April 30, 2010

Obama Trading Time For Voters

President Obama is buying time There's a debt commission. There's going to be a commission into what happened with the BP platform of the coast of Louisiana that caused the oil slick, before any more drilling is allowed. The drilling he's referring to is the drilling he recently 'allowed'. He backed off on immigration reform, saying that he had just worked Congress very hard on health care reform and there is no appetite to tackle another controversial issue right now. Punt, punt, punt.  The President is buying time.  He's stalling.

Expect to see more of this is the coming months. The President is buying time to not do anything before the November mid-term elections as he tries to thread the needle of still being everything to everyone now that he has to prove it.

On immigration reform, drilling and fiscal issues as well as a number of other issues he's calculated that by delaying his positions and delaying his efforts, he can still use the same approach to the mid-term election that he used to get to the Presidency in 2008.  Namely, by appearing to be on both sides of the issue, he can get voters on both sides of the political spectrum to buy into him being their guy.  In other words, he's counting on voters to project their own vision of ideal President onto him and he can carry that torch for Democrats.  Hence the holding pattern. The thinking he's hoping to instill on the center is "okay, maybe he was very liberal on health care but he seems to be taking a sensible, contemplative approach on immigration/fiscal policy/drilling."

The problem with that approach is that he's already tipped his hand.  Not just with the preponderance of evidence on other issues, but on those specific issues as well.  He's against drilling but has made overtures to the right as little as possible.  Pausing for a review of the oil spill is an excuse not to move forward.  On immigration he's already stated his strong opposition to what is happening in Arizona.  Pausing is an excuse to seem introspective on the issue, where pushing forward as he would clearly like to do, is just politically unfeasible right now.  On fiscal reform, everything to date about spending cuts has been a cruel joke, and that means all the talk about tax reductions and no new taxes is for lack of a better word, is a lie.

Perhaps the idea is to fool some of the people, some of the time (i.e. November).  I can't imagine that's what the President is going with when he tells Democrats that this won't be a repeat of 1994 because they've got him.  That could turn out to be very true, in a way that works to the further detriment of the Democrats, not the betterment.  And I'm sure some liberal somewhere will qualify that last statement as racist.

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