Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2012

Obama postpones many issues until elections

March 31, 2012


— Missile defense isn’t the only area in which President Barack Obama will have “more flexibility” if he’s re-elected. Immigration, the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, gay marriage, tax policy and other issues could invite bold initiatives by a president who knows he will never run for office again, especially if his party gains ground in congressional elections.

For now, however, Obama is postponing action on several difficult issues, knowing that Republicans are determined to deny him political victories a few months before their chance to oust him. He’s hardly the first to adopt that strategy.

Obama expressed a fundamental truth when he quietly told Russia’s president that he will have “more flexibility” to deal with the touchy issue of missile defense after the Nov. 6 election — if Obama wins, that is. The statement might have raised few eyebrows had Obama made it nonchalantly to a U.S. audience. Instead, it kicked up a fuss because Obama thought the microphones were off when he spoke with Dmitry Medvedev in South Korea, and because Obama seemed to take his re-election for granted.

Presidents traditionally ease their foot from the gas pedal in their fourth year, when re-election politics overshadow almost everything.

President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, played small-ball in 1996, proposing school uniforms and midnight basketball programs after previously tackling much tougher issues such as welfare cuts and targeted tax increases (successfully) and a major health care overhaul (unsuccessfully).

President George W. Bush, a Republican, talked vaguely of overhauling Social Security during his 2004 re-election campaign, and then found the public wasn’t ready for major changes after he won. Had he emphasized the proposed revisions during his campaign, Democrats’ cries of “privatization” might have tipped the close election to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

“No president of either party has any flexibility whatsoever during a re-election year,” said Dan Schnur, a former GOP presidential aide who teaches political science at the University of Southern California.

“Your honeymoon is long gone,” he said. “Everything you do will be judged strictly in a political context. And anything you do that’s remotely unpopular could cost you the election.”

Obama has been blunt about election-year constraints. At a March 6 news conference, he acknowledged Hispanic supporters’ anger over his failure to achieve immigration changes, including paths to legal status for some illegal immigrants.

Obama, foreshadowing what he told Medvedev, said a presidential election can change the policy landscape.

“My hope is that, after this election, the Latino community will have sent a strong message that they want a bipartisan effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” he told reporters.


kansanjayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

Another reason not to re-elect this guy. He wants more "flexibility" so he does not have to be accountable to the American people! We need a President who is accountable to the people and does not want to sell us out on jobs, the economy, national defense and weapons agreements, and who agrees with and supports traditional family. Obama is a complete failure in all of these areas and it is time for him to get voted out!

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

He's defaulted to voting "present" again.

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

Well, a few people have found the tea party congress hazardous to the economy. I suspect the congressional seats that change will be more important to effective economic recovery. Those fools voted to not pay our debt, which is the same as thinking not paying a visa bill saves money. What happened, what usually happens, we lost our credit rating, IT WENT DOWN. Skipping a payment is not the same as paying.

kansanjayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

This does not make sense--on the one hand you rail against the tea party--and then you turn around and argue for fiscal discipline? Which do you want?

pace 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't think the tea party is offering for fiscal discipline. I think they are kind of nutty and narrow. I would like to see solutions, not power hungry one way narrow minded bigots.

Armstrong 5 years, 11 months ago

Private citizen Obama can be as flexible as he'd like after the election

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