CBS News Political Director Dickerson Doubles Down On Obama Destroying GOP

As NewsBusters reported Saturday, CBS News political director John Dickerson advised the current White House resident to destroy the Republican Party.

On Tuesday, Dickerson doubled down in a Slate piece titled "They Hate Me, They Really Hate Me: Conservatives despise my analysis of Obama’s second-term options. But it was analysis—not advice."

"I was using a very specific definition of transformational presidencies based on my reading of a theory of political science and the president's own words about transformational presidencies from the 2008 campaign," Dickerson wrote. "It was also based on these givens: The president is ambitious, has picked politically controversial goals, has little time to operate before he is dubbed a lame-duck president, and has written off working with Republicans."

He then noted that Jodi Kantor in the New York Times had recently written about Obama becoming "Bloodier-minded when it comes to beating Republicans.”

"Given these facts," Dickerson observed, "there is only one logical conclusion for a president who wants to transform American politics: He must take on Republicans—aggressively."

Why? Is that what Bill Clinton did when he was reelected in 1996? Did George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan try to destroy Democrats right after their second inaugurations?

The exit polls in November showed an electorate looking for the two parties to stop the fighting and work together to solve the nation's problems.

Up until recently, this is what most of the media have been advocating as well, although working together to them means Republicans caving in on their principles and agreeing to whatever Democrats want.

As such, what offended so many people including this author about what Dickerson wrote last Friday was the level of aggressiveness he advocated the President use to "destroy" and "pulverize" one of America's two major political parties.


Dickerson didn't see it that way.

"This is the only plausible path for a bold, game-changing second term for a president who has positioned himself the way President Obama has," he wrote.

Again I must ask why? Obama largely took this position after his first inauguration when he told Republican leaders at his first meeting with them that he wasn't going to listen to any of their ideas pertaining to a stimulus package.

"I won," he arrogantly said.

This put him in an antagonistic position with Republicans from day one, and ushered in four years of incivility.

Having just won a solid reelection with the public strongly in favor of bipartisanship, wouldn't now be a great opportunity to try a different tactic that included actually working with the opposition party?

For the past several months since Election Day, we've surprisingly heard a number of liberal media members talk about how the President's weakness is in dealing with members of Congress including within his own Party.

Isn't that his real opportunity in a second term rather than destroying and pulverizing his opponents?


Once again, Dickerson didn't think so.

"There's no evidence, however, that the president is in a compromising mood," he countered.

So what? Should CBS News's political director be advising the President behave based on what kind of mood he's in or what's in the best interest of the country?

"This piece was written from the viewpoint of the reality as it stands, not a more pleasing future we would all prefer to inhabit," he continued.

And what reality might that be? That Obama isn't in "a compromising mood?"

Maybe if members of his media were more forceful in suggesting he get in a compromising mood rather than recommend he attack his political opponents his mood would change.

Not seeing that possibility, Dickerson concluded by saying that he was trying to advance a "theory of political transformation" in Obama's second term.

"There may be another way to solve this math problem," he wrote, "but I still don't see it."

That may be true. Maybe Dickerson doesn't see a better solution for Obama.

However, as the political director for one of the nation's leading news organizations, he could have more delicately expressed his opinion regarding Obama's second term strategy.

After all, he doesn't work for MSNBC, and he isn't a liberal talk radio host.

Words like "destroy," "pulverize," and phrases such as "go for the throat" and "declare war on" are far too partisan for someone in his position.

That he didn't even apologize for such language given the heat he's obviously taken is displeasing to say the least.

If someone from the non-commentary side of Fox News had used such language about Democrats, one quite imagines a much more apologetic mea culpa would have been forthcoming.

By contrast, this pathetic response reminds one of the failed hero in Ernest Thayer's classic poem set in Mudville.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.