Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Presidential Pillow Talk

In tonight's confrontation with Congress, Barack Obama will not be sweet-talking Republicans, who are locked into a long-term temper tantrum, but the Democrats and independents who embraced him last November and expected to live happily ever after.

Maureen Dowd, as usual, puts it in quasi-sexual terms, complaining that she "always knew he was going to be trouble...He was going to be the kind of guy who whipped you up and then, when you were all excited, left you flat, and then, when you were deflated and exasperated and time was running out, ensorcelled you again with some sparkly fairy dust."

This kind of couples-therapy talk masks a deeper problem for the President who moved into the White House on a wave of romantic promises about new politics and change, only to find the honeymoon cottage falling apart and that his hopes of working together to fix it were unrealistic.

Comparing Obama's dilemma with one-party autocracy in China, Thomas Friedman says, "Our one-party democracy is worse. The fact is, on both the energy/climate legislation and health care legislation, only the Democrats are really playing. With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying 'no.' Many of them just want President Obama to fail. Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions."

Two years ago, Dowd foreshadowed the current crisis by asking candidate Obama, "Do you worry that you might be putting yourself on a pedestal too much? Because people also want to see you mix it up a little.”

“When I get into a tussle,” he had answered, “I want it to be over something real, not something manufactured. If someone wants to get in an argument with me, let’s argue about how we’re going to fix the health care system...”

Tonight Obama will show us how well he can "mix it up a little" in the tussle of his presidency.

1 comment:

Holte Ender said...

The honeymoon is definitely over, and has been for a while. The deflation that has set in can be overcome, if the happy couple realize that there is something to the relationship.

The republicans hit the ground running after the election defeat and their weak congressional leadership responded to outside influences and has been obstructing Obama at every turn. The furor over the president talking to schoolkids just about sums them up. They are a laughing stock.