Tea Party moxie and the shellacking notwithstanding, the GOP establishment remains reluctant to highlight Obama’s radicalism. I understand the reasons for this, and they are by no means trivial. While Obama’s policies are opposed by many, he remains personally popular. It seems disrespectful to attribute an ideology to the president that he himself won’t own up to. Words like “radical,” much less “socialist,” sound impolite. Yet, without defining the president in a way that happens to be not only politically advantageous, but true, I doubt Obama can be stopped. Telling the truth about this president is how we shellacked him to begin with. . . . Perhaps I’m wrong and “the president’s abdication of leadership” sound bite will be enough to defeat “the GOP’s heartless cuts.” Even so, as an alternative, I suggest: “Obama’s radical plans are leading us off a cliff.”
I don’t disagree with Kurtz. I’m annoyed by the “but Obama is personally popular” meme because I think it results in part from the failure of mainstream Republicans to call Obama on his arrogance, his dishonesty and his gratuitously nasty behavior toward political opponents and members of groups against which he holds grudges (e.g., British and Israeli officials). He really isn’t a nice guy, but his personal decency gets asserted so often that it seems to have become a kind of big lie that people accept (and, ironically, that some people accept because they reasonably fear Obama’s supporters will accuse them of racism if they say harsh things about him).