President Obama visited the Tonight Show last night, and Jay Leno, as is traditional and proper on such occasions, sucked up to him with gusto. In one exchange, the President and Jay tut-tutted about Sen. Mitch McConnell’s infamous statement that the Republican Party’s objective would be to make Obama a one-term president. “How is that a goal?” Jay asked.
Is he serious? Well, okay, I know he’s a comedian and all, so maybe he’s not serious, but all the pundits and journalists and Democrats who have been squealing to the skies for two years about how McConnell’s remark proves that his party is unpatriotic, evil or racist are presumably serious, and it is disingenuous.
It has been the goal of every political party that loses the White House to make the current President who belongs to the other party a one-term President. The Democrats wanted to make Abraham Lincoln a one-term president. The Republicans wanted to make Franklin Roosevelt a one-term (then two-term, then three-term…) president. Do Jay and the President really believe that Democrats were not fully focused on making Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush one-term presidents?
It’s ridiculous. McConnell’s statement was impolitic, but only because we are conditioned to expect elected officials to spout pablum about wanting to work together with the President and do what is best for the nation, when everyone—including Jay Leno—knows that they are looking for any opportunity to help him fall on his face so they can take his power away. That is the way it has been since the advent of the two-party system. The critics who claim that McConnell’s sentiment is monstrous and unprecedented are the ones who are lying. McConnell’s crime, apparently, is telling the public the ugly truth, which in Washington, D.C. is the greatest crime of all.
And it is the one crime in Washington we need to see more of.