Ten Commandments for 2012, Obama loves Facebook and more: Dana Milbank Live

Apr 22, 2011

Dana Milbank Live is your weekly opportunity for a give and take with Dana centering on the latest political news in Washington and his recent columns.

Each chat also features your responses to Dana's Etch-a-Sketch requests -- his lazy attempt to get you to do his work for him by seeking your best lines about the week's political oddities.

This week's question: What can Obama do besides wearing a Facebook hoodie to convey his youth appeal?"

Quite a Holy Week it has been.  John Ensign announces his resignation on Holy Thursday.   Hours before the first night of Passover, Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments judge, declares he's forming a presidential exploratory committee.  President Obama, though alleging he is a Christian, worships at the altar of Zuckerberg.   A singing group heckles the president. Andrew Breitbart goes on MSNBC and criticizes liberals.  Michele Bachmann tells the birthers to cool it.

Maybe Glenn Beck is right: We are living in the End Times!


Thanks to you, I and the general public are more aware of who speaks the truth in a day and age of government gone bad. Do you accept bribes from the democratic party of the United States, existing administration, unions, soros, anyone? I ask because your hate outside of the liberal logic makes you look like an idiot. Have a great weekend.

It's always fun to start off with one of these. 

First, this is waaaay to much anger for Good Friday.  Possibly you are that driver I saw on Connecticut Avenue at 7:30 this morning driving downtown, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating and honking. 

I have not taken any bribes but that may just be because I haven't been offered any bribes.  Would anybody out there like to bribe me?  If so, for how much and to do what? 


Young people are idealists. Idealists despise hypocrisy. Obama has broken almost every campaign promise, and he made a ton of them. He can wear hoodies, do a press conference in rap, or text the next State of the Union address beginning with "OMG WTF" but he cannot un-ring a bell. Obama's one Hope(tm) is that the GOP will nominate one of the empty suits that the media have anointed as contenders. Even then it will be a hard sell to attain lesser-of-evil status.

Although, you have to admit that beginning the State of the Union with "OMG WTF" would be really cool.  LMAO POTUS!


Meaning, if there was money in being a huge lying liberal, would he just as easily assume that role?


If Breitbart was telling the truth -- and it's Breitbart, so why wouldn't we assume it's true? -- at Heritage yesterday, he's not making a whole lot of money now.  Says he's got a mortgage and two car payments.  

Still, a cursory glance at the New York Times bestseller list makes me think there's more money in being a huge lying conservative than a huge lying liberal. 




Your month long moratorium on Plain worked splendidly. Her poll numbers dropped and she seemed more and more irrelevant to the political discussion. Please, please work your magic on Trump. Declare the merry month of May as a Trump free zone. It will make the summer in DC much more tolerable. Thank you.

Ok, maybe you guys can tell me why I'm wrong, but I'm loving the Trump surge.    He writes earnestly in USA Today about how he's not going to do the birther thing anymore, probably because he's stung by Jerry Seinfeld pulling out of his son's charity event.  Then within minutes of the paper hitting newstands, Trump is on the morning shows talking about....the birther issue.  

I see how this could get old but I am not there yet.

Do you think strapping on an electric guitar might help? Considering the number of Bush policies that he has adopted, maybe he could bring "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" to a whole new generation.

Certainly he can't do the saxophone thing, so probably the guitar would be a better idea.  If he is seeking to emphasize his continuity with Bush, perhaps his backup singers can be Gitmo prisoners.

Tell Cillizza he's dead to me.

I know these are hard times, Senator Ensign.  But you cannot blame all of this on Cillizza.

Obama can regulate and tax online poker to convey his youth appeal rather than endorse a legally dubious stance by his DoJ that violates international trade laws, makes no economic or moral sense and hurts the tens of thousands who rely on online poker for secondary or primary income.

Also legalize marijuana.  The legalization lobby flooded his Facebook town hall page with questions about hemp and cannabis.  They are surprisingly active for such a mellow crowd.  Sadly, none of the drug questions made it to the president.

