“The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat.”
So astonishingly wrote CBS News political director John Dickerson at Slate Friday evening in a piece astonishingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.
“Dickerson is no longer interested in Obama trying bipartisanship in his second term – as if that’s what the President did in his first.
“Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize,” Dickerson wrote. “Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition’s most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray.”
Did I mention this man was the political director for CBS News?
“[B]y exploiting the weaknesses of today’s Republican Party,” Dickerson continued, “Obama has an opportunity to hasten the demise of the old order by increasing the political cost of having the GOP coalition defined by Second Amendment absolutists, climate science deniers, supporters of ‘self-deportation’ and the pure no-tax wing.”
“The president can stir up these fights by poking the fear among Republicans that the party is becoming defined by its most extreme elements, which will in turn provoke fear among the most faithful conservatives that weak-willed conservatives are bending to the popular mood,” added Dickerson. “That will lead to more tin-eared, dooming declarations of absolutism like those made by conservatives who sought to define the difference between legitimate and illegitimate rape—and handed control of the Senate to Democrats along the way.”
“Presidents don’t usually sow discord in their inaugural addresses, though the challenge of writing a speech in which the call for compromise doesn’t evaporate faster than the air out of the president’s mouth might inspire him to shake things up a bit,” Dickerson concluded. “If it doesn’t, and he tries to conjure our better angels or summon past American heroes, then it will be among the most forgettable speeches, because the next day he’s going to return to pitched political battle. He has no time to waste.”