Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Barack Obama, Republican?

After suffering an historic repudiation in the last election, the Democrats are in a tizzy. Should they move further left? Should they just throw tantrums? Should they block everything? What would Barack do? Oh oh, Barack’s moved to the right, further right than even the RINOs. What’s worse, he keeps undercutting the Democrats. What is going on?

When the Democrats got blasted in 1994, Bill Clinton realized pretty quickly that he had to move to the center to survive. The strategy was called triangulation. And what it entailed was to let the Republicans have their way, and then claim ownership of their best ideas. Occasionally, Clinton would also criticize his own side, but rarely in stark terms and he never undercut them. Essentially, he became everyone’s friend.

Obama is now faced with a similar dilemma and he’s opted for triangulation as well. But Obama isn’t like Clinton, and his triangulation isn’t the benign sort Clinton tried. His version of triangulation involves undercutting the Democrats over and over. Indeed, things are getting ugly!

The first obvious example of triangulation occurred right after the election when Obama endorsed the idea of extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. The Democrats intended to play hardball on that issue and were already staking out a typically nasty class-warfare position, when Obama suddenly announced he would agree to extend the tax cuts in exchange for more stimulus spending. The Democrats were beside themselves with rage. “He’s undercut us!” they scream, along with a few profanities. In fact, the House held a closed-door meeting of Democrats where they took turns swearing at, blasting, and lampooning Obama.

The next instance of triangulation involved Obama’s retention of Bill Daley as his replacement for “center-right” (**chuckle, chuckle**) Rahm Emanuel. The selection of Daley, a noted non-leftist Democrat with massive Wall Street ties, was seen as an attempt by Obama to get back into the good graces of big business. The Democrats were despondent.

Then came the Tucson shooting. As the left wound up their hate machine and began calling for the blood of their critics, all under the guise of whining about the atmosphere of hate their critics created, Obama came along and told everyone that rhetoric had nothing to do with the shooting. Once again, he cut the legs out from beneath them and there were furious.

Now, Obama has stolen the idea of Paul Ryan and Darrell Issa to go through the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) and identify for removal any regulations that are hindering economic growth. What makes this all the more interesting is that (1) this has the potential of crippling years of Democratic legislative victories, (2) doing this won’t stop Issa from embarrassing the Democrats through his hearings, where businessmen will come and blast the regulations they’ve put in place, and (3) this provides a tremendous amount of cover for the Republicans from Democratic attacks that they’re undermining government. Wow!

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Obama has suddenly become a Republican. There were political reasons for each of these acts. The Republicans simply weren’t going to cave in on the tax issue, so why not get what he could and declare victory. Obama needs to reconnect with Wall Street to finance his billion dollar campaign, and Daley is the man to do that. By the time he spoke about Tucson, it was increasingly clear the shooter was a leftist and a backlash was growing against the left’s attacks. And Obama knows that economic growth is his only chance to get re-elected. So these decisions were political, not principled.

But in each instance, Obama could have achieved his goals without so ruthlessly cutting the legs out from under the Democrats. So why do it this way? I think the answer lies in the difference between Obama and Clinton. Clinton was a master at following the crowd. He had no principles whatsoever, so he stuck his finger into the wind and went where it led him. But more importantly, he was savvy enough to chart the safest course to the front of the bandwagon for himself and his friends.

Obama lacks Bill Clinton’s savvy, and he is not and never has been a team player. So now that he finds he need to chase a few bandwagons to get re-elected, he doesn’t even bother thinking about his friends and allies. It’s every man for himself. And that’s why the Democrats keep finding themselves stranded as Obama runs off and shells the land he had led them to.

So this has led Obama to tax cuts, deregulation, spending cuts, and stopping attempts to stifle gun rights and free speech. If Obama keeps this up, he may actually end up being one of the better Republican presidents before his term is over. . . and what’s left of the Democratic Party is going to hate him.

Finally, let me throw this out there for you to chew on. Putting aside our natural and well-earned cynicism for dealing with Democrats, it's also just possible that Obama's change of heart on these issues is an indication that he's grown wiser and he's starting to understand that the destructive class-warfare preached by the Democratic Party is no way to run a country? Wouldn't that be interesting?


Unknown said...

Andrew: I'd like to think your suggested possible conclusion is right, but in my personal opinion, Obama is the typical spoiled brat child who has turned on his friends and family simply because it's convenient. Even his socialism was a means to an end, and that end is "me, me, me."

Tennessee Jed said...

