Today’s NYT has an article with the (somewhat odd) headline Obama’s Edge Over G.O.P. Is Still Unclear After Victory in Standoff. In this article, Peter Baker thinks it worth our time to be treated to the following quote, which is presented without any commentary or context:
“For Republicans’ having been rolled, there is renewed pressure on them to stay tough and not lose the next time,” said former Representative Thomas M. Davis III of Virginia, a Republican who has been highly critical of the Tea Party strategy.
Mr. Davis said Republicans over the last few weeks “underestimated Obama,” whose position, he said, has been strengthened. Going forward, he said, Mr. Obama has to be more flexible to win Republican support. “He’s got to learn to give Boehner some victories,” Mr. Davis said. “But you’d rather be where he is now than where Boehner is.”
Can you imagine anyone saying this of Ronald Reagan after he, say, killed the air traffic control union? That Reagan had to learn to give Tip O’Neill some victories? Everyone would have giggled, and the quote would never have made it into the paper.
I sort of get why a Republican tactician might say something like this, but not why the stenographer thought it was worth writing down, much less repeating and legitimating it.
I want my new media.
They write this drivel because the American political discourse is pure drivel.
This is a culture that’s been entirely hollowed out.
It’s farcical even to suppose Obama is some sort of liberal or progressive that the right needs to oppose.
When Congress cleared this most recent logjam and re-opened the government, President Obama commented:
This is a profoundly anti-historical statement, reading present values into the past.
Only white men with substantial wealth — such as bankers, factory owners, or plantation owners — could vote until 1850 or so. The Constitution made no mention of suffrage until the 14th and 15th Amendments in 1968 & 1870. Women didn’t get the vote until 1920. The Supreme Court explicitly blocked attempts by women’s suffrage movements to use the 14th Amendment to obtain the vote. Blacks didn’t get full rights until 1965.
That’s not what I would call a “gift of self-government.” I would call that a long hard struggle to obtain self-government — IN SPITE OF the Founding Fathers.
Essentially, all the rights the Conservatives today enjoy are the result of the efforts of liberal reformers and progressives.
Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to be aware of this history — or, at least, he has no problem brushing it aside in his public statements.
His policies are by and large center-right. With the exception of gay marriage, he has a dismal civil rights record, that includes granting amnesty to CIA torturers, failing to close Guantanamo, extrajudicial assasinations of US citizens, requesting indefinite detention provisions in the 2012 NDAA, negotiating secret copyright treaties, expanding and legitimating Bush-era surveillance programs, violating the sovereignty of foreign nations with drone strikes, prosecuting whistleblowers with a vengeance, etc. etc. etc.
Obama has given us a third and fourth Bush term, but all the media adopts the left-versus right narrative…. and none of the politicians seem to be any wiser