At Slate, John Dickerson – you might know him as CBS News’ political director, but this week you’ll probably recognize him as the thug who advised Barack Obama to “pulverize” the Republican Party, has his testicles in a vice over the fact that he got a negative reaction from conservatives over a piece entitled “Go for the Throat!”
Dickerson’s initial piece said Obama, if he wants to be a “transformational” president, has to declare war on the GOP and essentially remove it as a player on the national political scene.
Frankly, that piece didn’t make much of an impression on us, as it merely regurgitated what anyone with a brain has known about the Hard Left operators who run the national media and the Democrat Party – they’re not good faith governing partners, they don’t care about producing results for the American people, they’re in it for the raw political power and they play a zero sum game.
Dickerson merely exhorted Obama to do what he’s been trying to do his entire political career – and in particular since the 2010 elections. To do so required basic sentience, hardly the top-tier brainpower of a CBS News Political Director. Unless, of course, we’re affording too much credit to the holder of such a position.
But the idea that (1) a supposedly neutral journalist would throw up such a combative request of Obama – he basically told the president to go and kill his political enemies – and (2) suggested Obama do so not by addressing the issues everybody in the country recognizes are important, like for example the deficit, was pretty offensive. Nothing in Dickerson’s piece made the slightest reference to actual governance, which is at the end of the day what a president who does his job will focus on.
Dickerson says Obama can destroy the GOP by presenting it with a bunch of “clarifying fights” on issues like gun control and immigration, and attempting to present the conservative position as extreme.
From the perspective of a lefty media maven, that’s good advice. From the perspective of almost anybody else, it’s pretty stupid. After all, Obama has to win the 2014 elections if he wants to destroy the Republican Party, and he’s going to have a hell of a time doing that if he’s crushing the Mark Pryors, Mary Landrieus, Mark Begiches, Max Baucuses and Kay Hagans of the world as they face re-election in red states where gun ownership is a defining issue. We’ve already seen that overreaching on policy and rhetoric the way Obama did in 2009 and 2010 merely energized the Republican base which does a much better job than Democrats do for off-year elections and led to a holocaust for House Democrats in November 2010; there is little reason to believe the same won’t happen in 2014 when the specter of a runaway leftist administration seeking another Obamacare-style expansion of the federal government wipes out whatever dissatisfaction or disgust conservative voters might have with the GOP leadership.
If Obama wants to be seen as a transformative president, here’s an idea – show that left-wing governance isn’t a disaster. Find a way to achieve “progressive” government without waste, fraud and runaway deficits. Show that an America with a smaller military footprint can still lead the world and drive global events. Get to the bottom of scandals like Benghazi and Fast and Furious so as to remove the lie from those 2008 claims you’d run an honest and transparent administration. Find things Republicans want to do that you can appropriate for your own, pass and then steal the credit.
In short, tailor your second term to govern the way Bill Clinton was able to do in his better moments as president. Clinton was transformative, in that he gave the public reason to think you could have a successful presidency as a Democrat even if your personal character was a disaster.
But Dickerson’s conscious avoidance of governance as a metric for the significance of a presidency, as opposed to offering up purely divisive politics as the only thing on Obama’s agenda, is nothing but recognizing Obama has no interest in governing and is only interested in destruction for political purposes and then glomming on to it. He’s merely cheerleading for Obama – figure out what the Chicago set is doing and then say “yeah, this is what they ought to do,” and stand back and congratulate yourself for such sage advice.
So it’s a lousy piece, written by somebody who shows himself to be a hack, and on top of that it’s destined to infuriate half the country – or more – which really doesn’t think it’s such a good idea for a president to spend his time in office attempting to destroy the two-party system rather than doing the job the taxpayers hired him for. Ultra-partisan Democrats and Marxist revolutionaries might think what he wrote was just swell; the rest of the country probably has a different view.
And in today’s interactive world, Dickerson was bound to catch hell from the Right for such an in-your-face essay. And he did. So today it was his turn to whine about it – in as disingenuous a manner possible.
When you are on the Fox News’ ticker for the wrong reasons, it’s time to put things into context.
On the eve of the president’s inauguration, I wrote a piece about what President Obama needs to do to be a transformational rather than caretaker president. I was using a very specific definition of transformational presidencies based on my reading of a theory of political science and the president’s own words about transformational presidencies from the 2008 campaign. It was also based on these givens: The president is ambitious, has picked politically controversial goals, has little time to operate before he is dubbed a lame-duck president, and has written off working with Republicans. “Bloodier-minded when it comes to beating Republicans,” is how Jodi Kantor put it in the New York Times. Given these facts, there is only one logical conclusion for a president who wants to transform American politics: He must take on Republicans—aggressively.
