I think I'd like to revise my remarks on the WSJ op-ed I discussed yesterday.
Yes, it's true that Obama promised to be "post-partisan", but there are a number of senses in which this could be taken. One could take this term as being indicative of some sort of left-right fusionism, but that is not what Obama meant. What Obama meant was not engaging in the usual attack politics, engaging with the opposition in good faith, and trying to lower the temperature in general in Washington. I felt like he's largely lived up to his promises--admittedly, some of the attacks on Limbaugh were out of keeping with such a promise, but even those were mild.
What the WSJ posits is that Obama should be held to a (I suspect) deliberate misinterpretation of what he said. I don't think this is fair. Obama never said that he was going to try to rule by consensus, and to the extent he's tried to, he's been met with bad faith by the GOP--who pretended to work with him on the stimulus bill while weakening it without intending to get on board--and a rapid escalation in nutty attacks. Obama has done all he can--the extent to which he can truly be postpartisan depends on how willing Republicans are to actually work on pressing issues with the President, and there is little indication that they are indeed willing to do so.
And it is true that Bush never actually talked about the "real America" but he did make the "for us or against us" quote. And he did frequently demonize Democratic states in a way that John Kerry and Barack Obama never did. Again, if Obama refers to, say, Oklahoma as a "starve 'em and kill 'em" state in the way that Bush and Rove dismissed the Northeast as a coven of wimpy, tax-and-spenders, I'll change my mind.
The Man, The Myth, The Bio
- East Bay, California, United States
- Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.