Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Analysis: Obama makes political rebound with tax deal, DADT repeal, but can it hold?

December 22, 2010

Advertisement

— President Barack Obama is rebounding from his party’s midterm drubbing with the kind of lame-duck victory list any White House would want: a tax deal, a landmark repeal of the ban on openly gay military service, and the prospect of a major nuclear treaty with Russia.

Each represents a different approach at deal-making, but none alone offers a clear path to governing in a divided capital over the next two years.

In the seven weeks since the election, Obama negotiated with Republican leaders on taxes and left angry liberals on the sidelines. On the New START arms treaty, he sidelined GOP Senate leaders and negotiated with like-minded Republicans. And with the repeal of the Pentagon’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy on gays in uniform, he delighted liberals, won Republican rank-and-file support and left conservatives fuming.

Obama, whose first two years were marked by staunchly partisan votes on his signature initiatives, finds himself at a crossroads. Faced with an ascendant GOP and a restless electorate, the White House is happily holding up the president’s recent successes as a sign of new outreach.

“This won’t be a model for everything over the next two years, but it provides a strong foundation to build on,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said.

The lame-duck congressional session, however, is not an altogether clear template for the future. Democrats for now still control the House and Senate; next year Republicans will take over the House and gain seats in the Senate. The lame duck issues that lent themselves to compromise were easier than the hurdles the White House, Democrats and Republicans will have to clear in the months ahead. And the next two years also lead inexorably to the 2012 presidential elections where confrontation, not cooperation, will dominate politics.

What’s more, Obama and Congress merely postponed key moments of reckoning. The tax cut agreement extended all Bush-era tax rates for two years. That leaves unsolved the question of what tax rates should be made permanent and which ones should be allowed to increase. That debate may well dominate the presidential election year.

Congress also was unable to pass a major spending bill to keep the government operating, settling for a short-term, stop-gap measure that maintains current spending into early March. That means a new and contentious debate with a GOP-controlled House over money to implement new health care and bank oversight laws that many Republicans oppose.

And the Senate failed to advance an immigration bill that would have given a path to legal status to many young illegal immigrants who join the military or attend college. The legislation will be far more difficult to pass in the new Congress.

Congress and the White House also have vowed to tackle sky-high deficits and the growing national debt, challenges that Obama himself acknowledged last week will be far more difficult than the tax deal he was signing.

“There will be moments, I’m certain, over the next couple of years in which the holiday spirit won’t be as abundant as it is today,” the president said.

Still, the achievements of the lame duck session are remarkable and surprising, and they help cast Obama in a new light.

Comments

Jim Phillips 4 years, 3 months ago

For once, we agree. He caved and yet is vainly trying to clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

I think you would find it very interesting to listen to some left wing radio on KKFI - 90.1FM.

They regularly criticize Obama for being too much like Bush on a variety of issues.

booyalab 4 years, 3 months ago

The left wing has little to no concept of where the center lies. They try to exclusively live/work/play with other liberals. Whereas you have conservatives that live exclusively with other conservatives, but many that are surrounded by liberals who don't know that they're conservative. So liberals only THINK that everyone around them agrees with them, when in reality, most of the ones who disagree just don't want to start an argument.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

The right wing has little to no concept of where the center lies. They try to exclusively live/work/play with other rightwingers. Whereas you have liberals that live exclusively with other liberals, but many that are surrounded by rightwingers who don't know that they're liberals. So rightwingers only THINK that everyone around them agrees with them, when in reality, most of the ones who disagree just don't want to start an argument.

booyalab 4 years, 3 months ago

Really? Do left wingers make a habit of politely and quietly attending church and tea party conventions? The same left wingers who can't refer to Fox News without twisting the name to let you know that they can't stand that there is one news outlet that isn't exclusively liberal? I've spent about equal time with conservative and liberal groups in my life and have varied a bit in where I stood, myself. I will concede that there are intolerant people on both side, but in general liberals are less tolerant of differing views.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

The point of my comment was that although Obama gets regularly portrayed as "far-left" by conservatives, he's also getting criticized at the same time by left wing folks for not being liberal enough.

The point of your comment is unclear.

kernal 4 years, 3 months ago

As long is DorkyCorky doesn't get too out of line, he has the right to make his asinine statements. My New Year's resolution includes ignoring him.

pace 4 years, 3 months ago

No, he has used up multiple chances. He should just go.

Fossick 4 years, 3 months ago

That's why it's called "Analysis." In APspeak that means they can present a cheerleading opinion as if it were a reasoned conclusion based on actual facts.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

I though you felt that allowing gays to serve in the military was a "middle ground" position?

Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

Business as usual in the current regime: "Immediately after James Clapper professed ignorance of the arrests in the UK of a dozen suspected terrorists during an ABC News interview, the Obama administration denied that Clapper hadn’t been briefed on the news. They blamed Diane Sawyer for asking an “ambiguous” question. However, as Jake Tapper reports, the White House admitted this morning that Clapper hadn’t been briefed at all:.." http://hotair.com/archives/2010/12/22/wh-reverses-on-clapper-admits-he-wasnt-briefed-on-uk-terror-arrests/

grammaddy 4 years, 3 months ago

Another campaign promise kept. THAT ONE 2012!!

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 3 months ago

I think we can throw out the idea that Obama is a Communist or a Muslim or a secret agent working for the overthrow of our American way of life.

Even the idea that Obama is a pure Socialist advancing an agenda to bankrupt and destroy the country and rebuild it under a diabolical plan designed by the American Socialist Party is about as stupid as one can get.

As stupid as these ideas are and a hundred more like them, the scare tactics associated with them had as much influence on the last election as anything else.

Credit Obama for at least moving the country in a direction that provides us room to move instead of the stalemate caused by the ugly partisanship we have been watching for the last 2 years.

I think the one thing that Americans hate more than anything is a bad movie. It was definitely time to change the channel even though now we get to watch the rich people get richer, it is still better than watching the Republicans bitch all the time.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

"...the ugly partisanship we have been watching for the last 2 years..." much of which relates to Barry's "I won" attitude.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 3 months ago

Sometimes my kids, grown, think I must be a Democrat. I tell them no, I just get sick of watching these people sacrificing the country for their own petty self interests or their moronic "philosophies".

One thing has always been true. To achieve anything great, you are going to have to sacrifice something, perhaps everything, including a political career. I am grateful to those politiicians who may have lost their elections because they chose what is best for the country instead of themselves.

My prayers go out to the boys and girls fighting for our freedoms somewhere in the world and I wish them to return home soon. Maybe if this new congress works well together over the next 2 years, that wish will come true.

beatrice 4 years, 3 months ago

3%? Hardly. The only ones not happy are the social conservatives who again find themselves on the wrong side of history.

beatrice 4 years, 3 months ago

Seeing as how the usual circle is particularly jerky in their attacks against Obama today suggests that he just might be on the right path after all.

I was not pleased with his agreeing to continue the tax cuts for the wealthy (Larry David wrote a wonderful letter of thanks in the Times, if you didn't see it), but seeing the positives coming out of this "lame duck" congress makes it clear that Obama will continue to move our country neither left or right, but forward. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/21/opinion/21david.html?ref=contributors

beatrice 4 years, 3 months ago

Nice to see you finally giving others credit for what they write.

Oh, and dude, what have you accomplished in this life besides being removed from the LJWorld site on several occassions?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.