E. J. Dionne’s column is deeply, thoroughly silly. Obama’s presidency is one of dramatic growth in federal government intervention. He’s ram-rodding the auto companies through bankruptcies, adding trillions to the deficit, and he’s now boning up to nationalize health care on top of it all. Conservatives put him on the left, but Dionne tries to place him on the “middle of the road” of policy:
In other words, they see Obama not as the parody created by the far right but as he actually is: a politician with progressive values but moderate instincts who has hewed to the middle of the road in dealing with the economic crisis, health care, Guantanamo and the war in Afghanistan.
But soon, someone who’s read Dionne for decades might start to wonder if he’s letting an intern ghost-write the column. Check out this passage:
While the right wing’s rants get wall-to-wall airtime, you almost never hear from the sort of progressive members of Congress who were on an America’s Future panel on Tuesday. Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Donna Edwards of Maryland and Raul Grijalva of Arizona all said warm things about the president — they are Democrats, after all — but also took issue with some of his policies.
The right wing gets “wall to wall airtime” on TV news shows? That’s not true at all. And for Dionne to complain that Grijalva (elected 2002) and Polis and Edwards (elected 2008) aren’t getting national media coverage completely ignores the issue of House seniority. He’s smarter than that. I’d expect paragraphs like this in a college newspaper, not in The Washington Post.