Former Clinton Speechwriter to Obama: Shut Up About the ‘Post-Partisan’ Stuff


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?

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive

    “It’s time to stop playing partisan politics, and allow me to do whatever I want.” – President Obama

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member

    “The Republicans are only interested in electoral politics, as evidenced by the fact that they passed a budget that significantly reforms Medicare.”

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  3. Profile Photo Inactive

    I never unstood this concept of “bipartisanship”. Do people that believe in this believe that opposing ideas should be muted? Do they believe that someone shouldn’t have morals or convictions? And I’m not talking about the pols who always invoke it. I’m talking about the people in the electorate at large who seem to crave it so much (if they weren’t there in significant numbers, the pols would never mention it). How do these people expect “compromise” on every issue? How do you raise gov’t spending and reduce the size of gov’t at the same time? I just wish that one time someone would ask this question to a pol or talking head when they bring up this ludicrous notion of bipartisanship again. I for one want a healthy, lively debate and then have elections based on these different positions. I do agree with Obama on one thing, elections matter.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Inactive

    If you don’t re-elect me, that door is gonna hit me in the backside on the way out.

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  5. Profile Photo Member
    Russ Coleman: TOTUS? Teleprompter of the United States?” · Aug 23 at 12:58pm


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  6. Profile Photo Member

    Yeah, simple advice: Mr O, if you want to be “postpartisan” the first thing is to stop using phrases like “But the Republicans…” and “Unfortunately the Tea Party…” and similar locked & loaded partisan rhetoric 100 or so times every time you grab the mike in that bully pulpit of yours. If you really believe in “postpartisanship”, “bipartisanship”, “partnership”, “compromise” and so on, then I would expect you to lead the way by demonstrating a non-partisan approach to discourse. This isn’t dialogue, and it’s not pouring oil on troubled water it is bringing a verbal gun to a knife fight. It’s pouring gas on troubled water, throwing a match to it and blaming the water.


    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Inactive

    It doesn’t matter what theme TOTUS puts in his speeches. All the Republican candidate needs to say is, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

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  8. Profile Photo Inactive

    Obama 2012: if you loved the last four years, just wait until I really get rolling.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive

    “I deserve the benefit of the doubt!”

    You folks are way to harsh and ignore the real successes of this anti economic regime. Fat cat, corrupt bankers have been demonized but bailed out, subsidized and paid astronomical bonuses. Sky rocketing food prices are met with no cut in subsidies. Thousands of people are in homes because the administration refuses to allow the market to hit bottom. Ditto cash for clunkers. Lawyers have a bright future with no tort reform and a shredding of bankruptcy law. Fortunes have been made in commodities like gold and silver and more fortunes will be made shorting treasuries in the near future. There has been no more valiant defender of anti competitive unions. Just think of all the investment money going offshore as the USA becomes toxic for investment +encouraged by 0% interest Fed rates + makes it impossible from a fiduciary standpoint to repatriate funds (tax policy) – or the thousands of foreign companies working to produce “green” whatevers for use in America. Think of the jobs created for thousands of regulators.

    These are but a few of the legions that should buy into support for a second term.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member

    “If you don’t like 9 percent unemployment, you must be a racist.”

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  11. Profile Photo Inactive

    Are you saying we’re not allowed to post partisanship on Ricochet anymore?

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive

    New theme for Obama: The parliamentary system is better. No gridlock.

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  13. Profile Photo Inactive

    “Re-elect a proven failure: Barack Obama 2012. Because mediocrity has its rewards and an economy like Greece is one of them.”

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  14. Profile Photo Thatcher

    “Hey, Big Spender”

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  15. Profile Photo Member

    I believe the President’s “post-partisan” scolding is his clumsy attempt at Clintonian triangulation. Clinton effectively triangulated and achieved re-election by co-opting some Republican positions. President Obama simply points and whines about obstructionism — and I don’t think anyone is fooled into thinking that he’s blaming both sides.

    At this point, I don’t think it’s possible for the President to adopt a new tone without appearing like he’s faking.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Thatcher

    What’s a syphilitic camel got that I ain’t got.

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  17. Profile Photo Inactive

    How about Obama reading this T. S. Elliot gem.

    <em>Mistah Kurtz—he dead.</em> <em>A penny for the Old Guy</em> <strong>I</strong> We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Inactive

    TOTUS? Teleprompter of the United States?”

    • #18
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