Saturday, March 07, 2015


As I'm sure you know, Senator Bob Menendez is facing charges:
The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.
It's widely assumed on the right that this is payback. PJ Media: "Days Before News of Corruption Charges, Menendez Warned of Political Foes Trying to ‘Break’ Him Over Iran Resolve." FrontPage Magazine: "After Senator Menendez Stood Up to Obama on Iran, Holder to Charge Him w/Corruption." Legal Insurrection: "Holder okays possible charges against Bibi supporter Sen. Menendez." Pundit Press: "[Menendez] has also been one of the few Democrat Senators to oppose Obama on opening ties with Cuba, and has pushed for a more thorough investigation of the IRS."

Oh, and while this is taking place, there's Lee Smith of the Tablet speculating that Emalghazi is, in part, a White House hit job:
The Obama Administration dispatched its big guns this week to take out a major political rival whose mere presence poses a threat to a hoped-for breakthrough with Iran....

The grave violation of protocol that brought [White House spokesman Robert] Gibbs, {Secretary of State John] Kerry, the White House spin doctors and their reporter friends out in force was ... by Hillary Clinton -- whose use of a private email account while serving as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State was transformed in the space of three days from a two-year-old non-story to an immediate threat to American national security and a probable violation of criminal law, or at least a very serious violation of “protocol.”

... why did Hillary Clinton become the Obama Administration’s bĂȘte noire this very week, the same one during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled all of the world’s focus onto the issue of the administration’s negotiations with Iran?

The answer is that the two are related: This week’s tarring of Hillary Clinton is part of the White House’s political campaign to shut off debate about its hoped-for deal.... So far, the White House has managed to keep Democratic lawmakers in line, no matter how much they seem to question the wisdom of the proposed deal. Hillary Clinton, gearing up for a 2016 run in which she is likely to put some distance between herself and Obama’s dubious Middle East policies, is the one major national Democratic figure who can give Democrats in Congress cover.
Well, if all this is true, I hope some of Obama's critics in the center are happy. After all, this is precisely what they've been demanding from him for years.

In a terrific piece at The New Republic, Elspeth Reeve points out that Frank Underwood, the sociopathic president in Netflix's House of Cards, is precisely the kind of chief executive that middle-of-the-road pundits such as Ron Fournier and Maureen Dowd have been clamoring for, as they fret about our real-life president's reluctance to lead in a tough, bare-knuckles way. Reeve runs down the critiques of Obama:
“The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do,” The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd wrote in 2013, after Obama said he couldn’t make Republicans behave. “It’s called leadership.” Dowd has urged Obama to be more like Lyndon Johnson as well as Michael Douglas in the movie The American President. In The Wall Street Journal in 2013, Peggy Noonan said rock-solid Republican opposition is “never a shock and not an excuse. It's business as usual. And if you're a leader you can lead right past it.” The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank has written, “It’s the president’s job to lead, and to bang heads if necessary...” The National Journal's Ron Fournier scolded ahead of the 2013 shutdown, “Great presidents overcome great hurdles.” Or as he wrote after the 2012 election, “Obama wins! Big whoop. Can he lead?
(Spoilers follow.)

In season 3 of House of Cards, Underwood -- who has literally killed on his way to the presidency -- fires the head of Homeland Security and guts the budgets of Social Security, Medicare, and FEMA to pay for full-employment plan that's, frankly, ridiculous. But on the show it works. As Reeve notes, this evil, amoral man leads precisely the way Ron Fournier wants a president to lead. Heads are knocked together. Critics are steamrollered. Viewers root for the sick SOB to succeed. Underwood leads.

If Obama's playing hardball with Menendez (and even Hillary), then maybe he's learning something from Frank Underwood. And so we should be expecting Dowd and Fournier and the rest to praise Obama soon. Right?

I'm kidding, of course. We should expect nothing of the sort.


Victor said...

"If Obama's playing hardball with Menendez (and even Hillary), then maybe he's learning something from Frank Underwood. And so we should be expecting Dowd and Fournier and the rest to praise Obama soon. Right? "


Then our MSM would change tunes - like our true conservatives do - and call him a tyrannical dictator, who's leading too much!

From that song my Rickey Nelson which I always liked:
"If you can't please everyone,
Ya got to please yourself."

Go, Obama, go!!!

petrilli said...

No one except maybe Yellow Tail Chablis cares what Dowd and or Peggy Noonan think. Obama should listen to Atrios (who has more readers).

Just give people fee money and lots of it.

petrilli said...

Meant to say "free money"

retiredeng said...

Life imitates art? Obama is still the "Kenyan usurper" in the right's eyes. If only he'd see the light and actually become one? I want what they're smoking.

Roger said...

Top Democrats, who decline to speak publicly, say that this criticism of Ron Fournier is totally bogus. Fournier's defenders include a Cabinet-level member of the Obama Administration who was active in several Presidential campaigns and a senoir Democratic operative Fournier met at the Port Authority bus terminal.