Allergy to Antithesis, Again February 4, 2013

Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, declares that Obama is trying to destroy the Republican party using a Marcusean strategy of ‘liberating intolerance’.  But in the previous term, Obama was trying a policy of including the Republicans and everyone he could possibly include.  Has Obama changed completely?  What is the connecting link between this Obama and the previous one?

Well, in the first year of Obama’s administration, I posted on “Obama and the Allergy to Antithesis.”  If you have an “allergy to antithesis,” you can either try to include your opponents in your camp by stretching your boundaries wide, or you can try to destroy them.  What you cannot tolerate is a long term fight against a more or less permanent Manichean enemy, because that would be recognizing the possibility of an antithesis.

Henninger’s Marcusean rhetoric may be a bit overdone, however.  To find fault with me, or to call me nasty names, is still to tolerate me.  When they throw me in jail, or I get fired, that’s when I’m no longer tolerated. The threat of firing has begun  [though I wonder if he should ask to do some volunteer work at Exodus!], but that is mostly coming from the private sector.  Real ‘intolerance’, so far, is mostly happening in the private sector of employment, not in the criminal law.

In response:  “Obama’s Thunderdome Strategy” by Daniel Henninger at

And to:  “Culliver to have sensitivity training, youth help” by Janie McCauley at


One Comments
PeterAttwood 02/04/2013

Obama spent his first term trying to work with the Republicans-not difficult, since on all the things that matter he has no problem with them anyway.  Torture, arbitrary and unaccountable executive power, giving to the rich and robbing the poor, doing away with the Bill of Rights, terrorizing and dominating the brown people all around the world – how is any of this any different from Bush’s policy?

The Republicans, not based on any deep fundamental principle, acted like and explicitly stated that their whole business was making sure that Obama didn’t get a second term, everything else be damned.

So since they’ve stated that they don’t want to do business, they don’t want to seek common ground, they don’t want to do anything but destroy Obama’s presidency, maybe Obama has figured out that if that’s how it is, then he too will play it that way.  And now Henninger is whining!

Given how the Republicans have chosen to play it, how else can Obama play it.  After the 2010 elections, the Republicans weren’t complaining about Thunderdome.  It was fine for them to dog-whistle racism, to accuse Obama of being a Muslim (as though that’s any worse than being a godless pseudo-Christian), and even to accuse him of not really being an American citizen. 

Aren’t they just the playground bully running to the principal’s office to whine because somebody finally gave him a bloody nose?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.