Accuracy in Media

DickersonCBS News’ political director John Dickerson advised President Obama to “go for the throat” and to “destroy the GOP,” during his last term in office which began on Sunday.

Dickerson, writing on, abandoned any pretense of impartiality by urging Obama to go for the jugular and “pulverize” the Republican Party before the “lame duck” label hinders his ability to see his legislative agenda through.

…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.

Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize. 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.

This approach is not a path of gentle engagement. It requires confrontation and bright lines and tactics that are more aggressive than the president demonstrated in the first term. He can’t turn into a snarling hack. The posture is probably one similar to his official second-term photograph: smiling, but with arms crossed. 

The president already appears to be headed down this path. He has admitted he’s not going to spend much time improving his schmoozing skills; he’s going to get outside of Washington to ratchet up public pressure on Republicans. He is transforming his successful political operation into a governing operation. It will have his legacy and agenda in mind—and it won’t be affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, so it will be able to accept essentially unlimited donations. The president tried to use his political arm this way after the 2008 election, but he was constrained by re-election and his early promises of bipartisanship. No more. Those days are done.

Dickerson sounded more like an employee of Obama for America than the political director of CBS News with his extremely biased advice for the President.

If CBS has a shred of decency left then they should reprimand Dickerson for his partisanship—or at least privately for exposing their true agenda—but I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

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