From this Sunday's Face the Nation, Peggy Noonan once again proves herself to be one of the more petty and partisan pundits out there, even though she normally does her best to dress that up with lofty rhetoric which generally amounts to nothing
September 24, 2012

From this Sunday's Face the Nation, Peggy Noonan once again proves herself to be one of the more petty and partisan pundits out there, even though she normally does her best to dress that up with lofty rhetoric which generally amounts to nothing more than empty platitudes.

I wish it were as easy as she pretends here to just ignore or blow off just how damaging to our country the Republicans obstructing just about everything President Obama has tried to get passed since he got elected has been to some meaningful economic recovery in America. I for one am sick and tired of any of them pretending, as the panel did here, that St. Ronnie or any other president could have dealt with this obstructionist, do-nothing, record setting with their refusal to work with the other side Republican House and filibustering minority in the Senate.

Tell those people who are still out of work "boo-hoo" Peggy and see what kind of response you get.

SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, that brings up a point. I mean, you know, this week you saw President Obama say, look, what I have learned is you can't run Washington from the inside, that you have to run it from the outside.

I guess what he meant was you have to bring pressure from the outside. But, you know, one of the main criticisms of President Obama is he's not very good at the inside game. And one reason that we're in the gridlock we're in right now is he is just not good at brokering deals.

NOONAN: Totally true.

CORN: But I disagree with that. I think, if you look at the tax cut deal after the November 2010 elections, that he actually got a lot more than the Republicans, if you look how he got START passed and "Don't ask, Don't tell." There are a lot of stories in which he has gone and done stuff, kind of, more on the inside than on the outside, and it's ticked off his base because they haven't seen this because it has been too much inside Washington. So it, sort of, cuts both ways.

STENGEL: He's nostalgic for the Obama of 2008 when he could run as an outsider. It's always easier to run, even when you're an incumbent, to run as an outsider. And he doesn't have that message anymore. So he lapsed back into that. The problem is he hasn't shown us why he as president needs to be rehired.

NOONAN: When a president of four years says, excuse me, "You can't change Washington from the inside," he is saying "I failed to change Washington from the inside."

He could not negotiate. He was no Reagan sitting down with Tip O'Neill.

GERGEN: Exactly.

NOONAN: If you if you are big, you can make a deal with the other side; you can move it forward. If you can't do that, then I guess you have to talk about how you can't change things.

GERGEN: I want to come back to this. I don't think you can read the Bob Woodward book and conclude that President Obama is good at the inside game. You just can't read it and figure that.


GERGEN: But anyway, he's a (INAUDIBLE), he has spent a lot of time doing it. But beyond that, you know, the classic book on the presidency was written by Dick Neustadt years ago, it's called "Presidential Power."

His whole argument was it is a combination. You have to be good at the outside game and the inside game. So two together. And President Obama's notion that you can do this from the outside simply doesn't work in contemporary politics.


SCHIEFFER: Well, have we ever had a president that was really good at both?

GERGEN: We have had occasional presidents who were really good at both.


GERGEN: Reagan was the best.

NOONAN: Ronald Reagan.

GERGEN: And Clinton was very good at it.

NOONAN: Ronald Reagan, LBJ, up to a certain extent.


CORN: ... the party Republicans, though. And, you know, you listen so someone like -- you know, look at the book that Norm Ornstein and Tom Mann wrote, and they're not flaming radicals.

And they blame the obstructionism mainly, almost essentially, on the Republicans coming in and saying, we don't care if you are Clinton or Ronald Reagan, we are just going to throw monkey wrenches into the works again and again and again, and see what happens at the next election.

NOONAN: Oh, my goodness. Boo-hoo.


NOONAN: Boo-hoo.

DICKERSON: But if you buy that environment is true, then the remedy may not necessarily be power from the outside. Look at health care, which the president cited as an issue that moved because of outside pressure. He picked up no Republicans because of this outside pressure. He tried to use Organizing for America, his campaign arm, to build a national groundswell for health care, it didn't work. His numbers went down after the president keep talking.

So just as a remedy for gridlock, his own diagnosis is not right because it didn't necessarily work in the way he said it would when he was...


CORN: And if the other side doesn't want to be de-gridlocked, then you have no inside or outside remedy.


GERGEN: Franklin Roosevelt was a master as a president. And he was terrific on the outside, with the radio talks and the rest, but he was also a master on the inside.


GERGEN: And he had staunch Republican opposition.


STENGEL: But, David, doesn't it take a while -- you know better than anybody, doesn't it take a while, you learn where the Oval Office is, you learn where the bathroom is, you have to figure out how to negotiate.

And as a second-term president, right, he can actually have some leverage in a different way than he had in his first term.

NOONAN: We have all been reading the Robert Caro LBJ book in the past year. And you know why we have, it is because we are nostalgic for and longing for a man who knew how to do it from the inside, from the days Washington worked.

It is no credit to this incumbent that it does not work.

STENGEL: Bob's own commentary, there is no privacy anymore. You can't do those private negotiations...


NOONAN: Oh you can do plenty. Yes, you really can.

GERGEN: If the president is reelected, my fervent hope is that he is a successful president because the country so desperately needs to get some things done in his second term. But the problem (INAUDIBLE) in part is in the second term, as you know, power runs down quickly.

Your power runs down quickly, your leverage actually disappears. You have got about a year to a year-and-a-half.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Power is slowly running down here, the clock has run out.

h/t Media Matters

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