Obama, Post-Post-Partisanship

Over the past month or two, as the president’s political position has continued to erode and he becomes more vulnerable, an extraordinary and vaguely preposterous conversation has taken shape. Variations on it have been advanced by everyone from former presidents chatting with Hollywood moguls on news cable TV to esteemed Sunday-morning newspaper columnists picking their way through the racial bric-à-brac of the presidential psyche. In a way, it’s the corollary of the birther discussion at the other end of the spectrum, which is to say that it’s a conversation we’ve never had about any other president.

The upshot of this conversation is whether it would be a betrayal of everything for which the president has been a metaphor, and of all the attendant mythologies that have accompanied his election and time in office, if he should offer a critique of the record of the man running against him who is running on that same record. In short, as we debate fundamental matters having to do with the role of government in our society, and having to do with more grand matters pertaining to nothing less than the meaning of America, we also debate—to an extent wholly unprecedented—the presidential identity as it reflects and is intertwined with those other things. In tactical terms, this translates into concerns about whether whatever harsh words should escape the presidential lips mean that the 2008 candidate of hope has become the candidate of “fear,” thereby tarnishing his “brand” (a word that will not appear in this space again).

No one has cast more doubt on this alleged journey by the president to fear from hope than the Man From Hope (Arkansas) himself, whose wisdom is so unassailable within Democratic circles that expressing reservations about it reminds us of a scene in Nicholas Ray’s ’50s film Bigger Than Life. In that movie, a benign James Mason becomes hooked on cortisone and resolves to murder his son, taking as his marching orders the story from the Old Testament in which God instructs Abraham to kill his child as a show of faith. Desperately, the wife pleads to Mason that God, after all, stopped Abraham from the deed at the last moment, to which Mason replies, “God was wrong.” To offer that Bill Clinton is wrong in his strategic wisdom is no less a heresy in the ears of some, but in a world of many wonders it’s always conceivable that Bill is as mischievous as that God who made merry with rains of frogs and pillars of salt and deaths of children. Clinton perhaps has come to the conclusion that the repudiation of Obama this fall would not only confirm the electoral error of 2008 having to do with the current secretary of state but also set her up nicely for a run in 2016 against an inexorably hapless President Romney. 

More than anything else, hapless is the thing a president can’t be. Mean, angry, fearsome, arrogant, overreaching—none is as bad as hapless. The current president is beset by things largely beyond his control, which conspire to render him as ineffectual as fate and circumstance can, not to mention a monolithic opposition party and a seething Wall Street that Obama should have nationalized at the outset, given how far moderation got him. This president was elected as an idealist and represented people’s most exalted aspirations for America as much as any candidate since Ronald Reagan or Robert Kennedy, depending on which side of the ideological divide one stands; it may be inevitable in an increasingly Either/Or political world that Obama seems for so many to be the Either/Or president, with the caveat that my Either is your Or. Thus he is derided by both Fox News’ relentless drumbeat of “socialist, socialist, socialist” and leftists astonished and dismayed that he’s not Eugene Debs. But anguished punditry and the acknowledged difficulty of striking the right balance aside, a bit of Bare-Knuckle Barack can hardly hurt him now. 

This will be at the expense not of the Better-Angels Barack but the Barack about whom everyone wondered not so long ago whether he was “tough” enough for the job. You may have noted that no one wonders that anymore, and it would only be a step further in the right direction should he finally realize, for instance, that reluctance to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment in order to solve another looming debt-ceiling crisis no longer makes sense on any level—economically, constitutionally or politically. If at the moment the only thing that stands between the presidency and Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney, then the president needs to get back in the way, ignoring the prison of his persona as defined by others, and seizing the freedom of nothing to lose. 


Compromise is overrated. Did Andrew Jackson compromise with Nicholas Biddle? Did James Polk compromise with Whigs over Texas? Did Abe Lincoln compromise with secessionists? Did Teddy Roosevelt compromise with the Coal mining industry? Etc.,etc.

