Saturday morning, Big Journalism ran the story of John Dickerson, a CBS News political director, who took to the online pages of Slate to suggest it was time for Obama to “destroy” and “pulverize” the Republican Party.
Today, Dickerson took to the online pages of Slate again, this time to insist we all misunderstood him. His new headline and subtitle say it all:
They Hate Me, They Really Hate Me
Conservatives despise my analysis of Obama’s second-term options. But it was analysis–not advice.
He then writes:
Some people thought I was giving the president my personal advice. No. My goal was to make a compelling argument based on the facts. I used words like “war” and “pulverize,” and some have responded with threats to me and my family. (“Go for his throat!” some have counseled, echoing the headline.) These words have also liberated some correspondents (USUALLY THE ONES THAT TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!!!) from reading the piece or reading it in the spirit in which it was written.
All the left-wing bases are pretty much covered there: Oh, poor me; I’m the misunderstood victim who’s hated and receiving death threats from the wingers.
I honestly believe that one of the Lefts’ primary tactics is to endlessly exhaust us with this kind of relentless tactical nonsense.
If Dickerson was indeed writing analysis, he did an awfully good job ofdisguising it as naked advocacy. Here are the opening paragraphs of Dickerson’s original piece. Please tell me at which point this Obama cheer-leading distinguishes itself as anything nearing objective analysis: [emphasis added]
Go for the Throat!
Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.
On Monday, President Obama will preside over the grand reopening of his administration. It would be altogether fitting if he stepped to the microphone, looked down the mall, and let out a sigh: so many people expecting so much from a government that appears capable of so little. A second inaugural suggests new beginnings, but this one is being bookended by dead-end debates. Gridlock over the fiscal cliff preceded it and gridlock over the debt limit, sequester, and budget will follow. After the election, the same people are in power in all the branches of government and they don’t get along. There’s no indication that the president’s clashes with House Republicans will end soon.
Inaugural speeches are supposed to be huge and stirring. Presidents haul our heroes onstage, from George Washington to Martin Luther King Jr. George W. Bush brought the Liberty Bell. They use history to make greatness and achievements seem like something you can just take down from the shelf. Americans are not stuck in the rut of the day.
But this might be too much for Obama’s second inaugural address: After the last four years, how do you call the nation and its elected representatives to common action while standing on the steps of a building where collective action goes to die? That bipartisan bag of tricks has been tried and it didn’t work. People don’t believe it. Congress’ approval rating is 14 percent, the lowest in history. In a December Gallup poll, 77 percent of those asked said the way Washington works is doing “serious harm” to the country.
The challenge for President Obama’s speech is the challenge of his second term: how to be great when the environment stinks. Enhancing the president’s legacy requires something more than simply the clever application of predictable stratagems. Washington’s partisan rancor, the size of the problems facing government, and the limited amount of time before Obama is a lame duck all point to a single conclusion: The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.
As you can see, any claim that this is analysis, and not opinion, is complete nonsense.
As the portions I’ve highlighted make clear, Dickerson’s entire piece was predicated on his obvious belief that Republicans are the problem, not Obama. All four of those paragraphs are loaded with criticism of the GOP, while Obama is presented as a reasonable man who tried his best to make things work only to find his noble intentions thwarted at every turn.
The love for Obama starts in the next paragraph, as the GOP bashing continues:
President Obama could, of course, resign himself to tending to the achievements of his first term. He’d make sure health care reform is implemented, nurse the economy back to health, and put the military on a new footing after two wars. But he’s more ambitious than that. He ran for president as a one-term senator with no executive experience. In his first term, he pushed for the biggest overhaul of health care possible because, as he told his aides, he wanted to make history. He may already have made it. There’s no question that he is already a president of consequence. But there’s no sign he’s content to ride out the second half of the game in the Barcalounger. He is approaching gun control, climate change, and immigration with wide and excited eyes. He’s not going for caretaker.
How should the president proceed then, if he wants to be bold? The Barack Obama of the first administration might have approached the task by finding some Republicans to deal with and then start agreeing to some of their demands in hope that he would win some of their votes. It’s the traditional approach. Perhaps he could add a good deal more schmoozing with lawmakers, too.
That’s the old way. He has abandoned that. He doesn’t think it will work and he doesn’t have the time. As Obama explained in his last press conference, he thinks the Republicans are dead set on opposing him. They cannot be unchained by schmoozing. Even if Obama were wrong about Republican intransigence, other constraints will limit the chance for cooperation. Republican lawmakers worried about primary challenges in 2014 are not going to be willing partners. He probably has at most 18 months before people start dropping the lame-duck label in close proximity to his name.
“Even if Obama were wrong about Republican intransigence…”
A look at Dickerson’s previous Slate columns only bolsters the case that he has no business presenting himself on CBS News, or anywhere, as an unbiased political analyst.
But even if Dickerson’s DESTROY THEM! column is analysis, it’s ridiculously biased analysis, and biased only in favor of every premise Obama’s manufactured in his ongoing media/political war with the GOP.
Maybe that’s the problem… Maybe what the corrupt media now considers “objective analysis” is so comfortable in the tank with Obama, that those of us who live in the real world can no longer distinguish between the rantings of the politically bloodthirsty Left and the mainstream media’s idea of analysis.
Because there is no difference.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC