[h/t Heather at VideoCafe]
Last Monday, something remarkable happened. PBS aired their newest Frontline segment on the first four years of Obama's presidency. In the opening segment, Frank Luntz crowed proudly about how the strategy session he organized and which took place four years ago today had proven to be a rousing success.
That strategy was, of course, the decision for Republicans to stand united against anything the President proposed. Anything, even if it was originally a Republican idea. In their mind, that was the only way they could recover from the devastating election results of 2008.
In some ways, this wasn't news. Robert Draper's book about the House of Representatives was the first "official report", but this is the very first time anyone who was actually in that meeting went on the record to
talk crow about it.
With that in mind, I am struggling to understand the Villager whine and groan over how, in his second term, President Obama must "bring Republicans to the table."
Politifact, in all of its wisdom, has pronounced that "Obama failed to keep 119 or nearly one-fourth of his promises, including many high-profile ones such as his pledges to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to create a cap-and-trade system to combat global warming and his vow to 'bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass an agenda.'"
Politifact's editors know about what I call "The Covenant." Yet they framed a report which actually said that the president kept 73 percent of his campaign promises in terms of a failure to foster bipartisanship.
On This Week, Matthew Dowd keeps that drumbeat moving. Clearly he had to reach deep down into his storehouse of empty intellectual dishonesty to say this:
DOWD: But I think that we are at probably in this country in one of the most divisive, polarized times we've had since the Civil War. And in that speech, Lincoln talked about we both pray to the same God, malice towards none, charity for all, all of that, and I think this president should -- which I don't think he will do -- should come with a sense of humbleness, a sense of humility, and a sense that basically the biggest problem he has in this country is the divisions that exist in this country that have only been made worse in the course of his presidency, age divisions, sex divisions, church divisions. All the divisions that exist in this country, he has to figure out a way to bring people together and solve some of the problems.
This is the "magic Barack theory," writ large, and it's one embraced by the Village idiots to an intolerable degree. It's all on the president to breach the gap, reach over the divide, bring people together, make things happen. He is a magician, a conjurer, a sorcerer who can simply reach across the aisle and make it happen.
If he wants to.
Oh, and while he's at it, he should lose the uppity attitude and come to the table with humility and the understanding that he has made Republicans behave badly, against the country's interests and only in their own interests.
He is that powerful.
Congress is behaving badly, choosing to block everything the President does? No worries, Barack can fix it, if he wants to. All he has to do is what Republicans want and POOF! The divide will be forever bridged, a new unity. After all, look at Bill Clinton! He got things done because he and Newtie sat down and made it happen. Yes, someone said this on one of the endless pundit parades this week.
Never mind that it was Clinton's cave to the likes of Phil Gramm that brought the housing market and with it, the rest of the financial markets, to a complete standstill and nearly wiped out our entire economy. Never mind that, because Clinton knew how to reach across the damned aisle and get stuff done.
Sure. It's all about bridging the divide, no matter how awful the policy might be. And that divide exists, according to Dowd, because of Obama's "divisiveness." Divisions which were not of Barack Obama's making are now entirely his problem. Of course, this plays right to Rick Santorum:
I don't know. I don't think this speech, frankly, matters that much. I think what matters is what the president pushes. And from what I hear, it's going to be guns, it's going to be climate change, both of which are nonstarters up on Capitol Hill, and he knows it, instead of -- you want to see if the president really wants to make a difference? He'll lead with immigration, because there's not a single Republican up on Capitol Hill who believes he wants to get it done. They all believe he wants that -- he will put -- he will -- he will put a measure that the Republicans can't accept and then blame Republicans and then continue to drive a wedge between Republicans and Hispanics.
See how this works? President Obama proposes policy and the Republicans just cannot accept it, nor should they be willing to. Why? Because they're Republicans and no one expects them to compromise or deal. Nay, nay, that's the president's job.
I'm not saying this country should be run like a business, but let's apply this Santorum argument in a business context. I am unaware of any CEO of any company who rushes to make decisions which are not in the best interests of shareholders because a minority on that company's board force him to. That does not happen. That CEO makes decisions that he views are best for the company and runs with it. At best, perhaps a concession or two is made to the dissenters in order to quell their rebellion.
Obviously Congress is not like a publicly held company, but my point is that if one wants to speak Republican, then let's speak corporate Republican. In that context, they would not succeed at all, nor would the CEO be held responsible for that. Why? Because the CEO is accountable to and presumed to be acting for the benefit of shareholders, not himself.
Finally, for all of the Lincoln love being showered by the Idiots this week, can we please remember that in his first term, Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by proclamation, suspended habeas corpus, and presided over a bloody Civil War?
How, then, has Lincoln magically transformed into the Great Uniter in his first term? How, then, has Barack Obama, who accomplished much but managed to keep the Civil War in the political realm become the one who must approach his next term with a "sense of humility?"
Listen up, Village Idiots. Republicans should be standing on every public platform this week begging the forgiveness of the American people for acting against the interests and will of the people in order to score cheap political points on a scoreboard created by Frank Luntz and Fox News. They should be out there apologizing for what they have done to our economy, to our well-being, and even to our national security. They should be promising the nearly 66 million voters in this country who rejected their message that THEY will repent, and work harder to arrive at reasonable compromises.
YOU, Village Idiots, should hold them accountable for that, not give them every excuse on the planet to go on national television and claim that it's President Obama who created the division.
He won the election and he won by a lot. The American people did not re-elect him in order to see to it that he lets Republicans run roughshod over him for four more years, nor should the Idiots be pushing that theme.