An Unrequited Love

In December 2012, the country will be ruminating its recent election of the first woman president: a polarizing survivor. President Obama will welcome Steve Scully, C-SPAN political editor and occasional host of Washington Journal, to the Oval Office for a wistful interview. Mr. Scully may invite the president to admit any mistakes.

That is where Cynthia Tucker’s op-ed, “Obama tried too hard to work with Republicans,” in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes in. Tucker’s piece helpfully captures establishment thought. Undue emphasis on the lack of bipartisanship is an almost complimentary critique and will be articulately embraced by a reflective 44th president in his exit interview with Mr. Scully. Of course it is ridiculous, but Steve Scully is too classy to prod. In his 2008 interview with President Bush, Mr. Scully graciously allowed Bush to incredulously ponder how anyone could think of him as mendacious.

Boasts of bipartisanship are a fatuous but necessary aspect of campaigning. In handling Republican opposition, President Obama struck an appropriate tone in the early days of his administration. Bipartisanship for the Obama administration has meant peeling off one or two Republican votes and maybe hailing such as unprecedented unity. And that’s perfectly fine. Generally speaking, Republicans are nihilistic and unserious. For his part, the president is plagued by the failed substance of his policies. That’s the fundamental part that escapes the logic of Cynthia Tucker et al. Various exceptions to his tone, lack of emotional attachment, and his futile attempts to reach across the aisle are ultimately mild critiques.

Paul Krugman was exactly right regarding the size of the stimulus. To be sure, the Recovery Act was a measure worthy of support. I have seen reports in TIME on the Recovery Act’s administrative success and they are impressive. (One program to hit a few snags is the weatherization program, but it isn’t devastating.) This is good, but there was never any reason to believe the other hype; specifically the White House’s claim of keeping unemployment below 8% as a result of the Act.

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An Unrequited Love

In December 2012, the country will be ruminating its recent election of the first woman president: a polarizing survivor. President Obama will welcome Steve Scully, C-SPAN political editor and occasional host of Washington Journal, to the Oval Office for a wistful interview. Mr. Scully may invite the president to admit any mistakes.

That is where Cynthia Tucker’s op-ed, “Obama tried too hard to work with Republicans,” in yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes in. Tucker’s piece helpfully captures establishment thought. Undue emphasis on the lack of bipartisanship is an almost complimentary critique and will be articulately embraced by a reflective 44th president in his exit interview with Mr. Scully. Of course it is ridiculous, but Steve Scully is too classy to prod. In his 2008 interview with President Bush, Mr. Scully graciously allowed Bush to incredulously ponder how anyone could think of him as mendacious.

Boasts of bipartisanship are a fatuous but necessary aspect of campaigning. In handling Republican opposition, President Obama struck an appropriate tone in the early days of his administration. Bipartisanship for the Obama administration has meant peeling off one or two Republican votes and maybe hailing such as unprecedented unity. And that’s perfectly fine. Generally speaking, Republicans are nihilistic and unserious. For his part, the president is plagued by the failed substance of his policies. That’s the fundamental part that escapes the logic of Cynthia Tucker et al. Various exceptions to his tone, lack of emotional attachment, and his futile attempts to reach across the aisle are ultimately mild critiques.

Paul Krugman was exactly right regarding the size of the stimulus. To be sure, the Recovery Act was a measure worthy of support. I have seen reports in TIME on the Recovery Act’s administrative success and they are impressive. (One program to hit a few snags is the weatherization program, but it isn’t devastating.) This is good, but there was never any reason to believe the other hype; specifically the White House’s claim of keeping unemployment below 8% as a result of the Act.

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Repeal and Replace This

Last night I ventured into Laura Ingraham’s No Spin Zone. Confined to the house by inclement weather, I chose to contribute indirectly to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s News Corp. dividends and directly to Bill O’Reilly’s Olympian ego. In the race to the bottom that is cable news, Laura Ingraham’s monotonous Reaganite pabulum trumps msnbc, which is unwatchable, as well as that other thing which barely warrants mentioning.

