This anti-handwringing, anti-bed-wetting, anti-D.C. punditocracy piece from former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau is getting a lot of attention today. The president, writes Favreau, is handling these scandalous times with characteristic aplomb, and
if that means Dana Milbank thinks he's too passive; if it means that Jim VandeHei will keep calling him arrogant and petulant; if it means that Chris Matthews will whine about him not enjoying the presidency, then so be it. He'll live.
True. As will we. But Favreau is arguing against an argument not being made. Of course the president shouldn't be "willing to fire a bunch of people before knowing all the relevant facts" or "go on a witch hunt" before investigative phases are finished. These aggressive strawmen may exist in some whacked-out, faraway field other than the right's, but I haven't noticed them.
I can't speak for Milbank or Matthews, and I refuse to try to read the mind of that idiot at Politico, but as I see it the issue isn't how Obama reacts to these scandals in the short term, but whether he can turn them to his and, more importantly, to the nation's advantage in the longer term.
Maybe it's regrettable that aplomb can't do the trick. We live in a regret-filled world. But I'd rather Obama's last regret not come in his presidential memoirs--sorrow expressed for having declined George Washington Plunkitt's brutal political etiquette of, "I seen my opportunities and I took 'em."
Sometimes, you just have to strike.