I say it's dishonest because he uses the same, soothing words of post partisan comity while his actions say otherwise.
The point being, Obama gets the chattering classes talking about his talking points rather than what he is actually doing. The veneer is maintained while he is free to go about stiffing the political opposition or talking about "change" while maintaining the policies of his predecessor - policies he railed against during the campaign.
President Obama ran against the chattering class politics of Washington but since coming into office has effectively manipulated this elite group of influencers using a variety of techniques from small group sitdowns to opinion pieces in various national and international newspapers.
On Thursday, in advance of his trip to Trinidad and Tobago for the Summit of the Americas, Obama penned an opinion piece, which ran in the St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald, as well as a wide array of South American newspapers, aimed at setting the terms for his visit.
"Our hemisphere is faced with a clear choice," the president wrote. "We can overcome our shared challenges with a sense of common purpose or we can stay mired in the old debates of the past."
This was the third time in his short tenure in office that Obama has turned to the opinion pages of American -- and international -- newspapers to make his case in advance of a major moment in his presidency.
Two days before Congress voted on his $787 economic stimulus plan, Obama penned an op-ed in the Washington Post (ever heard of it?) rebutting "misguided criticisms" of the legislation and insisting that the vote was a referendum on his promise to change politics; "What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives," wrote Obama. And, one week before heading to the G-20 meeting in London, Obama was at it again with an opinion piece that ran in more than two dozen domestic and international papers calling on the global community to take action.
Of course, Washington has gone ga ga over Obama so the elites hang on every word uttered or written by the president. And his cozy little private chats acknowledge the self supposed importance of the elites and feed their egos enormously. It's a clever strategy and allows Obama to go off and fulfill his agenda any way he wishes, knowing he will have the elites on his side.
Former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey (D), now the president of the New School in New York City, said that Obama is able to manipulate the conversations of the chattering class "because he controls his own ideas and can hold his own with the chatterers." Added Kerrey: "For D.C. political intellectuals he is good company."
Kerrey's point is born out by the series of private gatherings of opinion leaders -- both conservative and liberal -- in which Obama has taken part over his first twelve weeks in office.
If it weren't for the conservative internet, most people would be dumb and blind to what Obama is really trying to accomplish.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky