Surely a well-read fellow like the Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen is familiar with Berthold Brecht’s famous condensation of the eternal fascist impulse into a single sardonic line:
Wouldn’t it be easier to dissolve the people and elect another in their place?
How then did Cohen submit the following line for publication without even a twitch?
But what Obama can do — what he must do — is get some new people.
I’ll bet Obama himself has pondered Brecht’s “advice” a time or two since taking office, (and Lord knows the Democrats are trying to import “a new people” as fast as they can) but in his latest column, the “people” Cohen is referring to are White House staffers.
While it’s true that, in Cohen’s eyes, the American people have also failed in their duty to accord the president their unquestioning admiration (an obstinacy Cohen attributes to “irrational hatred” on the part of “whites”), he blames Obama’s many failures on those closest to the president:
The president needs better speechwriters. The president needs a staff to tell him not to give an Oval Office address unless he has something worthy of the Oval Office to say. The president needs someone to look into the camera so that, when the light goes on and he says, “Good evening,” he looks commander in chiefish: big. In other words, the president needs to fire some key people. Either that, or the way things are going, the American people are going to fire him.
“Obama’s Shrinking Presidency” is one of those newspaper columns that seems clever and profound while you’re reading it, but collapses upon the slightest scrutiny.
Weren’t these incompetent staffers hired more or less with Obama’s approval? Didn’t the same “American people” now on the verge of “firing” their president the very ones who elected him in the first place?
What is more likely? That Obama’s problems are the fault of his 299,999,998 fellow citizens (not counting Richard Cohen, naturally)? Or are they mostly Obama’s fault?
Alas, the progressive mind sees that former option as the most reasonable answer.
Interestingly, Cohen’s criticisms of Obama (and he does have some) sound like a conservative’s, until you realize that common English words mean something different to Cohen than they do to you.
For example, Cohen doesn’t approve of Obama’s “wimpy statements regarding the planned Islamic center in Manhattan.” Except he means Obama should have supported the mosque more passionately.
Cohen and a growing number of left-leaning commentators are expressing their dissatisfaction with this administration. The reasons for their dissatisfaction may be the polar opposite you’d elicit from, say, a frustrated Tea Partier, but no matter.
Only a year ago, Party wise man James Carville was predicting “40 years of Democratic rule.”
In November, if present trends continue, that epoch will have lasted less than 40 months, let alone 40 years. I doubt a few new speechwriters can possibly hold off the avalanche to come.