"Compromise is overrated..."
Overrated? Hardly. The Progressives' long term strategy DEPENDS on compromise with Conservatives. Bipartisan compromise is the Progressives' incremental path Forward on their Long March Through the Institutions. (Gramsci, are you listening? Ah... of course not.)

Conservatives want to “conserve” (and “preserve”) the values and traditions of Western civilization (a stable culture that has evolved over 10,000+ years). Progressives want to “progress” BEYOND the bounds of Western civilization. In a nutshell, one wants a stable, traditional society while the other wants change.

In a bipartisan compromise, each side gives up something to reach an agreement. But here’s the jewel: ANY bipartisan compromise is ALWAYS a net gain for Progressives. In EVERY instance, Conservatism gives up some of what it values (a stable culture that "works") and Progressivism gets what IT values (change from that 10,000+ year-old culture). In other words, every instance of bipartisanship moves the country away from the traditional values of Western civilization. Every instance means Conservatism gives up something and Progressivism gains something. Compromise is really a win/lose game where the Progressives can’t "lose". Except temporarily. And when Conservatism "wins"… it doesn’t really gain anything. It just gets to keep what it had.

That’s why Progressives drive these terms into the ground -- it’s critical to Gramsci’s Long March Through the Institutions. Compromise and bipartisanship are of NO value to a Conservative. But their value can't be overstated to a Progressive.

-- Bob01721 -- a lifelong (I'm 64), conservative Democrat

This is the same Obama who on Day One, Jan 2009 told GOP to get to the back of the bus and shut up. Later, of course, his minion Pelosi relented, and told the GOP they'd have to pass the bill in order to learn what was in it.

Exact same. Thats why GOP should not cave to anything this arrogant man has to offer.

I say no compromise. When liberals are wanting the GOP to compromise, it only means do it my way or else!

so, no, we don't need to compromise with evil.

Compromise is NOT in the leftist vocabulary. The repubs were told to 'shut, I won' and 'get in the back of the bus' from day one of the 'post partisan' O reign. With Europe on the brink of financial ruin, O has continued to drive his 'bus', full bore ahead right into the precipice.

Three things will undermine Mr. Obama's candidacy:1) Clinton's triangulation, 2) Bernankes QE3, and 3) and Obama's ineptitude.

Clinton's triangulation is self evident, with bitten lower lip et al. Bernankes' QE3 is self evident as shoring up a sagging stock market and a positive year-end fourth quarter rally, and finally Mssr.s Axelrod and re-election team avoidance of Obama's feckless 3-year record in office. Obama's hype and blame

There are points in this piece I take real exception to…

1. “Clinton perhaps has come to the conclusion that the repudiation of Obama this fall would not only confirm the electoral error of 2008 having to do with the current secretary of state but also set her up nicely for a run in 2016 against an inexorably hapless President Romney.” That’s just silly. How does a failed Obama Presidency help Hilary Clinton? How often in history has someone gone from being a high profile member of a one term President’s cabinet to successfully becoming President themselves? If people vote out Obama then by what rationale would they vote in his Secretary of State? GWB, at least, was not actually a part of his father’s administration. Hilary Clinton, on the other hand, is part of Obama’s. His record would become her record. You don’t have to be a campaign manager to know that, it’s obvious. Having him lose hurts her, not helps. Bill Clinton knows this and so should the author.

2. “The current president is beset by things largely beyond his control” No. No, it was not “beyond his control” to, as but one example, refuse to extend the Bush tax cuts and push hard against the Republican’s blackmail on Unemployment Insurance. And I say this as someone currently collecting Unemployment. By allowing himself to get rolled like that he only helped set up the situation he currently finds himself in.

3. “and leftists astonished and dismayed that he’s not Eugene Debs.” Yes, Eugene Debs. That’s what the left was complaining about. Now, I don’t know whom Mr. Erickson has been reading but the only guy I recall leftists asking Obama to be like was FDR and on occasion, George W. Bush. You see the professional left recalled that neither FDR nor GWB would spend their time letting their political opponents set their agenda. They also recalled GWB doing pretty much whatever he wanted. What he could not get through Congress, he signed as an Executive Order. He showed that, if a President really wants it, he can pretty much get it most of the time. That’s what leftists wanted out of President Barack Obama. Someone who would be a left of center version of the last President. But I guess it’s better to mention Eugene Debs so as to show how utterly unreasonable the left has been. If that was the idea, then, good job Steve!

