 at 8:10 pm

  10. 23 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    • 24 arapaho415
      August 31, 2014 at 9:19 pm


      Lots of TODville have been asking about your whereabouts, mostly on the AM threads it appears.

      Chips figured you were off to Africa, I’m thinking you were hiding from your “monsters,” LOL.

      • 25 amk for obama
        August 31, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        MIL issues. See my reply to nosey veecee. (nice rhyme, eh)

        • 26 arapaho415
          August 31, 2014 at 9:36 pm

          Saw your response to vc after I posted my comment, 😦 .

          What a precious gem your daughter is! Bet your MIL is glad *her* daughter had the good sense to marry you!

          • 27 amk for obama
            August 31, 2014 at 9:44 pm

            Yeah, a sil

            1. who coaxed her to get into an ambulance (stamping out her fears that she was gonna die if she got into an ambulance).
            2. who rushed her to the well equipped hospital 220 klicks away to ensure she got the best care.
            3. who has a really smart doctor daughter.

            Yup, that’s me.

    • 29 jackiegrumbacher
      August 31, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Pundits and other idiots have selective memory loss. Putin walked over Georgia with nary a peep from GW.

  11. 30 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 8:22 pm

  12. 33 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 8:38 pm

  13. 34 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    • 35 vcprezofan2
      August 31, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      Mr. Amk, have you already answered the MIA charge, or did you simply slither quietly back into the village? I’ve been in and out with nary a sight of you – have you, or your lawyer explained yourself to the senior Bt?

      • 36 amk for obama
        August 31, 2014 at 9:10 pm

        MIL+MI+Hospital+Stent+Home safe = MIA.

        Luckily daughter unit was with her when it happened and thus saved her.

        • 37 vcprezofan2
          August 31, 2014 at 9:13 pm

          Daughter unit = trained + knowledgeable for just such a time as this!

          Blessings on all concerned!

        • 38 jackiegrumbacher
          August 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm

          Sorry about this crisis in your family, AMk, but I’m very glad your daughter was on hand and knew what to do. She is an amazing young woman.

        • 39 globalcitizenlinda
          August 31, 2014 at 11:35 pm

          a very good thing that your MIL survived this medical crisis and that your precious daughter was their to play a crucial role;

          hoping for a quick healing and continued strength for the patient and more expertise to the healing hands

  14. 40 globalcitizenlinda
    August 31, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Surely California, You Can Do Better than this war-monger and war-profiteerer

    • 41 0388jojothecat
      September 1, 2014 at 12:02 am

      Yes, we will do our best to primary her but she has a strong following in NoCal being there with Harvey Milk and all but we will try….

  15. 42 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 8:40 pm

  16. August 31, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    As we move forward, the President will continue to excel the way he has always excelled: By being thoughtful, deliberate, and pragmatic. It’s why we helped take out a dictator in Libya without putting boots on the ground. It’s why we stayed out of Syria during its gruesome civil war. It’s why we pursued economic sanctions to cripple the Russian economy as a way to penalize them for their actions in the Ukraine. And it’s why we got out of Iraq and Afghanistan so that we’re currently discussing how to deal with ISIS from half a world away rather than bringing home hundreds of coffins of American soldiers killed in action by ISIS. Regardless of what the media thinks, I’m glad our President is once again doing the right thing.
    Even if it isn’t sexy enough to make the evening news

  17. August 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Vlad’s “Wahhabi allies” ….

  18. 45 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 8:45 pm

  19. 46 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 8:51 pm

  20. 50 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Sam Wang gives Democrats a 72 percent chance of keeping control of the Senate. It’s not a widely held view, but he did accurately predict every Senate race in 2012. Here’s why the pundits may be underestimating Democrats this year.

    “Fundamentals” pull probabilities away from the present. For PEC and Daily Kos, the win probability is closely linked to the poll margin. The Daily Kos model was created by Drew Linzer, of Votamatic fame. Both are based on polls alone.

    The mainstream media organizations are a different story. They show a general tendency to be more favorable to Republicans. For Alaska (AK), Arkansas (AR), and North Carolina (NC), the discrepancy between PEC/DKos and NYT/WaPo/538 is rather large. Where PEC shows an average of 4.02 out of 6 key seats going Democratic, those organizations show 2.75 to 3.16 seats. This key difference, 0.86 to 1.27 seats, is enough to account for the fact that PEC’s Democratic-control probability is 70%, while theirs is between 32% and 42%.


