In today's Times, Maureen Dowd continues her forays into the Green Lantern Theory of Presidential Power. As Greg Sargent explains in the link, this is the idea "that presidents should be able to bend Congress to their will, and any failure to do so proves their weakness and perhaps even their irrelevance." (Sorry -- I won't link to Dowd.)
Of course, Dowd is just one (though sadly an influential one) of the group of Heathers who congregate and giggle in the hall about how the President has lost his "juice," as ABC's Jonathan Karl put it at the press conference yesterday. The Green Lantern theory is rampant in Washington and rests on a fundamental and disastrous omission: The Beltway Heathers refuse to acknowledge the degeneration of the Republican Party into two destructive factions:
The Insane and the Venal.In the face of this, Dowd advises, Obama should have a drink with McConnell, and somehow (here's the Green Lantern part) that will convince McConnell to agree to close Gitmo.
The Insane includes ideological Dickensian villains like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in the Senate, and dozens like Louie Gohmert, Steve King and Michele Bachman in the House.
The Venal includes McConnell, Boehner, Cornyn and all of the other bought off legislators, who are also terrified that they will get primaried by one of the Insane.
The problem is that Dowd and her other seventh grade colleagues actually believe that:
If Michael Douglas could get something passed in a movie, Obama can in real life.Because he can't, the "mean girls" write idiocy like this (quoted by No More Mister Nice Blog):
Same for Martin Sheen on TV.
Obama and Boehner can meet and agree just like in those great old days when Tip and Ronnie worked out deals (as though those deals did not lead to many of our current problems).
That if only Obama could twist arms like LBJ, background checks would have passed. (Do they even know that LBJ had 77 Democrats and more than a few non-insane Republicans in the Senate?)
Dylan Byers of Politico headlined not one but two posts "Obama the Helpless." National Journal's Ron Fournier, apparently angling for a job at a future Koch-owned newspaper, wrote,This paragraph by Dowd sums up her firm belief in the Green Lantern Theory:Obama channeled [Bill] Clinton's April 18, 1995, news conference by projecting a sense of helplessness--or even haplessness--against forces seemingly out of a president's control.
Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.She acknowledges that Congress is "dunderheaded and mind-bendingly awful," and yet thinks that the President can actually do something about it by having a drink with a Confederate retrograde.
It would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.