In a sycophantic interview with The New Republic, conducted by former campaign staffer Chris Hughes and leftist writer Franklin Foer, President Obama suggested that he had all the answers to the pressing issues facing America and therefore no compromise was necessary with Republicans. He added that Republicans should compromise. And if those Republicans don’t compromise, Obama suggested that the fault would lie at the feet of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh – and that the calculus had to be changed to force Fox News and Limbaugh to stop holding Republicans accountable to conservatism.
Here’s Obama on how he’s going to fix the country:
The truth is that most of the big issues that are going to make a difference in the life of this country for the next thirty or forty years are complicated and require tough decisions, but are not rocket science. We know that to fix our economy, we’ve got to make sure: that we have the most competitive workforce in the world, that we have a better education system, that we are investing in research and development, that we’ve got world-class infrastructure, that we’re reducing our health care costs, and that we’re expanding our exports. On issues like immigration, we have a pretty good sense of what’s broken in the system and how to fix it. On climate change, it’s a daunting task. But we know what releases carbon into the atmosphere, and we have tools right now that would start scaling that back, although we’d still need some big technological breakthrough. So the question is not, Do we have policies that might work? It is, Can we mobilize the political will to act?
Despite the fact that Obama’s policies have been abysmal failures on virtually every front, the question for Obama is not what to do, but how to swindle the American people into doing it. And Obama said he would not be focusing on how to get things done in Washington, D.C.; instead, he’d be attempting to drum up public support on every issue. Obama then compared himself to Lincoln for such tactics:
I always read a lot of Lincoln, and I’m reminded of his adage that, with public opinion, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish; without it, you’re not going to get very far. And spending a lot more time in terms of being in a conversation with the American people as opposed to just playing an insider game here in Washington is an example of the kinds of change in orientation that I think we’ve undergone, not just me personally, but the entire White House.
But what of his Republican opposition? That opposition, said Obama, has to be forced to embrace his positions:
And I think if you talk privately to Democrats and Republicans, particularly those who have been around for a while, they long for the days when they could socialize and introduce bipartisan legislation and feel productive. So I don’t think the issue is whether or not there are people of goodwill in either party that want to get something done. I think what we really have to do is change some of the incentive structures so that people feel liberated to pursue some common ground. One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.
How, exactly, will Obama achieve changing that incentive structure, exactly? Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are a free press. But according to Obama, that media must apparently be curbed. The media on the left, however, need not be curbed, because “more left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word.”
This is nothing new from a thuggish administration that has vocally derided Rush Limbaugh repeatedly, pushed secondary boycotts of Limbaugh through its extragovernmental allies, and targeted Fox News as illegitimate for daring to question The One’s agenda. But with Obama’s re-election, he obviously feels that his cross-hairs can be safely placed on his media opposition.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).