The piece is on Obama’s campaign versus his Presidency, a favorite topic of left, right and center. I had to read it twice over (I only woke up just before reading it the first time) before I understood that this was intended to be a serious, conservative critique of Obama, yet it sounds like it might be coming from that pesky 20% of America which is not entirely popular with the rest of us at the moment. This article takes issue with Obama saying he “believe[d] in American exceptionalism, just as I imagine that Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism and the British believe in British exceptionalism.” This being an Affront to American decency, the Author must intervene. The meat of the article, after you strip away references to Europe (socialists!), Latin America (Heavy-handed dictators!) and Chicago (“brass-knuckle politics”!):
“The ‘bipartisanship’ that Obama envisioned was really ‘monopartisanship’ – a form of one-party rule erected on the foundation of his personal popularity.”
… and …
“It is worth mentioning here that “bipartisanship” is, in the modern environment, nearly always a bad thing. The public is very rarely of one mind about any important issue. It therefore follows that when its representatives are of one accord, the underlying dynamic is that they have forsaken the left-right continuum of ideology and are behaving according to the up-down continuum of privilege. The elites, in other words, have made a separate peace without regard to the reservations, concerns or protests of the hoi-polloi. Such may in fact be occurring right now in the health care debate, as the Administration’s dismissal of town hall protests as inauthentic and barbaric, as well as the left and the media’s demeaning of Tea Partiers with a pornographic smear, clearly indicate.”
The author, who is now clearly very intelligent for having linked Obama to everything undesirable in the free world, simultaneously offers a full-throated shout-down of bipartisanship, and a baseless claim that Obama actually wanted a single-party US. The term “monopartisanship” seems so ironic, coming from the wing of American society known to be insular, nationalistic and xenophobic, but it’s just a code word for Socialism, another GOP talking point which is repeatedly thumped upon in this article, as in so many others which are gifted upon us from the 6,000-year-old Planet Wingnut. And as a card-carrying Obama supporter, I have to admit I’ve been calling for the destruction of the GOP (and the Teabagger Militant Movement) since the election practically, but only to be replaced with an actual Conservative Party, with real conservative stances rooted in some kind of economic sense. A one-party United States is nobody’s idea of perfect, and would make it even more difficult for Democracy to work. But then, to claim that working together is somehow antithetical to Democracy, that bipartisanship is bad because some people don’t agree? The author has gone from decrying monopartisanship to saying nothing should ever get done unless everyone agrees. Apparently consensus with these people is off the table.
It occurs to me that storytelling in the media is important in this way: the McCain campaign was calling Obama a “celebrity” and “too cool” a year and a half ago. Those are both words which are totally benign until they are repeated like the irritating phone calls of a stalker in right-wing media. Now the fight is the White House versus the GOP Media Outlets, which have been framing every story as though McCain was elected but this Usurper Who Secretly Hates America, and White People, and Loves Terrorists, Stole the Election with His Smooth-Talking ways, and is a Socialist who is from Chicago and Shakes Hands With Hugo Chavez and Apologizes for America and is Destroying our Free Market. Obama is called names for deciding to take on Fox, even by his backers. I fully stand behind the White House decisions to take on the single source of many of these faux-controversies. I read a thought-provoking, non-inflammatory article in the November GQ which said Obama loves debating his opposition, even more than discussing his ideology with his peers. That’s how I feel, too. Bring on the debate over the merits of Fox. Truth wins out over propaganda. Journalism eclipses punditry.
The GOP media strategy is a rambling, somewhat incoherent narrative made up of guilt-by association, mostly, be it association with Bill Ayers, ACORN, Van Jones, or whoever is labeled as dangerous, shady, back-room, cloak-and-dagger, etc. Nefariousness isn’t so much existent, as it is being concocted for the sake of fitting the narrative. The GOP media strategy is, nay, must be, consistency. Authors must agree uniformly to a label (such as calling his speech to the Muslim world an “apology tour,” or calling ACORN a “voter fraud organization”), then apply that guilt to the President, even if it means the article ends up seeming like something a child would draw on the back of important documents. I call this method, of attaching second, evil meanings to words “Trojan Horsing.” Once fully booby-trapped, words like “ACORN” need never be defined, just shouted in outrage. A populist success.
Funniest of all is the last sentence of this piece, which by the way was brought to you by a speechwriter for McCain-Palin ’08. “But as [Obama's] flagging poll numbers show, that is not the world as it actually exists.” Because on the left-hand sidebar of this article, funnily enough, is the President’s approval rating: Approve 52.3 Disapprove 43.6. Maybe it’s not the 56% of the vote he won in November, but he’s got a solid majority still behind him, and primarily I’ll bet it’s because the Trojan Horsing of the words associated with the President doesn’t really work on 80% of the public, who are not swayed by right-wing populism. The paranoiac right can agitate about 600,000 Americans into politicizing 9/11 with “The 9/12 Project.” That’s less than 1% of America. More Gays showed up for the National Equality March. Limbaugh / Beck 2012 could never earn the majority Obama has.