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The GOP’s ever-shifting stance on Obama’s leadership

Basically, whatever President Obama does, he is wrong, in the eyes of the opposition as well as some Dems.

By E.J. Dionne – Washington Post

Leaders do not operate in a vacuum. When they make strategic adjustments, their opponents do, too. President Obama has prompted just such a pivot by Republicans.

They’re criticizing him not for the decisions he’s made but for the ones he hasn’t, and the ones he delayed. They are attacking him not as a liberal ideologue but as a man in full flight from any ideological definition. If they once said his plans were too big, they are now asking if he has any plans at all.

The immediate focus for the new GOP approach is the president’s extended deliberations over Libya, with criticism raining down from various points on the GOP spectrum.

Mitt Romney, a likely presidential candidate, issued a string of denunciatory adjectives — “tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced” — to characterize Obama’s Libya policy. (Here’s hoping for an explanation of why being “nuanced” about complicated foreign policy choices is such a terrible thing.) Newt Gingrich called the administration “inept.”

And many conservative Republicans have joined left-of-center Democrats in asking why the president didn’t seek congressional authorization for the Libyan action. “The United States does not have a King’s army,” said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.)       

But Republicans had started shifting their lines of attack against Obama before the controversy over Libya. They did so in response to Obama’s own moves since the 2010 election designed to place himself above partisan infighting in Congress and to cast him as a moderate, forward-looking, non-ideological voice trying to talk reason to politicians mired in the past’s unproductive bickering.

As a next-generation politician, they argue, Obama is untouched by these old quarrels and ready to move the nation beyond them.

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West Wing Week

West Wing Week: 3/25/11 or “OCONUS II – Mamalluca”

The White House

This week, President Obama remained focused on Libya, receiving secure communications from his national security team as the first family visited Latin America. The President made stops in Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to promote American exports and economic cooperation among the neighbors in our hemisphere.

Politico · Politico Top 10 Quotes of the Week · Politico's Best Quotes of 2010 · Politics


The week’s top 10 quotes in politics: 

“Trust me, I don’t laugh about it.” – Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, explaining how he now views his prostitution scandal. 

“I don’t want to use the word ‘screwed,’ but I screwed him.” – Businessman Donald Trump, explaining his previous business dealings with Muammar Qadhafi. 

“The only decision I’ve made is I won’t run against my dad.” – Sen. Rand Paul, keeping just about every door open. 

“I’m going to keep my remarks tonight very brief, because otherwise you won’t invite me back.” – President Barack Obama, speaking in Chile. 

“I didn’t have any white or blue shirts.” – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, explaining why he was opting for an off-camera briefing. 

“It doesn’t do me any good to whine.” – Sarah Palin, throwing up her hands over perceived liberal bias in the media. 

“I’ll hold LSM [Lamestream Media] accountable MORE THAN EVER.” – Palin, hours later, clarifying her resolve against the Fourth Estate. 

“As goes Bill Nelson in Florida, so go Barack Obama and Joe Biden in Florida.” –Vice President Joe Biden, scaring fundraisers into supporting Nelson during a stop in Orlando. 

“Health care is a little bit like Buddhism. We know it’s going to change, we just don’t know how.” – Rep. Anthony Weiner, making last year’s legislation even more confusing than it already is. 

“What is difference between Charlie Sheen & John Boehner? At least right now, Charlie Sheen is winning” – A message from the Tea Party Nation

Obama Derangement Syndrome · President Barack Obama · President Obama

Maher: GOP birthers think Obama’s race is “un-American”

Raw Story

Bill Maher, upon learning that 51 percent of Republican voters now believe that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, thus making the GOP majority birthers, he asked his conservative panel, “At what point do you say, I can’t be a Republican anymore?”

Maher attributed the birthers’ views to Obama’s race.

“There is nothing about this man that is un-American, except, to them, his color,”

The segment was originally broadcast on HBO on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” on March 25, 2011. Watch the clip at Mediaite (not embeddable.)