Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama's Game

I like Josh Marshall's take on the press conference. He notes that, if you listen to Washington chatter, you'd think that Obama's position was unpopular or controversial. In fact, the public is behind him and stands in opposition to the Republican approach. This happened during the campaign, as well. The "pundits" would act as though Obama was in deep doo doo as a result of some perceived gaff. And the polls wouldn't move. He continues to surprise everyone with his command of the situation, every situation.

Here's Marshall's take:
What's most striking about these numbers is the continuing disconnect between the mood of the capital and that of the country. For me, a lot of that is a product of how Washington continues to be wired for Republican control. A president, and particularly one like Obama, is the one person who is in a position to cut through that.
As to the pundits' demand for bipartisanship and their indictment of Obama for failing to achieve it, again, I think he's a few steps ahead. He meets with Republicans on the Hill, invites them to the White House, makes seemingly grand gestures of conciliation and still they stiff him. And, even while he makes "nice," he slams them for leaving him the mess he has to deal with. I think he has the discipline to continue the outreach even while they stiff him. Over time, whether or not he concedes anything in terms of policy, he will continue to gain public support for his efforts. So, while the Republicans congratulate themselves for standing strong against him and receive their kudos from the Washington pundits, Obama lays in wait. At the appropriate time, like September of 2010, he will declare the Republicans hopelessly obstructionist and ask for more Demcrats and the public will give them to him.

Just watch.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Repub's are stuck in the old paradigm and its a huge gamble. If they all vote no, and the stimulus lives up to the promise, they have nothing. Obama rightly is telling them the days of politico gambling are over.

He kept saying last night about the people who say we should do nothing. I wish he would have taken the extra step and nailed their coffin with: "If you think Government is not supposed to work for the people of America - WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? Why did you campaign to get here?"

Nicholas Kowalski said...

Here's the thing about the relationship between Obama and the GOP -- it mostly reflects the relationship between Democrats and Republicans and the GOP's votes shouldn't surprise us that much. You know why? They ALREADY voted on this on Nov. 4, 2008!
The percentage of Americans who disapprove of Obama's handling of the stimulus is slightly below the percentage of folks who voted for John McCain. Further, the percentage of GOP's in the House approx. 41%, slightly lower than John McCain's percentage and slightly higher than Obama's stimulus approval.
Additionally, what states have the highest percentage of GOP reps in the house? The same states that have low unemployment rates! SD, KS, WY, NB, etc. GOP reps from these places aren't going to vote for a stimulus package b/c their constituents aren't as effected as rust belt communities or California and they already refuted Obama's mission on Nov. 4.
The long-and-short is this: there are so few Members of Congress who are actual targets for bipartisanship (ie. a Republican representative that had a margin of victory of 5 or less pts, give-or-take) because Obama and the Democrats made such huge gains in 2008. The chasm is too wide. Why would a GOP vote for this when their constituents have clearly expressed their disinterest in anything Democratic?

Laurel said...

Agree that President Obama has the pulse of the nation. However, I am not sure that he can get more Democrats. Those folks that are up for re-election in 2010 are in areas that represent the Republican base so I don’t see the democrats gaining those seats. These Republicans will continue to be- according to Senator Sessions- “Taliban-educated obstructionists”.