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eXile Classic / Gloats / October 6, 2012
By Mark Ames

You poor Obamabots only just discovered a few nights ago what a crushingly dull technocrat Barack Obama is—but you’re still making the mistake of assuming that his snoozer performance against Mitt Romney during Wednesday’s debate was some sort of aberration. As Mark Ames argued way way back in this February 1, 2008 write-up for Alternet, Obama always was a neoliberal dullard— you people were just too starry-eyed and desperate-to-believe to see Obama for what he really was, and is. So blame yourselves for being 4-1/2 years too late to reality—and blame yourselves for not listening to Mr. Ames when you had the chance to save yourself some embarrassment.

Hillary and Obama’s Bland Debate: Tamer Than Watching ‘The Waltons’

February 1, 2008

MOSCOW—It’s late in the morning Moscow, Russia time, and I recently finished watching the Democratic debate on my laptop. I thought I’d share with my fellow Americans one humble expatriate’s opinion on the most important election since [enter dramatic sounding even-numbered year here]. From way out here in the land of “managed democracy” and retro menace, the spectacle of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama standing together as the two candidates for the Democratic Party left me with one overriding impression: They’re boring!

Why wasn’t I warned? Who decided that this was an election battle between old and new, between change and experience … or even more ludicrous, a choice between “hope” and “experience”? Who’s slapping these exciting-sounding narratives over a horrifically flat and undramatic reality? What’s gotten into you people? Either the insurance lobby has been seeding America’s atmosphere with laughing gas for the past few months, or you folks really are as stupid as you look from over here.

Before watching the debate, I’d read about how electrifying and inspirational Barack Obama was supposed to be. I’d heard about the arenas jam packed with teary-eyed 20-somethings. I’d seen clips of a wild-eyed Chris Matthews salivating uncontrollably every time the word “Obama” was uttered, as if the slick Illinois senator was standing off-camera ringing a little bell. Indeed he’s got about half of the younger-at-heart media demographic responding to that little bell of his, even people that I know. I keep expecting to have Leonard Nimoy enter my apartment holding a small syringe and a ball of cotton, telling me to go to sleep, not to worry, I won’t feel a thing, the next morning I’ll be “inspired” by Obama too. Which is why I just popped another Adderall … the hell if I’m going to sleep after seeing that debate.

Now that I’ve watched Barack Obama debate, and beheld this modern-day Martin Luther King Jr., this Kennedy-meets-Lincoln-by-way-of-John-The-Baptist, along with his co-star in this miserable prime time drama, Hillary Clinton, I gots ta ask: how can you people stand it? Forget about how either of those two could inspire emotions like love and hope and hatred — just physically, how can you watch it without wanting to kick something? That debate was the most boring television production since The Waltons.


But in making this judgment, I go on the false assumption that Americans have taste. Which you people don’t. A country that spends 12 stressful underpaid hours a day in a cubicle for less and less pay, then returns home just in time to watch their favorite reality show about a group of hyper-ambitious business school reptiles sucking up to Donald Trump for a promotion is not a country whose tastes can be trusted. The Apprentice is the only explanation for Obama’s appeal: his perfectly bland, business-friendly swagger makes him exactly the sort of African-American who’d earn Trump’s approval. For a country that’s spent the last 30 years sucking up to their bosses in direct proportion to the contempt that their bosses show to them, it’s only fitting that they’d swoon over Obama.

And then there’s the doomed co-star Hillary. Poor Hillary, no matter how sweetly she soups up her cheek implants or blonds up her gray roots, and no matter how blandly she tries to out-bland Barack with her her flat monotone voice, she just can’t break out of her character role as America’s Misogyny Magnet: she’s the bitchy-neighbor in the bad sitcom who always gets the live studio audience to crow “oooo”: the minute the camera focuses on her, most men feel a kind of unmediated hate that’s completely beyond their control, a strain of perfectly preserved, primal misogyny locked up deep inside of just about every voting-age male’s psyche (if you men claim you haven’t felt it, you’re either monstrous liars or else you’re wearing a leather head harness with an inflatable mouth gag as you’re reading this).

Sure she’s as bland as Obama, perhaps even marginally blander, but at the animal level, she triggers a neurochemical jet that sets off the very first hate most men feel when they encounter a powerful and threatening woman (like, say, I dunno, your 4th grade teacher Mrs. McManus? or the dean Ms. Mead, the wrinkled-mouth Episcopalian baboon who kicked you out of school and told you you’d never amount to anything?).

