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February 14, 2017

Philip Klein: The New "Opposition to Wussiness" in American Politics.

In the new weekly magazine edition of the Washington Examiner, managing editor Philip Klein notes--correctly, I think--that Opposition to wussiness is the driving force in US politics. And both liberals and conservatives are leading the charge. Klein begins:

In the increasingly polarized climate of U.S. politics, liberals and conservatives are united on one thing: They hate wussiness, and they think their side is always dominated by a bunch of wusses who aren't willing to be as ruthless as their political opponents. The abhorrence of wussiness has become the driving force in U.S. politics.

During the Obama era, ideologues on both sides who were angry about perceived weakness, transformed politics. An early liberal critique of Obama was that he was too eager to win over bipartisan support for his agenda and to appear to be within the acceptable mainstream, so he watered down policies. In a popular narrative at the time among liberals, the roughly $800 billion economic stimulus package was too small and was weighted too heavily toward tax cuts, and Obama didn't fight hard enough for a public option during the healthcare fight. If only he used the type of strong-armed tactics associated with Lyndon Johnson, many on the left argued, he could have enacted a bolder liberal agenda.

Of course, from the conservative perspective, Obama and Democrats had steamrolled through deeply unpopular policies that grossly expanded the size and scope of government. Fed up with the type of Republicans who they saw as too willing to cut deals with Democrats, the Tea Party was born, and thrusted a wave of new Republicans into office in 2010, who took over the House of Representatives with a promise of fighting Obama's agenda.

Posted by JD Hull at February 14, 2017 03:16 AM

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