1. Replace Hillary with Glenn Greenwald. 2. In his speeches, frequently reference former Pres Bush using belittling remarks and nicknames. 3. Read Noam Chomsky, and then replace the entire JCS with Noam.

I am particularly intrigued by #2.  And why limit it to Bush?  I think young voters would be very motivated by presidential snark.   Every reference to Paul Ryan would include a remark about hair pomade.  He would imitate Mitch McConnell by speaking without moving his jaws. And every mention of Mitt Romney would be preceded by "my health-care reform advisor."



Why do conservative conspiracy theories seem to do better than liberal ones? Liberals just aren't good at anything-- even lying.

My favorite new conservative conspiracy theory (spread by Breitbart, 'natch) is that the birther issue is actually a liberal conspiracy to make conservatives look bad. 

That said, the 9/11 truthers and the people who thought Bush had a radio between his shoulders during the debate were pretty close to birther level. 

on his promise to be different, to change things, to make our country work better. Its insulting to the youth of America to think that being on Facebook, while being in touch with the youth, will cause people to overlook the inability to deliver on what he implied he was going to do.

At the risk of being serious, you are absolutely correct.  I think the frustration among Obama supporters is not that he's done badly in absolute terms but that he's done badly relative to the impossibly high expectations he set.   Younger voters were particularly taken in by his promises to change the world overnight, and so they are particularly disillusioned. 

I do continue to think that beginnint the State of the Union with OMG WTF would go a long way toward rebuilding their confidence in him.

since you vanquished Beck and marginalized Palin, what is your strategy to get rid of Trump and can you put it in effect ASAP. I just can't stand all this craziness-- I know you must be giddy, but some of us are more sanctimonious and ios and take our politics seriously. So turn on the Power and give Trump the heave ho. I mean , c'mon-- Michele Bachmann is the sane one now?


Can't we wait until June, or July, for the moratorium?  Please? 

If i had to place you somewhere on the political spectrum i would say you fall somewhere between establishment Democrat and snarky independent. You are so deft at ridiculing conservatives, which they richly deserve, you sometimes read like you are compelled to give an equal and opposite take down of the real left. In that you are like Obama and the American journalistic ethos in general. My own tastes would prefer a more "fleet street" polemical approach consisting of more gutter sniping at the right wing. On the whole i would say your output is about 75% anti right and 25% anti left. Maybe you should add some more affirmative viewpoints. I recall that piece you wrote on Keynes back in September 2010. How about more of that? Also, how about some more video sketches?

Well, thank you for that evaluation, which is more thoughtful and rigrous than any I have ever given myself.   I definitely see the appeal of gutter sniping but I find myself unable to be permanently on one side or the other.  

As for video sketches, alas, these are lean times and we do not have video journalists available for them anymore.  Perhaps we can set up some bribes?


How about Obama actually doing something that fulfills a campaign promise such as enacting a single payer health care system?

That's what Donald Trump wants!  Oh, wait, that's what Donald Trump wanted in 2000.  

How can you write about the subtleties and atmospherics of President Obama's appearance at Facebook earlier this week when you weren't there?

Please.  There was nothing subtle about my column.

That is what is known in the trade (by which I mean it is known to me) as a "remote sketch."   It definitely loses something in the atmospherics, as you say, but you actually see more of the action on the broadcast/webcast.   Often when I was covering the White House we'd watch a presidential speech on TV even though it was being delivered in the next room.


In my opinion, given the characters suggested to date that might run for president masquerading as Republicans, the only way Obama loses is if he actually converts to Islam. Is there a potential Republican or third party candidate that you think can beat the president (other than himself)?

Isn't Obama already a Muslim?

I would agree with you with one caveat:  If high-priced gas, or some other econonomic shock, shuts down the economy sufficiently, then even Roy Moore would have a chance.  Well, maybe not Roy Moore. But Rick Santorum would. 


Thou Shalt Not Traipse with youor staff and then use your Parent's money to fund the Hush Money. What more can be said of John Ensign that hasn't?

Something tells me the Senate ethics committee had come up with something more to say. 


