Return of the Bitch-Slap Theory

Open Left’s Paul Rosenberg:

Of course, I really wish Olliver Willis had been right. If Obama had been able to cooly stand his ground and stare down the crazy Republicans like they were a pack of gutless 6-year olds, or like they were the lumberjack in “The Reverend Mr. Black,” nothing would have pleased me more.

But it was never in the cards. Obama had run on compromise as a principle. And compromise is not a principle. Compromise is what happens to principle when you don’t have any. And Republicans know that. Because they don’t have any principles, either–but in an entire different sort of way.

Which is why Republicans just kept hitting Obama over, and over, and over again, regardless of whatever else was going on. The only reality for them, 24/7, was attacking Obama. Did the economy need to be destroyed in order to take him down? Fine, they were dedicated to destroying the economy–and we’re secretly thankful that he’d done so much to help them on that score. Did the unemployed need to starve in order to take Obama down? Fine, they would starve. Would a terrorist attack undo his Presidency? They were not-so-secretly rooting for the terrorists.

This past weekend should have represented a sort of nadir for the Republicans. The Beckathon was an incoherent joke. Beck himself seemed totally incapable of communicating anything coherent. Anything, that is, except incoherent rage. And that, of course, was all that was needed.

What Obama really doesn’t seem to get–just like Carter, just like Dukakis, just like Gore, just like Kerry, is no one really cares how smart you are. In fact, on average, they’ll hold it against you. But if things really go bad when you’re around–or even anywhere close–then they will turn on you with a purple fury. Because, God damn it, you’re smart, and you should have seen it coming and done something about it.

And you know what?

They’re right.

Even if the Republicans are bitch-slap insane.

You know, he’s right. It’s really infuriating to watch him just take it when a couple of well-crafted sentences could take them down. But as I pointed out before, this is a hard-core personality issue — and someone has to be at a major crossroads in his or her life before they can change something that’s so deeply wired into them.

5 thoughts on “Return of the Bitch-Slap Theory

  1. I disagree with the line you highlighted near the beginning (“Compromise is what happens to principle when you don’t have any”). you can definitely have principles and still compromise. all principles don’t have to be equally weighted and there are times that cutting a deal and getting less than 100% is better than getting nothing.

    my big beef with the president is that he doesn’t know how to compromise. compromise is when you start at a position and then later give in to some extent to induce the other side to give up something to get a deal. but what the president does is he starts with the “compromise” which means it really isn’t a compromise at all because he gets nothing in return for it. then he “compromises” again, but again it isn’t a compromise because there is no quid pro quo. that’s not “compromising”, it’s “giving in”. the problem is not the president’s commitment to compromise (if he were the pragmatic compromiser I used to think he was I wouldn’t have nearly the same degree of problems with his administration), it’s that the president doesn’t know how to negotiate at all. that’s what is at the bottom of all of his administration’s problems.

  2. I think we need to give up on the idea that Obama is any smarter than Bush. He isn’t. He’s a sociopath who doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself and he’s never read anything of value, processed it and incorporated it into his world view.

  3. Can I ask something? If being in charge of a country with a huge unemployment problem that is involved in two illegitimate wars, whose watchdogs are letting people be bankrupted and poisoned and wrongfully imprisoned, what would you call a major crossroads?
    I suppose his family has to actually be involved.

  4. I think you have to first allow yourself to embrace the concept that you have utterly failed before you consider challenging your own perceptions.

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