For me, this was a math problem with an unmistakable conclusion. Some people thought I was giving the president my personal advice. No. My goal was to make a compelling argument based on the facts. I used words like “war” and “pulverize,” and some have responded with threats to me and my family. (“Go for his throat!” some have counseled, echoing the headline.) These words have also liberated some correspondents (USUALLY THE ONES THAT TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!!!) from reading the piece or reading it in the spirit in which it was written. But there were also almost 2,000 other words in the piece, which should put that provocative language in context. What’s been lost in the news ticker and Twitter threats is the argument of the piece: This is the only plausible path for a bold, game-changing second term for a president who has positioned himself the way President Obama has. Indeed, the piece accurately anticipated the forceful line the president ultimately took in his inaugural address with his call for collective action and failure to reach out to Republicans. Brit Hume said Obama’s speech confirms for all time the president’s essential liberalism. The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber precisely identifiedthe speech not merely as liberal but an argument for liberalism.
Dickerson goes on to expand on this paper-thin distinction between what he calls advice and analysis by saying that because Obama hasn’t shown signs of being willing to work with the GOP there’s no point in talking about major compromises on things like spending and tax reform, and he says that because the GOP is in a state of disequilibrium Obama can destroy it, at least in the short term.
Then he sends this up the line…
People see my article as an argument for one-party power, which is impossible since I posit that Obama’s second-term conflict with the GOP will be the first step leading to its rebirth as a majority party.
Which came from a parenthetical note in the first piece…
The president can stir up these fights by poking the fear among Republicans that the party is becoming defined by its most extreme elements, which will in turn provoke fear among the most faithful conservatives that weak-willed conservatives are bending to the popular mood. That will lead to more tin-eared, dooming declarations of absolutism like those made by conservatives who sought to define the difference between legitimate and illegitimate rape—and handed control of the Senate to Democrats along the way. For the public watching from the sidelines, these intramural fights will look confused and disconnected from their daily lives. (Lip-smacking Democrats don’t get too excited: This internal battle is the necessary precondition for a GOP rebirth, and the Democratic Party has its own tensions.)
Which is, of course, stupid. Yes, it often takes electoral losses for a party to clear out its dead wood and acquire better leadership – but that somehow it’s a necessary precondition for GOP rebirth that Obama should blow it to bits in his second term seems like some sort of lefty dialectics. It’s a lot more likely that the GOP would be reborn as a majority party by finding a grounding in fiscal responsibility, something neither Obama nor Dickerson could apparently give a flip about, and finding a way to unite with a public that by a 4-to-1 margin believes Washington’s profligate spending has us on the road to ruin, than to be split apart over things like background checks prior to gun purchases.
Dickerson can’t possibly be so simple as to believe what he’s writing. What’s much more likely is that he’s flat-out lying about this formula for rebirth he’s offering up. It comes off as a fig leaf so he can say he’s a neutral observer – “See? Just let Obama tear you guys to bits and you’ll be fine.”
Then he gives us the “some of my best friends are Republicans” bit…
Some assume I hate Republicans. This latter charge will confuse my close relations, who are not only proud conservatives but among Fox News’ most ardent fans (the two groups not necessarily overlapping).
Blah, blah, blah. Nobody believes that stuff. Particularly not coming from the “political director” of a news organization which trotted Bob Schieffer onto the airwaves over the weekend to equate the National Rifle Association with Nazi Germany.
Dickerson also has the brass to say what he was doing in his first piece was assessing Obama’s political options. This, of course, he didn’t do.
An honest piece which wasn’t cheerleading Obama’s attempts to make himself an autocrat through political predation would have said that if Obama wanted to be seen as a transformative president his challenge was to find a way to effectively govern even under the current circumstances, and use that competence to build political capital he could couple with some legislative skill to get bipartisan measures through the House addressing things like the deficit and the economy.
That’s what an honest piece would have said. Dickerson’s piece was nothing of the sort, and he knows it. What he is is surprised conservatives and the producers at Fox News discovered what he wrote and called him on it.
Which is ludicrous in its own right, particularly given that when he was a White House correspondent for Time Dickerson was practically legendary for the leftist slant of the questions he’d ask of Obama’s predecessor – like for example asking what in his presidency he’d put up there with the mistake of trading Sammy Sosa as the owner of the Rangers. Or that Dickerson was part of the lynch mob attempting to burn the White House for “outing” Valerie Plame when her husband commenced to telling provable lies about Iraq’s nuclear program. It’s not like this guy has no history from which virtually anyone could see what a Democrat hack he is.
Ace of Spades’ reaction – which was far more entertaining and incisive reading than anything Dickerson had on offer – was worth passing along…
Let me explain the problem to this f***ing imbecile.
