The Corner

Obama Breaks Convention

From the Hill, some more of that civility, of which the president is a shining example:

Bucking protocol, President Obama and the Democrats are planning a full-scale assault on Republicans next week during their convention.

Presidential candidates have traditionally kept a low profile during their opponent’s nominating celebration, but Democrats are throwing those rules out the window in an attempt to spoil Mitt Romney’s coronation as the GOP nominee.

President Obama, Vice President Biden and leading congressional Democrats have all scheduled high-profile events next week to counter-program the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla.

Don’t worry, though. It’s not the president’s fault or responsibility:

Political historians say the high stakes of this year’s elections — combined with the rise of today’s 24/7 media culture — have forced leaders on both sides of the aisle to get more aggressive.

“Traditionally, there was a kind of courtesy extended to the party having the convention — the [other] party would basically stay out of the public eye,” said Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University.

But that “gentlemen’s agreement,” Baker said, has been largely abandoned as “a consequence of the polarization of American politics.” He characterized the old tradition as a “quaint code of etiquette” destined to become a “remnant of the 20th century.”

Julian Zelizer, a congressional expert at Princeton University, agreed that the change is coming in large part because of the modern media environment. 

To paraphrase John Cleese as Basil Fawlty, “Oh, I see, it’s the media’s fault, is it? Oh, of course, there I was, thinking it was all the president’s fault because he was the one in charge . . . and all the time it was the media’s fault. Oh, it’s so obvious now. I’ve seen the light!”

Meanwhile, projection is in full force. From the Washington Examiner, some remarks from the president at Lincoln Center in New York:

“We are in the fourth quarter. We’re up by a few points but the other side is coming on strong and they play a little dirty . . . I’d say there’s about seven minutes to go in the game. And [Michael Jordan’s] competitiveness is legendary, and nobody knows better than Michael that if you’ve got a little bit of a lead and there’s about seven minutes to go — that’s when you put them away.”

Playing a “little dirty”? Thus far, we have seen the Obama campaign move from accusing Romney of being a mean businessman, to accusing him of paying no taxes, to accusing him of abusing his dog, to accusing him of wanting to put African Americans in chains, to accusing him of actually killing someone. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan, it has been suggested, wants to leave your grandmother to die, and happily voted for the “Let Women Die Act.” In any other circumstances, I would describe Obama’s claims as “the pot calling the kettle black,” but I’m sure that will be wilfully misconstrued as racism so I’ll stick to saying that he’s full of it.

Most Popular

Sports

Hurray for the NBA

Last month, just before the Final Four, I did a Q&A on college basketball with our Theodore Kupfer. Teddy K. is back, by popular demand, joined by two other experts: Vivek Dave, an old friend of mine from Michigan, who has long lived in Chicago, and David French, National Review’s Kentucky Kid, now ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More
U.S.

Joy Reid Denies Writing Homophobic Blog Posts

MSNBC personality Joy Reid's former blog, The Reid Report, published a series of anti-gay posts, which she claims were added to the site after it was shut down, by a hacker intent on destroying her reputation and nascent cable-news career. Reid, who discontinued the blog roughly a decade ago, apologized in ... Read More
Culture

Monday Links

A Supercut of Epic Movie Explosions. Can You Solve These 10 Medieval Riddles? The cost to make a Margherita pizza: $1.77. How much restaurants charge on average for a pizza: $12. The actual costs of restaurant foods. Vintage animation lessons -- how to make things cute. London's "Great ... Read More
World

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Trump’s Syria Quandary

President Trump raised eyebrows recently when he ended a tweet lauding the airstrikes he’d ordered against chemical-weapons facilities in Syria with the words “mission accomplished.” The phrase, of course, became infamous in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, when President Bush used it in a speech ... Read More