With John Dickerson’s advice to Obama to go for the throat and slay the Republican Party, the true Journalism has revealed itself. Dickerson is the political director for no less than CBS News. He wrote a column in Slate, pre inauguration, that is giddy in its hatred of the GOP and giddy in his love for Obama.
Here’s what he said. When you read it remember that journalism is supposed to be fair to both sides, free of slant and bias. Dickerson couldn’t be any more its opposite than this.
Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.
The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.
Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize. Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition’s most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray.
In order for a president to be transformational, the old order has to fall as the orthodoxies that kept it in power exhaust themselves. Obama’s gambit in 2009 was to build a new post-partisan consensus. That didn’t work, but by exploiting the weaknesses of today’s Republican Party, Obama has an opportunity to hasten the demise of the old order by increasing the political cost of having the GOP coalition defined by Second Amendment absolutists, climate science deniers, supporters of “self-deportation” and the pure no-tax wing.
Is your blood boiling yet? If not, it should be after he continues:
This approach is not a path of gentle engagement. It requires confrontation and bright lines and tactics that are more aggressive than the president demonstrated in the first term. He can’t turn into a snarling hack. The posture is probably one similar to his official second-term photograph: smiling, but with arms crossed.
The president already appears to be headed down this path. He has admitted he’s not going to spend much time improving his schmoozing skills; he’s going to get outside of Washington to ratchet up public pressure on Republicans. He is transforming his successful political operation into a governing operation. It will have his legacy and agenda in mind—and it won’t be affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, so it will be able to accept essentially unlimited donations. The president tried to use his political arm this way after the 2008 election, but he was constrained by re-election and his early promises of bipartisanship. No more. Those days are done.
Presidents don’t usually sow discord in their inaugural addresses, though the challenge of writing a speech in which the call for compromise doesn’t evaporate faster than the air out of the president’s mouth might inspire him to shake things up a bit. If it doesn’t, and he tries to conjure our better angels or summon past American heroes, then it will be among the most forgettable speeches, because the next day he’s going to return to pitched political battle. He has no time to waste.
I wouldn’t worry about his wasting time, John. Obama already has Harry Reid working to destroy the filibuster rules as a way to make clear the path for his unpopular plans. He hopped on the anti gun wagon minutes after the Newtown shooting and he hasn’t let up yet. We already feel his tax increases from the return of the payroll tax. Obama is nothing if not a swift opportunist.
Walter Cronkite must be drooling with envy from wherever he landed after his departure of this world. Wouldn’t Uncle Walt have loved to have been more open about his far left leanings! Today’s journalist is not confined by any such pretense. They get tingles up their leg, write daily missives to the preazy as the CNN reporter has done and know when to stay silent when pesky questions about the One pop up.
Maybe we should thank Dickerson for his honesty. Maybe a lot of other journalists should come fully out of the closet. Wouldn’t it save time and effort for them if the White House just gave them their talking points directly?