We will likely see a lot of political “readjustments” come January, once President-Elect Barack Obama and many new Democratic congressmen assume office, and the Republican administration leaves.
Take the filibuster. For much of the Bush administration, out-of-power Democratic senators defended it as a hallowed tradition of American politics. But as the ruling majority, they will soon probably redefine the filibuster as a sort of nihilism practiced by bitter Republicans to obstruct the Obama agenda. Of course, when in power, Republicans themselves once deplored the filibuster as fossilized obstructionism.
Remember all the trouble President Bush has had with court appointments? The Senate Democrats for the last eight years stalled confirmation hearings, denying the president the traditional prerogative of selecting qualified jurists who shared his philosophy.
Much to these same Democrats’ dismay, beleaguered Senate-minority Republicans may soon agree with the past use of such roadblocks and learn to impede simple up-and-down votes on judicial nominees. To them, such tactics will be reinvented as necessary to stop Obama-appointed liberal judges from flooding the courts.
Recently, Democrats called for unity and an end to the politics of personal destruction against our new, shared President-Elect Obama. So let us hope that New York publishers will now refrain from publishing any more foul novels like Nicholson Baker’s Checkpoint, whose characters debate the wisdom of assassinating George W. Bush.
Let us also hope that when Barack Obama is nearing the end of his term, filmmaker Oliver Stone does not offer the electorate a damning mythic film called “H” that emphasizes the wild college days of President Barack H. Obama when, decades ago — as he freely admits — he used both hard drugs and marijuana.
Public financing of campaigns was a liberal given for over a quarter-century. Democrats argued that conservative big money and national big politics always made a toxic brew. Then the suddenly cash-rich Obama renounced that old liberal gospel, rightly betting that his Democrats could out-raise even fat-cat Republicans.
Now with Democrats enjoying the advantages of incumbency — but fearful of wounded conservatives determined never again to be outspent — will majority liberals become born-again supporters of public limits on fundraising in the upcoming elections of 2010 and 2012?
Most polls reveal that American voters believed that their media was biased in favor of Obama. The popular journalist Chris Matthews even bragged that it was his job responsibility to see that President-elect Obama succeeds.
So when a few disgruntled Obama administration officials leave government to cash in with tell-all memoirs about the president’s shortcomings — and some always do — will journalists, as they did with the numerous Bush tell-all apostates, praise them for their voice-in-the-wilderness candor? Or will they, as Republicans once did to their own defectors, blast them as crass publicity-seeking turncoats?
When fickle and self-interested Europeans once opposed strutting cowboy George W. Bush, they were praised as sophisticates. Now if they resist renewed calls from hip and cool Barack Obama to shoulder more responsibilities — and they will — are they to be suddenly scolded as unappreciative and self-centered?