The Machiavellian President…

This is from a Peggy Noonan piece in today’s (17 Feb) Wall Street Journal:

A week after the Sawyer interview, the president had a stunning and revealing exchange with Sen. Blanche Lincoln, the Arkansas Democrat likely to lose her 2010 re-election campaign. He was meeting with Senate Democrats to urge them to continue with his legislative agenda. Mrs. Lincoln took the opportunity to beseech him to change it. She urged him to distance his administration from “people who want extremes,” and to find “common ground” with Republicans in producing legislation that would give those in business the “certainty” they need to create jobs.

While answering, Mr. Obama raised his voice slightly and quickened his cadence. “If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression . . . the result is going to be the same. I don’t know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us in this fix in the first place.” He continued: “If our response ends up being, you know . . . we don’t want to stir things up here,” then “I don’t know why people would say, ‘Boy, we really want to make sure those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us.’

The Washington Post’s Charles Lane, one of the few journalists to note the exchange, said he found it revealing in two ways: First, the president equates becoming more centrist with becoming more like George W. Bush, and second, he [Obama] apparently sees movement to the center as a political loser.”

Noonan essentially claims that Obama is simply doubling down on the Bush administration and is not providing fundamental change like the major change actors of our times- FDR and Reagan.

It is an interesting premise by Noonan, though I disagree with it.

Considering that Obama, in a Gallup poll, is more or less in a dead heat at 44-42 against a generic GOP candidate, and in a new CNN poll is down 44-52 on whether or not he deserves a second term, one must wonder what is going on inside Camelot II.

One of the things Noonan bemoans is that Obama is failing to triangulate or adjust to the political environment. She states, “But now it is 2010, and Mr. Bush is gone. Mr. Obama is left with America, and he does not, really, understand it. That is why he thinks moving to the center would be political death, when moving to the center and triangulating, as Bill Clinton did, might give him a new lease on life.”

I think by the end she gets it, but unfortunately doesn’t give it the attention it deserves.

Democrats in Congress, on the other hand, may choose this spring to save themselves by revolting—not only against the Republicans, but against the possible one-termer who jeopardizes their positions.”

I disagree with Noonan on whether Obama knows the American people, I think he just doesn’t care. He’s an ideologue. This is a man who selected a church that preaches a fringe, essentially racist message, and absorbed it for 20 years (a very interesting article on Obama’s autobiography Dreams from my Father). His associations with radicals like William Ayers (who likely had a large part in writing The Audacity of Truth), and his current cadre of who’s who of leftist politics acting as advisers is telling.

Obama has an agenda and is willing to do anything to get it, to include expending the Dem control of Congress. Some have said that it was a mistake for Obama to pick Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, I disagree, Emanuel is exactly the type of guy you want when you are going to ram something through, like “change”, at any cost.

Consider this, it is rare- and very abnormal- that an administration does not put forward their own legislative draft on their signature issue. The fact that Obama didn’t, and left it to Congress to write says a couple things to me, the first being he didn’t want to have any part of the blame for what was written, relying on the far-left in the House and Senate to reach the goals he wanted. I think he had every expectation that it would make it through, considering the Dem super majority he enjoyed, and all he would have to do is sign it. This is reinforced by the administrations efforts to just get ‘something’ passed, versus something along the ideological bent of the House. Secondly, because of the machinations he has employed to get this done, no one, not even his ‘allies’ are safe from his agenda.

If the GOP take the House, and Pelosi loses her speakership, Obama will not lose one bit of sleep. He’ll have his foil, blaming the last two years of his administration on the GOP regardless of what does, or doesn’t get passed, and the Dem woes in the House or Senate will be just too bad, so sad.

It’s high time folks quit underestimating the ideological bent of this administration and what they are willing to do to get their way. I mean, anyone who’ll throw Grandma under the bus, is capable of anything…

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7 thoughts on “The Machiavellian President…

  1. Just when you thought Congress couldn’t reach a new low, it did.

    Only a third of US voters think their Congress members have earned the right to get sent back next year — a record-low number, a poll released yesterday shows.

    Thirty-four percent of voters queried think members of the House and the Senate ought to be re-elected — while an astonishing 63 percent were in favor of throwing the bums out, the new CNN poll showed.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/congress_poll_ralfzutWeCzpTpC6x1wrhP#ixzz0fnsfHoQv

  2. G, I hate to be hypercritical but this post is all over the place.

    Let’s start with a minor typo: Obama’s second book is entitled The Audacity of Hope, not the Audacity of Truth.

    Now to the substance. I didn’t read Noonan’s original column but your excerpt doesn’t support the claim that she is saying Obama is doubling down on Bush. On the contrary, the excerpt shows Obama telling Lincoln, he will NOT double down on Bush.

    Also G, you can’t have it both ways. According to you, Obama has achieved nothing. So what exactly has Rahm Emanuel rammed through Congress? You say Obama is a far left ideologue. Well then, he must be a pretty lazy one. Why would a passionate left winger hand HCR over to Congress lock stock and barrel and let them hash it out with little or no direction? You also say the administration just wants to “get something passed”. That is the mark of compromise, not hard line ideology.

