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.

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