Thursday, October 04, 2012
Obama's Big Honking Problem
Yeah, yeah, the POTUS' smiley-face, wimpy/pencil-pusher effort last night let the unctuous liar look good in contrast. Yeah, yeah, Obama should have pounced on numerous openings (like Romney's lies about taking over $700 billion from Medicare recipients and bogus claims about tax cuts that don't add to the deficit).
I watched constantly aware of the parallels between the President's weak debate showing and his failure to get bills necessary to recovery into law.
There are several styles of getting big laws passed. After the Eisenhower post-WWII/great feeling era, this has been much easier for Republicans. Congressional Dems have been much more willing to compromise and cooperate on important issues. Yet with the exception of the brilliant but hapless Carter, Dem Presidents have found ways to get obstructionist, petty GOP majorities to pass the big ones.
Consider Johnson and Clinton. Their styles differed vastly, but they both got 'er done. Johnson, certainly the foremost legislation warrior ever, used every political gambit, including threats, to get his way. Clinton charmed, cajoled and compromised to victory repeatedly.
Obama has gotten a few done, but not nearly as many big ones. Surely his Affordable Care Act looms largest.
Unfortunately, faced with a dishonorable, dishonest, obstructionist GOP House and filibuster-neutered Senate, he failed either to intimidate and shame or charm them into compliance. That has been his great failure. Had he figured out how to get them into line, we'd have jobs bills and a much more robust economy.
Obama avoided calling out the GOP Congress members. He shouldn't have feared offending them, after they have already spent nearly four years throwing him the legislative finger.
He needs to put the blame to them. He needs to shame them into acting on jobs and the rest of the economy. He needs to call them out. He needs to demand that they actually filibuster and show the country how much they are willing to hurt us all for the basest political reasons.
He can start by making the dynamics plain in the next two debates. He needs to make it plain that we'll speed up our recovery when he makes them finally do the right things. If they balk, he'll name them and shame them. Even these callow elephants shudder at being shown for what they are.