Politico: Obama, in Govt. Shutdown, Puts on a 'Display of Resolve and Strength That Could Redefine His Presidency'

October 1st, 2013 7:20 PM

The folks in office administration at the Politico had better put in for extra janitorial help. With all the horse manure their reporters are slinging during the partial government shutdown, it's gotta be getting knee-deep in those hoary halls.

One of the more egregious examples of insufferable obsequiousness today came late this morning via Edward-Isaac Dovere and Reid J. Epstein. You see, in their narrow world, President Barack Obama's stature has done a sudden and complete turnaround because he and Harry Reid have chosen to shut down the government (HT the Weekly Standard; bolds are mine):

Government shutdown: President Obama holds the line

PoliticoObamaLapdogPresident Barack Obama started September in an agonizing, extended display of how little sway he had in Congress. He ended the month with a display of resolve and strength that could redefine his presidency.

All it took was a government shutdown.

This was less a White House strategy than simply staying in the corner the House GOP had painted them into — to the White House’s surprise, Obama was forced to do what he so rarely has as president: he said no, and he didn’t stop saying no.

For two weeks ahead of Monday night’s deadline, Obama and aides rebuffed the efforts to kill Obamacare with the kind of firm, narrow sales pitch they struggled with in three years of trying to convince people the law should exist in the first place. There was no litany of doomsday scenarios that didn’t quite come true, like in the run-up to the fiscal cliff and the sequester. No leaked plans or musings in front of the cameras about Democratic priorities he might sacrifice to score a deal.

After five years of what’s often seen as Obama’s desperation to negotiate — to the fury of his liberal base and the frustration of party leaders who argue that he negotiates against himself. Even his signature health care law came with significant compromises in Congress.

Instead, over and over and over again, Obama delivered the simple line: Republicans want to repeal a law that was passed and upheld by the Supreme Court — to give people health insurance — or they’ll do something that everyone outside the GOP caucus meetings, including Wall Street bankers, seems to agree would be a ridiculous risk.

... The White House believes Obama will take less than half the blame for a shutdown – with the rest heaped on congressional Republicans.

The divide is clear in a Gallup poll also out Monday: over 70 percent of self-identifying Republicans and Democrats each say their guys are the ones acting responsibly, while just 9 percent for both say the other side is.

If Obama is able to turn public opinion against Republicans, the GOP won’t be able to turn the blame back on Obama, Greenberg said. “Things only get worse once things begin to move in a particular direction,” he said. “They don’t suddenly start going the other way as people rethink this.”

You can't get much more absurd than claiming that Obama's presidency has been marked by a "desperation to negotiate." It's beem more like: "We do what we want. Bleep you."

Just one example:

In February, "Obama has eschewed direct negotiations for a nationwide barnstorming tour to place blame for the automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs on the Hill GOP.

Translation: Obama wasn't negotiating at all. Where did I find this? Why, at the Politico, of course. Zheesh.

Here's one factor the two pretend geniuses Dovere and Epstein didn't consider: If Obamacare's exchange rollout continues to be as awful as its first day, Republicans are going to start looking pretty smart for having demanded a one-year delay, and their determination to hold out for such a deferral will be strengthened.

Will it work out that way? Who knows? But I do know, regardless of outcome, that the Politico pair are living in fantasyland by casting Obama's go-to strategy of childish name-calling and whining as a paradigm of "resolve and strength."

The Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper notes that "[N]o Republicans are quoted in the story. And not one person skeptical of the president's strategy not to negotiate with Republicans is quoted in the story."

Why, of course not. That would disturb the fantasy.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.