I think he's wrong to say that the Republicans who backed an Af-Pak "surge" to save a Bush era war are the equivalent to Democrats supporting Bush tax cuts just after the most divisive and polarizing election in decades. I think his point that three Republican senators backed the stimulus package somehow disproves the GOP's near-total obstructionism in the middle of a terrifying economic and financial crisis is also silly. I find his evidence that Carville and Greenberg had told some reporters that they wanted Bush to fail but then switched dramatically as soon as 9/11 happened ... counts for something, but not much. Obama took office in a terrible crisis and asked for support from the GOP. He got none. Bush took office in a period of peace and prosperity, asked for Democratic support after losing the popular vote to a Democrat, and plenty went along, respecting the president's legitimacy. After 9/11, almost the entire Democratic party backed him. The Dems simply get the give-and-take necessary for civil governance. The Republicans simply cannot tolerate the idea that anyone else can represent and govern America and act like spoiled children if they do not get their way at all times.
I remain quite persuaded of the relative dickishness of the GOP with respect to Obama (elected in a landslide in what looked like a Second Great Depression) compared with Democratic hostility to Bush (elected by a Republican majority on the Supreme Court after inheriting a surplus and a boom). I also remain persuaded that the racial and cultural forms of delegitimization - from the birthers to the tea-partiers - are far more potent and incendiary than the spittle-flecked hate of the hard left. This news doesn't exacly hurt my case:
The Senate has overseen the slowest pace of judicial staffing in at least a generation, with a paltry 39.8 percent of Obama's judges having been confirmed, according to numbers compiled by Senate Democrats. Of the 103 district and circuit court nominees, only 41 have been confirmed. By this time in George W. Bush's presidency, the Senate had confirmed 76 percent of his nominees. President Clinton was working at a rate of 89 percent at this point in his tenure.
Yes, the hard left were furious at what they saw as a fraudulent election. Pej even hauls out Michael Moore to buttress his claims. And I agree. But even as I excoriated them, they had a sliver of a point, no?
Only the second ever presidential election that gave the prize to the popular vote runner-up was bound to unleash passions. But what crime did Obama commit before he took office to be portrayed the way he was almost instantly by the hard right? What policies has he pursued that he didn't fully explain and fight an election on? How is a bank bailout socialism when a Democrat continues it, but rescuing capitalism when a Republican initiates it? Why is a stimulus package anathema under Obama when it was fine under Bush?
I carry not water for the anti-Bush excesses of the far left. I didn't at the time and I don't now. But at no point did the Dems unite against Bush the way the GOP united against Obama in his first eighteen months; and at no point did they coopt the language of extremists into their core message, as Palin and Cantor have.
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