Friday, October 29, 2010

I Predict

I predict that President Obama is going to have a very difficult time getting anything he wants through the Congress after next Tuesday.  The pressure on the Republican leadership, whether they like it or not, will be for them to pursue repeal of Obamacare and to prevent the rest of Obama's agenda from going into effect.  The remaining Democrats will find the President increasingly irrelevant to their own interests.  Depending how events play out, he will at best have to expend a lot more energy than he wants in keeping the congressional Democrats united, and at worst they may begin to rebel as they see him dragging their fortunes down with him.  And if any serious scandals should erupt in such a political environment, I think we'll hear calls from both sides of the aisle for his resignation.

Sumo Wrestling Wrap-Up

So the big question now is, how is Obama going to react to whatever level of smashing defeat the Democrats are likely to suffer on Nov. 2?

Wide-ranging intellect and mouth Newt Gingrich sees an opportunity for Obama to do the Bill Clinton triangulation dance:

“Any president has enormous capabilities,” Gingrich says. 

“If [Obama] wants to, he can change. Bill Clinton was prepared to. It’ll take six months, but we’ll find out by June or July where Obama is.”

AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller predicts a new sort of Obama will emerge from the Taj Majal Hotel:

Obama will try to make gains on deficit reduction, education and energy. He will enforce his health care and financial overhauls and try to protect them from repeal should Republicans win control of Capitol Hill. He will use executive authority when blocked by Congress, and steel for scrutiny and investigations if the GOP is in charge.

Jay Cost in The Weekly Standard compares the approaches of comeback kids Harry Truman and Bill Clinton in regaining favor with the electorate, and wonders if Obama will follow either:

It follows that the success or failure of President Obama’s response to a new Republican Congress will depend very much on whether he accurately reads the public’s mind. If he thinks the country is center-right, he will accommodate, as Clinton did. If he thinks it is center-left, he will “give ’em hell,” as Truman did.

So far, the president has telegraphed that he intends to fight. He has warned that a Republican victory would mean “hand-to-hand combat.” A comment the president made in a recent interview with the New York Times Magazine suggests he expects Republicans to move his way, not vice versa: 

[Obama]:  "It may be that regardless of what happens after this election, they feel more responsible .  .  . either because they didn’t do as well as they anticipated, and so the strategy of just saying no to everything and sitting on the sidelines and throwing bombs didn’t work for them, or they did reasonably well, in which case the American people are going to be looking to them to offer serious proposals and work with me in a serious way.
Finally, Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry in National Review Online describe errors in perception that have led the Democrats to their current precipice, and point out Republicans can fall off the cliff just as well:

Even now some liberals cannot accept that their dream palace is moving into foreclosure. They insist that the Democrats would be faring better if they had governed in an even more liberal manner. The polls, meanwhile, show that the percentage of Americans who consider Obama too liberal has steadily climbed during his presidency — and now constitutes a near-majority. The key mistake that Obama and his allies made in 2008 was one that political movements find hard to avoid: making too much of favorable election results. 

It seems clear enough with hindsight that the elections of 2006 and 2008 were rejections of a group of Republicans and their approach to governance. Elections almost always produce negative mandates: The electorate’s instructions rarely consist of more than the admonition not to be like the losing party. That’s a lesson that Republicans should take to heart, lest they repeat the errors of the Democrats they seem poised to vanquish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Doors of Perception, Closed Tight

R. Emmett Tyrell has doubts the President and his Democrats are seeing things clearly:

Our President has a difficult time conceiving of this growing majority who oppose him. Apparently in May, President Obama asked a group of presidential historians over to the White House to discuss history and to inform him of any historic movements comparable to the Tea Party Movement in all of American history. The historians told him what he wanted to hear. 

As Peter Baker wrote in the New York Times Magazine, the President wanted to know whether there were "precedents for this sort of backlash against the establishment? What sparked them and how did they shape American politics." Reportedly the historians spoke of the "Know-Nothings" of the 1850s, the Populists of the 1890s, and the Coughlinites of the 1930s. Thus our President was reassured. They were racists and fruitcakes. He heard nothing to challenge his smug sense of history.

No doubt there is wisdom in old sayings about knowing your enemies.  If Obama reacts to widespread defeat of his party by stepping up his current "us vs. them" rhetoric, he'll show himself to be either malevolent or else stunningly clueless about who opposes him and why.  I think this would make his general approval plummet further still and might lead to what must be his ultimate nightmare, his own base turning against him.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The View from Olympus

Amy Alkon sees remarks from our hero and offers her advice:

Obama told the several dozen donors that he was offering them his "view from the Oval Office." He faulted the economic downturn for Americans' inability to "think clearly" and said the burden is on Democrats "to break through the fear and the frustration people are feeling." [Politico]

My suggestions? Resign from office and take the Republicans with you.

I think this sort of patronizing attitude from Obama is only going to further annoy all us slow-thinking 'Muricans out here as we ponder the number of fingers and toes it takes to count up to 3 trillion.  Maybe in between putts the President can turn to his "view from the Oval Office" and see how many people are flipping him the bird.

As for the Republicans, I would really like to see a serious challenge to the supposedly inevitable coronation of John Boehner as Speaker of the House. I think he needs to know that if he doesn't aggressively pursue repealing, defunding and deregulating all the crap liberals have put into place in the past few years, he's going to be facing an extremely angry rebellion of his own, inside and outside of Congress.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thomas Sowell's Advice

Interviewer:  Last question--if you could offer one sentence of counsel to the President of the United States, what would it be?

