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Obama should take a page out of the Republican book [Most commented]

August 4, 2011 |  5:14 pm

Obama before a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House.

President Obama's approval ratings may not have dropped during the debt ceiling crisis, but he may end up paying a price in the court of public opinion on election day. Op-Ed columnist Doyle Mcmanus weighed in Thursday.

Obama's negotiating victories in the final deal weren't on matters of substance, like tax revenue. They were on matters of process: on making sure another debt-ceiling vote doesn't happen until 2013 and making sure the mechanism for choosing further spending cuts isn't tilted in the Republicans' favor. Try selling those to voters as a victory for the beleaguered middle class.

Republicans, on the other hand, suffered from an excess of clarity. They had just two major goals: deep spending cuts and no new taxes. On taxes, they stuck to their guns and won. On spending, deficit hawks complained that the cuts weren't deep enough, but they were enough for Boehner and his lieutenants to claim at least a partial win on their top priority.

[…]

Republicans have given answers that many voters find extreme, but at least they're clear. If Obama hopes to keep his job, he will need to match their clarity.

Readers on the discussion board don't make the president's approval rating look so rosy either.

Obama sabotaged Democratic success with his love for bipartisan solutions

"the visionary post-partisan he's always wanted to be."

Indeed. And that vain attitude is directly responsible for the Dems losing the 2010 election. In his fetish love for bipartisan solutions, which were totally unnecessary when the Dems held both majorities, Obama sabotaged any impressive successes for the Dem lawmakers. And with the resulting unconvincing record to show for two years work, many incumbents failed to convince voters that they deserve another term.

And for 2012, it looks as if this will continue. Obama damages his own party with his constant rush to the right. Seems he only cares for his own reelection, as is evident by all the reports about WH aides being primarily concerned with adjusting the president's actions to appeal to swing voters. But this strategy can seriously backfire: Left wing voters are increasingly annoyed about both the lawmakers' setbacks and the lackluster "middle of the road" course of Obama. So, for every vote Obama may win in the center (questionable, imho), he loses two votes on the left. That's not the way to win reelection, and that will hurt the Dems, too.

So much for the stupid "vision" of being a "post-partisan" president. This simply doesn't work for the nation, and the lack of convincing results is evidence of that. Would be good if there was a real liberal, a determined Democrat, running against Obama in the primary!

--Gray62

Obama has become a hostage to events

Doyle McManus is correct, but his arrival to our party is a trifle tardy.  Those of us who have been measuring Obama's words and actions could have informed him long ago on what he apparently has only recently discovered: This president, a self-described bluffer, says things he doesn't mean or intend to follow-through on as a matter of course.

For example, during the 2008 campaign Obama mentioned that affirmative action programs should continue, but not for well-heeled black children, such as his daughters.  Furthermore, he suggested that poor, white children from disadvantaged backgrounds SHOULD be eligible for affirmative action.  Such a radical change would have eliminated the race component of affirmative action completely, replacing it with financial need and "personal narrative".

Upon hearing this siren call, we conservatives laughed, rolled our eyes and made a certain hand gesture normally frowned upon in polite company.

But we were right.  Obama got elected and forgot all about that little idea, and many, MANY others.  It is nothing short of absurd to suggest this Administration can somehow be saved from itself by taking a firm position on something--ANYTHING--if only for the sake of seeming to be principled.  It's too late.

Obama, who now owns the most dysfunctional economy since the Great Depression, has become a hostage to events.

--GregMaragos

So should Obama have dug his heels in more on the agreement?

Sounds like Doyle is lamenting that Obama didn't dig in his heels on the debt ceiling crisis. Had he done that, America would be in default for the first time in its history. Since everyone on both sides of the aisle seems to hate the bill that finally passed, that confirms it's the best possible agreement they could have reached. Let's hope we can all move on from here and do better, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans.

--markmcintyre726

The only thing Obama is good at is getting elected

Obama has proven that he can't lead, can't negotiate, and really has no backbone or substance.  He seems to be good at one thing, and one thing only...getting elected.  It helps that the Republicans keep providing him with opponents that demonstrate even less ability.  Sad.

--lankee

He’s always had a “clarity gap” because he doesn’t speak about substance

Obama has always had a "clarity gap."  He speaks in political platitudes and not facts and figures.  He is a politician, pure and simple. 

--tommythek50

RELATED

McManus: The write stuff

Deficit reduction: Who matters now in Washington?

Decoding the debt deal: What it means for you [The conversation]

Newt Gingrich: Why is he running for the GOP presidential nomination?

--Samantha Schaefer

Photo: President Barack Obama walks out to deliver a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Aug. 2 following the Senate's passing of the debt ceiling agreement. Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

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