The Pretense of Honesty


I don't know, Rachel...

I think you are giving Romney too much credit.

If you ask me: Obama bumbled because he lacked convictions.

You know how it goes, the expression varies but the basic saying is the same:

It's not easy being a "New Democrat".

And it's not easy being Barack Obama—especially when there is so much he and Mitt Romney do really agree upon.

I think the best take on this has got to go to Charlie Pierce:


  1. Prophetic words, here, on the part of Arianna (03-14-2012):

    "It's becoming clearer who President Obama's most formidable opponent is likely to be: himself."

  2. We've all seen the two Obamas in action. There's Campaign Obama, who has a phenomenal ability to inspire and challenge a broken status quo. This is the Obama who said he was going to change the way Washington works and who promised to not "just read the polls and figure out how to keep myself in office." This Obama wasn't going to accept the conventional wisdom of what was possible; instead, he was going to reject the "worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics."

    But then there's Governing Obama. This is the Obama who, instead of taking his case to the nation, let the parameters of what was considered possible (on infrastructure investment, on jobs, on foreclosures, on austerity vs. growth, on Afghanistan) be decided by... worn-out dogmas. This is the Obama who rightly insisted on the need for health care for all, but who engineered a new system that, overall, relies on and rewards the same players -- insurance companies, hospital conglomerates, drug manufacturers -- who created and profited from the mess he inherited.

    This is the Obama who in a speech will dream of things that never were and ask, "Why not?" and then back at the White House, will look at things the way they are and ask, "Why ruffle too many feathers?"

    As David Bromwich wrote after the 2010 midterms, "His eloquence finds its natural key not in explanations but in statements of purpose. Obama wants credit for the highest intentions even when conceding that he lacks the will to fulfill them."