Celebrating the Spirit and News of Monument Mountain

The Maroon Tribune

  • Lady Spartans Fall to Granby Rams in Western Mass

  • Swim Team Finds Success at States

  • Pres. to Hold A Joint Senate Meeting Today

Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

The+Wonders+of+the+Etch+A+Sketch
The Wonders of the Etch A Sketch

The Wonders of the Etch A Sketch

The Wonders of the Etch A Sketch

Jonah Carlson, Maroon Tribune Columnist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






It was an unforgettable comment, one that will likely reverberate in political advertisements for the next six months or so.  On March 21, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom compared his employer’s campaign to an Etch A Sketch.  Instantly, both Democrats and Mitt Romney’s Republican rivals reiterated their chief accusation against the former governor: ideological unreliability and political triangulation.  It was a valid point.  For several months, Romney’s positions had transformed from those of a calculating centrist to those of a far-right politician.  “Self-deportation,” deep tax cuts for the wealthy, drastic cuts to social programs and steep increases in defense spending entered Romney’s lexicon as he struggled to depict himself as “severely conservative.”  Eliminating access to birth control, Pell Grants, food stamps – nothing was off the table.  After this seismic shift, Fehrnstrom’s comment shocked the media because it was an explicit announcement of another reversal.

Amid all the justified wondering about whether Romney is a conservative or a moderate, something has been overlooked.  President Barack Obama has also been shaking his Etch A Sketch lately.  In 2008, Obama campaigned and won on the promise of hope and change and the philosophy of reaching across party lines to build the framework for a post-partisan era.  After the Administration lost its supermajority, the tactics changed out of political necessity.  Obama shed his cautious moderate persona to pursue a full-throated progressivism and energize a grumbling base.  Beginning with a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas that channeled Theodore Roosevelt, he stopped trying to pass bills and began focusing on winning the election by recasting himself as a defender of the middle class.  From a politicized deficit reduction plan with no goal of legislative success, to a politicized budget with no goal of legislative success, to politicized responses to Supreme Court proceedings, Obama has gone aggressively after every opportunity to draw contrast between his own beliefs and those of his Republican counterparts.

But the Etch A Sketch moment for Obama is not just a shift into ‘election mode’ where he must motivate his most enthusiastic backers.  It’s a shift from big, transformative ideas like Obamacare, his signature accomplishment, to a more conservative mindset.  This is an understandable tendency, but a regrettable one that probably dates back to last summer’s failure to reach a ‘grand bargain’ with John Boehner during the debt ceiling crisis.  Instead of advocating sweeping tax reform or vital environmental legislation, the President has put all his energy into small, message-oriented ideas like the Buffett Rule.  It’s a strategy to win, but not a strategy to win and govern afterward.  Etch A Sketch syndrome is spreading, and neither of the major party candidates is immune.

To read more from Jonah, visit www.politicalmusingsfrommonterey.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

    Breaking News

    On Display in the Library

  • Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

    Breaking News

    One Page at a Time

  • Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

    Breaking News

    Principal Marianne Young Retiring

  • Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

    Local News

    11 Questions with Emma Wilber

  • Breaking News

    Civics’ Students Mock Accident Rescheduled

  • Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

    Local News

    Q&A with Molly Stephen

  • Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

    Editorials

    A Bittersweet Ending

  • Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing

    Arts & Entertainment

    Q & A with Elinor Cherin

  • Breaking News

    The Eastern Conference Finals

  • Local News

    The Hunt for the hardware

Celebrating the Spirit and News of Monument Mountain
Etch A Sketch Season in Full Swing