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:
But Obama prides himself on considered speech, and few politicians have talked and written about improving political dialogue as much as he has. “I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or … oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose,” he wrote in his second book, The Audacity of Hope.
Which is to say, the President isn’t really living up to his expectations. Fortunately, there’s a poll that can make everything OK – because it’ll show that his exaggerations aren’t doing any harm, really! There, all better**.
*I had to look it up myself: it’s a style of painting where everything’s done in shades of gray. Not a bad metaphor for this administration, actually.
**Well, sort of (H/T Protein Wisdom). Which is me going the opposite way of “exaggerating:” I actually meant, “not at all.” Not that I object to the other side keeping to its internal narrative…
Crossposted to Moe Lane.