Last week on CNN, Anderson Cooper interviewed presidential historian Douglas Brinkley about his interview with President Obama for Rolling Stone—the one in which the president called Mitt Romney a “bullshitter.” Asked by Cooper about the president’s change in tone, from positive to negative, Brinkley said he considered this to be a good thing:
That’s my central point. I mean, in 2008 it was, “Yes, we can.” Now it’s like, “No, you won’t.” No, you won’t undo decades of progressivism. No, you won’t overturn Roe v. Wade. No, you won’t drill ANWR. No, you know—no, you won’t make Medicaid or Medicare into a voucher system. On and on.
In many ways, he’s a custodian of the Great Society and New Deal. And the last of a line of really major progressive presidents, if Obamacare sticks—and incidentally, he told me he likes being—thinks it’s great that we call it Obamacare—if that sticks, it will be seen as a giant achievement. If he loses, it will get—Romney/Ryan will go after it from—the president—as Governor Romney said, from day one they’ll try to undo Obamacare.
“But,” Cooper rightly responded, “ ‘No, he won’t’ or ‘No, we won’t’ is more a reactive thing, as opposed to a forward vision of what I want to do over the next four years.”
“I think it is,” said Brinkley. “And you know, but we’re dealing with unusual politics. In Bill Clinton’s day, you still had moderate Republicans. I was with Lowell Weicker last night. He’s a Republican from Connecticut. He’s for Obama now. Colin Powell we just mentioned. There’s nobody in a lot of ways to do business with because the Republican party’s become . . . ”
Sorry, but do we even need to finish this sentence?