Advice for Obama: Confront, Then Compromise
Why does it seem like Obama compromises first then tries to deal rom a a weakened position!? And then when the deal is done we have overcompensated and given up more than was necessary all the while emboldening our political enemies for future battles? And on top of that we allow them to win the public perception battle as well…
I’m at my wits end…
The only time Clinton’s ratings have improved substantially the past year as a result of his actions has been when he adopted a strategy of confrontation, not triangulation.
All through the summer and fall, Clinton’s favorability numbers stagnated in the 46 to 48 percentage point range. The Republican leadership in Congress was pushing ahead on the drive to balance the budget, including substantial reductions in projected Medicare spending. On Oct. 19, the House approved seemingly controversial changes in the Medicare program.
Through Nov. 1, however, Clinton’s numbers did not change.
Only when the battle lines were abruptly drawn—as the federal government was shut down Nov. 14 and Clinton began to turn Medicare into a polarized issue pitting himself and congressional Democrats against the Republican congressional majority—did his poll numbers begin to go up and stay up.
I elaborated on this point in a Nation article earlier this year, “Obama: Triangulation 2.0?” Here’s the key section:
During his first major confrontation with the GOP Congress—over the 1995 budget—Clinton ignored [Dick] Morris’s advice, according to [Paul] Begala, and refused to cut a deal with Gingrich, pledging to resist cuts to “Medicare, Medicaid, education and the environment.” Begala recounts an oft-told story in which Clinton, during a meeting with Gingrich, pointed at the Oval Office desk (named The Resolute, a present from Queen Victoria in 1880) and told the GOP leader, “If you want to pass your budget, you’re going to have to put somebody else in this chair.” Begala wants Obama to study that Clinton, not the Morris concoction. “It is that Gary Cooper type of leadership,” Begala says, “that people are now looking for in President Obama.”
- Budget Compromise a Bad Deal for Democrats, American Economy (blogs.forbes.com)