In what might be early election spin for today’s elections in Massachusetts (!) a headline in today’s Politico proclaims “President Obama plans combative turn.” (I’m hoping we get the Incredible Hulk line “don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”)
Let’s be honest: the behavior exhibited by his administration to date – attacking Fox News, deriding opponents of his plans as rabid extremists, and encouraging Americans to tell on their neighbors who told “fishy claims” about his health care reform plan – is already far from civil.
In lieu of a “combative turn,” might I suggest something else? An honest, transparent term, as promised during Obama’s campaign, was widely popular with voters across the political spectrum. Rather than Washingtonian double-speak, openly acknowledge the reasons for proposing a specific policy and the reasoning that went into that decision; then let the public decide whether they support such a plan or not. If it appears that a majority of Americans don’t support those proposals (*cough* health care reform *cough*), then just let it go. Even if presidential advisors think they’re good, forcing unpopular plans on an unwilling public comes across as condescending and dictatorial.
Attacking opponents and buying support from members of Congress and special interest groups is dirty, and not the kind of political change that the American people wanted. And resorting to arm-twisting to convince people that they really do want such policies (“nice HSA you have there… shame if something were to happen to it”) just makes the administration look weak.