    • 51 amk for obama
      August 31, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Some of what Wang talks about here is similar to the points I raised in my recent post on the lack of evidence for a Republican wave in 2014. If you look at the polling right now, there is simply no evidence for the kind of strongly pro-Republican electoral movement that we would expect to see if November is, in fact, going to result in a Republican take over of the Senate. One criticism of that point, of course, is the fact that we are still looking at pre-Labor Day polls and that, traditionally at least, the “real campaign” doesn’t start until early September, when voters have returned from summer vacation. While this is true to some extent, it’s a mistake to discount pre-Labor Day polling or to argue that the situation on the ground, as we begin the final six-week sprint, doesn’t matter in trying to figure out how the campaign is going to unfold. Four years ago, for example, Republicans had a 10 point lead in the Generic Congressional Ballot, suggesting huge Republican gains in the fall. Today, the RealClearPolitics average has the Democrats with a 1.5 point lead in the Generic Ballot. At this point four years ago, both Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato were noting signs of a growing Republican wave in 2010. This year, there’s no real talk of a wave, and Sabato is noting that 2014 is looking at this point like it is going to be quite different from what we saw in 2006, 2008, and 2010 in the Senate.

  21. August 31, 2014 at 9:04 pm

  22. August 31, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    • 54 0388jojothecat
      August 31, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      ……..and did not do a damn thing, the right wing media said nothing, dick cheney had nothing say….and the so-called liberal media reported just the facts no wringing their hands about GWB not doing anything…..

      • September 1, 2014 at 2:10 am

        “and did not do a damn thing”

        Correct …. except for implicitly enabling Tzar Vlad’s colonization of a portion of Georgia, given that George was more than delighted that Vlad was complicit in the US doing the same thing in Iraq.

  23. 56 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

  24. 57 hopefruit2
    August 31, 2014 at 9:18 pm

  25. 59 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 9:19 pm

  26. 60 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 9:34 pm

  27. 61 arapaho415
    August 31, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    From yesterday, but since it seems like a slow day in TODville, worth enjoying.

  28. 62 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 9:48 pm

  29. 63 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    What’s the moral here? For years, pundits and politicians have insisted that guaranteed health care is an impossible dream, even though every other advanced country has it. Covering the uninsured was supposed to be unaffordable; Medicare as we know it was supposed to be unsustainable. But it turns out that incremental steps to improve incentives and reduce costs can achieve a lot, and covering the uninsured isn’t hard at all.

    When it comes to ensuring that Americans have access to health care, the message of the data is simple: Yes, we can.

  30. 64 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 10:02 pm

  31. 66 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 10:06 pm

  32. 68 jackiegrumbacher
    August 31, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Michael Cohen’s article “should” be ready by every arrogant pundit and loud-mouthed senator who goes on tv to criticize the president, but it won’t be. These people are incapable of learning if it means stepping out of their own comfortable and narrow world view. And they are incapable of shame because that would mean it is “they” and not the president who is wrong. It’s going to be up to those of us who listen and learn to remain absolutely unwavering in our support of the president and to spread that resolution and understanding to everyone we know. As we’ve said here many times, “we are the media we’ve been waiting for.”

  33. 69 globalcitizenlinda
    August 31, 2014 at 10:36 pm

  34. 70 globalcitizenlinda
    August 31, 2014 at 10:39 pm

  35. 71 MightyPamela
    August 31, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Beloved, delightful daughter has gone, returned to southern climes. Quiet here tonight. Kind of reminds me how far behind I am on that mysterious state we call ~ Sleep. Love her dearly, will rest tonight. Enjoy Labor Day, I may just do absolutely nothing tomorrow! ❤ 🐻 ❤

    • 72 MightyPamela
      August 31, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Well, quiet except for guillotine man. 😦 Absurd noise encroachment on my sanctuary. 😦 {{{{{TOD}}}}}

    • 73 arapaho415
      September 1, 2014 at 12:46 am


      So sorry that your daughter is so far away from you, and that her visit was so brief.

      Also sorry about your guillotine neighbor — I recently moved into a downstairs apartment — was a bit wary, since I haven’t lived in an apartment for almost 40 years, and always had an upstairs unit. The folks upstairs are a nice hipster couple, and aren’t too noisy, but it’s still unnerving to be downstairs.

      I think I’d like an upstairs unit, but I’m torn because I have an additional “hobbit space” under the stairs — I know it sounds odd, but I like having an enclosed private space outside, and I’ve been mistaken for a hobbit a time or two, LOL.

      • 74 MightyPamela
        September 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

        ❤ 🙂 Bless you arapahoe! My daughter and I are very closely joined in heart and mind, she is never far from me, we both know it! A gift from the Universe! This is only the 3rd apartment I have ever lived in, but essentially, I think the space was designated for me to complete the necessary healing, it is not my destination! Oddly, I am more often mistaken for a Vulcan! No problem with that! 😉

  36. 75 amk for obama
    August 31, 2014 at 11:14 pm

  37. 76 yardarm756
    August 31, 2014 at 11:19 pm

  38. 77 yardarm756
    August 31, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    OT but worth a listen.

