Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said in a briefing last week that Mr. Obama “understands that it is the responsibility of individual candidates to distinguish themselves.”But in reading Chozick outline the possible scenarios for the candidates to distance themselves from Obama, I have to admit that I had to do a bit of a double-take on one of them. Early on in the article, she points to one of Sanders' regular lines about the President.
“That means distinguishing themselves from their competitors,” Mr. Earnest continued. “And in some cases, that means distinguishing themselves from the current occupant of the office.”
In a podcast interview with the former Obama strategist David Axelrod, Mr. Sanders implied that the president had been naïve to think Republicans would sit down with him. “I think it took the president too long to fully appreciate that,” the Vermont senator said.Sanders basically critiques President Obama for even attempting to find areas of compromise with Republicans, suggesting that all his efforts were a waste of time.
But then later in the article, Chozick interjects her own ideas about how the candidates might distinguish themselves from the current occupant of the White House.
But if the substance of Mr. Obama’s policies will be indirectly debated on Tuesday, so will his style and the criticism that he has not tried hard enough to work with his political opponents.Huh? Nowhere does Chozick acknowledge that this would be in direct contradiction to what she just cited as Sander's critique of the President. Does she not even see how this is the polar opposite of what people like Sanders are saying? It is the inability to weigh these different perspectives that allows so many in the media to cling to memes that are completely divorced from reality.
I have to admit that the possibility of a discussion between Sanders and another candidate on whether President Obama was naive to reach out to Republicans or didn't try "hard enough to work with his political opponents" would be fascinating. It has the possibility of exposing just how ridiculous all of that talk has become. But I doubt that is going to happen...and that is how these memes survive.