Electoral Brinksmanship

Glenn Instapundit Reynolds headlined a link to a very interesting post by Jim Geraghty over at The National Review (Morning Jolt) as:

WHY ARE CONSERVATIVES ANGRY? BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO ANGER THEM And I must admit, this seems to be one [P]residential initiative that is (over the short term at least) working as intended.

Why Are Conservatives Angry? Because the President Wants to Anger Them.

Another big reason Republicans are angry is because they have a president who embraces a political strategy of deliberately and consistently enraging conservatives. Major Garrett detailed the White House’s calculated effort to be controversial and provocative in 2014:

This is the White House theory of “Stray Voltage.” It is the brainchild of former White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe, whose methods loom large long after his departure. The theory goes like this: Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness.

Mickey Kaus characterizes the approach as “gaslighting” — giving your opponent a legitimate reason to get angry, then turning around and pointing to their anger as evidence they’re unhinged, obsessed, incapable of governing responsibly, et cetera.

President Obama made clear he refuses to be a lame duck; instead, the passage of the 2014 midterms only liberated him from worrying about what the public thinks.

Most Republican presidential candidates find themselves caught between their anger at the president’s constant provocations and blatant disregard for the Constitution’s separation of powers and the limited number of acceptable ways to show that anger. The insanely imbalanced media landscape ensures that almost any expression of Democratic anger is portrayed as justified (or ignored if it’s too obviously outrageous) while almost any Republican expression of anger is portrayed as irrational, deep-seated hatred.

If Hillary Clinton compares Republicans to “terrorist groups” or suggests they want to round up people and put them in “boxcars,” it’s a one-day controversy at most.

Meanwhile, if Joe Wilson yells out “you lie” when the president lies during an address to Congress, it’s the only thing anyone remembers about him. When Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito mouthed “not true” in response to President Obama’s attack on the decision at the State of the Union Address, the New York Times lamented Alito “broke with decorum.” (Mischaracterizing the Citizens United decision and denouncing the court justices sitting in the front row breaks from decorum, too.)

If anything, President Obama’s denunciation of his opposition is only getting fiercer and more incendiary. Thursday night, as the country recoiled from a horrific shooting at an Oregon community college, President Obama rushed to the cameras to contend that those who opposed with his preferred gun-control laws bore some of the responsibility.

I’ll admit that this [mal]Administration’s policies and politics anger me on a variety of levels.  The key, it seems, is to channel that anger into cogent critiques of policy (and the results of those policies) while projecting the mien of “the happy warrior.”

Bless his heart.

Inadvertent Affirmation
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