Remember when Bush 43 glibly told liberals, “I won,” after they voiced concerns over his fiscal policy. Yeah, neither could I; however, that is precisely how President Obama responded to concerns over his spending proposals. In other words, Obama seems to be adopting the position on governance that says, ‘I will listen to your ideas, but only if they fit within my narrow set of liberal policy principles.’ Austan Goolsbee, the Chief Economist for Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board recently said with regard to conservative healthcare proposals, “if these ideas can fit in with [Obama’s] principles, then we’ll consider them. And if we go through and they don’t, then he won’t consider them.”
Another aspect of Obama’s “post-partisan” approach is to attack high profile members of the media who dare speak out against his policies, via Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. To date, Gibbs has savaged CNBC Correspondent Rick Santelli for suggesting a modern-day tea party (guess what? they are happening all across the country), Rush Limbaugh was purposefully attacked, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer, and most recently former VP Dick Cheney.
Between Obama’s penchant for only listening to ideas that fit within his “principles,” and the use of the White House Press Office to publicly attack those with whom they disagree, the empty suit is FINALLY starting to fill in. And is anyone surprised that Obama seems to be trading “hope and change” for fear, loathing, and personal attacks?
While I am not surprised, a question still remains: why? Why would the President feel it is appropriate or necessary to ignore other points of view, even though he often reads from the tele-prompter how important it is to respect them? Why would he feel it is appropriate or necessary to unleash his press secretary to attack any media personality that challenges his policies?
As Obama makes his case for early admittance to the liberal tax and spend hall of fame, his increased attacks on conservative viewpoints begin to make sense. Taking the debate down to a personal level narrows the conversation and serves to distract from the actual policies being implemented. Clever, huh? I’d agree in the short run, but as people begin to understand the Obama administration’s tactics, their prospects for public support will rival that of Nancy Pelosi. Assuming they are preparing for such an outcome, then an approach that attempts to spend all of its political capital in the early run would be understandable. If political suicide could make sense. But these guys are so much smarter than I am. Surely they have considered what happens when you become a lame duck in your first term?