In the end, you always instinctively knew he put his own ass ahead of ideology. I don't plan to vote for him anyway, provided the Repubs can findly somebody more conservative that the new Bamster.

Begs the following question: Can you think of a president who stuck to his principles even though he knew it would cost him re-election? Adams comes to mind, but any others?

Joel Farnham said...


I wouldn't count on Bammy for anything.

At any rate, he still hasn't reined in EPA, FCC, or the TSA and Homeland Security.

Unknown said...

Don't hold your breath for any "in house" investigations to yield any fruit here, and Obama's window dressing will appease the Rhinos and mollify the "middle" for a while. His true colors always show in the end though--no pun intended.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I see nothing about Obama that tells me he's genuinely changed, but you never know. I guess we'll see how he acts over the long term.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I would go further and say that his ideology is "me first." I have not seen anything out of him that strikes that he's truly ideologically motivated so much as he's a politician who simply sees himself as someone who should be the leader. So it doesn't surprise me that he would dump "his ideology" if that's what it takes to stay in power, because I'm not sure he really believed it anyway.

In terms of a President who stuck to his principles, I would say that the big names did -- Reagan, Johnson, FDR, Lincoln, Jackson, Washington. They didn't get everything they wanted, but they never gave in just to stay popular with the public.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Trust me, I'm not counting on Obama for anything, though I think his recent actions have been surprising. Right now, I'm enjoying the switch. But I would be pretty furious if I was a leftist who assumed Obama was an ideological leftist.

And as you say, he hasn't really done anything yet on regulations. This could just be an attempt to head off the Republicans, to do nothing more than surface harm to the regulator scheme. But if that's the case, then I think he's made a huge mistake here.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Welcome. At this point, I agree. I am more inclined to see this as an attempt to stave off deeper Republican trimming of the regulatory scheme than I am to see this as a legitimate attempt to spur on the economy.

BUT, it's also possible that Obama doesn't want a legacy of (1) historic wipe out of Democratic Party, (2) historic debt and bringing deficit to National Security level, and (3) 4 years of horrible economic growth. So it's possible that he's just trying anything he can to get the economy growing?

I guess we'll see how he handles things from here on out? But like you, I am skeptical until I see some real changes.

Ed said...

Interesting article as always. I don't think he's changed, but you make some great points about how he sold out the Democrats. He could have done all of that without making them look bad, but he obviously doesn't care.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, so does this mean those of us who expected Obama simply to tack farther to the left with every setback were wrong? Because if so, after hearing you explain it, I've never been happier to taste my own feet.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed. When I first heard about his regulatory issue, my first thought was "what's he up to?" Then it hit me that whatever his goals are, he's just done serious harm to the Democratic cause because he's providing cover to the Republicans who are planning to cut these regulations. The Democrats must be even more furious today than they were yesterday! This has been a bad month to be a Democrat! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav! LOL! I know the feeling. I was almost entirely sure that he was going to tack hard left to try to solidify his base. But every move he's made has not only been to the right, but has embarrassed the Democrats in the process. In fact, if this were a film, this would be the point where people start thinking he's a double agent.

I don't know how serious he is about any of this or if it will last, but it's certainly clear that the current plan involves working with the Republicans on Republican issues and kicking the Democrats in the teeth.

And that kind of makes me happy! :-)

Ed said...

TRav, You and me both! I will happily eat a ton of crow if Obama keeps doing things like this in earnest.

Ed said...

Andrew, You're right, they must be furious. I remember your article on the House meeting where they were just brutalizing Obama, and the quote from the other day about Democratic hearts being broken by the Daley decision. Have you seen any reaction to this yet today?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Nothing yet. This is the kind of headline that people don't pay attention to -- since it deal with regulations. So there haven't been any comments on the stories where this came up. I expect it will hit the talk circuit tomorrow and that's when the flames will start.

I haven't seen any comments from Democratic leaders or lobbyists yet either, but I'm sure they'll be coming. If you see anything, feel free to post it here -- it should be instructive.

AndrewPrice said...

FYI, Gibbs is now saying that the White House was planning this for months, and that it's not in response to Issa's committee.

Issa issues a fantastic statement today, saying: Obama's review, "must be an effort that stretches beyond ideological entrenchments to identify the regulatory impediments that have prevented real and sustained job growth in the private sector." And he offered to provide Obama guidance based on the responses his committee gets from the business groups it has contacted.

Well played by the Republicans again! :-)

CrispyRice said...

Good article as always. I'm skeptical he's changed, but I guess we'll see.

BevfromNYC said...

