Thursday, August 18, 2011

Obama has a winning political strategy
If only he’d use it

This week, Obama, despite his administration’s insistence to the contrary, launched his reelection campaign with a bus tour in Iowa. While he was there, he used the political message most likely to lose him the White House. Most of my blog is devoted to covering issues of policy, but this article will be analyzing politics in the purist sense of the word.

Obama’s campaign speeches are full of condemnation towards Congress for failing to compromise.

“You’ve got to send a message to Washington that it’s time for the games to stop. It’s time to put country first,” Obama said, his voice rising. “Some folks in Congress ... would rather see their opponents lose than America win.” [Washington Post]

I watched a portion of one of his speeches and it was painful to listen to. Obama is acting as if the problem in Washington is both sides failing to compromise when in reality the problem is Republicans repeatedly manufacturing crises in order to get what they want. The failure to compromise is coming from only one side. Democrats have given in again and again.

What the president, who is the leader of the Democratic Party (although he would never let you know it), needs to do is mobilize public opinion against Republicans for the debt ceiling fiasco and resulting S&P downgrade they created. If the amorphous and unfocused rage against Washington was focused where it belonged, on House Republicans, then the President would have incredible leverage over them. If the public knew how blatantly and recklessly Republicans have discarded their responsibility to govern, then they would be less likely to elect one of them to the Oval Office.

In Washington we have one party who will stop at nothing, not even ruining the full faith and credit of the United States, to achieve their policy goals, and another who gives in completely to avoid catastrophe. This pattern won’t end until the American people recognize what is happening.

Obama has repeatedly proven both in substance and in style to be a poor negotiator. Perhaps the time has come to consider finding a new President, one that will hold Republicans responsible for the messes they create. 

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