How long ago it seems now that Barack Obama was inaugurated, and the Great Uniter championed "hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics. ... (T)he time has come to set aside childish things."
It seems the president spoke prematurely.
With his approval ratings sinking and Democratic prospects tanking, Obama began the fall campaign in Milwaukee with a petulant tone about his adversaries: "They talk about me like a dog. That's not in my prepared remarks, but it's true." Precisely which Republican was suggesting the president was a household pet? Who cares? He knew he wouldn't be challenged. Perhaps he was tired and a little dyslexic, and was thinking about the media: "They talk about me like a god."
The Great Uniter realizes -- finally -- that the nation has tired of his attacks on George Bush, so a new White House strategy has emerged. The next day, Obama was in Ohio and attacked the potential next Speaker of the House, John Boehner, eight times in his remarks. He even claimed that since Boehner opposed an $800 billion "stimulus," he was against firemen saving lives.
"Mr. Boehner dismissed these jobs we saved -- teaching our kids, patrolling our streets, rushing into burning buildings -- as 'government jobs,' jobs I guess he thought just weren't worth saving." This can be dismissed as the usual worn-out liberal hyperbole -- vote for "stimulus" or you oppose policemen, firemen and teachers. But when it comes from the alleged Great Uniter? No worries: The media are repeaters, not reporters.
What's really alarming is how eagerly the "news" networks take Obama's liberal cues and start savaging the Republicans with even greater ferocity.
Boehner appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sept. 12, and host Bob Schieffer started whacking him over the head about being a smoker and being in cahoots with the tobacco industry.
"I'm not objective about this. I'm a cancer survivor. I used to be a heavy smoker. Do you still smoke?" Boehner said yes. Schieffer then announced that Boehner had taken $340,000 from the tobacco industry. "How do you square that with the fact that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in this country; 435,000 people -- their deaths are linked to cancer. That's one in five. How do you justify that in your own mind?"
When Boehner calmly said Americans have a right to smoke, or overeat, Schieffer scoffed: "Well, I mean, they have a right to shoot themselves if they choose to."
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone