A Dis Best Served Cold; "Congress' Overwhelming Rebuke of President Barack Obama on a Bill Allowing 9/11 Victims to Sue the Government of Saudi Arabia -- and the Bitter Finger-Pointing That Followed -- Was a Fitting Coda to the Dysfunctional Relationship between the Obama White House and Capitol Hill." [Derived Headline]

By Goldberg, Jonah | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 3, 2016 | Go to article overview

A Dis Best Served Cold; "Congress' Overwhelming Rebuke of President Barack Obama on a Bill Allowing 9/11 Victims to Sue the Government of Saudi Arabia -- and the Bitter Finger-Pointing That Followed -- Was a Fitting Coda to the Dysfunctional Relationship between the Obama White House and Capitol Hill." [Derived Headline]


Goldberg, Jonah, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


"Congress' overwhelming rebuke of President Barack Obama on a bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia -- and the bitter finger-pointing that followed -- was a fitting coda to the dysfunctional relationship between the Obama White House and Capitol Hill."

Thus began a Politico article by Seung Min Kim.

But it was the headline that really completed the picture: "Congress disses Obama one last time."

That word "disses" is just too perfect. For eight years the press has treated Obama like the protagonist in some stage play, personalizing his policy struggles as a heroic effort of one noble man fighting an army of partisans, racists and plutocrats. Even the word "dis" -- with its hip, slightly edgy connotation -- taps into the Cult of Obama, which sees any setback for the president as a personal, often illegitimate affront to his dignity.

For the record, the vote against Obama's veto was 97-1 in the Senate and 348-77 in the House. Were all of those Democrats trying to "dis" the president? Is dissing one of the congressional powers listed in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution? Or do we need an amendment to the Bill of Rights stating that "Congress shall make no law dissing the first black president?"

As I've noted before, the best explanation for what I'm talking about was written by the influential anonymous blogger Ace of Spades in a 2013 post titled, "The MacGuffinization of American Politics." In film lingo, a MacGuffin is anything the hero desires. In any story, all the audience needs to care about is that the hero cares about getting something.

Throughout Obama's presidency he has been the hero, and his agenda has been the MacGuffin. …

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A Dis Best Served Cold; "Congress' Overwhelming Rebuke of President Barack Obama on a Bill Allowing 9/11 Victims to Sue the Government of Saudi Arabia -- and the Bitter Finger-Pointing That Followed -- Was a Fitting Coda to the Dysfunctional Relationship between the Obama White House and Capitol Hill." [Derived Headline]
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