The Politico is a true Beltway institution, and emblematic of so much of what is sick with our journalism. Today, John Harris has a piece called “7 stories Obama doesn’t want told.” It’s about controlling the narratives and memes that constitute the image of Obama. Hmm, well that could be interesting. Maybe something about how Obama hasn’t come through in his promises regarding civil liberties, and how this undermines his claim to represent change? Or maybe something about how his recent decision to ramp up Afghanistan tells us something about his plans that undermines the antiwar credibility he rode to victory in the Democratic primaries. Let’s take a look…
That’s the Chicago Way
This is a storyline that’s likely taken root more firmly in Washington than around the country. The rap is that his West Wing is dominated by brass-knuckled pols.
He’s a pushover
If you are going to be known as a fighter, you might as well reap the benefits. But some of the same insider circles that are starting to view Obama as a bully are also starting to whisper that he’s a patsy.
The fact that those are mutually exclusive doesn’t phase Harris one bit, I’m sure. Likewise, remember earlier this year, when Obama was deciding which Bush-era practices to continue or abandon in the wra on terror? We were simultaneously told that Obama was giving up the war and policies that made us safe, and thus will kill us all; AND Obama is actually continuing Bush’s policies, so it’s complete vindication, see! Both critiques were heard from the right.
Or, going back even further to the election, Obama (and Michelle) were both dangerous, angry blacks who hated America and wanted to kill whitey, and were also wine-sipping arugula-munching elitists. Because those two always go together.
That’s one thing about criticism of Obama that’s always been difficult for me to understand. People just can’t seem to settle on the best way to attack him, so they take a shotgun approach and hope that something will stick. But when you make subsequent critiques that are mutually exclusive, I’m pretty sure it’s not persuasive.