Newsweek and Andrew Sullivan Are Trolling Us

Posted: Jan 16, 2012 9:33 AM
It seems like a desperate play for cheap attention and pageviews from Newsweek, but their new cover story is a doozy: "Why Are Barack Obama's Critics So Dumb?" [Yes, I realize that I'm falling for their troll just by writing about it.]

Written by conservative-turned-Obama-loyalist Andrew Sullivan, the story is a doozy about how conservatives are delusional and the left-wing base is just dumber than the President. The piece is a case study in exactly how Obama wishes to portray himself: as a blank canvas upon which anyone can project their most ambitious and noble desires in a politician.

Sullivan claims Obama could be considered "a fiscal conservative" if all you do is ignore his administration's reactions to the financial crisis, ignoring "the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president." Sullivan says that the claim that Obama has raised taxes "again... is not true," ignoring the myriad tax hikes hidden away in Obamacare.

Meanwhile, the diagnosis of the modern Republican party that Sullivan offers up is just as wrong. He claims that "Republicans have refused to raise a single dollar of net revenue from anyone." While it depends on what baseline one is using, Sullivan must have slept through the Toomey plan, a proposal that would raise $300 million over the next ten years. Not to mention the GOP's attempt to let the payroll tax cut expire, certainly something that could be considered a tax increase.

The Obama Delusion, the idea that the President can be all things to all people, is prevalent throughout the piece. Sullivan writes that "Obama was not elected, despite liberal fantasies, to be a left-wing crusader. He was elected as a pragmatic, unifying reformist who would be more responsible than Bush." If that's the case, then Obama is, quite simply, a typical politician. The President rode to a historical victory on the backs of his hyper-leftwing supporters who believed that he would close Guantanamo Bay, end the Patriot Act, give free health care to everyone, join labor unions on the picket lines, and pull out of Afghanistan.

Obama's hopeful, soaring rhetoric was sufficiently vague enough to allow optimistic political activists everywhere to think that Obama was always "their type of politician." Andrew Sullivan has, in his piece, offered us a textbook example of the Obama Delusion: himself.

The truth is that Obama has put into place a pretty large portion of the liberal agenda in his first term yet still managed to disappoint the hardcore leftwing base, because he promised them so much. The President's critics, on both sides, have and will continue to make sound critiques. And Andrew Sullivan and the Daily Beast are just trolling us.