Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Getting Off Obama's Back

Memo to presidential bashers of the progressive persuasion: Chill.

A verbal assault from the Left recalls what Lyndon Johnson would snarl to quiet his critics, "I'm the only president you've got." Yet LBJ had no cable news or Internet to amplify the noise, and his aggressive personality was 180 degrees from that of Barack Obama.

In the wake of November 2nd, the White House is under siege with a blame game from former backers to balance Tea Party venom: If only Obama had done this, if only...i.e., Michael Moore smugly telling Bill Maher that the President should have pushed for single-payer health care in a real world where Congress butchered even the feeble bill that passed.

To top it all off, two Democratic pollsters now opine that "Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.

"If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose."

Brilliant. By becoming a lame duck, the President will magically purify the political air and bring the country together.

In this atmosphere, it may be time to form a Committee to Defend the President so he can keep functioning for the next two years in his imperfect way despite his so-called friends as well as his enemies.

A New York Times editorial advises the triumphant GOP to "Try Something Hard: Governing." That should be addressed to terrified Democratic officeholders and purist progressive pundits as well.

If President Obama wants guidance for this hard time, he can look past LBJ to Harry Truman, who ran for reelection in 1948 against a "Do Nothing Congress" and won.

Update: An inside look at the White House itself post-shellacking is not promising, with aides wrestling to figure out how to "neither overreact or underreact."

No one expects Obama to be LBJ or Truman, but cool calculation is not the best mode for the next two years. Shucking off critics of all stripes and moving ahead with as much passion as he can muster will serve the President better.

He himself has said, "I would rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." If gets fired up enough and stops worrying about tactics, he may not have to be either.

Update Update: Some encouragement as the President on his way back from Asia tells reporters he will "redouble" his efforts to get back to his core principles and focus on them because the economy is more stable. Fine, but is Washington?


Anonymous said...

Great post. Have MM and the other hypercritical progressives never heard of the Senate? Sillies!

Committee to Defend the President? Sign me up.

Harley King said...

You hit the nail on the head. It is time for people to shut up and give the man a chance. There is not a person among us who could have done as much in the two years.

Comrade Misfit said...

No, I for one am not shutting up.

Damn near the first thing heard from the Obama Administration was that they were prepared to cave on the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich. If that is the negotiating mood of the White House, one of "ok, we'll do it your way", then I will have nothing but brickbats for this Administration.

PWT said...

Nice Chris Crocker impersonation - I'm sure that it will as well received.

Saje said...

What part of "you can't make peace with people who hate you" don't you or this President understand? Attempts at bipartisanship are universally met with disdain by the opposition, and the rest of us see the constant attempts at reaching an accord with the perpetually contentious as nothing more than appeasement to no constructive purpose. Most Americans haven't the faintest idea what Obama stands for, and the Republicans use this to their advantage to paint him as whatever they like. The most honest thing he's said so far was probably referring to the Republicans as "the enemy." Because, like it or not, they ARE the enemy. And to pretend otherwise is to engage in the most blatant act of self-deception in modern history.

But by all means continue pretending that you can tame a nest of scorpions. As long as you don't expect us to try petting them too.