Monday, June 6, 2011

Peggy Noonan: Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

Obama cannot hide his contempt for far right politicians. They know he does not like them in a very personal way. The problem is partly experiential. Obama's upbringing wasn't provincial enough.  Bill Clinton, on the other hand, grew up among Southern racists, and understood them, even liked some of them. Peggy says this enabled Clinton to fake it, and therefore able to create personal relationships with the likes of Newt Gingrich, and get things done. 
It seems like only yesterday when Newt and Bill worked together, hand in hand, to prevent the government shutdown, end the Whitewater investigation, not to mention the attempted impeachment. 
But it isn’t just experience that distinguishes Obama from Clinton. Obama’s nature is the problem in the current debt-ceiling fight. He cannot get Republicans to compromise, because he can’t get warm and fuzzy with them and cajole them, because he is
...different, not a political practitioner, really, but something else, and not a warm-blooded animal, but a cool, chill character, a fish who sits deep in the tank and stares stilly, at other fish.
So how can Obama overcome his predaceous, cold-blooded, pre-reptilian essence? By giving in to the Republicans by slashing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. If you can’t con them, join them, she says.
Here is the problem, according to the Catholic scold. We cannot default, so the debt limit has to be raised. But we have to look responsible by reducing the deficit when we do it. There are two ways to reduce a deficit--cut spending and increase revenues. Therefore, we cannot raise the debt limit without making cuts of $2.4 trillion. Why? Where? Peggy never really says. But if Obama does what the Republicans want, a crisis will be averted. In fact, if Obama capitulates, he will go down in history as The Crisis Averter, who can claim to be a centrist, and work in good faith with the Republicans. 
What about reducing the deficit by raising taxes on the wealthy? Scarlette Noonan replies, “I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow.” (Ok, she really said, “...fight that out later.”)
Maybe I'm a liberal, but I have to ask, why cut spending today, and talk about taxes tomorrow? Because, Peggy says, “the polls are all over the place.” Really? Some recent polls show public support for ending Medicare in order to keep the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy? Peggy Noonan has trouble getting through a column without some prevarication, but this is such an obvious whopper, one wonders if she has an editor. Of course, there is no citation to any such study. 
Let me be clear. All recent polls show overwhelming support for raising taxes on the wealthy rather than cutting the social safety net. So, Peggy really wants Obama to give in to the Republicans in Congress even though they are on the wrong side politically, so that he will be on the wrong side, too. 
Now I understand the metaphor. Obama the fish sat there staring, motionless. The warm-blooded, Republican fish stared back. Finally, the Republicans, being warm-blooded, couldn’t stand it anymore, and they started moving, slowly and individually at first, then schooling, faster and faster, up and around, then suddenly up, out of the water, with the Ryan Plan. They got netted in New York 26. This caused people to talk, and the more people talk about killing Medicare, the more people hate it. Cutting the safety net landed the GOP in the fish net.This could end the GOP as we know it. Someone needs to save it. 

If only a mammalian politician, like Bill Clinton, was President. He could trick the Republicans back into reality. He could save them by getting them to compromise. But since Obama is incapable of human emotion, and therefore, unable to really connect with Mike Pence, the only way to save the GOP is to give Mike Pence everything he wants.
If he doesn't, Peggy says, Obama will go down in history as the president who inherited a Republican-created mess, and “made things worse” by not continuing their policies. 
Really. That’s what she said.

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