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I’ve grown weary of the hypocrisy of our hyper-partisan POTUS calling for an end to partisanship. Turns out I’m not the only one. Former Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol advises President Obama to cut it out.
The appeal to rise above partisan divisions is, for good reason, one of Obama’s greatest hits, and a lot of us liked the song when he first sang it at the 2004 Democratic convention, and again, with feeling, in the 2008 campaign. He ran, that year, as the antipolitical candidate, and brilliantly channeled our collective disgust with the way that Washington worked, as well as our collective hope, across most of the political spectrum, that it could work differently.
Today, however, it is a weary tune, and sounds more like a lament than a call to action. The president freely admits he is “frustrated” with politics, and we cannot be surprised. One of his frustrations with politics must be that he is not better at it. For this and other reasons, he would be well advised to find a new campaign theme—one that more accurately reflects what is happening in Washington, and that plays to his strengths and not his manifest weaknesses.
Surely his message “tests well,” in pollster parlance. Partisanship is probably even less popular than the partisans themselves, and that is really saying something. But Obama is no longer credible as an answer.
Shesol counsels the President to find a new campaign theme that accurately reflects what’s happening in Washington. Does the Ricochetoisie have any suggestions for TOTUS?