Monday, August 1, 2011

Enough with the "bully pulpit" already!

When pressed about what more President Obama could do on any issue, given his constitutional role in the separation of powers, the poutragers usually have nothing more than that he should use the bully pulpit. I suspect that they are incapable of thinking beyond how that would make them feel better (you know, fire-breathing President and all). Because in terms of an all inclusive strategy, its pretty weak tea. My initial response is to ask them how effectively they're using their own bully pulpit. How many minds have you changed today? Or is it all "Daddy President's" responsibility?

But secondly, did they even notice that in the last month, as this debt limit issue ramped up, President Obama gave 10 speeches/press conferences to talk about it? There was even that beautiful smackdown of a press conference he gave a little over a week ago. Did they notice? Has a President ever used the bully pulpit more often/effectively than Obama did on this issue?

As Steve Benen points out, we should have learned by now that with this particular brand of Republican, the bully pulpit doesn't seem to have much impact.

Here’s the thing: Obama and Democrats already fought and won the p.r. fight. The public was with them...

The White House line proved persuasive, but Republicans didn’t care. Their base was satisfied, and the mainstream could be misled into voting for them next year anyway.

Winning the public-relations fight was no doubt encouraging to the White House, but from Obama’s perspective, it didn’t remove the threat to the nation.

It’s not as if the GOP’s Suicide Squad was starting to show signs of fatigue, and/or hinting at a willingness to give in. On the contrary, Republicans, especially in the House, did the opposite — digging in their heels, welcoming default, and rejecting calls to compromise, even receiving encouragement from their Speaker who no doubt knew better.

I believe that President Obama should continue to make his case to the American public. But the idea that public opinion sways Republican politicians is a myth that we should simply put to rest. They have decided that its more important to play to their base and try to avoid a primary challenge (or loss of the speaker's gavel in Boehner's case). The way to counteract that is to beat them in a general election. Now THERE"S a strategy!!!!!!

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