For years now American men have been trying to attach some sort of moral or political significance to their Hillary hatred, but safely out here in Eurasia, I can tell the simple plain truth about it: it’s a misogyny that they can’t control. They hate her because she’s the embodiment of every woman they’ve ever hated since the time they opened their eyes. It can’t be explained, which is why it’s such an ugly yet pure hatred, and why everyone burns the candle on both ends to justify the hate in moralistic terms, or political terms, or anything but raw misogyny. She’s been taking the misogyny heat for a good 25 years from roughly 150 million Americans, maybe more, and it’s transformed her into the perfect male-ego punching bag, with just about as much soul and sensitivity as a thick leather bag full of padded stuffing can possibly have.

Which is why Americans need her around to work out on: Hillary’s the easiest target that America has faced since Gulf War I, and if there’s one thing feeble Americans love, it’s bashing the shit out of easy targets. Just ask the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi conscripts forced into their Kuwaiti desert camp-out way back in 1991 how America deals with easy targets: we slaughter the shit out of them from the sky and the sea and from control rooms hundreds of miles away, and after we slaughter them without a fight, we high-five each other for a job well done! In political-media terms, that means Hillary takes the full pummeling of the feeble American literati’s mighty arsenal: she makes them look good in the eyes of a nation that applauds easy kills and scripted endings: “Look at me! Look how great I am as my new smart invective smashes into Hillary Clinton! Hoo-ah! Check out my laser-guided similes and pilotless pejoratives! Hoo-ah! Can you believe how great we all are for hating her?”

Back to last night’s debate … in the typical American account there are two versions: either the traditional bland roundup of the debate’s “issues,” which appeals to older traditional idiots who take comfort in believing in the rules; or else the more “contemporary” whining about the debate’s “lack of substance.” It’s such a puerile and self-serving whine that it almost makes you appreciate the David Brinkley world of traditional idiots.

We’re talking about two people struggling to be the embodiment of a violent nation in steep decline: I’ve seen this in Russia, and it’s not pretty … when you throw 100 million Baptofascists into the mix, then nothing could be more frivolous than demanding substance and real issues.

Do baboons demand “substance” during their power struggles? I bet the apes on the periphery complain to each other during nervous grooming sessions, but not the ones closer to the action. But at least baboons aren’t boring. For them all that matters are fangs, and the same goes for Middle America.

And when it comes to fangs, let’s give both Hillary and Obama their due: they’ve both got ’em. Obama’s fangs are far more lethal because they’re so stealthy, so couched in moral platitudes about “change” and “hope” and “bridging” — not very clever stuff, but you don’t have to be all that clever to fool these folks.

As for Hillary, she’d gain nothing by hiding her fangs, and I’d doubt she wants to. Hillary Clinton became the most despised woman in American history simply for trying to help millions of Americans live healthier, longer lives. She tried to give the country free health care 15 years ago, and the suckers will never, ever forgive her for it.

They still want to kill her for trying to ease their lives: “By gum, we folks w’d rather die of a stroke, than have some elitist woman talk down to us ‘n tell us what kinda health care we needs! We dun don’ wanna live if livin’ means takin’ handouts from her! We’re ‘mericans, by gum, and as ‘meric’ns, we c’n git our own health care, by gum! Least, that’s what my boss tells me to think, and so does my fav’rite radio talk show host, who kinda reminds me of my boss cuz he’s always yellin’ ‘n stuff, ‘n ‘cuz he’s richer ‘n I am. But that’s fine for us simple folks! Just don’ you go tryin’ t’ give us health care, you hear?”

If you tried to offer tens of millions of people the most important precious thing of all — health, a longer life — and then these same barely-upright monkeys all went berserk and grabbed sticks and started beating them on the ground telling you to go away and leave them alone, well, it’d make anyone mean and cynical too.

If there was anything truly sinister about last night’s debate, it was the spectacle of a nation patting itself on the back for allegedly overcoming its racism and its sexism. The ultimate sentimental fantasy in a post-U2 world come true: “Isn’t it incredible that we have a black man and a woman facing off against each other? We’ve come so far! We’re such a great generation!” It’s the Hollywood moment for America, and they won’t shuttup about it as they wipe their inspired eyes and pat themselves on their backs for the progress they’ve made.

