OK, I'm back.
I've always liked to invent backstories behind cliches and one of my oldest ones is the idea that the first guy who said "You can't see the forest for the trees" was actually running through a forest when he ran head first into a tree and didn't enjoy the experience. You do tend to swear at the trees, and, if you hit your head hard enough, you might even swear off that particular forest for awhile.
Needless to say, the overwhelming number of comments to my last diary divided into agreement with support, disagreement with support, or anger/frustration/namecalling - still with support. I did not write what I wrote to provoke a reaction but if I had, that would have been the spectrum I would have hoped for.
It occurs to me, in the full flower of the pomposity that always strikes me at midday, that this might be somewhat metaphorical for progressives and other centrists, particularly relative to criticism of the Administration. I was reminded of this last night when somebody asked me why I wasn't pounding the President more on Afghanistan, and I linked him the Comment I did last year saying Obama should declare victory and go home.
"Sure," the guy replied, "you've been critical of that, once, but you seem to go lightly on them." And I said, you're right...other than this stuff about the BP disaster, and the Public Option, and the political strategy on Health Care Reform, and Afghanistan, and not prosecuting torture, and the Kagan nomination, and maybe six dozen complaints about process or tone.
I mention this because the last diary was misinterpreted by 99% of the old media and 99.5% of the new media. I didn't 'quit Daily Kos because I got criticized for criticizing POTUS.' I wrote what I wrote because there was a body of us here which assumed any criticism of this administration had to originate in a nefarious and wholly nugatory plan to destroy it. There certainly are such nefarious and wholly nugatory plans, active, this very minute: The most prominent is called the Republican Party (GOBP).
Meanwhile, one group of progressives/liberals/Democrats has assumed no such conspiracy theory, demanded no purity test, and taken no instant and farfetched umbrage. These are the individuals known as the Obama Administration. I haven't been in contact with anybody there since my comments on the President's speech, but I sure as hell was in contact with them after every single one of the criticisms I mentioned above. Nobody ever called me up to complain. Nobody ever called me up to dissuade. Nobody schmoozed me, and nobody threatened me. They seem to assume it comes with the job. And they correctly assume that if I'm critical of them, they're entitled to be critical of my criticism.
This differs from the previous occupants of the White House in more ways than this site has members and lurkers and trolls combined. You will recall that every criticism of Bush was a plot to destroy America. Criticism of Obama is...democracy.
As I said in my GBCW, I, in turn, don't mind criticism of my criticism. But, sheez, if I wanted to whore out my opinion for money, I could find about 50 less dangerous and more lucrative job paths than the one I've taken. The show I do and the positions I take are under assault, every day, from every possible direction, and I'm not complaining about it: I can afford the suit of armor. I just get pissed off now and again when I'm busy dodging bazookas and somebody bounces a nine-volt battery off my shiny metal ass claiming I'm actually an agent trying to make dough the easy way.
I should have laughed at the ludicrousness of the idea. I didn't. Sometimes it gets sweaty inside the armor. I'm not given to rash decisions (and when I say "I'm not," of course I mean, "I am."
Incidentally, back to the point of all this, I still thought it was an unsatisfying speech, and that's granting the more substantive criticism that I misinterpreted who it was for, or what it was meant to facilitate, or any other factors of intent. What impressed me, and what I think President Obama should have done first, was have the meeting with the BP deatheaters and gotten the $20b escrow fund and the $100m oil riggers' moratorium fund, and then given the speech. Because in that way, he could have been his own newscaster and cut out the middle man, and we would have been left saying "the President made a forceful and specific impact on the Gulf Crisis and seemed to be setting a tone for the passage of the energy bill in the Senate."
OK, enough. I assume I'm on some sort of probation, so I'll have to stop writing all those fake I-Hate-Olbermann diaries under aliases to drum up sympathy.