Don't the conservative books make the New York Times Bestseller Lists because conservative think tanks and other organizations buy those crappy books in bulk, and then just give them away? That should be a future column. Exploring how those books are actually sold.

A better future column would be exploring how I could get think tanks and other organizations to buy MY books in bulk and then give them away.  Maybe bribery would work.

Why is your likeness plastered on streetlamps everywhere in Columbia Heights?

It remains, honestly, a mystery to me.  I'm also in some sticky situations in DuPont and in upper Northwest.   Particularly fetching was the sticker of my face next to Frankenstein's.  People thought they were seeing double.

It seems to me that he didn't really set expetations very high. He was just such a blank slate that everyone looking for change (including the "media") projected expectations onto him. Of course he did nothing to disuade that.

Well put.   When he came into office with 85 percent favorability or whatever it was in the middle of a deep recession, trouble was bound to follow.

"Younger voters were particularly taken in by his promises to change the world overnight" Due respect, as a young-ish voter, I don't know why anyone would've expected that as he'd said time and again that the kind of change he was talking about would require more than a single term in office. Even in his election night speech, he referenced that it would be a long journey. But I agree with you that a well-placed OMG WTF would help his image.

Right. I think a better way to put it is how the previous questioner did:  He spoke in lofty phrases and people put unrealistic hopes in him.  He didn't, or couldn't, disabuse them of these expectations, and disappointment was inevitable. 

Just to show you are nonpartisan, do you think you could be able to go one month without writing a word about the candidate challenging Obama for the Democratic nomination, Mike Gravel?

Is he back again?  Good times!

Being from out of town, I have not seen the Dana Milbank stickers. Are they definitely of you? Do they say anything, or is it a just a picture. Is it a photo or a drawing, and is it flattering or derogatory? You know, political campaigns have sprung from far less. Milbank in 2012?

It is derogatory, but accurate:  The dot matrix type drawing that goes above my column in the paper sometimes.  It says only "Milbank" underneath. 

Depending on how far the sticker paster wishes to go with this, I may be able to announce a presidential exploratory committee.

I often wonder if those conservative books are really selling as well as the list says, or if the numbers are cooked a bit by large buys by conservative organizations that then hand the books out at conferences or sell them deeply discounted. I recently read an article on the Borders closings and they can't give away books by Glenn Beck.

I see a liberal conspiracy theory developing right before my very eyes.

As a 54 year old, I am very upset over proposals to cut Medicaid for people under age 55. I grew up with the same expectations as did people age 55 and over. I should think there is a large segment of voters aged 54, 53, 52, and who knows how much further who feel very bitter at these recent proposals.

I know how you feel.  When I was 16 or so, they raised the drinking age from 18 to 21. 


Like maybe he could ditch the wing tips and wear flips to the next state dinner. And rap the toast to Angela Merkel.

I predict she'd make the same face she did when Bush gave her a backrub.

Speaking as a young person, I will be enthusiastically voting for Barack Obama in 2012. I'm sorry he hasn't been able to fulfill every one of his campaign promises (we campaign in poetry, but govern in prose), and it sucks that Gitmo is still open and that we aren't doing more about climate change. But we got health care, we're ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, troops are leaving Iraq, and the economy is slowly recovering. I'm sorry Obama isn't Jed Bartlet, but it's easier being president on a TV show on NBC than real life.

Yes!  Young people on this chat!

(At the Post we define "young" reader as under 80.)

perhaps a potus tweet: jst red ryan budget,lol,meh :)

Maybe Obama should make sure that when he talks about the republicans, he should just add "that's what she said." to the end of everything.

Okay, folks.

I'm heading 0ff with the family to the inlaws in Connecticut to close out my Holy Week/Passover.   Cook up some good conspiracies and we'll bat them around next week. 


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Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank reviews the political theater of the nation's capital in his editorial-page column. His most recent book is "Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America;" his other books are "Homo Politicus" (Doubleday, 2008) and "Smashmouth" (Basic Books, 2001). Milbank joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000 and wrote the "Washington Sketch" column for nearly six years. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
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