White House Aide: More Polarization Now Than During Civil War

To be fair, it’s not clear from Chuck Todd’s recounting how much the “very smart White House aide” knows about that interesting period of history, 1861-1865, and its various successions, proclamations, military battles, and constitutional amendments. (There was also that shooting at Ford’s Theater.) Still, comparing on-going fiscal cliff negotiations to the ‘end of slavery’ is breathtakingly cynical, not to mention wholly counterproductive.

Sounds like classic Stef Cutter, Obama’s former Deputy Campaign Manager. As it happens, Cutter is the newest conscriptee in the effort to bamboozle the American people during the lame duck session of Congress, according to MSNBC’s reporting this morning. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who Chuck Todd spoke with. If that’s the caliber and tact of people working in the White House then perhaps what Obama needs most is not a different House of Representatives from the one elected in 2010, and again in 2012, but rather a new inner circle.

It’s another way of saying that Democrats must decide what they’re about–governing by compromise or using reckless brinksmanship to push a mandate that doesn’t exist. Ron Fournier made this point in the National Journal the day after the election. “If the president begins his second term under any delusion that voters rubber-stamped his agenda on Tuesday night, he is doomed to fail.”

If Senate Democrats find the prospect of facing voters in 2014 with unemployment at 9.1 percent unappealing, they should talk to their man in the White House about re-upping the compromise from the 2010 lame duck before more fissures within the caucus surface publicly. The applicable history lesson for their party is Lincoln’s ante bellum line, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” That is, assuming the White House has heard of it.

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