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Today in the BULLY PULPIT


Shorter A. Scott Berg: As Woodrow Wilson shows, all Obama needs to do is sit down with Republicans and tell them to cut the bullshit. The fact that Wilson failed the one time I discuss when his agenda differed from the a priori preferences of Congress is central to my point.

I’m not sure how many times the NYT Sunday Review plans to publish the same argument, although in fairness at least it wasn’t Drew Westen this time.

…and, as a commenter notes, related.

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  • As I put it at my blog, calling for bipartisanship by invoking the name of the least bipartisan president perhaps in history makes no sense. Also, invoking the name of a president who lived to see his movement and accomplishments turned to ashes doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either.

  • JKTHs

    Apparently all we need to do to get shit done is move the Inauguration back to March 4th.

    • Warren Terra

      It does have possibly the easiest pun of any day in the calendar.

      • JKTHs

        August 1 also would work

  • When Woodrow Wilson had majorities in both houses, he was able to pass a lot of legislation.

    Also, during the big war crisis, he was able to convince the country to support war.

    Therefore, BULLY PULPIT.

  • I’m told that the world’s easiest job is to persuade someone to their own position.

    Never having had an argument where I was in full agreement with someone, I can’t say I speak from experience. All persuasions I’ve had to make have been to try and change someone’s mind.

    • redrob64

      Somehow my father-in-law and I manage to get into arguments over things that both agree on. I have no idea how that happens.

      • I’ll bet you spent most of the argument defending your stance, not trying to persuade him.

      • Njorl

        When I was a student, I worked for a pair of scientists who were completely incapable of listening to each other. They routinely had arguments where they held exactly the same position.

  • TT

    Verbatim Bill Keller today: “The large mess we are in is in no small part the result of missed opportunities and political miscalculation at 1600 Pennsylvania….If Obama had campaigned on some version of Simpson-Bowles rather than on poll-tested tax hikes alone, he could now claim a mandate from voters to do something big and bold.”

    Shorter Bill Keller: “I know damn well that Obama’s been calling for a ‘balanced’ approach to cutting The Deficit for well over three years now, and that the GOP is a gang of psychotic ferrets who have repeatedly sabotaged any hope for my beloved Grand Bargain. But, since I can’t publicly agree with Obama without also destroying my Radical Centrist Pundit street cred and getting the frowning of a lifetime from Ruth Marcus, I have to say that everything is Obama’s fault.”

    • How exactly did we get from “tax increases are bad because they’re unpopular” to “tax increases are bad because they’re so popular?”

      And shouldn’t that mean that, at some point, the axes crossed and tax increases were not bad?

      • JKTHs

        It seems that the WaPo/Third Way consensus has decided that voters can’t be trusted on fiscal policy because they support deficit reduction measures that involve tax increases on the rich and defense cuts while sparing Social Security and Medicare. Granted, this has always been the case but it’s getting harder to deny so they have shunned the popular will and instead put on their capes and prepared to save the world.

    • Sly

      I’m pretty sure Simpson-Bowles will soon surpass both Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and the Bible in being the document that the most people say they love but few have actually read.

  • Reads more like Broderite “be bipartisany, have a drink like Tip & Ronnie” silliness to me. The March Fourth/Forth bit doesn’t really fit with the rest of it.

  • So I read Sargent and Klein talking clearly about what is going on at the Washington Post. Which is a really big site. So it leads me to question whether pundits read their own colleagues? Or is the fact that those people are writing online too fancy for the wannabe Broders of the Beltway world?

    • Warren Terra

      Links? I like Ezra, a lot, and I really respect the data-driven, policy oriented shop of writers he’s been able to build around himself, but he’s awfully gentle with people whose failings he clearly recognizes. When I see a characterization like the one you make, I suspect you’re seeing a rather softpedaled accurate recitation of the facts, and suspect you’re reading into it the more wholehearted denunciation of the Washington Post you recognize it implies – but only implies.

      • commie atheist

        Klein actually does a fairly decent job (if a bit too polite) of handing David Brook’ ass to him here.

    • cpinva

      i believe broder and his accolytes use quill pens, pots of ink & sand, with the actual writing done on sheepskin or papyrus, whichever happens to be in stock. a candle provides the only light, should they be working into the dead of night, with a bottle of fine port near to hand.

      Or is the fact that those people are writing online too fancy for the wannabe Broders of the Beltway world?

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    somewhere in the house is a very thick biography of charles lindbergh written by mr berg that manages to completely miss the fact the guy had a couple of secret families in germany (though it does speculate about the possibility of lindy getting lucky in indonesia, if memory serves)

    so mr berg’s deliberate indifference to the nature of today’s republicans isn’t a terribly great surprise

  • gerry

    Stupid me. I thought the “bully pulpit” was when the president appealed to the people directly, trying to influence them through persuasion and argumentation. So his current approach to the budget (sequester) impasse seemed to be a resort to the bully pulpit. But now, I see from the context of your blog post that it means something else.

    I should have known. Obama would never use the bully pulpit because it doesn’t exist and wouldn’t work if it did.

    • Cody

      If anything, one would claim Obama already used the Bully Pulpit and succeeded.

      The majority of Americans support tax increases. That’s Obama’s plan. He’s won! Shame Republicans aren’t representing any of these Americans, as they can’t afford a Republican.

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