Sowell:  Resign.

I doubt Obama listens much to Thomas Sowell, but he should.

Sleeping Dogs

From back in June, Chet Nagle, who according to his bio is a retired defense & intelligence guy, talks about the Sestak affair and it's implications:

To judge by just the recent White 
House admissions, it does look like somebody might have committed a serious crime or two. Besides calling for a year in jail, the federal felony in question is an impeachable offense, and Rep. Issa wants the White House to give him a letter stating no emails or memos or documents pertaining to the issues will be destroyed. It seems that even the media are not buying the usual White House pooh-pooh, and Primarygate will not fade away. On top of which, whether or not press secretary Gibbs ever discusses the bribery allegations with his boss, there is another list of domestic and foreign disasters that some think will bring down the president anyway.

Issa will be someone to watch, assuming he becomes chairman of his committee. I have to wonder to what lengths the Obama-friendly media will go in attacking him to distract attention from any damaging revelations that might come out his committee's investigations.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gird Your Loins & A Review of Obama's Greatest Hits

Jonathan Chait warns that the Republicans are going to Do It:

Wait, you say. What will they impeach him over? You can always find something. Mini-scandals break out regularly in Washington. Last spring, the political press erupted in a frenzy over the news that the White House had floated a potential job to prospective Senate candidate Joe Sestak. On a scale of one to 100, with one representing presidential jaywalking and 100 representing Watergate, the Sestak job offer probably rated about a 1.5. Yet it was enough that GOP Representative Darrell Issa called the incident an impeachable offense.

Most of this article is hidden behind a subscription wall, unfortunately.  You can occasionally hear Chait on the Hugh Hewitt radio show -- no doubt this is not the last we'll hear of this subject.

Elsewhere, Victor Davis Hanson observes Obama on the latest wing of his endless campaign tour and finds something lacking:

It all reminds me of the failed comeback tour of the proverbial fading rock star, the desperate promos for the sinking supposed blockbuster Hollywood movie, or perhaps something akin to Jerry Ford’s WIN buttons or the Carter desk thump.

And looking towards lesser lights, a blogger at firedoglake is distressed that Obama hasn't initiated massive criminal prosecutions against bankers (at least I think that's what he's saying), and reminds us that Nobody Messes With Joe:

The Obama Administration needs to turn from its so-called pragmatism and fulfill the need for Justice NOW, or Obama must resign and give Joe Biden a chance to serve the American people.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whither Goest Obama?

Film producer, writer and political blogger Jane Hamsher searches for ways for Obama to continue his agenda after the election, without the support of Congress:

The idea has taken root that the President is held captive by the need for 60 votes in the Senate, but his executive powers extend far beyond that. He can issue executive orders, rules and regulations, he has the power of appointment, and he can negotiate executive agreements with foreign countries.

Of course, a large part of the population is already alarmed by Obama's demonstrated creativity at finding ways of getting what he wants, whether or not it is legal or constitutional; for example, the Gulf oil drilling embargo, in defiance of a court order against it, and his many appointments of White House "Czars" as a way to avoid Congressional oversight.  If Obama, after losing the Congress, goes down the road of ruling by decree rather than consent, I think he's going to find himself facing an even larger and angrier opposition than he has now.  This would be a situation that I think he would have little ability to control.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On The Other Hand...

Victor Davis Hanson, well-versed in the ironies of history, sees a path for Obama towards ultimate victory, or at least getting re-elected:

If Democrats get clobbered in November, expect just such a passive rope-a-dope strategy, different from the last two years of either the Carter term or the first Clinton term. Obama will let Republicans punch themselves out over the nation’s problems, hoping they expend energy and incur blood. Then, as things improve, he can come alive to brag in 2012 that the upturn would have been even better had he not been stopped by right-wing obstructionists. The mellifluent Obama will do far better if his agenda remains hope-and-change banter instead of becoming messy and costly law. Republicans will try to ensure both — and thereby may save Obama from himself.

I have trouble envisioning this sort of zen/aikido Obama myself.  I have an easier time imagining him reacting like an angry child to the Democrats losing the Congress.  As I see it, he tends more towards bullying and looking for ways to get around the Constitution than he does engaging in persuasion and long-term strategy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Let's go to the tape...

Getting started with where we've been, a search of google finds this at the top: Peter Ferrara concluding his article,  "The Coming Resignation of Barack Obama":

...the key will be the Democrats themselves...After suffering grievous losses in this year's elections, they will have limited tolerance for the above described political pressures and chaos. With the very survival of their party at stake, the Democrats will buckle and desert President Obama, joining the calls for his resignation. At that point, with zero prospects for reelection, and unable to govern effectively, he will resign.

Further to the left (way further) we find writer & cartoonist Ted Rall with a broken heart, mere months after Obama took office (5/29/09):

Obama is cute. He is charming. But there is something rotten inside him. Unlike the Republicans who backed George W. Bush, I won’t follow a terrible leader just because I voted for him. Obama has revealed himself. He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Advice From A Friend

From R. Emmett Tyrell, commentary on Rahm Emmanuel running for mayor, with some words for the big guy, too:

"Now is a good time [for Emmanuel] to leave the White House. It might be a good time for Barack, too. Can one run for mayor while being president of the United States? Check it out, Barack. We can all run."