The American primary system for the nomination of presidential and congressional candidates, a system never mentioned in the constitution, has allowed populist anger to be exploited into a veto on foreign policy. Primaries, as they have evolved with the assistance of social media, have become an exercise that grants extraordinary electoral power to the dissatisfied and to the extremes.
Listening to Liz Cheney falsely suggest that President Obama wants to deal with terrorists by "hand-holding," and falsely insist that her father never suggested there was a link between 9/11 and Iraq made me wish that TV execs were planning to do a political version of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! I'd much rather see Cheney put a tarantula in her mouth (a la Patti Blagojevich) than continually sticking her foot there. She could be joined in the jungle by fellow foot muncher Sen. Jeff Sessions, who demonstrated the value of empathy when he showed none, reacting to the tears of a 12-year old boy whose mother is facing deportation by saying, "Enough with the histrionics." And there is still time to suggest the 5-word acceptance speech I should give at tomorrow's Webby Awards.
This is an interesting and refreshing subtext in Obama's entire speech -- he says things are "facts" and not opinions. Considering the lunacy that passes for "political debate" on American television screens -- where there are always two points of view, and every "fact" is subject to spin from one side or another -- it is a breath of fresh air.