30 April 2010

Post-partisan Poseur

It's what he does:
Obama seems to be coming very close to endorsing the view that the liberal courts of the 1960s and 1970s overreached by engaging in judicial activism. The Times describes this as the “most sympathetic statement by a sitting Democratic president about the conservative view” of the liberal courts.

...Given Obama’s previous public statements, it seems highly unlikely that he actually believes that the liberal courts overreached or that there’s an equivalence between left and right on energy issues. But Obama nonetheless feels the need to stake out a “non-ideological” middle ground on many issues for rhetorical and political purposes.
But what purposes are those? That's what makes this "need" of Obama's so thoroughly inexplicable, if not downright maddening: the utter absence of any tangible benefits from indulging it.

One of the commenters on this story offered the suggestion that this predilection is a product of Obama’s coming into adulthood during a time when antagonism towards conservatism was detrimental to one's prospects. While learned tendencies are certainly powerful, I don’t think they sufficiently explain someone persisting with a course of action that consistently fails. Again and again, Obama kisses his opponents’ rings while his supporters get a thumb in the eye.

The result?

His opponents never stop attacking while his allies’ frustration grows and their engagement wanes. The only significant policy “victories” that he can claim come, neither from bridging a partisan divide nor from going to the mat for commitments made to constituents. They came from indulging the Blue Dog prima donnas in his own caucus and counting on the rest of his Congressional majority to hold its collective nose while it voted to "win" by passing something, whatever it might be.

For him to think his approach is working of policy or public relations signifies he’s either staggeringly stupid or utterly cynical…and even the most bootlicking-est of his apologists supporters can’t say that’s what they voted for.

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