We’ve seen the Obamacized media call President Obama Lincoln, we’ve heard him called FDR and Kennedy, we’ve been informed that he gives newsers a thrill up their leg. The media has even ridiculously called Barack Obama a “light worker.” He is The One, their Obammessiah. Well, we can now add another undue adulation to the media’s obsession of finding great figures to compare Obama to: Mahatma Gandhi. At least according to the New Yorker’s Hendrick Hertzberg he is, anyway.
In a piece from February 23, headlined “Partisanship, by the bye,” Hertzberg likened Obama’s work on the so-called stimulus bill to a “Gandhian” effort because it is going so swimmingly for The One.
This is all merely an effort by Hertzberg to absolve Obama for his failure to govern in the bi-partisan way he claimed he’d undertake and to gain any measurable Republican support for the biggest pork barrel spending bill ever brought before the people, a bill falsely described as an economic stimulus bill. It doesn’t matter that this bill is not a bi-partisan bill, Hertzberg claims, because Obama did try to get GOP support.
Sadly, what Hertzberg ignores is that Obama really had little to do with this bill. All Obama did was have a few meetings early on with certain GOP leaders to give the appearance that he was interested in their views, then he went on TV and asked Congress for a bill, then flew off to Camp David and various other places in perpetual campaign mode leaving the bill to be wholly written by the Democrats on the Hill. And those Democrats excluded the Republicans, didn’t offer a thing to them to get their support, even arrogantly blew them off altogether.
It’s true there was no GOP support for Obama’s generational theft bill, but it wasn’t because either Obama or the Democrat Party tried to compromise with the GOP to enlist their support but failed to convince the GOP. It was because they didn’t try at all to work with the other side and had the votes to steamroll over them.
In fact, Obama himself really had little to do with this bill after he called for it. He didn’t work closely with those who wrote it, showed no leadership as it was being debated, and offered no guidance to its compromises.
So, how does Hertzberg sum up Obama’s failure?
Fifty years ago, the civil-rights movement understood that nonviolence can be an effective weapon even if–or especially if–the other side refuses to follow suit. Obama has a similarly tough-minded understanding of the political uses of bipartisanship, which, even if it fails as a tactic for compromise, can succeed as a tonal strategy: once the other side makes itself appear intransigently, destructively partisan, the game is half won. Obama is learning to throw the ball harder. But it’s not Rovian hardball he’s playing. More like Gandhian hardball
So, Obama is “like” the Civil Rights movement, he tried really, really hard to get GOP support, but he is “like” Gandhi in his efforts even in failure?
Undue praise for an unworthy effort.
And I don’t know about you, but were I a black American I’d be a tad upset that the effort to pass a simple spending bill in Congress was likened to the Civil Rights movement!
(Photo credit: pbs.org)