If ever there was an article that didn’t pull punches about playing political games to advance political agendas, Maureen Dowd’s most recent editorial in the New York Times is it. Entitled “No Bully in the Pulpit,” Dowd chides President Obama for not being able to push his gun control legislation through Congress. More than that, she illustrates a few potential scenarios where Obama could have used leverage and underhanded tactics to win people to his side. Like the president, Dowd is convinced that the legislation is necessary, regardless of its constitutional legality. Ever the liberal, Dowd is clear in her anti-gun agenda; she is less than happy that the president is not so clear in his.
Her years as a journalist have taught her at least one thing: Politics is not about doing what is legal, it is about doing what is expedient. She so much as admits this in an early paragraph where she writes:
Unfortunately, [President Obama] still has not learned how to govern. How is it that the president won the argument on gun safety with the public and lost the vote in the Senate? It’s because he doesn’t know how to work the system. And it’s clear now that he doesn’t want to learn, or to even hire some clever people who can tell him how to do it or do it for him.
Work the system? Isn’t this what Republicans are consistently accused of doing? Is Dowd really admitting that Democrats ought to adopt “good-old-boy politics” to get things done? Surely she is not suggesting that the “ends justify the means,” is she? Apparently so, because in the very next paragraph she scolds the president by saying:
It’s unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.
Are they supposed to be “scared of him,” Maureen? Is this how national politics works? Democrats have been whining for years about the partisanship coming from the right side of the aisle and now, when they can’t even get unity from the left side, she recommends resorting to Huey Long-style politics? Notice her appeal to 90% of Americans (and the fact that whatever poll she pulled this ridiculous number from remains uncited)? For Dowd, populism and propaganda rule the day. The Kingfish would indeed be proud. In fact, he could have written this paragraph himself:
Obama had to persuade some Republican senators in states that he won in 2012. He should have gone out to Ohio, New Hampshire and Nevada and had big rallies to get the public riled up to put pressure on Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte and Dean Heller, giving notice that they would pay a price if they spurned him on this.
Nice. When the senators themselves don’t give you what you want, get back on the campaign trail and whip the people into a frenzy against the senators. If Cal Thomas had written this they would be demanding his resignation, but Dowd can write it and get it published in the New York Times with nary a peep of protest from the editor. Shocking (but not really). It only goes to prove that neither side actually believes the rhetoric they are constantly blathering. And they will turn on their own leaders in a second when they prove to be ineffective at ramming through the political agenda currently in vogue.
So sorry for your loss Maureen, but thanks for your honesty—it’s refreshing to see liberal journalists finally admit that their idea of law should trump the process and rule of law.