It’s Groundhog Day! Check the box (again)

February 2, 2012

Liberals resist the Occam’s Razor-like conclusion that President Obama is perceived as a polarizing figure simply because he is, indeed, a polarizing figure. Ryan Lizza recently provided such an example in a recent New Yorker article:

He cites that many of Obama’s key initiatives (cap-and-trade, health care, TARP) were along the lines of ideas floated by some Republicans. So, you see, Obama is really a Centrist and it’s those hypocritical Republicans moving to the Right at light speed who are making him out to be a leftist.

Stripped down Lizza’s argument amounts to this. “If I define the “average” Republican position to be about where I believe it should be and I imagine the average Liberal politician is suitably to the Left of the President then logically Obama is a centrist.” QED

If you cherry pick Republicans and issues you could probably create a vision of the party that resembles. . . well, the one Ryan Lizza want us to imagine. At the end of the day during his four years as Senator, Obama voted with his party 96% of the time. The wishful and mendacious aside, there was zero evidence Obama had any ability or interest to behave in a bipartisan manner despite his transparently disingenuous assertions to the contrary.

Mickey Kaus put it differently

“Lizza’s apparent thesis–that Obama tried to end Washington’s “divisive trench warfare” but was thwarted by hyperpartisanship–is a classic “Neutral Story Line” (‘Can’t they get along’) given a mild anti-GOP twist. It’s also a bit of a crock. After the 1994 failure of President Clinton’s health care plan, if not before, it was obvious to anyone paying attention that passing a universal health care plan would be a heavy lift, opposed by most Republicans.”

Kaus the dissects another aspect of Obama’s leadership. . .

“The President’s decision-making method–at least as described in the piece–seems to consist mainly of checking boxes on memos his aides have written for him.”

Speaking of Afghanistan. We weren’t, but recent events are just too irritating to ignore. We’re leaving soon, which I agree with. We can’t win there, and even if we could I’m not sure it would be worth the effort.
But there’s leaving good and leaving bad.
The Administration plainly states it doesn’t want the Taliban back in power. That’s good. I don’t know many people who do.
But the Administrations also says we want to negotiate with The Taliban. All of a sudden I’m getting that Spidey felling. So, as an act of good faith the White House is openly contemplating moving five of the Taliban’s leaders from Guantanamo to a prison in Qatar. There’s a big condition here and that is the Qatari’s agree not to release them.
Wouldn’t it be easier to make sure they’re not released if we left them where they are?
John McCain was being polite in his quote in the above piece, “There are many people who are experts in the region who say they are rope-a-doping us.”
I’m sure McCain really wanted to say something he hasn’t had to say since he was being tortured by the same sorts of guys to whom we want to grant a huge concession just so they’ll pretend to talk to us.
Have you seen “Galaxy Quest?” It’s a Star Trek spoof featuring a race of people who take all statements at face value. They’ve seen episodes of the show from space. So, they figure the actors on the show have all done the things they did on the show. Now think about this race of  incredibly gullible, but lovable, aliens when you read the following. . .
“As part of its efforts to explore peace talks with the Taliban, the Obama administration is considering the controversial release of several senior Taliban figures from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The names of those being considered for release have not been disclosed, and the conditions are still being discussed. But diplomatic sources say they would probably be relocated to Qatar in the Persian Gulf, where the Taliban is negotiating the establishment of a liaison office to facilitate dialogue with the U.S.
The administration has said any discussion about releasing the detainees is very preliminary and hinges on the Taliban renouncing terrorism and agreeing to peace talks.”
<<Cue laugh track>>
Our due diligence in Libya about whether the rebels are in fact allied with al Qaeda was to ask them. When they told us no, we dutifully checked the box.

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