There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this John Dickerson article on what last night’s results really mean, but this last paragraph is probably the one that needs to be most referenced:
The night showed just how limited Obama’s political power is. He said he’d work all-out for Specter, but he didn’t campaign for the senator in the final days. That may have been a wise reservation of his political capital (he’s already been ineffective in previous races), but it also demonstrated how much has changed since 2008, when Obama was talked about as a force that could remake the political landscape. Critz won by running away from Obama’s signature achievement, and Lincoln, whom he supported, was forced into a runoff. For a president who is still far more popular than the Democratic Congress he aims to help, yet who is unable to translate much of that popularity to do so, this condition may be best described as limbo.
In trying to explain why our political paralysis seems to have gotten so much worse over the past year, analysts have rounded up a plausible collection of reasons including: President Obama’s tactical missteps, the obstinacy of congressional Republicans, rising partisanship in Washington, the blustering idiocracy of the cable-news stations, and the Senate filibuster, which has devolved into a super-majority threshold for any important legislation. These are all large factors, to be sure, but that list neglects what may be the biggest culprit in our current predicament: the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.
What? No. Jacob Weisberg doesn’t want to move. He just wants all of you to move. And approximately 90% of the population of the United States, apparently.
PS: If you’re scratching your head about what was so bad about this article, do me a favor? Tell everybody about it, and mention your political affiliation in the process. Can you do that? You can? Great! Thanks a bunch.
PPS: H/T Hot Air Headlines, by the way. Sorry: the firstborn suddenly decided to engage in antics.
He knows that you can’t just say – unlike, say, Jake Tapper – that the President likes to play with straw men, so he’ll sort of sidle up to it:
The Careful Exaggerator… balances his rhetoric… study in nuance… practically grisaille… nuance-free exaggerator… exaggerates to free himself from the demands of the news cycle… hopes to do though this exaggerated description… plays Aunt Sally… doesn’t mischaracterize, exactly, but he exaggerates… intended to make his opponents look foolish… offered another cartoonish view… probably exaggerates no more than a typical politician….
While Dickerson probably could have used the services of an online thesaurus (by the way, I’m not buying that he knew ‘grisaille*’ right off of the bat, unless of course he was an art minor or something), his point can be eventually determined if you step back far enough: the President plays fast and loose with the truth in order to get his way, or just out of trouble. Of course, Dickerson would be absolutely insane to just write that, given that, say, the aforementioned Tapper gets screamed at by every unhinged member of the Online Left whenever he actually does his job: Slate lives or dies with online clicks, ABC News doesn’t. Unfortunately, Dickerson is also stuck with having to deal with the central paradox in all of this:
This new feature comes from Ed Morrissey, and it’s pretty much in direct response to Slate’s unaccountable decision to not let go of what was never a particularly funny joke in the first place. But if Slate wants to play, hey, we can play too. With more video footage.
You can send in your tip to Ed at [email protected] . He figures that he can make this a daily feature, and so do I. Who knows? There even might be a book or two in it – and now we know why Jacob Weisberg’s so keen to keep this thing going. You get used to income streams, know what I mean?
A little fight between the bloggers of the Volokh Conspiracy and John Fabian Witt of Slate over what’s ostensibly about Lincoln and the laws of war, but is actually about Obama and Bush. Starts with Witt’s post here, Eric Posner’s indulgent, hair-tousling response here, Witt’s somewhat ungracious counter-response here, and ends with Ilya Solmin’s transfixing Witt on a metal spike and leaving him for the ravens here. Moral of the story: when you see the historians snicker about your religious beliefs… just smile, nod, and keep moving.