Problem is, the very opposite is true: America is still viciously racist and as sexist as it can get away with, and that is why ultimately, as the boredom wore off and the deeper significance set in, last night’s debate was such a disturbing experience. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton represent the very opposite of black or womanhood achievement; they are the two most perfectly co-opted specimens of their kind imaginable, almost as if they were concocted in some evil Monsanto lab, completely stripped of their color and gender, blanded down to the familiar safe beige of ruling-class America. If you listened to Barack speak without looking at him; if you read Hillary’s text without hearing her; you wouldn’t know a color or a gender was there. It wouldn’t even enter your head. This blending of color and gender and culture doesn’t lead to a happy neutral, but rather, to the triumph of one.

Samuel Johnson once wrote that a second marriage is “the triumph of hope over experience.” But the irony of his maxim rests on the assumption that anything was ever experienced in the first failed marriage. This election isn’t at all about hope versus experience. It’s about a nation of hope junkies desperately trying to outrun the terrible and terrifying experiences in their rear view mirror, growing and gaining on them every day.

This article was first published in Alternet on February 1, 2008

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

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Add your own

  • 1. ☭ mouse ☭  |  October 6th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Czar of Right!

  • 2. Nunya Bizness  |  October 6th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    I forgot how good exiled used to be, is, and always will be. Can we go back to articles like this containing new and perfectly apt words like baptofascist again? Ranks up there with lumpen-spite.

  • 3. Mr. Bad  |  October 6th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Some good points here but it should be noted that Hillary always played right of Obama on the stump – though Obama has clearly gone farther right than she might have dared once he got a taste of that brass ring, i.e. extrajudicial murder of American citizens, no repeal of the “terror emergency” laws and on and on…

    Still, I’ve been wondering why people voted for Obama for years and in the end I concluded that it was, in the end, for pretty much the same reasons Ames states, but even more pragmatic.

    I think that most white middle class Americans steeped as they are in morbid self concern and utterly hopeless stupidity thought that putting a 1/2 black (not even REALLY black, like J. Jackson, but the son of an African immigrant as opposed to descendant of African slaves like his beard)in office would somehow “heal” the racial rift and get the blacks into line and back “believing” in the system that has systematically disenfranchised them for hundreds of years. Now that that hasn’t happened and the racial grievances remain as red ink on the moral ledger of the country they are pretty much done with him and he knows it. The left has code words too, and “hope” for the blacks and “Change” for the whites are cold comfort in this economy…

  • 4. Jay  |  October 6th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I always knew Obama was a bland technocrat, I just preferred that to McCain’s militarism. The banker from Kolob doesn’t impress me either.

  • 5. Mr. Bad  |  October 6th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I also find it interesting that the whole blow-up over the Churchill bust didn’t receive more fact checking because it was I think a telling act, not in the way the “right” framed it (as an insult to a stalwart ally) but as a genuine and intentional lougee in the face of the British colonial tradition that POTUS undoubtedly despises with every bit of his soul.

    America thought it got a “ghetto pass” when they put Obama in office when really they bought a genuine aspirational immigrant with the sort of deep seated historical animosities only well educated European style technocrats can harbor.

  • 6. Fissile  |  October 6th, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Once upon a time I was a registered Republican. The 1984 election was the first Prez contest where I was old enough to vote….I voted for grandpa Raygun. Since then, I’ve gotten better. I switch from registered Republican to unaffiliated. I cancelled my membership in the NRA. In 2008 I voted Obama.

    When I voted for Obama, I was not so naive as to believe he was actually going to put the Lloyd Blankfeins of this world in prison, but I expected him to push for some kind of new regulations on Wall St. and the banksters. We got nothing. I thought Barry might kick the asses of the crackpot Republicans in congress. So far, O has pussied out every time someone gives him a hard look. I expected universal health care. What we got is a mess. To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement….to say the least.

    Can’t vote for O, but voting for Mittens would be like rimming Hitler. Maybe if Rmoney was elected, and actually did half of things he and Eddie Munster….er, I mean Paul Ryan are proposing, it would finally end this freak show, and send us off into Mad Max times.

    So, Ames, what is the solution?

  • 7. Mason C  |  October 6th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    A great review for the vast, boneheaded precincts of Downwind America, but here’s another angle for eXholes and the AEC to kick around:

    Sure, the NASCAR set had (has) a serious problem with Hillary Rodham Motherfucking Corrupt Clinton at the DNA level, but what about the rest of us who can substantiate why she deserves to be politically beaten like a gong? Hers was the mytho-feminist version of frat boy entitlement. Tipper Gore was more appealing.