I witnessed a truly interesting exchange between the aforementioned Ms. Ingraham and Rep. Eric Cantor, who gets to be majority leader after the bloodbath of November. The broad issue was ObamaCare but the main focus was what Ingraham perceived to be Eric Cantor’s squishiness on Republican plans to “repeal and replace” the unpopular reform law.

LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: …You've now got to correct the record because Politico is reporting that Eric Cantor, if he's the House majority leader come -- come November, that you're going to push for a more modest approach to Obamacare, meaning defund it, not repeal it. Did Politico get it wrong?

REP. ERIC CANTOR: Laura, I'll tell you one thing: As you and I have known each other for several years and as many of my constituents are, I'm a big fan of yours. So I got several calls from constituents over the last day or so saying, "What's Laura Ingraham talking about that Eric Cantor is not for a repeal of Obamacare?" Of course I'm for a repeal of Obamacare.

As you know, Laura, I'm the Republican whip in the House, and the duty of the Republican whip was to marshal as many votes as we could against Obamacare to make sure it didn't become law. And in the end, we didn't have one Republican vote that voted for it. Unfortunately, the bill passed. So we are faced with a situation where, hopefully, this November, a conservative majority will regain position in the House. And we're going to do everything we can to repeal the bill, to delay the bill, to defund the bill, to do all of the above. I mean, these things go hand in hand, Laura.

Whenever I wade into the land of Rupert Murdoch and Glenn Beck, I’m always careful to have plenty of aspirin and a barf bag on deck. The latter very nearly came into use after watching Mr. Cantor kiss the ring of hot reactionary blonde Laura Ingraham like the dickless establishmentarian he is. But however nauseating the display may have been, there are important insights to be gleaned here.

Rather than reaping a fortuitous repeat of 1994, conservatives are exactly where progressives were in ’06. In many respects ObamaCare is to them what the war in Iraq was to us. The mainstream public’s rather late aversion to the intractable chaos and bloodshed of the Iraq adventure vindicated grassroots progressives. It was a swift reversal of fortune that came right on time after the nightmarish re-election of President Bush. Unsatisfied with handing Democrats a decent majority in the House and a slim one in the Senate, the American people marched ahead and put a charismatic “change agent” in the White House two years thereafter. And yet the war(s) go on.

There's more...

Repeal and Replace This

Last night I ventured into Laura Ingraham’s No Spin Zone. Confined to the house by inclement weather, I chose to contribute indirectly to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s News Corp. dividends and directly to Bill O’Reilly’s Olympian ego. In the race to the bottom that is cable news, Laura Ingraham’s monotonous Reaganite pabulum trumps msnbc, which is unwatchable, as well as that other thing which barely warrants mentioning.

I witnessed a truly interesting exchange between the aforementioned Ms. Ingraham and Rep. Eric Cantor, who gets to be majority leader after the bloodbath of November. The broad issue was ObamaCare but the main focus was what Ingraham perceived to be Eric Cantor’s squishiness on Republican plans to “repeal and replace” the unpopular reform law.

LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: …You've now got to correct the record because Politico is reporting that Eric Cantor, if he's the House majority leader come -- come November, that you're going to push for a more modest approach to Obamacare, meaning defund it, not repeal it. Did Politico get it wrong?

REP. ERIC CANTOR: Laura, I'll tell you one thing: As you and I have known each other for several years and as many of my constituents are, I'm a big fan of yours. So I got several calls from constituents over the last day or so saying, "What's Laura Ingraham talking about that Eric Cantor is not for a repeal of Obamacare?" Of course I'm for a repeal of Obamacare.