  39. 78 globalcitizenlinda
    August 31, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    • 79 0388jojothecat
      September 1, 2014 at 12:21 am

      No wonder they were fighting tooth and nail against this…….plus they have to spend 80% of premiums on healthcare or refund the dough to customers…..plus they lost their Bush Tax cuts which must be really chaffing their arses.

  40. 80 globalcitizenlinda
    September 1, 2014 at 12:29 am

    I think would be useful to respond to ANY media outlet that quotes dianne feinstein’s criticism of Prez Barack Obama with a demand that they follow up with a clarification of her personal financial ties to the war machine and how her Iraq war vote contributed to the ISIS formation and subsequent brutality ;

  41. 82 globalcitizenlinda
    September 1, 2014 at 12:35 am

  42. 83 globalcitizenlinda
    September 1, 2014 at 12:38 am

    • 84 Nena20409
      September 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

      POTUS never said it feels like the world is fall apart. In Truth with context, he said…..Americans watching the News, may feel like the world is falling apart.

      I am so sick and tired of the News Media failing this Nation at basic Journalism 101

  43. 85 FoxfireTX
    September 1, 2014 at 1:13 am

    The one thing that puzzles me about the Obama administration is the lack of a competent staff to push back on the chattering class. We saw this same thing during the health care debate but at least then there was Nancy Pelosi and David Axelrod to push back on some of the shows, etc. Currently, the only ones out there are PBO himself, the press sec, and John Kerry who is far too busy to deal with it other than an occasional op ed. It’s pretty sad when the one person who is supporting his position is Tom Cole (R-OK). I don’t think I appreciated how big a role Axelrod filled until he was gone and there simply is no push back on the garbage constantly spewed. I blame the Dems for part of it in not supporting him publicly but the Repubs always seem to have folks out there. Now granted, this doesn’t mean much for those who stay up on the issues but we all know that we have whole bunch idiots in this country who swallow the Fox BS hook, line and sinker. Seems to me it would be helpful if this all didn’t fall on PBO’s shoulders. He certainly has enough to deal with.

    • 86 jacquelineoboomer
      September 1, 2014 at 1:42 am

      My take is that the President and his top staff are well aware of all the faux controversies and made-up stories out there. They can either be distracted taking them on, one by one ~ just as most of us try to do, to support him ~ or just get up every morning and work for the American people. It’s clear they’ve chosen the latter, with his lead. He often says that’s what he does every day, and it’s clearly obvious.

      All of the President’s supporters as a group outside of the administration working together will never be able to change the mind of even one hater and/or racist and/or RWNJ, in this climate. Nothing will change their minds until something hits home for them – we’ve all seen that. We shouldn’t fall into the Republican pattern of blaming the victim. President Obama is the victim of the chattering class and beyond. He handles it with grace and dignity. He’s the chess player, 10 or more steps ahead of everyone. We don’t know how he keeps his calm, but he does. I admire him greatly for it, and do not see anything to criticize about it.

      Now, if you want my opinion on Democratic politicians – other than Nancy Pelosi and a few more, as you said – THEY are the ones who should have been on air broadcasting their support for this President, who’s carried many of them on his back toward their elections and re-elections. THEY know his goodness. THEY are the ones who need to “kick off their slippers” and support him, in loud voices.

      • 89 Nena20409
        September 1, 2014 at 11:21 am

        Those who control the Message, drive the narrative. In a polarized Nation with 6 Corporations as the Main News Entity…….Messaging is extremely needed. The reason the GOP’s policies are loathed by most Americans, yet their policies are debated, enacted or drowning out what majority of Americans need and want…..is due to one party having 80% plus advantage on the Messaging.

        Whenever a Coup d’etat happens, those who executed the Coup take control of the Media.

        US News Media is no longer serving the public at large……so Dems as a political party must find a better, quicker and deliberate method to make their policies the dominant Go To, Be All and Accepted and Desired alternative.

  44. 90 jacquelineoboomer
    September 1, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Wow. Read her secrets for the longest life! Ha.

  45. September 1, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Enough ….


    Yes We Must

    good night TOD

  46. 93 jacquelineoboomer
    September 1, 2014 at 2:18 am

    No doubt in my mind dumbass Bush and his puppeteer Cheney would never have been able to lead this involvement, without boots on the ground. McCain/Feinstein be damned.

  47. 94 jacquelineoboomer
    September 1, 2014 at 2:41 am

  48. 95 jackiegrumbacher
    September 1, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Apparently Russia is planning move to bypass sanctions. I wonder if the US and EU could move quickly this week to block this. Let’s hope so.

  49. 96 jackiegrumbacher
    September 1, 2014 at 7:53 am

    Looks as if Turkey is leading the effort to rebuild Gaza strip in spite of Israel’s opposition.


  50. September 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    WOW.. this really was a must read!!!

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