There’s an old myth in Russian politics that’s shielded whoever occupied the Kremlin since the days of the czars from personal criticism. It holds that the ruler himself is never to blame for the terrible policies of his administration. The czar, according to this myth, is ever the fatherly good doer but surrounded by unscrupulous advisors who are conspiring to make life as hard as possible for the ordinary working man.
A similar myth is in the making with regard to President Barack Obama.
Heralded as something of a redeemer who would repair all that ailed America after eight years of conservative government, Obama, cerebral and “cool,” was never the impassioned reformer his supporters wanted him to be. Instead, he is regarded as close to a failure now despite enacting the very sweeping financial and health care reform legislations the left demanded.
While urging compromise and pragmatism from “intransigent” Republicans, Obama occasionally asserts himself in the face of their opposition—usually only to backpedal soon after. He denounces them for “putting party before country” and complains that Republicans are attempting to block him every step of the way, whatever he’s aiming to accomplish—only to give in at the last possible moment. Whether it’s on extending low tax rates for wealthy Americans, achieving hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit reduction or canceling new environmental regulations, the president seems willing to meet Republicans more than halfway yet can’t resist chastising them for forcing him to.
This apparent discrepancy between the president’s rhetoric and his actions is explained away by The Washington Post’s editors according to the “good czar” myth. Obama, they write, displayed “common sense” and “retreated quickly and graciously” from a stunt that was concocted by his idiot staff when they scheduled a major presidential address to conflict with a Republican televised debate on Wednesday.
Perhaps The Washington Post knows for a fact that the president had nothing to do with the scheduling of his address but if that were the case, surely, it should have been reported as a news story? Suppose the president asked for a joint session of Congress to deliver a jobs speech and let his advisors pick a date without his approval or interference!
Far more likely is that the president knew full well what he was doing: trying to unnerve Republicans only to retreat, as he always does, when everyone else recognized the move for what it was—a political stunt.
The only amazing thing in this story is The Washington Post’s refusal to believe that the president acted like a normal politician instead of a good czar.