As you know, Laura, I'm the Republican whip in the House, and the duty of the Republican whip was to marshal as many votes as we could against Obamacare to make sure it didn't become law. And in the end, we didn't have one Republican vote that voted for it. Unfortunately, the bill passed. So we are faced with a situation where, hopefully, this November, a conservative majority will regain position in the House. And we're going to do everything we can to repeal the bill, to delay the bill, to defund the bill, to do all of the above. I mean, these things go hand in hand, Laura.

Whenever I wade into the land of Rupert Murdoch and Glenn Beck, I’m always careful to have plenty of aspirin and a barf bag on deck. The latter very nearly came into use after watching Mr. Cantor kiss the ring of hot reactionary blonde Laura Ingraham like the dickless establishmentarian he is. But however nauseating the display may have been, there are important insights to be gleaned here.

Rather than reaping a fortuitous repeat of 1994, conservatives are exactly where progressives were in ’06. In many respects ObamaCare is to them what the war in Iraq was to us. The mainstream public’s rather late aversion to the intractable chaos and bloodshed of the Iraq adventure vindicated grassroots progressives. It was a swift reversal of fortune that came right on time after the nightmarish re-election of President Bush. Unsatisfied with handing Democrats a decent majority in the House and a slim one in the Senate, the American people marched ahead and put a charismatic “change agent” in the White House two years thereafter. And yet the war(s) go on.

There's more...

Repeal and Replace This

Last night I ventured into Laura Ingraham’s No Spin Zone. Confined to the house by inclement weather, I chose to contribute indirectly to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s News Corp. dividends and directly to Bill O’Reilly’s Olympian ego. In the race to the bottom that is cable news, Laura Ingraham’s monotonous Reaganite pabulum trumps msnbc, which is unwatchable, as well as that other thing which barely warrants mentioning.

I witnessed a truly interesting exchange between the aforementioned Ms. Ingraham and Rep. Eric Cantor, who gets to be majority leader after the bloodbath of November. The broad issue was ObamaCare but the main focus was what Ingraham perceived to be Eric Cantor’s squishiness on Republican plans to “repeal and replace” the unpopular reform law.

LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: …You've now got to correct the record because Politico is reporting that Eric Cantor, if he's the House majority leader come -- come November, that you're going to push for a more modest approach to Obamacare, meaning defund it, not repeal it. Did Politico get it wrong?

REP. ERIC CANTOR: Laura, I'll tell you one thing: As you and I have known each other for several years and as many of my constituents are, I'm a big fan of yours. So I got several calls from constituents over the last day or so saying, "What's Laura Ingraham talking about that Eric Cantor is not for a repeal of Obamacare?" Of course I'm for a repeal of Obamacare.

As you know, Laura, I'm the Republican whip in the House, and the duty of the Republican whip was to marshal as many votes as we could against Obamacare to make sure it didn't become law. And in the end, we didn't have one Republican vote that voted for it. Unfortunately, the bill passed. So we are faced with a situation where, hopefully, this November, a conservative majority will regain position in the House. And we're going to do everything we can to repeal the bill, to delay the bill, to defund the bill, to do all of the above. I mean, these things go hand in hand, Laura.

Whenever I wade into the land of Rupert Murdoch and Glenn Beck, I’m always careful to have plenty of aspirin and a barf bag on deck. The latter very nearly came into use after watching Mr. Cantor kiss the ring of hot reactionary blonde Laura Ingraham like the dickless establishmentarian he is. But however nauseating the display may have been, there are important insights to be gleaned here.

Rather than reaping a fortuitous repeat of 1994, conservatives are exactly where progressives were in ’06. In many respects ObamaCare is to them what the war in Iraq was to us. The mainstream public’s rather late aversion to the intractable chaos and bloodshed of the Iraq adventure vindicated grassroots progressives. It was a swift reversal of fortune that came right on time after the nightmarish re-election of President Bush. Unsatisfied with handing Democrats a decent majority in the House and a slim one in the Senate, the American people marched ahead and put a charismatic “change agent” in the White House two years thereafter. And yet the war(s) go on.

There's more...

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