    You truly paint Obama not as Machiavellian, but as incredibly naive. We have pretty much a center nation. Why would Obama believe that legislators would jeopardize their reelections by taking far left positions in moderate constituencies?

    Seems to me you’re tossing everything at Obama hoping something sticks.

    1. Having not read either book, my non-familiarization with the title was a simple mistake…

      “Now to the substance. I didn’t read Noonan’s original column but your excerpt doesn’t support the claim that she is saying Obama is doubling down on Bush. On the contrary, the excerpt shows Obama telling Lincoln, he will NOT double down on Bush.” – R

      I was summarizing, but alas, from Noonan:

      But there’s something else that has led Mr. Obama to his falling poll numbers. When FDR followed the disaster that was Herbert Hoover, he took a new and different path. The government would now hold a new place in the daily American reality. When Ronald Reagan followed the disaster that was Jimmy Carter, he took a new and different path. The federal government would be pushed back from its intrusions on Americans. But when Barack Obama took over after the disaster that was George W. Bush, he did not, in terms of the most pressing domestic issue after unemployment, take a new and different path. He spent, just like Mr. Bush, only even more. It was as if he were saying, “You think Bush broke the bank? I’ll show you what a broken bank looks like.” This isn’t a departure, it’s a doubling down.</blockquote>

      An important thing to notice about Obama is that words and deeds do not always match. Thus far, when he has gotten into trouble on an issue, we regularly hear him say that he’s just doinf what the last administration was doing. Listen to most of what Brennen, Geitner, Clinton, etc say…

      “Also G, you can’t have it both ways. According to you, Obama has achieved nothing. So what exactly has Rahm Emanuel rammed through Congress? You say Obama is a far left ideologue. Well then, he must be a pretty lazy one. Why would a passionate left winger hand HCR over to Congress lock stock and barrel and let them hash it out with little or no direction? You also say the administration just wants to “get something passed”. That is the mark of compromise, not hard line ideology.” – R

      Come on R, you’re sharper than this. I said Emanuel was the enforcer, I didn’t say he, or Obama- were successful. Tell me though, a common criticism of the administration is that it is try to do too much too fast, and please, let us not forget the foretelling words of the enforcer himself, ‘never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

      Secondly, I explain why he would do it, because he wants to distance himself from the blow back, which he has been mostly successful at. When it comes to HCR, the vast majority of the animosity is directed at Congress, not him. The gambit didn’t seem all that outlandish, I mean you have a very solid control of the House with an extremely liberal Speaker who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, you had a super majority in the Senate that could overcome any filibuster attempt. The GOP had no way to stop HCR- it’s failure lies at the feet of Dems.

      As to getting something passed, that didn’t come until the end when the administration became desperate to get something done, and that still doesn’t mean he was doing it with the interests of the other Dems at heart, since they’ve already felt the brunt of the pain and hate.

      “You truly paint Obama not as Machiavellian, but as incredibly naive. We have pretty much a center nation. Why would Obama believe that legislators would jeopardize their reelections by taking far left positions in moderate constituencies?” – R

      We have a Conservative nation R, stop denying it.

      Did you really read the piece?

      As to why, who knows, but they have. Could have been his overwhelming personal favorability ratings, could have been the strong arm tactics of the Speaker and Reid, or maybe a combination of the two. I happen to think that they didn’t realize that the popular blowback against HCR would be what it was, and by the time that fully came to be, it was too late. Regardless, Obama’s agenda has been nothing but devastating for moderate and conservative Dems.

  3. I don’t see Machiavelli and Obama in the same sentence working. I have always felt Obama a failure . Sorry R but really either way you look at it he has either failed to use his “mandate” and popularity properly or he has totally failed to provide leadership. Obama at best is naive. I think in reality he is timid and not executive material. It’s either that or he’s a complete idiot who grossly underestimated partisanship,politics and egos. The last being poetically sweet given his ego.

    1. You’re right Alfie, he is clearly way out of his league. You’re beginning to see more and more those questioning his management skills, and quite frankly, he none since he’s never managed anything. His administration sucks at management as well because they’ve never managed anything. This is what happens when only 8% of your administration has experience in the private sector. Scary.

      As for Machiavelli, I agree that he’s not good at it, but he certainly has the intent. What he is doing to House dems is tantamount, literally, to sending human waves on the battlefield. I truly think he is hoping that regardless of the attrition they have during November will be worth it if they can get healthcare through.

      I’ve said it before, Obama is doing to the Dems in one year what it took Bush 8 years to do to the GOP.

    2. Alfie, no need to apologize in that you have inadvertently agreed with me that G has failed to prove his point.

      One cannot level the criticisms that you and G level at Obama and then call him Machiavellian. Or at the very least he is a very ineffective Machiavellian.

      1. Great depth R, and furthermore, great tunnel vision. I mean, you managed to say that without addressing my comments in the least…

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