CBS Political Director John Dickerson Calls on Obama to 'Declare War on the Republican Party'

January 21st, 2013 12:06 PM

Decades ago, to demonstrate the leftist biases of most establishment press reporters, one needed to study their body of work over time. Many of them didn't make their political beliefs totally obvious until they retired or went elsewhere (e.g., Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw).

These days, we usually don't have to wait too long for reporters' biases to show. Over the weekend at Slate, CBS Political Director John Dickerson, whose leftist advocacy disguised as journalism has been evident for at least nine years, mapped out a strategy for his beloved President Obama, writing a 2,000-word battle plan disguised as a column begging the president to "declare war on the Republican Party'" (Slate's current headline tease on its "Most Popular" list is "Why Obama Should Seek To Destroy the Republican Party"; bolds are mine):

Go for the Throat!
Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.

... A second inaugural suggests new beginnings, but this one is being bookended by dead-end debates. Gridlock over the fiscal cliff preceded it and gridlock over the debt limit, sequester, and budget will follow. After the election, the same people are in power in all the branches of government and they don't get along. There's no indication that the president's clashes with House Republicans will end soon.

... The challenge for President Obama’s speech is the challenge of his second term: how to be great when the environment stinks. Enhancing the president’s legacy requires something more than simply the clever application of predictable stratagems. Washington’s partisan rancor, the size of the problems facing government, and the limited amount of time before Obama is a lame duck all point to a single conclusion: The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.

... Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize. Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition's most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray.

... This approach is not a path of gentle engagement. It requires confrontation and bright lines and tactics that are more aggressive than the president demonstrated in the first term. He can't turn into a snarling hack. The posture is probably one similar to his official second-term photograph: smiling, but with arms crossed.

The president already appears to be headed down this path. He has admitted he’s not going to spend much time improving his schmoozing skills; he's going to get outside of Washington to ratchet up public pressure on Republicans. He is transforming his successful political operation into a governing operation. It will have his legacy and agenda in mind—and it won’t be affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, so it will be able to accept essentially unlimited donations. The president tried to use his political arm this way after the 2008 election, but he was constrained by re-election and his early promises of bipartisanship. No more. Those days are done.

Readers with strong stomachs should read the whole thing to comprehend the visceral disdain Dickerson has for Americans who have the nerve to point out that the nation can't possibly continue as it is if it continues to run trillion-dollar annual deficits and pile up debt at an even greater rate.

Dickerson's biases have been obvious since 2003, when he co-authored a hit piece in Time Magazine trying to make something out of absolutely nothing in the Valerie Plame-Joe Wilson affair.

In addition to his favorable views of thuggishness (only if practiced by his side, of course), Dickerson also has an active political fantasy life if he believes Barack Obama ever had the least bit of interest in "bipartisanship" not involving the other side surrendering their principles.

Dickerson became Political Director at CBS News in November 2011. Now we specifically know why that network's output was horribly biased during the 2012 primaries and presidential campaign.

The default assumption has to be that political coverage at CBS from here on out will complement, encourage, and even assist the Obama administration if (really when, given the birth of Organizing for Action, "the next chapter") it implements the strategy Dickerson has articulated.

Cross-posted at