4. “This will be at the expense not of the Better-Angels Barack but the Barack about whom everyone wondered not so long ago whether he was “tough” enough for the job. You may have noted that no one wonders that anymore,” Because we got an answer. If you believe toughness involves killing dark skinned overseas children with drones then Obama is tough. If you think tough involves doing something about massive black Unemployment even though your black yourself which leaves you vulnerable to claims of racial favoritism, then Barack is not tough. He’s a coward. Actually, both those things makes him a coward in my book.

Look, I know the article is actually asking for Obama to do something daring (good luck with that!) and invoke the 14th Amendment to derail another debt ‘crisis’ (I use quotes because I think it’s more theater than crisis.) but some of those conclusions Steve Erickson comes to should not go unanswered.

Mr Clinton realizes what the hard core left does not. If Obama takes Mr. Erickson's advice - a "no-holds-barred" approach to governance, not only will he lose the White House, but the Democrat party will be finished for decades.
You just do not realize how you come across to the average American.

"...the Barack about whom everyone wondered not so long ago whether he was "tough" enough for the job..." I kinda knew the answer to that the moment I saw the photo of him riding his girls' mountain bike, with his Erekel jeans hiked up to his nipples and his improperly worn helmet. I thought, "THAT is our Commander in Chief?????"....God help us all

Obama set the stage as the most Partisan President in modern US History.

The bum-rush to a vote on his $787 Billion Stimulus legislation and Obamacare - without anyone reading the legislation - or Obama living up to his Campaign promises of Transparency & Accountability in Government - if I am elected; Five Days of sunshine mantra for anything that I sign - prior to signing it - if I am elected; you will know what your government is doing at all times - if I am elected, there will be no closed door meetings or backdoor deals - all deal-making will be televised on C-SPAN - if I am elected - was revealed to be only Election Propoganda.

Obama and The Democratic Party's refusal to include Republicans in the writing of the policies for Obamacare - - choosing instead to involve Andy Stern of SEIU and Richard Trumka of AFL-CIO = UNION BOSSES in the writing of the policies - as the democratic party's "secret, PARTISAN legislation - is further evidence of Obamacare being forced unionization of medical professional, forced payment of union dues, forced union extremism - to fill the bankrupt coffers of the unions - disguised as a healthcare plan.
Obama is union-owned.
Obama's refusal to FIRE Eric Holder as US AG - for Holder's intentional mishandling of the Christmas Day bomber - in Holder's unconstitutional handling of an Enemy Combatant and his use of WMD in his Act of War against the USA; Holder going to the media LYING to the American people about what he was actually doing - while Holder was exposed for intentionally deceiving our US Senators - w misleading and false information - when Holder was required to place all matters in writing,
caused the comment to be made by Republican Senators- "we will see to it for the American people that this president is a one-term president".

Documents acquired - by Judicial Watch - through the filing of a lawsuit - when their FOIA requests were ignored by The White House - exposed that Obama and The White House, Eric Holder and DOJ attorneys had scheduled meetings = "colluding" with Estelle Rogers of Project Vote, a project of ACORN - to file lawsuits against States passing Voter ID Laws and States seeking to purge their voter rolls of deceased people.

Therefore, Obama and Holder are operating to affect the 2012 elections - w ACORN's Project VOTE - by obstructing the names of DEAD people - and "ineligible" voters - from being removed from the voter rolls - clearly indicating the criminalities of the elections are being protected by The White House and DOJ - instead of the integrity of our votes.

The State of Florida has recently filed a lawsuit against Department of Homeland Security - for refusing access to its database - to ensure "ineligible" voters - and/or illegal aliens - are not registered to vote in the State of Florida.

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