Obama Cannot Win a Second Term
But the reason probably isn't what you think...
In crafting a spending deal with Republican leaders, President Obama has virtually assured that Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell will achieve his top priority. “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” he told the National Journal.
I’ve been a big supporter of the President. He’s had a remarkably successful first two years—arguably the most successful in the modern era. This came in spite of silly accusations of socialism, being a terrorist sleeper agent, and not being a citizen. His political demise, of course, isn’t because of his ideas, or values or intentions. He simply stinks at negotiating. We first learned this during the health care debate.
And now comes lesson number two, in which President Obama has given away his second term, seemingly without even realizing it.
Surely, the President has been having some late night phone calls with Bill Clinton. This week’s presidential speeches and surrogates reveal a man who is pursuing the Clintonian strategy of “triangulation.” In case you don’t remember or never learned, Clinton recovered after a difficult mid-term by presenting himself as the guy in the middle—standing up to his opponents and to his own party. All this criticism of Democrats is simply triangulation, a way to be more appealing to the independents who’ve abandoned him.
But 2010 isn’t 1994. We’re war-weary; we already have huge deficits; and we are fighting the second worst economic crisis since the founding of our nation. Republicans have gotten much better at lying than they were back then. Now they have their own TV network (Ironically, Dick Morris, the inventor of triangulation, is a bomb thrower on it.) Obama’s high ground—somewhere between “do nothing, spend much” and “do little, spend much”—is still well below sea level. Triangulation simply isn’t a viable long term strategy for the current political environment. It will fail.
Looking forward to the next presidential election, the President’s strategy looks like a dead loser to me. That’s not because the Democratic candidate will lose liberals and progressives. Let’s face it; they have no place to go. It’s because this deal makes him desperately vulnerable—even more likely to lose—in the center. Let’s recap:
The deficit rises by almost one trillion dollars because everyone gets tax cuts they shouldn’t. But the tax cuts for Middle Americans are small enough that they will go unnoticed—just as they did the last time Obama gave one. One third of the cuts go to a few thousand people. And the unemployment concessions don’t even extend how long someone can collect.Continued on the next page