Jonah Goldberg

The cynicism of Obama's war on cynicism is breathtaking. He's wasted so much of his presidency demonizing political opponents as deranged radicals who need to shut up and get in line. Even now he is thumping the podium about "economic patriotism," as if loyalty to his views on taxation is the only proof of 100 percent Americanism.

Last fall, Obama did nearly everything he could to be thrown into the briar patch of a government shutdown in order to denounce the Republicans for shutting down the government. When it went into effect, the administration endeavored to make the shutdown as painful as possible -- a replay of a similar scheme with the sequester -- so he could arouse the public against his political foes.

Given Obama's famously low regard for the Clinton presidency, it's ironic that he keeps stealing from its playbook. Bill Clinton benefited from a government shutdown and impeachment and from the general perception that his enemies were worse than his sins. The difference is that while Clinton was hardly immune to the charge of cynicism, he wasn't trying to shut down the government or get impeached for narrow political advantage.

Now Obama is reportedly considering a unilateral amnesty of millions of immigrants here illegally, knowing full well it will spark a fierce political backlash and heighten impeachment talk. No doubt he thinks it's the right thing to do on the merits, with his famous pen and phone. What's less clear is if the merits are his top priority.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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