Is John Harwood Drunk?

Joseph W.H. Lough

It would be a gross understatement to say that New York Times reporter John Harwood is not a big fan of Barrack Obama’s. Which is why his editors usually restrict him to reports that focus on Republicans or Republican push-button issues. And perhaps today’s report “Dissent Festers in States that Obama Forgot” is simply more of the same. Yet, might I suggest to John Harwood’s editors that this reporter is clearly drunk?

No. There is not a single political strategist – not one – who would recommend that Mr. Obama take his show to South Dakota, Arkansas, Idaho, South Carolina or Utah. And he was probably ill-advised to visit Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee and Wyoming.

Nevertheless, based solely on a handful of out-of-context quotes from Donna Brazile, Mr. Harwood is going to cobble together a “news” report that pins political polarization and radical right-wing dissent – you got it – on Mr. Obama himself. Clearly Mr. Obama’s mistake has been that he hasn’t leaned far enough to the right, hasn’t been enough of a bridge-builder, hasn’t sought to meet his opponents in the middle. Never mind the continuous, ongoing, unmitigated racial slur that Mr. Obama has had to endure for six long years. Because that is what it is.

The problem with Mr. Harwood’s “article” is that no one – no one – who is not solidly in the camp (and likely in the pay) of the Republican leadership would ever suggest that Mr. Obama should lavish more attention on the folks who want to see him assassinated, politically or otherwise. Did Harwood write similar pieces when Mr. Bush avoided Berkeley, Austin, Madison, and Ann Arbor? Was that what sunk Bush’s ship? His reluctance to lean further to the left?


John Harwood, CNBC, Wash Post
John Harwood, CNBC, Wash Post (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, in matter of fact, Mr. Bush did John McCain a sincere disservice dragging the Republican base so far toward Mussolini and Franco that he had absolutely no chance of polling anywhere above the low single-digits among minorities, women, and people with more than a fifth grade education. Perhaps Mr. Harwood should have written that article. But he didn’t and he wouldn’t.


Richard M. Nixon
Cover of Richard M. Nixon

Mr. Obama by contrast has reached so far to (and past) the center that his policy proposals on healthcare, taxes, social security, and education make Dwight D Eisenhower look pink and Richard M Nixon look red. So, if Obama is now standing where the right wing of the Republican Party stood a generation ago, guess where the right wing of the Republican Party is now standing. (Re-read first sentence of the last paragraph.)

If anything, Obama needs to redouble his focus on those who would, should, and could have been his base: the left wing of the Democratic Party. But, don’t look to Mr. Harwood to make that argument. He’s too busy shilling for the next Republican candidate, unless of course his editor has convinced him to enter into rehab.

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