Though I find little to disagree with on what she's written here about this President, though I think she has nailed, finally, what the man is at his core, though she writes beautifully and effectively as to his character, it's a little tough for me to praise she who praised him so back in 2008 when many of us saw him for what he is even then:
Presidential inaugurations are rare and notable events, coming only once every four years since April 30, 1789, when George Washington raised his right hand and took the oath on the second-floor balcony of New York's Federal Hall.
It's a big day with all its pomp and ceremony, and among its purposes is this: to encourage all who watch to let go, for a moment, of the ups and downs of the political day-to-day and think, for a moment, about the longer arc of our history. A president's inaugural address is a chance to go big and be big—to be thematic and not programmatic, to declare the meaning, as he sees it, of his leadership, to speak of where America is and ought to be. The whole day, from breakfasts to balls, is meant to be, insofar as possible within the confines of human nature, one of democratic fellowship and good feeling.
A president approaching that day will necessarily be, in his spirit, benign, embracing—unifying.
So here is what is utterly remarkable: President Obama has been using the days and weeks leading up to his inauguration to show the depth of his disdain for the leaders of the other major party and, by inference, that party's voters, which is to say more or less half the country. He has been spending his time alienating instead of summoning. It has left the political air more sour and estranged.
As a presidential style this is something strange and new. That has to be said again: It is new, and does not augur well.
What was remarkable about the president's news conference Monday is that he didn't seem to think he had to mask his partisan rancor or be large-spirited. He bristled with unashamed hostility for Republicans on the Hill. They are holding the economy "ransom," they are using the threat of "crashing the American economy" as "leverage," some are "absolutist" while others are "consumed with partisan brinksmanship." They are holding "a gun at the head of the American people." And what is "motivating and propelling" them is not a desire for debt reduction, as they claim. They are "suspicious about government's commitment . . . to make sure that seniors have decent health care as they get older. They have suspicions about Social Security. They have suspicions about whether government should make sure that kids in poverty are getting enough to eat, or whether we should be spending money on medical research."
And yet, "when I'm over here at the congressional picnic and folks are coming up and taking pictures with their family, I promise you, Michelle and I are very nice to them."
You're nice to them? To people who'd take food from the mouths of babes?
Then, grimly: "But it doesn't prevent them from going onto the floor of the House and blasting me for being a big-spending socialist." Conservative media outlets "demonize" the president, he complained, and so Republican legislators fear standing near him.
If Richard Nixon talked like that, they'd have called him paranoid and self-pitying. Oh wait . . .
Throughout the press conference the president demanded—they'd "better choose quickly"—that Republicans extend the debt ceiling. Pressed by reporters on whether he would negotiate with them to win this outcome he made it clear he would not. He would have "a conversation." Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman asked: "So you technically will negotiate?"
"No, Julianna," he answered. "Either Congress pays its bills or it doesn't."
There was a logical inconsistency to his argument. A government shutdown would be so disastrous to the economy that he won't negotiate with Republicans if that's what it takes to avert it.
This, he said, is what will happen if the debt ceiling is not extended: "Social Security checks and veteran's benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small businesses. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear material wouldn't get their paychecks."
Why talk to Republicans when the stakes are so high? They must be the kind of people who like to see planes crash and bombs go off.
Two days later, unveiling his gun-control plan at a White House event, it wasn't only Republicans in Congress who lie: "There will be pundits and politicians and special-interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty, not because that's true but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves. And behind the scenes, they'll do everything they can to block any common-sense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever."
No one has good faith but him. No one is sincere but him. Doesn't this get boring, even to him?
There's more but it goes down bitterly.
She, and people like her, brought us to this point.
What has become boring frankly is listening to the regrets of those who become aware 4 years later of what idiots they were 4 years ago.