    Women entering politics start out three major hassles behind, and sadly so, but that gives none of them a pass for acting like knuckle-dragging rich white guys. When Obama took the lead in ’08, Hillary’s Boomer harridans hissed that they would “vote for McCain” instead. (When they already were?!) I dropped the hammer for Obama in the primary with no hope except ushering HRMCC into long-deserved irrelevance. (I wrote-in Nader for the fourth time in the general, just for the symmetry.)

    Let’s have lots more women in politics, but preferably those that don’t embarrass what is often the more intelligent, insightful half of humanity.

  • 8. ☭ mouse ☭  |  October 6th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Yeah, bring back the gloats! Whatever happened to Vlad Kalashnikov? Every Exiled update should be a gloat of some kind

  • 9. boson  |  October 7th, 2012 at 4:07 am

    I agreed with Ames back in 2008 too…but then, I’m not American so I guess it doesn’t matter

  • 10. vortexgods  |  October 7th, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I doubt anyone voting in the Democratic primary ever said, “Let’s have Obama in charge of domestic policy and Hillary in charge of foreign policy.”

  • 11. Zhu Bajie  |  October 7th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Mrs Clinton is just another half-talented psychopath.

  • 12. Goon  |  October 7th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Man what a great time reading this article. I mean that

  • 13. Petkov  |  October 7th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Ames, you are SO wrong about Hillary.
    It’s not misogyny, it’s simple fear. It’s pure fear looking at her because we know what a cold totally phony and heartless power hungry bulldyke she is.
    After 4 years of Condy Rice we knew the type.
    If she had gotten in instead of Obama, Iran will be a smoking hole in the ground by now. She would have tried to outman the men if given half the chance. Same as the British “Iron lady” who had to prove she had balls by going to war with Argentina.
    And Hillary proved us right by going along with the program and happily parroting everything that was required of her, going infront of the cameras and lying without even batting an eyelash about Iran over and over and over. She is beyond scary,

    And no matter what, O is much less of the 2 evil from R. We better wise up and get it right otherwise we will be looking at the end of medicare, Social Security and pretty much ALL programs.
    As PBS said it so right, PBS’s federal contribution is 450 million. The Pentagon uses 450 million in 10 minutes.

  • 14. Henry Wallace  |  October 7th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Exile ‘classic’? Definitely!

  • 15. Fissile  |  October 8th, 2012 at 7:43 am

    @13. Petkov

    You are absolutely correct.

    As for Romney, I would vote for him if I could be sure he’d actually do all of what he claims: No more Social Security. No more Medicare. No more minimum wage. No more Post Office. No more “free” education. No more worker rights or benefits of any kind. No more more regulations on corporations/banks/Wall St. Yes, to WWIII and a new draft to motivate that 47%.

    Nothing short of the above will wake the American proletariat from its coma. As things stand now, the greater number of Americans are being boiled by degrees like that science experiment frog.

  • 16. a jaunty hobo  |  October 8th, 2012 at 12:44 pm


    look for “feminist” to be cored out and filled with feces the same way “libertarian” was

    while you wait, enjoy the brave efforts of anti-misogynist Rick Santorum

  • 17. H. K  |  October 9th, 2012 at 3:22 am

    @5. Mr. Bad

    WTH are you talking about that’s exactly how the “right” has been framing it like in Goan Inquisition Catholic Dinesh D’Souza’s book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” and his movie “2016: Obama’s America”

    Ref “If Mr D’Souza hailed from a tiny Westernised elite that allied itself with the European colonialist project against the national independence movement of his own country, that would explain his monomania about anti-colonialism.”

  • 18. Whyawannaknow  |  October 9th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    All you ever need to know about Obama is that he was a SUCCESSFUL CHICAGO POLITICIAN. There are few more damning descriptions of a human being, once one knows the history of that city political machine-

    From across the border in Wisconsin, this demented freakshow government by and for maniacal criminals and equally amoral but better PR’d “legitimate businessmen” is damned scary. And I had to watch and listen to all the idiots who thought he was going to be the light at the end of the tunnel?

