David Frum on Saturday:
A large part of the secret of President Obama’s political success is his self-presentation as calm, judicious, and fair-minded – and his ability to depict his opponents as intemperate and extreme. You’d think by now that Obama’s opponents would have figured out this trick. You want to beat him? Great. Be more calm, more judicious, and more fair-minded. Don’t be provoked. Don’t throw wild allegations. Don’t boycott. Don’t lose your temper.
Instead, we get Anger Theater. It’s not smart. And it’s not working.
My Huffington Post column last Wednesday:
In other words, we’re all in the shit — even the president — but here’s how best to deal with it: remain calm, think clearly, set an agenda, and make sure to spend time with your family. [...]
The striking contrast between President Obama’s grace under pressure and the apoplectic insanity of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann is the Republican Party’s greatest weakness. They’re missing the narrative for the sake of blind rage. Rather than grasping, as the president has, the very simple concept that, in general, people under tremendous stress don’t respond well to screeching maniacs — especially screeching maniacs who are clearly making things up as they go — the Republicans have, by design or by instinct, embraced this screeching maniac base.
I don’t seriously think Frum is stealing my stuff. But the observation about “calm versus crazy” is, nevertheless, accurate.
Adding… The Anonymous Liberal:
When you’ve just been voted out of power for manifest incompetence and your opponents are led by a very popular and reasonable-sounding person, you don’t have the luxury of acting righteous and uncompromising all the time. You have to acknowledge error. You have to act civilly. You have to appear pragmatic and reasonable. But the GOP is not interested in doing any of these things. Those who are left in the party are ultra-partisan and utterly convinced of their own infallibility and moral righteousness. Until they lose that attitude and general combativeness, it won’t matter what their ideas are. They’ll just keep turning people off.