I never thought I'd live to see the day when I thought James Carville was a useless sack of crap, but here we are:
My friend James Carville [argues] in a pyrotechnic CNN piece that yes, the White House should "panic." There is no more time for "explanations" — although it usually helps to think things through before making what Carville calls "a complete change [in] direction." And what does that change consist of? "Fire a lot of people" — which Obama won't and shouldn't do. So thus, the "geniuses" of 2008 become the scapegoats of 2011. Playing a hasty game of musical chairs would turn Obama's ship of state into the Titanic. It's a reflex, a gimmick — and it's ahistorical. As Bill Clinton's campaign chief in 1992, Carville didn't panic — he certainly didn't fire himself — in the early summer of that year, when Clinton was in last place, at 22 percent, in a three-way race with Ross Perot and the first George Bush.
Carville also wants Attorney General Eric Holder fired — boy, that will set off a popular pro-Obama groundswell. And the Ragin' Cajun recommends that the Justice Department "indict people," presumably a host of people and presumably on Wall Street — a white hot populist gesture that could cripple or crash financial markets. In any case, Obama wouldn't debase the law to score political points; we had enough of that in the last administration. In this one, indictments have been made and will be — but on the merits.
Carville is on target about one thing: Obama has to "make a case like a Democrat." But that's what this president is doing now. Day after day, he is drawing the dividing lines. He does have to keep at it — and show as well as say that he's the one fighting for ordinary, hard-working, and out-of-work Americans. That's been the right course for some time — and with Obama on course, he doesn't need to be told, "Fire. Indict. Fight." It's a catchy aphorism, but it's only one-third right.