Before his second term has even begun, are we seeing "Obama 2.0" in action? This is the question swirling around right now in the inside-the-Beltway punditocracy, and it's a refreshing one to contemplate: has President Barack Obama finally learned his lesson that his old method of legislative negotiation simply was not working? Has he, to put it another way, grown some backbone?
Archive of Articles for November, 2012
I don't believe I've ever done something like this before, but I got the following as an email from a regular here at CW.com who has been absent of late. I've been meaning to post it as a comment, but I've been having problems posting comments of late as well (don't even get me started on my computer problems right now...). But I thought it needed passing along, and I didn't have anything profound to write about today, so I thought I'd share this with everyone. I realize it's a few weeks late (which is what made me think of elections), but I asked and received permission to share it from Chris1962, so better late than never. Our thoughts are with her and everyone else dealing with the storm cleanup from Sandy.
Instead of focusing on whether a GB2 deal will be struck between Obama and the House Republicans, or even when such a deal might be finalized, I think far too few pundits are focusing on what the deal might contain. So I thought I'd peer into my cracked and foggy crystal ball and make an attempt at predicting which way the GB2 chips are going to fall. Please note, though, that I'm not endorsing (or condemning, for that matter) any of the following outcomes, I'm just attempting to read the political language emanating from the principal negotiators involved and draw some likely conclusions of what is likely going to be in such a deal. With that caveat firmly in place, here's how I see things working out.
For the next two weeks or more, the political subject in the spotlight is going to be the negotiations over the "fiscal cliff" and the budget and taxes. I'll be returning to this subject again, no doubt, but I had to begin by scratching my head over the main Republican bargaining position on raising taxes. Because -- even by Republican logic -- it doesn't seem to make much sense.
While in a post-turkey daze this past holiday weekend, I believe I've come up with the perfect answer to one of the key political dilemmas Congress is facing right now, as we all race towards the lip of the "fiscal cliff" -- Congress needs a legislative time warp.
The millions of Americans who voted for you will likely sit down on Thursday and give thanks that you will be our nation's leader for the next four years. Our thanks will be added to you and your family's thanks for the same thing, I assume. We all sincerely hope you and your loved ones have a very happy Thanksgiving this year.
This should come as no real surprise, since almost every incumbent president gets such a bump from a successful re-election effort. But it certainly is notable for Obama, who has struggled since the beginning of 2010 to gain a positive job approval rating from over half the country.
It's supposed to be turkey week, but instead I'd like to talk about the eternal game of "chicken" that our elected representatives in Washington keep playing. Because now I see not just Democrats talking about why going over the "fiscal cliff" might not be such a bad idea, but it seems Republicans are considering the matter as well. Which leaves me wondering: has everyone on the banks of the Potomac just gone stark staring crazy?
The real news is happening behind closed doors, of course, as Congress absolutely must act before the end of the year or we're all driving over that fiscal cliff together. Or maybe it's just a "slope" -- this seems to be a new talking point from some pundits. Whichever... my money is on "nothing will actually happen until the last week in December, when a Band-Aid will be slapped over the whole thing and the can kicked as far down the road as the politicians think they can get away with." Not to mix metaphors, or anything, Sigh.
But I'll get to my true feelings towards Congress in a rant which will take the place of our talking points this week. First, though, let's hand out a few quick awards.
Democrats in both the House and Senate have wasted no time in introducing bills to improve the process of voting in America, after some in Florida were forced by long lines to wait until 1:30 in the morning to vote. While these both are admirable in the goals they aim to achieve, I've got a crazier idea as to how to fix the problem than dangling federal grants in front of the states, in an effort to persuade them to modernize their voting laws and procedures -- change the presidential primary schedule so that the states with the highest percentage of voter participation in the previous election go first.