June 6, 2012

Post Wisconsin: Fighters vs. Compromisers

Strip away the massive spending and the bare-knuckle tactics and the spectacle of a state torn in two. At bottom, this was an election about what kind of politician Americans prize. Scott Walker won not despite his refusal to compromise, but because of it.   — Uncompromised: Why Scott Walker Survived His Recall (TIME/Swampland)

According to TIME, Walker won because he refuses to compromise. The article also quotes a statistic where supposedly 55% of independents prefer “a fighter” over a “compromiser.” What’s disturbing here is the glorification of bullies just because they’ve been so “successful” at obstructionism. Is this where the narrative is headed?

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What’s just as disturbing, however — looking back at the earliest Obama White House photos — is the President’s attempt to bring people together by force of personality. A stronger politician, one more effective with carrots-and-sticks … and the ability to frame his argument, would, today, be able to use these images to demonstrate the GOP as dead-enders. Instead, however, we’re left with this “fighter – compromiser” dichotomy in which Obama merely looks weak and beseeching.

(photos: Pete Souza background: Obama lobbying Republican Congresspeople to support the stimulus bill. None did. January 27, 2009. caption 2: President Barack Obama speaks at the National Governors Association Meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House, Feb. 23, 2009.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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