My first guest host while I am away, Congressman John Campbell, interviewed Mark Steyn on Thursday’s show. The transcript is here, and the title line of this post is drawn from it.
The president not only has an imperial lifestyle, he has developed a court press around him, one that does not press him on the obvious failures over which he is presiding, or assign him the responsibility for the designs he has implemented, like the Obama Sequester.
The latest manifestation of the general obsequiousness of this court press comes in the form of a risible attempt by the New York Times’ Richard Stevenson’s piece today about the president’s willingness to work a big bipartisan deal on spending. This graph is the howler:
Even as President Obama lashes out at Republicans over the automatic spending cuts that take effect next week, he is simultaneously sending them a strikingly different message: he is still interested in a big deficit reduction deal and as evidence of his good faith has left on the table proposed Mediare and Social Security cuts that liberals hate.
Actually, the president is sending a message in the way that Lucy used to send Charlie Brown a message about the football, and everyone inside the Beltway knows it. The president refuses to detail his plan and the Senate refuses to pass one, though the House has twice passed plans to alter the impact of the Obama sequester.
The court press also refuses to link the president’s new demands for more tax hikes with the massive tax hikes he received just last month in the fiscall cliff “deal.”
The president has no interest in a deal. He will irresponsibly cut the Department of Defense under the wildly unqualified Chuck Hagel (the court press is far more interested in a speech that didn’t happen than with two that did) regardless of whether the Obama Sequester occurs. He will take all the tax hikes of January and squander them by June. If Speaker Boehner unwisely gave him more revenue he’d spend all that twice again and demand more.
President Obama won the election and unleashed his real self, held in check since the drubbing of 2010. This will lead to another drubbing in 2014 if the GOP fights as hard as it did in 2009 and 2010, and if it nominates good, solid conservatives with the smarts to campaign on the president’s recklessness.
Which brings me to Karl Rove and the alleged hunting parties from the right which are on his trail.
Though I am on vacation through the end of next week, I dipped into Twitter for just a moment yesterday to note that most of the critics of Rove like most of the critics of Rush have many things in common, including an utter incomprehension of the technical skill required to do what those two do and a desire to injure the Republican Party for whatever reason. The former are Monday morning QBs who cannot come up with anyone with a track record remotely approaching Rove’s when it comes to winning races, especially presidential races. The latter are eager to wound Rive with his backers so as to make him less effective in the 2014 cycle.
Rove’s sin with a small but noisy gang is that he spoke the truth that the GOP has nominated some pretty weak candidates in key Senate contests over the past two cycles. Given that each of those candidates had some passionate defenders, he angered what seems to be at least a couple of dozen people, and Beltway types eager to displace Rove have come after him. No matter. The pros know that Karl is without parallel at what he does, and he is the most entertaining and informed of commentators.
The attacks on Rove, like attacks on Rush and more recently on Ted Cruz and in the past on Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal are efforts by the court press to weaken key figures in the opposition by amplifying criticisms from very small numbers of critics on the right. Old trick. Won’t work, except in one respect.
What might be the negative result of the ginned-up controversy is that some marginal candidates in some of the key 2014 Senate races conclude that they are the exception to the rule that bad candidates lose, or that all signs including criticism of Rive point to their day dawning. This is the Democrats’ prayer and the biggest danger for the GOP. With a strong list of Senate candidates and continued excellent work by Greg Walden at the NRCC and Brad Dayspring’s gang at YGAction, the electoral verdict in 2014 on the president’s imperial ways and profligate governance will be as decisive as 2010’s.
20 months to go until the referendum begins on the president’s appalling irresponsibility on all matters foreign and domestic. The court press wants conservatives to think their cause is broken and the president is unbeatable. Neither is true if the House GOP and its Senate allies continue to speak the truth over and over again.