25 January 2010

Obama's politics as usual

Talking Points Memo | Christina Bellantoni | Obama: 'We've Run Into Buzz Saw' On Health Care

Here's the key bit from Obama's prepared text:
Now, we've gotten pretty far down the road, but I have to admit, we've run into a bit of a buzz saw along the way. The long process of getting things done runs headlong into the special interests, their armies of lobbyists, and partisan politics aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done. And the longer it's taken, the uglier the process has looked.
Obama is fond, overly fond in fact, of saying that his opponents are forcing a false choice. That's what he's doing the here.

"Exploiting fears" is not an alternative of "getting things done." One is a method, the other is a goal. Republicans are not Sinestro. They don't seek fear for it's own sake. We can entertain debates about whether they employ fear as a tactic (and whether they do so more than Democrats, or anyone else selling anything), but they only do so in the service of accomplishing their own agenda. They just happen to want different things done than Obama does.

Obama knows this, and it's disingenious of him to insinuate that he's the only one with goals and his opponents are just mean people playing dirty for no particular reason besides spite.

No matter how much you think your political opponents are big jerks, they actually have different ideas about whether policies are going to be helpful or detrimental, and they have different ideas about what should be done. Painting your opponents as acting only in malevolence rather than having legitimate differences of opinion is polarizing and destructive, and hardly the bright new day Obama promised for Washington.

PS Do the "special interests" Obama decries include the ones he caved to, like the AFL-CIO and Nebraskans?

PPS Cartoon by Mike Flugennock.

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