Our Quote of the Day is actually one that has been a long time coming in its perfect form…and here it is. Andrew Sullivan on Republicans’ to-the-mat campaign against Barack Obama whether it’s on the Federal Reserve front or doing speeches about Israel literally hours before Obama has to deliver a delicate one at the UN:
Every time you think the ultras in the current GOP won’t go there, they do. They’ll sabotage economic growth for short term political advantage. They’ll sabotage their own president in negotiating with allies. They’re happy for the US to default if it means they can damage Obama. Their own plan for immediate, drastic austerity would be catastrophic for the global economy. Their pre-Arab Spring belligerence would shut America out of a critical opportunity to ease tensions with the growing and burgeoning Muslim world. And they have no problem treating the world economy as a partisan plaything.
If they claw their way back to power this way, our system really will be broken for a long time. And the great possibility of an adult conversation on pragmatic grounds to help the economy will be lost. And this is emphatically not Obama’s fault. He tried. They threw it back in his face again and again. Which means, I believe, that we should double down in backing him, instead of the ear-splitting whine coming from the left.
And, indeed, if Obama goes down after this no-holds-barred our-economy-notwithstanding allowing-a-President-to-deliver-a-foreign-policy-speech nothwithstanding, two key things will happen:
(1)If Obama is defeated when historians write about it they’ll note how when he was first elected there was a brief, shining moment (to use a phrase from “Camelot”) that lasted about as long as a partisan’s belch when it seemed as if both parties might try and cooperate. It was when Rush Limbaugh blasted his party for seemingly getting ready to work with Obama and made his famous “I hope he fails” statement that a lot of the GOP attitude towards Obama began to harden. And then came Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing that his party’s number one priority was going to be to make Barack Obama a one term President. Accurately or not, these quotes WILL be prominent ones if Obama is defeated — and it will be suggested if he goes down that GOPers did literally everything they could to ensure he could not succeed politically and even on the economy. Again, that may not be the case. But you can put money on that being said.
(2)If Obama goes down after the use of these tactics look for the Democratic leadership to be under great pressure to do exactly the same — and even more so — if a Republican President is in power or if they are out of power in both chambers. This is akin to how in 2010 the Democrats avoided funding from private groups that did not disclose donors. Do NOT expect for that to happen again. Although some Democrats in leadership positions in Congress may not want to totally emulate the GOPs tactics, they will most assuredly be under enormous pressure to use the new political operating procedure which had proven so effective in booting Obama.
Sullivan’s key line is: our system could be broken for a long time if it is proven that this works. On the other hand, voters get what they choose — and if this is how voters want it, that’s how it’ll be in 21st century America.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.