Obama is Out Maneuvering Both Opponents and Allies
Ref: Newsweek Apr. 25 2011 issue
The Republicans have been all over the President, particularly at the beginning of 2011.
The progressives have been crying, “Where is Obama?” So disappointed.
Well, this article by Andrew Romano wonders if the President has been working to surprise us all. I highlighted 8 points from the article I found worth passing on.
- An unlikely group has recently joined the chorus of complaint about Obama – the top liberal pundits. Paul Krugman: “…[he] doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular.”
- Then something different happened. After his speech at George Washington University, Romano says it makes more sense to view Obama as a hard-nosed pragmatist determined to maximize results.
- in the first term, Obama followed two rules: 1. Allow the legislative process to run its course before stepping in. 2. When he did step in it was to support the best possible proposal – not the best imaginable.
- Political scientist Frances Lee studied how previous Senates voted on questions that did not have neat party responses. Overall, 39% of these ended in party line votes. But when a president had weighed in early, 56% of them ended in party line votes. When seeking bipartisan passage, it’s better that presidents not weigh in early.
- Obama’s strategy was tied to a time when Republicans could not torpedo his agenda. It paid off: more accomplishments on the board in two years than anyone since LBJ, although not all that liberals would have wanted. That was the liberal beef. Could more have been accomplished for liberals in the deals? Maybe, but not in the 2010 Congress.
- Now, Obama switches to potent defense just when Republicans seem poised to overreach. This strategy could result in a second term. He has all this time to campaign against them. If they compromise with him they have little to run on. If they don’t, he has a bully pulpit to point out the flaws in their agenda – right up to the finish line. Watch – you are beginning already to see the old Obama back on TV. He has seized the center. Even if they get something passed him, he still will look like the grown up in the room.
- Main new point: In the $38B budget deal, much maligned by the progressive pundits, it now appears, as the details come out, that less than $25B are actual cuts. They are moneys left over that could not be spent in any case !! More, they did not come from cherished Democratic programs to an astounding degree.
- On that same day Public Policy Polling released a survey showing that independents have moved from a 56% vs 37% position in favor of Republicans in 2010 now(in 2011) prefer Democrats 42% to 33 % – a whopping 28 % reversal since the last election ! Maybe this president is what we were hoping for all along and we did not see it.
Jay Gilchrist 4 25 11