Thursday, August 11, 2011

Obama's No Good, Very Bad Week

Karl Rove tees off on President Obama's shortcomings-related woes, and suggests a number of things that the President could have, and could still, do to get his interlocutors in a more cooperative mood.

Rather than holding out for a "grand bargain" on entitlements, Mr. Obama could have proposed passing reforms one or two at a time, building confidence inside Congress for even more difficult actions. As his own outgoing Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee said Sunday, "Can't we wait on the things that we're going to yell at each other about and start on the things that we agree on?" 
The president could have pledged to reform the tax code to produce more robust growth that will create jobs and raise more revenue without hiking rates. Everyone knows Mr. Obama wants higher tax rates. Everyone knows the Republican House won't pass them. So why not focus on what is possible? 
Off-camera, Mr. Obama could have taken two other important steps. First, stop teeing off on congressional Republicans whose help he needs to accomplish anything this year. And second, attend far fewer fundraisers until Congress goes out in December. He must rescue his presidency by spending more time on his job, not his politics. These steps, however, are probably beyond the president. This West Wing is almost completely focused on the president's re-election, not on policy. 
Because they cannot defend his record, Team Obama will attempt to "kill" their political opponents, as one Democratic strategist told this week. These are difficult days for our president. Buffeted by events, he looks weak, dazed and over his head. And in 15 months, unless he finds some way to turn things around, he will be voted out of office.
That's well put about the President's needing to tend more to his office job and less to his politics.  Everyone knows that BO is still king of the fund-raising banquet circuit.  It's a pity for the President that Saul Alinsky didn't write a book about how the practical revolutionary might govern after taking power by convincing people that they wanted change.  It's a pity for the country that Alinsky did write a book about how practical revolutionaries might take power, and even more of a pity that America elected a President who was so well versed in it.

For those who'd like to read a little something about the President's playbook, please see Noman's March 13, 2011 post entitled "Rules for Radicals," and March 17, 2011 post entitled "Putting Alinsky's Lessons to Work."

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