Saturday, February 07, 2009


Fox News:

President Obama is facing growing questions about his tone and the effectiveness of his leadership after he spent Thursday night mocking his political rivals and accusing them of playing games with the economic stimulus.

... Conservatives are complaining that while Obama held a set of good-faith bipartisan meetings with congressional leaders in January, now he's reverted to campaign mode....

"He reduced himself from being president of all the American people to being the partisan leader of the left," former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said of Obama's Thursday night speech. "The first month of your presidency is not a very good time to give a campaign speech." ...

Goodness gracious! Obama dared on Thursday to make the same arguments he made when he was in the process of winning a decisive election victory, while his party was winning a huge Senate and House majority. What a foolhardy and risky move! I mean, we don't see Republicans making the same arguments they were making during the campaign, do you? That Obama's a big socialist who's going to destroy America and capitalism while making us all vulnerable to terrorists, do you?

...Oh, sorry: yes, we do. Republicans are making exactlythe same arguments they made during the campaign. Republicans are still in campaign mode. (Republicans are always in campaign mode, aren't they?) How come that's not a terrible, horrible, bad, ungracious, risky strategy that's doomed to failure?

Well, they can simply get away with and Democrats can't, says Charles Blow on the op-ed page of The New York Times:

... Republicans are trying to draw Democrats into a screaming match because they know they're better at it. They are the masters of shrill -- masters of stoking ignorance and rousing rabble.

Democrats, on the other hand, should know better, especially No Drama Obama....

Remember, rancor is the Republican briar patch.

If Republicans seem better at it, it's only because, when they do it, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets react with awestruck silence, fearful that what they're hearing is the gen-yoo-wine righteous indignation of the great Silent Majority of Ordinary Citizens from Heartland America, to whom Attention Must Be Paid. By contrast, when Democrats do it, they're accused of sounding like shrill, nasty Rush Limbaugh and the legislators who agree with him -- even though when Limbaugh and those legislators actually do it, they're not accused of sounding shrill and nasty at all.

The key isn't whether Republicans are better at partisan outrage -- the key is that they're better at getting the referees (i.e., the mainstream press) to take their hissyfits seriously.

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