Here is an op/ed from WSJ from today written by Pres. Obama


I love the tag at the end:
"Mr. Obama is president of the United States."

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Thanks! Yep. We'll see. Fortunately, the Republicans seem to be playing his change of heart right if Issa is any indication -- welcome his change, but don't trust him, hold his feet to the fire!

CrispyRice said...

That's really funny, Bev!!

Andrew, I'm glad to see Issa isn't falling for this yet either. Maybe these new Republicans finally are getting it that they can't just fall for anything the Democrats say.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The link didn't work. Maybe it's a pay site?

What did it say?

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I'm hoping they are finally getting it. I've been very impressed with Issa, Ryan and Boehner, and they seem to be making all the right moves. So hopefully, they can exploit Obama's change of heart here -- whether it's real or not?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Here it is:

Obama Article.

Wow! It sounds at least, like everything is on the table here. He specifically mentions consumer regulations, employment regulations, safety, the EPA... and he says this:

"Our economy is not a zero-sum game. Regulations do have costs; often, as a country, we have to make tough decisions about whether those costs are necessary."

Those aren't words I ever thought a Democrat would say!

(FYI, I'm hearing they are trying to sell this to the Democrats as necessary to compete with China. Interesting approach. That might work with the unions.)

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - Of course circumstances will always be somewhat complex, but I actually was thinking of an unpopular president coming up for re-election who "went down with the ship" rather than change in order to win an extra term. Maybe, a Marty Van Buren. Another might be Gerald Ford who commited political suicide by pardoning Richard Nixon. That was a specific act, but I have no doubt it was done because he thought it was the right thing to do and not a political payoff.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Now that is a good question.

In truth, I can think of three Presidents who stuck with unpopular policies no matter what happens even when it appeared they would lose because of those policies: Johnson, Reagan and Bush II -- and Johnson gave up rather than running again.

Don't forget that in 1982/1983, Reagan suffered a big loss in the midterms and his popularity fell to 40% because of the recession. But he kept on insisting that his policies would work, and they did, just in time to bail him out prior to the 1984 election.

Ford did the pardon, but I honestly don't know what else he stood for, or we might be able to add him to the list.

BevfromNYC said...

FYI - As you have predicted, the Libs are a bit upset with The One about the WSJ article - Just a few of the comments on HuffPo:
"Oh, wow. This is not what I voted for."

"Yes...too much regulation is the problem, Obama. Just like tax cuts for the rich will create jobs. Just like trickle down bailouts will create jobs. All of that is reality...­in CANDYLAND!"

"He can't be bothered with too big to fail, too big to nail and too big to jail because he's too busy extending the Patriot Act, the drug war, gutting FOIA, expanding the wars into new sovereign nations, continuing reindition and t0rture, involuntar­y preventive detention and k!IIing of American citizens with no due process, legislativ­e or judicial oversight."

Well...you get the idea.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I should have guessed they would be on top of this at Huffpo! I think they are going to get really angry with him before this is over, if his article is any indication.

When he said that the economy is not a zero-sum game, that flies directly in the face of their entire ideology and puts the lie to the idea that you have to punish the rich to help everyone else.

Plus, they've ALWAYS painted the idea of deregulation as a sop to big business, so his talk about eliminating regulations (no matter how stupid) will go down very poorly with them, as they will see Obama siding with the rich.

I love the "this is not what I voted for" comment! We should put that on t-shirts, we could make a fortune! :-)

(P.S. Thanks for braving the Huffers for us!)

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. That last comments sounds a lot like what they said about Bush! I wonder if they have a macro?

"Time to criticize whoever the current president is. . . let's see, control plus shift 7 is for 'about time' and control plus shift 8 is for 'you dirty fascist.'"

DUQ said...

Andrew, The regulation story is starting to break out at several places now. Nice work being ahead of the curve! I don't know if Obama is being sincere or not, but stranger things have happened and if he does have a genuine change, then I'll be happy.

Bev, Can you give us a link to the Huffpo article?

StanH said...

Not to be racially insensitive, perhaps a tad provincial, It sounds like Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus tales, “Br’er Rabbit and the briar patch” “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch!” We must be very careful here with Barry, he’s done tremendous damage already, Healthcare, Financial Reform. As we begin to disassemble his terrible legislation, and Barry helps, maybe then he can be forgiven. I’m convinced it’s a “bait & switch,” or a perversion of the Dick Morris’s trianglization strategy for Clinton. As the great Reagan told us “trust, but verify,” we’ll see.

BevfromNYC said...

