What a difference a few days makes in politics Stateside: there was all sorts of talk as to how the debt ceiling would not be raised, then there would have to be some kind of rowing back on health care, then the Government shut down and nobody was going to budge. Then, when push really did come to shove and the USA was a day away from defaulting, the Republicans caved in.
Whichever way you sift it, Barack Obama and his Democrat colleagues in Congress held their nerve and prevailed over the GOP, which is now in a state of utter disarray. This has caused one particularly clueless member of the punditerati to suddenly go quiet: step forward Nile “Chauncey” Gardiner, one of those who inhabit the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs.
Gardiner had been in his usual snide and cat-calling Obama-bashing mode last week, kicking off his attack on the Prez – at which point any rational observer would have seen which way the wind was blowing around Capitol Hill – with “Barack Obama’s sinking leadership: half of Americans believe the Founding Fathers would see the US today as a failure”.
He had a poll to prove it, and guess whose poll that was? Rasmussen, that’s who, the polling organisation of choice for the likes of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). But it is not a poll on the President’s popularity, as it is equally not a poll on the popularity of either party, although the next one to sample support for the Republicans might make interesting reading.
Still, there was time for Gardiner to have another pop at Obama: “President Obama throws a tantrum at press conference – compares his opponents to hostage-takers and deadbeats”. He then doubled down, telling “This was a childish, as well as unpleasant, display of petulance by Mr. Obama”. Yeah, not like the really grown up display of petulance from your side, eh?
And, as the GOP got more desperate, and Obama began to face them down, Gardiner himself got more desperate: “Mitt Romney looks more presidential than the president, urging Obama to end his 'campaigning and posturing'”. Oh goody, now there was so little in the tank that Romney, to whom very few even on his own side listen, had to be cited in support of the argument.
Such had been the desperation of the right that professional loudmouth Sean Hannity had dragged Romney onto his Fox News show (demoted from 9pm Eastern to 10pm to make way for the instantly more popular Megyn Kelly) to talk up his own side and kick the Prez. It didn’t work. The GOP was routed. Gardiner should have seen it coming. But blind partisanship overcomes even reality.
Still, it’s good to see consistent standards at the Tel – consistently low, that is.