Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The most unrecognized element of President Obama's legacy

When people consider President Obama's legacy, most often they'll talk about health care reform or saving us from another great depression. But rarely do people cite what BooMan talked about.
I have a theory that when the Republican Party finally collapses as a national party it will happen suddenly and without much warning. It could happen as early as this November, although I am not ready to make that prediction just yet...

But the game is nonetheless up. The best movement conservatism can hope for at this point is a flash in the pan confluence of bad news timed at just the right moment to give them the unlikeliest of national victories. This country has totally moved on from their ideology.
Actually, the country moved on from their economic and foreign policy ideology after the disaster of the Bush/Cheney administration. On cultural issues, it was just a matter of time.

But it didn't have to be this way. From the beginning, President Obama reached out to Republicans to work with him on developing bipartisan responses to the challenges we faced as a country. David Frum lamented the fact that Republicans could have taken another path on health care reform.
At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994...

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big...Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views?
As I've written so often, in response to this kind of obstruction, President Obama implemented conciliatory rhetoric as a ruthless strategy. In other words, his outstretched hand demonstrated the intransigence on the Republican side of the isle and left them with no choice but to embrace increasingly marginalized positions in order to justify their obstruction.

Just as Frum speculated on a different course for Republicans, imagine with me for a moment what would have transpired if President Obama had taken the advice of many on the left and decided to fight fire with fire. What if, for example, he had responded to their obstruction by insisting on single payer for health care reform or refused to include tax cuts in the stimulus bill? Don't even THINK about suggesting Republicans would have budged on either of those if he had insisted. Neither side would have prevailed and the resulting chaos would have been a Republican dream come true.

In the end, the Republicans chose their own path of obstruction and increasing marginalization. President Obama's response ensured that would mean their demise...not his. It might take years for us to see the full result of those decisions. But when it all unfolds, it will be one of the most important ingredients of this President's legacy.


  1. You are so right. Also, during the Health bill conference with the Senate, they included a lot of Republican wants in it. So the ACA isn't all written by the Democratic party. President Obama played them and for the last 5 years showed just how this obstruction has cost our economy. The MSM is a big part of why the American people don't understand the ACA. And that will be their shame for a long time. Have a good day Nancy..

  2. Absolutely, Roberta in MN. What is interesting to me now is reading the conservative bloggers and pundits who call Mr. Obama's presidency a failure. He has two more years to go and has already wracked up plenty of wins to turn that claim into a pile of conservative b.s. These people live in a bubble and know almost nothing about history.