First of all, advice is the same as “analysis of your best possible move.”
But more importantly, Dickenson would never have written a piece with the headline “GO FOR HIS THROAT!,” advising the GOP to “bloody up” Obama. Including before/after the 2010 elections, when such advice would have been, uh, well, advisable.
Only liberals are cheered on by the media to let their ideological freak flags fly. When liberals offer “advice” (or “analysis”) to conservatives, it’s always the same:
1. We must compromise.
2. We must concede the general outline of the liberal agenda.
3. We must buckle under — For our survival!
And what bothers us at this point isn’t that this is unfair; it is, but we’re used to it.
We’re just sick to death of being f***ing lied to every f***ing day by organizations which, although claiming to have the mission of truth, are now dedicated to lying to the audience.
Day in, day out.
They will continue denying the undeniable — that they are liberal, and root for liberals, and consciously slant their coverage in favor of liberals (and congratulate each other for scoring points on conservatives).
And we will continue to be incensed by it, just as any human being will be incensed by someone telling the same childishly-ridiculous lie to his f***ing face over and over and over again.
A Republican president – let’s call him, say, George W. Bush for the sake of argument – who decides the only way he can get, say, Social Security reform passed and thus become a “transformational” president is to go after as many Hard Left Senators and members of Congress on the theory that they’re a bunch of extremists and kinda-sorta traitors in the War on Terror for opposing things like the quite-popular Patriot Act and other counter-terror measures voted into being on a bipartisan basis, and raise issues that will expose them as such…does Dickerson suggest that this mythical Republican president would be engaging in his “best option?”
I’ll go out on a limb and say no, that’s probably not going to be Dickerson’s advice. Or “analysis,” sorry. More than likely, Dickerson is going to offer an “analysis” more like what Ace described above. Get along, go along, ignore those crazies out there in flyover country with Fox News on their TV’s. No sudden movements, no bold strokes, you’ll turn the country off.
And why are bold moves by Republican politicians so risky? Why, because committed leftists like Dickerson at committed leftist propaganda organizations like CBS News will commence to shredding said Republican politicians for said bold moves.
See how that works?
Note that Dickerson never bothered to offer any “analysis” to the effect that wow, if Obama spends the next four years trying to bust up the GOP and he’s not all that successful in doing it there’s a good chance the media will recognize, like if there’s another credit downgrade or a new recession or a foreign-policy crisis, that maybe he’s doing a crappy job and his poll numbers have tubed and he’ll have ruined his presidency.
That’s an entirely plausible scenario, because while Dickerson spends a lot of time talking about how the NRA “overreached” with that ad mentioning that Obama has armed security for his kids at school but rejects it for everybody else’s kids he doesn’t seem to notice that for all the incontrovertible brilliance of Obama’s gun control moves no less a figure than Harry Reid is downplaying the chances of a major gun control measure getting through the Senate, much less the House. So rather than breaking apart the GOP on gun control, which Dickerson thinks is possible because Chris Christie went off the reservation about it (as though Chris Christie is anything but reviled by the majority of the Republicans in the country thanks to his sellout of Mitt Romney less than a week before Election Day), the kind of aggressive political gambits this clown is contemplating as making mince meat of the GOP probably go nowhere and make him look like a failure without there even being a vote in the GOP-controlled House on them.
And a two-month brawl over gun control which comes to absolutely nothing, right before Moody’s offers another credit downgrade or there’s another spike in gas prices or some other easily-foreseeable rough economic news, could easily lay a stinker on Obama’s poll numbers and scare the bejesus out of Democrats in the House or Senate. Guess what happens to this “let’s destroy the GOP” plan at that point.
And this is with Dickerson’s pals at CBS, plus the rest of the progressive smart set in the mainstream newsrooms, continuing to carry on the slobbering love affair with Obama. Which is, of course, a given. Because the media isn’t capable of actually calling this guy out for engaging in Chicago-style political thuggery disguised as statesmanship.
And a dishonest, sycophantic media bent on spinning, rather than informing, the public is NOT what the Founders were looking for when they included “freedom of the press” in the 1st Amendment. Those of us who aren’t possessed of Dickerson’s chosen brand of knee pads tend to regard this as an abuse of the media’s constitutional role.
And that’s what’s so disgusting. That’s why we see Dickerson as such a loathsome weasel. He could have offered analysis he wouldn’t have to deny was advice, or he could have been a little honest and admitted that, yes, I’m a lefty and I want to see Obama wipe out the GOP. He did neither – he waved pom-poms in Obama’s direction and then professed to be aggrieved when those not his ideological compatriots called him on it.
Screw you, Dickerson. Try just a little honesty and humility next time.