DUQ - Here's the link - Andrew may need to do his magic with the link, otherwise the article is titled - "Obama's Bogus Explanation for Troubles: Too Much Regulation" by Peter S. Goodman


BTW - Does this mean they are now the "racists" and "bigots"? I mean, we know it can't possibly be because of Obama's policies, right?

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I think people will pick it up soon when they realize what this can mean. This isn't as sexy as a big program, but this is how real changes happen in the government.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I would go one better when it comes to Democrats, forget trust by verify and go with expect the worst and verify. Still, if this is a genuine change -- and it might be, then I will be the first to applaud the change.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Absolutely they are racists. We know that opposition to Obama is based on race, they oppose Obama, hence they are racists. It's sad, but undeniable. LOL!

Oh wait, we have a paradox. They are racists, but they are also liberals, hence they cannot be racists. Argh! I'm so confused! At least I'm not a robot, I would be blowing circuits left and right!!

Thanks for the link. Here it is in linkable form: LINK

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

OMG, I'm not much of a HuffPo reader, but wow! Those anti-Obama comments are bruising!

Love this one:

Who are the Democrats going to run against Obama in 2012 ?

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, Here's another article at the same place: LINK

And check out this quote from the comments.....

Obama has to go . This truly sad. I am not sure we can wait till 2012. The damage being done to the economy and the pandering is unbelievab­le.

If a Republican said such a thing, you could expect to hear calls for the secret service to pay the poster a visit!

BevfromNYC said...

Pitts - Just for the record, these bruising comments have started to creep in since the Bush tax debacle of Dec. 2010. There has been some subtle frustration before this, but he is definitely disappointing his far left base.

Though I personally think that Obama is just pandering for votes. Sadly he is does not have the political skill that Clinton did.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, those quotes from HuffPo are simply amazing. I know you called for something like this to happen some time ago, but I wasn't sure we'd actually see it. I believe the word applying here is "schadenfreude."

But as for Obama's left-wing critics being racist now, you forget that they can never be racist. Because they're on the left, which means they can never be racist. You want to blame someone? Blame Obama. He went against liberalism, which is all about helping black people, therefore he is now a "race traitor," just like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, and all the rest who have ungratefully betrayed their benefactors.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, For some times now, I've seen hints that the left was souring on Obama, and it wasn't going to take a lot to push them over the edge. And there's plenty of evidence that they're generally unhinged these days. But I'm with you, the level of anger in these quotes (and the many more at the site) are downright bizarre. These people are crazy!

In terms of Obama being called a "race traitor," I'm sure that will come if he keeps this up. Every black conservative I can think of is accused of that, it seems to be part of the left's standard template of insults at minorities of whom they disapprove. And if Obama falls into that category, I could easily see them leveling that charge. But I think they'll wait for something larger -- after all, he is still very popular with blacks.

What's really funny about this whole thing is that their anger is only going to get worse as each agency starts coming up with lists of things to repeal. In other words, this is only beginning.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Wait till you see what I've come up with for tomorrow morning. If I'm right, their hate is about to become strong enough to power them into orbit!

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Heh heh heh. In that last link you provided, Andrew, the commenters are calling Obama a "Cheney Democrat". I love it!

AndrewPrice said...

A "Cheney Democrat"! That's priceless! LOL!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good post, Andrew!
I'm a bit surprised he has gone this route thus far and, more importantly, the way he's doing it, in a backstabbing his base kind of way.
Well, they did want Chicago politics, lol.

It's funny reading those comments at Huffing and Pissed.
It's like they cut n' pasted all their comments about Bush and Cheney and simply added Obama's name.
Obama, trhe Cheneycrat? LOL!

These lefties are completely unhinged. They don't realize that Obama is trying to protect his legacy as best he can under the circumstances without creating more job openings for republican Senators or President in '12.

Perhaps Obama, and/or his handlers hjave seen the writing on the wall: the left has lost favor in public opinion and is only making it worse.
They must take the long view and wait for the tide to shift, hoping the GOP screws up again.

It will be interesting to see how long Obama keeps this up for, and whether he is serious or merely talking outta his a$$ to provide political cover for '12.

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Isn't that the truth! It's pretty amazing that he's backstabbing his democratic friends so easily, but then he is from Chicago. . . so maybe it's not that surprising?

On the Huffers, I had the same thought -- these people just cut and pasted their anti-Bush tirades and inserted Obama's name!! They are truly unhinged. And I think it's only going to get worse as the year progresses and the Republicans start to make progress. They want Obama to fight to the death to stop everything the Republicans want to do and he's signaled that he has no intention of doing that!

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