I suspect that Michael Scherer of Swampland is genuinely confused, while Cenk Uygur of HuffPo is just being disingenuous, judging from their reactions to Barack Obama’s garden rake moment last night. For those who missed it: Obama wanted to schedule a speech at the last minute that would have interfered with a Republican debate; Boehner told him no; Obama promptly caved. And there was much weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth…
Anyway, I’m lumping Scherer and Uygur together because the two neatly bracket the confusion and dismay that has come over the Left from watching President Obama get smacked down – finally – for being a jackass about something; in this case, for trying to muck about with the Republican debate schedule for no better reason than because Obama’s poll numbers are even worse than his job creation record. You see, the Online Left has this little narrative where they’re all rough-and-tough digital revolutionaries facing down the thuggish, jackbooted, faceless minions of the VRWC*… so they react badly whenever one of their Designated Man-Gods meets objective reality in an objectively realistic fashion. ‘Badly’ being defined in various ways, of course.
Scherer first: you can almost see the confusion on the screen as he tried, and failed, to reconcile “[Obama] was not going to let the political calendar get in the way of his main task, which is to get the economy growing at a faster clip” with “Obama, however, was not ready to fight this battle. He backed down.” Because even if you accept the rather ridiculous assumption in the first quoted passage (Obama’s main task right now is to get re-elected) it does not make sense that Obama was simultaneously planning to fight a political battle and not fight a political battle. It does, however, make sense that the President and his White House staff didn’t really understand the power dynamic of Washington, DC before this point. Simply put, the Speaker of the House is not someone that you can casually push around. Entertainingly, President Obama knows it now** – but the damage has been, as they say, done.
So let’s look at Uygur. He gets the primary problem with pretending that this is a rope-a-dope strategy on the President’s part:” You see, if you’re playing rope-a-dope, at some point you have to actually swing. When your opponent has worn himself out knocking you around the ring — you counter-attack. But that counter-attack is never coming.” He gets that the President is in over his head and doesn’t know what he’s doing. He even gets that it’s just going to get uglier for the Democrats. What he doesn’t get is that blame for the upcoming catastrophe can be fairly laid at the feet of the very progressives who are now bitterly complaining about how horrible a fighter Obama is. Why, bless their hearts: what did they expect? They went out and bullied the Democratic establishment into signing off on the least-qualified and least-prepared major-party Presidential candidate in my lifetime; it’s just a bit late to get huffy over the fact that people are happy to demonstrate that the progressives’ oversold man-god is dismally under-performing.
There’s no particular moral to this, besides the obvious one of “Some of these people cannot be trusted to come in out of the rain.” Mind you, the American people probably would benefit from having this pointed out more often…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
**Some of his cheerleaders have not, as witnessed by some very silly people suggesting that Boehner resign. Yeah… that is not going to happen. It will also not happen that anybody who values his or her access to Congress will take up that call, either. There’s partisan, and then there’s being a natural-born damned fool of a partisan.