WashPost’s Dionne Claims Obama is 'Middle-of-the-Road' President, Blasts Conservatives as 'Way to the Right'

Eager to reset the political discussion away from scandal and in a manner that promotes Barack Obama as an almost apolitical statesman, MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning turned to a liberal Washington Post columnist who praised the president as a “middle-of-the-road liberal" dominated by Republican who have “gone way to the right” of their own party historically.

E.J. Dionne was brought on the Tuesday edition of MSNBC's morning show to defend his argument in Sunday's Washington Post op-ed that the president “wants to invite the nation to reason together with him.” Defending the president's scandal-ridden administration, Dionne absurdly pouted that:

Barack Obama might well identify with Kermit the frog and that anthem he sings about being green. Because it's just not easy being Barack Obama. I mean, he is crosswise to so many things in the country right now.

That seemd a bit much even for Mika Brzezinski, the show’s chief Obama apologist, who snarked to host Joe Scarborough: “I’m sure you love hearing that.”

But other than that, Dionne was not really challenged. In fact, he was encouraged to double down by fellow panelist Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University who lobbed a helpful softball to Dionne:

SACHS: Could I ask EJ? Why do you think he lets himself be passed that way? It is surprising, because he is a centrist, but he has allowed himself to be painted in another way. So what does that say about the politics of it? Or his ability to define the agenda?

DIONNE: What you have I think is a conservative movement in America that's gone way to the right of where it used to be, as Bob Dole said in that interview before the show. And then a lot of times, the media goes along with this redefinition of a political spectrum so that somebody who is a moderate liberal – look at his health plan. The health plan is not some big government takeover. It's more conservative than Richard Nixon's health plan. It's more conservative than the late John Chafee, the moderate Republican’s health plan.

We expect EJ Dionne to profess his liberal views day in and day out at the Post, but it’s just ludicrous to suggest that ObamaCare is a “moderate” plan, given all of its tax hikes, burdensome regulations, and of course the intrusion into religious liberty via contraception mandates on the likes of Catholic hospitals, etc.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dionne is part of the 16 percent of Americans who oppose ObamaCare “because it isn’t liberal enough.” He certainly doesn’t try and hide his partisan views, in the Post or on Morning Joe.

Transcript follows:


MSNBC
Morning Joe
05/28/13
6:48 a.m. Eastern

EJ DIONNE: Well, thank you for reading that. I mean, the lead of the column was that Barack Obama might well identify with Kermit the frog and that anthem he sings about being green. Because it's just not easy being Barack Obama. I mean, he is crosswise to so many things in the country right now. In particular, he is presented by Republicans in Congress as some kind of ultra left-winger, when people on this show know how often people on the left have been impatient with his efforts to get grand bargains. And Jim VandeHei was talking about John Boehner. If you – if Joe Scarborough were in this particular Republican caucus, he would be seen as a socialist. I mean, this is a very different time that Obama has to govern in. So he’s trying to be a middle-of-the-road liberal, and he's cast as some ultra-leftist.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI [to Joe Scarborough]: I'm sure you love hearing that.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I tend to disagree.

JEFFREY SACHS: Could I ask EJ? Why do you think he lets himself be passed that way? It is surprising, because he is a centrist, but he has allowed himself to be painted in another way. So what does that say about the politics of it? Or his ability to define the agenda?

DIONNE: Well, I think that there is a limit to his ability to define the agenda right now. It's not so much his ability to define the agenda as his ability to define the political spectrum. What you have I think is a conservative movement in America that's gone way to the right of where it used to be, as Bob Dole said in that interview before the show. And then a lot of times, the media goes along with this redefinition of a political spectrum so that somebody who is a moderate liberal – look at his health plan. The health plan is not some big government takeover. It's more conservative than Richard Nixon's health plan. It's more conservative than the late John Chafee, the moderate Republican’s health plan.