Before his inauguration, Barack Obama sat down for a congenial dinner with Charles Krauthammer, George Will, David Brooks, and William Kristol. I'm sure that Mr. Obama thought he could charm this bunch of dour apologists for Republican excess by reaching out a hand of friendship. It's his nature, after all, to seek compromise, to try to bring parties together. I'm not sure why I know that the Republican Party seeks nothing so much as both literal and figurative scorched earth and Obama doesn't. And perhaps now that the Republicans had the Blue Dogs in his own party have nearly succeeded in making his stimulus package nothing but a stack of pointless and counterproductive tax cuts and pork, he's realized just who he's dealing with. But let's look at what his dinner companions have had to say about him since his efforts to reach out, shall we?
Today Charles Krauthammer takes the gloves off
Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.
And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn't understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.
I'm no apologist for tax cheats, and I'm not in the least bit sorry that someone as shady and compromised as Tom Daschle is not going to be running health care reform. But it's funny how Krauthammer had nothing to say when billions of dollars of taxpayer money were disappearing in Iraq and the Justice Department was politicized beyond recognition. Daschle's tax woes can hardly be passed off as "an unintentional oversight", but Krauthammer's sense of outrage seems to be directly proportional to whether the politician has (D) or (R) after his name.
Meanwhile, the churlish George Will, father of a special-needs child, and a man who has never once in his adult life had to worry about paying for said child's medical needs, gripes about SCHIP
. William Kristol, whose verbal feces no longer smear across the op-ed page of the New York Times
, is now advocating defeat of the stimulus package now, the better to defeat health care reform later
David Brooks, who's the least hard-right of the bunch, has always had a bit of creeping Tom Friedmanism in his writing, so perhaps he was always going to be the easiest of this bunch to woo. Today he calls for "galvanizing the middle"
. The problem is that "the middle" consists of Blue Dog Democrats who are too busy fellating the wingnut crazies who now populate the Republican side of the aisle to do what's right for the country. If David Brooks thinks there's a Republican middle outside of himself, he hasn't been paying attention.
So as is his wont, Barack Obama went into the belly of the beast before his inauguration. He broke bread with conservative columnists, most of whom are either outright attacking him already or just waiting for the opportunity. He gave a dinner for John McCain to honor the man he defeated, and said man rewarded him by acting as if HE, not Obama, won this election.
Yesterday the President gave some indications that he may have finally found his nutsack. But of course we've had that sense before and ended up right here yet again.
Lucy, football, etc. Stay tuned.