Jul 29, 2011

Lawrence O’Donnell: West Wing Nut Job


Sent to you by terry via Google Reader:


via Tomfoolery by OTOOLEFAN on 7/28/11


Since the debt ceiling "crisis" has now become an actual crisis, one overly dramatic voice from the left has suddenly become President Obama's biggest champion.

I'm talking about, of course, Lawrence O'Donnell.

For the past two weeks or so, O'Donnell has been advancing his theory that since President Obama originally wanted a clean vote on the debt ceiling, all of his offers and seeming concessions to the GOP have just been an epic Political Rope-A-Dope.

As a result, Lawrence is now the new darling of a certain segment of the Left on Twitter who, despite past results, want to believe the President is actually a Secret Ninja Negotiator.

Those who question or differ with this interpretation are met with the ire of an ogre, it seems.  Nothing says liberal like intolerance.

No one wants to believe that President Obama  is playing the GOP for suckers more than I.  But past is prologue and we've seen this episode before.

One thing we've learned about this President is that like other Vulcans, he doesn't bluff. That would be highly illogical.

In my opinion, the very act of bluffing violates Obama's sense of fair play and reasonableness. He thinks everyone else's motives are as honorable as his.

"I take John Boehner at his word."

You do??

By now, does anyone seriously believe Obama has bluffing skills after the previous negotiations we've witnessed since he's become president? What in Obama's track record would lead one to believe he's such a great bluffer? Even his poker pals from his state senate days say he was a lousy bluffer and folded unless he had a very strong hand. Was he just pretending to be a lousy bluffer then too?

Maybe he didn't want to close Gitmo, but just said that he did. Maybe he didn't want to end the Bush tax cuts, but just said that he did. Maybe he's not even a democrat. Maybe that's the biggest bluff of all, Lawrence.

When I think of President Obama's negotiating strategy, that scene from "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" comes to mind.

"Anyone who would pay $50 for a cab, would surely pay $75."

"Not necessarily."

We all know what happens next.

The GOP, because of past negotiations, doesn't take this idea of bluffing seriously. They have learned that if they just hold out, he gives in. He doesn't seem to understand that the more he offers the GOP the more they think they can get out of him.

"I've been left at the altar now a couple of times."

Once should have been enough, Mr. President.

It's not that I dislike Lawrence O'Donnell or think he's a poor advocate for Liberals, quite the contrary, I think he is often one of the strongest and most perceptive voices on the left. But not only do I think his theory is kooky, I think it's highly destructive to the President himself.

Even if Lawrence is right, this is still bad politics because it spreads the idea that the President of the United States is not negotiating in good faith. How is this a good thing, Lawrence?

Furthermore, it gives people like Joe Scarborough a perfect opening to mainstream the GOP narrative that Obama is just fooling.

In my view, this whole scenario is just as disrespectful to the President as when John Boehner doesn't return his phone calls, but calls CNN instead. In essence Lawrence O'Donnell is calling the President a liar and he's doing this nightly.

Even if O'Donnell's West Wing fantasy plays out and Obama somehow gets his clean debt ceiling vote at the 11th hour, our credit rating is still going to be downgraded. Isn't this one of the things we're trying to avoid?  How is that a victory for Obama, let alone the American people?

Lawrence O'Donnell is presenting us with an alternate reality in which President Obama is President Bartlett and there are a lot of worried people out there who desperately want to buy into this script.

I think HE needs a rewrite.


Things you can do from here:


No comments: