In 2008, in order to sell to the American public an unknown far left tyro Chicago machine hack politician whose first response to any vote of consequence was to chose “present,” the MSM compared him to numerous men of destiny, including JFK, FDR, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and heck, God himself. At Commentary last week, John Steele Gordon added a new comparison to the list: Douglas MacArthur.
This time around though, the comparison is not meant as a compliment:
As Daniel Henninger makes clear in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Where in his career did Barack Obama ever learn the art of the political deal? Nowhere.” He writes:
Recall the famous Blair House summit he called early in 2010 amid the legislating over Obamacare. Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, Paul Ryan and other Republicans talked about wonkish compromises. All of it, every single idea, blew right by the president. Naturally the legislation got zero GOP votes. A kid running for high-school president could have gotten more opposition votes than that.
Obama negotiates with Congressional Republicans the way General MacArthur negotiated with the Japanese on the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945: Here’s a pen, sign your surrender. But the Japanese were powerless at that point; the Republicans are not today–they hold the House.
Compare that with how Lyndon Johnson got Medicare through Congress in 1965. Johnson was vastly more politically potent in 1965 than is Obama today. Johnson had just carried all but six states in the presidential election and with a higher percentage of the popular vote than FDR achieved in 1936. The Senate was 68-32 Democratic (as compared with 53-47 right now), the House was 295-140 Democratic (as compared with 241-191 Republican).
But Johnson treated Congress as a part of the process, not an annoying obstruction to his will. “I am not for denouncing Congress all the time,” he told a historian that year. “I am not like . . . writers who think of congressmen as archaic buffoons with tobacco drool running down their shirts. . . . I got up at seven this morning to have breakfast with them. I don’t have contempt for them.”
In contrast to LBJ, from his fellow liberals (the “bitter clingers” were Hillary supporters after all) to John Boehner (“golf-playing, cigarette-smoking, country-club Republican,” Obama was reported to have said), to his vanquished challenger Mitt Romney (“He was no goddamned war hero,” an aide to Obama sniffed) who doesn’t Obama have contempt for?
Which helps place this item into context: CBS’s Major Garrett: Admin Sees Itself in Cold War with GOP:
Is anything going on, is anyone of importance talking to anyone else on Capitol Hill of importance? And I was given the same, non-responsive answer I get daily, “the lines of communication are open.” And finally, getting sick of that, I said, “Well, look, the lines of communications were open during the Cold War, too.” So, I thought, well, this is kind of an extravagant, over-the-top metaphor, the White House will reject that. The person wrote back, “Yeah, the Cold War ended when one side realized they couldn’t win.” So I think we’re on a Cold War footing right now.
Right now? The Cold Civil War between our would-be Reverse von Clausewitz and the American people has been going on since he took office, as we noted in this 2009 post. “Unlike Tricky Dick Nixon, Obama Wears His Enemies List On His Sleeve,” Doug Ross wrote in 2010. “What area of the private sector — aside from the slip-and-fall attorneys — isn’t hated and vilified by the Obama Democrats?”
Which is one reason why Power Line’s John Hinderaker dubs it “An Administration That Will Live in Infamy” today, and features the above cartoon by Michael Ramirez:
There was a time when people assumed that if America’s future was under attack, it must come from a foreign source–like, say, Japan at Pearl Harbor. Those days are long gone. Now, our decline is no one’s fault but our own. We elect leaders who are ignorant of America’s history and contemptuous of its values.
John asks a great question: “I have spent some time thinking about this, and it is hard to find a precedent: when, in human history, has the government of any nation consciously set out to weaken that country?”
I’ve frequently compared our current administration with the equally feckless socialists who ran England into the ground in the 1970s, before Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power the following decade. Did any of those chaps express such a sentiment?
Of course, as Bill Whittle notes in his latest video, it’s not like there isn’t plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle — as Obama actively works to “fundamentally transform the nation,” the GOP Congress largely stands idly by:
But then, neither side is able to come to grips with what the current “crisis” signifies — the jig is up, sooner or later, for a century of the “progressive” welfare state, one that both sides in America have organized the nation around, since the 1930s.
When the Bracktanic goes down though — to build on the maritime metaphor of Ramirez’s cartoon at the top of the post — she’ll have quite a distance to sink before she finally hits bottom:
Or to put it another way, “Let It Burn isn’t an option, it’s an eventuality. The questions are will we be complicit in it any longer and do we want to delay it? I say no. Let the liberals own it. Very few things are made better by delaying the day of inevitable reckoning. The sooner it burns, the sooner we can try and rebuild.”