Commentary Magazine


Contentions

A Well-Executed Con Job

On the night of his election, standing atop a stage in Grant Park, Barack Obama reiterated one of the central themes of his candidacy. “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long,” the Great Unifier said.

In Denver, during the Democratic National Convention, he said this: “One of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.”

So how are “resisting the partisan temptation” and “changing our politics” going in the Age of Obama?

Not well—if the evidence from the Democratic side of the aisle over the last 24 hours is to be trusted.

Representative Louise Slaughter, in talking about the GOP effort to stop government money from going to Planned Parenthood, said Republicans are “here to kill women.” She went on to compare them to—wait for it—Nazis.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, adding her typically gracious touch to things, said that what Republicans are doing is declaring a “war on women.”

Eleanor Holmes Norton, in keeping with the spirit of the metaphor, said that Republicans are advocating the “functional equivalent of bombing innocent civilians.”

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, emerging as the softy in the bunch, said Republicans “want to shut down the government because they think there’s nothing more important than keeping women from getting cancer screenings.”

You might think that the man who promised to raise the level of our public discourse would have something to say about this bile. We’ll see. But his track record so far on such matters is not terribly reassuring. And if Mr. Obama has nothing to say about the sewage that is pouring out of the mouths of lawmakers from his own party, it would only be fair to conclude, I think, that his campaign—at least in this respect, at least on these matters—was a well-executed con job (one for which I fell in part). It would also be fairly strong evidence, in fact, that what we saw on display in 2008 was  an unusually cynical and a fundamentally dishonest campaign. That’s something voters might well take into account the next time Obama asks for their support.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.