  • 19. Mr. Bad  |  October 9th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    @ 17. H. K

    Uhm, well, maybe. Perhaps they have a point about his character though not about the source of his policy statements/positions…

    I don’t know who you think you’re addressing, would it really be so bad if Obama was, as the right says he is, doing a vehemently anti-colonialist heritage type thingee? Because that is basically the central dogmatic assertion of the European left?

    It plays against him in America, true, but I’m not on his reelection committee so if it does go to the heart of who he is as a human being maybe who gives two fucks if it’s politically inconvenient for him ( or you ) at the moment.

    My point is that post was that clearly there was some but-hurt on the British side when Obama didn’t renew the Churchill lease and having Tony Blair (Labor, the party that consigned Churchill to the dustbin of history in a postwar route) and Obama staring at a reproduction bust which clearly doesn’t have pride of place in the WH anymore was a subtle dig at Obama’s father’s enemies. He did write that book ya’know, dreams of the house negro or somefink like that? I dunno, it’s not supposed to be a
    damning indictment of Obama but rather a celebration of one of his few, real, liberal impulses towards truth and justice. Being that this is Amerika that will probably help him lose the election. Tough titty.

  • 20. Mr. Bad  |  October 9th, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    19. Mr. Bad

    Yes, I see that I called Cameron Blair, my bad, force of habit. But having Cameron bent over to the camera is even better, in an ironic sense… or whatever sense.

  • 21. kyeshinka  |  October 10th, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Please, when I hear the word “technocrat” I picture Anatoly Chubais or Boris Nemtsov and want to kill myself. No technocrat has ever improved the lives of anyone but himself.

  • 22. Mike  |  October 11th, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Well, it’s funny. Unfortunately, it doesn’t prove anything. Obama didn’t “save” US not because he is boring, rather because he didn’t fulfill what he promised nor did he tried to (at least so it seems from here in Moscow). Same goes with Mrs. Clinton. AND same goes with most modern legal “left”: they just perform like “right”, regardless of rhetoric.
    I still hope for some analysis from Ames, but this pamphlet is definitely not it! %)

    Excellent note! And I think it’s quite to the point regarding this pair – they are about the same kind of techocrat. Honestly I don’t know whethere there are other kinds now – at the start of the 20th century there were, though…

  • 23. CB  |  October 12th, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Pfft. Boring technocrat is what I saw, what I wanted, what I voted for, and what I got. Am I supposed to be ashamed that this made for “bad TV” and thus damaged his re-electability with the people who want debates to sound like WWE? I’m not. Does that make me an Obamabot? Maybe. Being a robot doesn’t sound so bad to me. Especially when choosing a President.

    I understand that “boring” is a negative for the realities of the U.S. political arena, but I’m not going to be ashamed for not feeling the same way.

  • 24. Ozinator  |  October 13th, 2012 at 11:32 am


    Obama is not the lesser evil at all. He gets the scary shit passed much easier than a Repug could ever hope to. While doing this, his base whimpers that he has to do these things when we know damn well they’d be yelling were it a Republican. So ironically, if you want the proletariat to wake up, you may have a better chance with Obama ending all social contracts. The layered irony here is that the proletariat may not notice. Don’t know how you can’t see it but he’s in open war against unions, post offices, pensions and teachers as we speak; SS is on the table; signed NDAA; got the Republicans health care passed. Burks as they might be, the Dems would have provided enough blockage to some of this stuff were it McCain giving them a try…in fact, Bush had no luck even talking about some of it. Though Bush was the puppet in there during Iraq/Afghan, I think the outrage would have exploded if McCain remained in Afghan/Iraq while warring with the people of libya, Yemen and Pakistan. That placebo dem was pretty useful though.

    So in short,
    Obama=greater evil because less people caring
    Romney=lesser evil because more people caring

  • 25. xxxxxxxxxxx  |  October 19th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    too many critics not enough solutions

  • 26. LEFTTOFACE  |  October 20th, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Americans have no taste? You ever watch Eurovision?

  • 27. Zhu Bajie  |  October 26th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I keep hoping he’ll start droning his rivals or sending them to Bagram. No such luck.

  • 28. Dr. Fares  |  April 16th, 2016 at 8:59 am

    This article only shows how deluded and full of shit you emoprogressives really are and why Obama really had problems living up to your sense of all-or-nothing emoprogressive bullshit unrealistic ‘progressive’ unicorn brigade demands.

    I offer some counterpoints to this narrative:


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