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The Meme That Would Not Die

December 18th, 2010 - 8:51 am

WaPo’s Dan Balz on President Obama’s “resilience” after last month’s shellacking:

What seems clear is that Obama has begun to position himself back on more comfortable ground in the wake of the self-described shellacking Democrats took in the midterm elections. By instinct and demeanor, he is a politician who prefers finding common ground with his opponents. At a moment of political weakness, the tax package provided him the vehicle to quickly reassert that part of his political personality at a time when he needed the public to take a fresh look at him. [Emphasis way added.]

They’ve said this about Obama for years, that he’s some sort of Great Compromiser, who would bridge the gaps between Left and Right, between Black and White, and all the other chasms of American political and social life — like… I dunno, like some miraculous kind of spackling paste.

The same Obama whose (admittedly thin) Senate voting record was to the left of Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders. The same Obama who called his GOP opponents “enemies” in the run up to the above-mentioned “shellacking.” They’ve said this about the Obama who’s first attempt at compromise as President was just a flat reminder that “I won.” The same Obama who pushed through life and death legislation on a strict party line vote, and abusing the bipartisan Byrd Rule to do it? The same Obama who, when faced for the first time by real opposition, put on the most petty and petulant press conference performance in presidential history. The same Obama who, just days later, walked out on another briefing, blaming his wife.

I could go on, but why? The “instinct” part is demonstrably false, and the evidence for Obama’s “demeanor” isn’t much stronger. The question is, where did this meme come from and why does the press keep insisting that it’s true?

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