*White House press secretary Robert Gibbs presumably spoke on good authority when he said that President Obama was “comfortable” with being a one term president.
Obama vis-a-vis Gibbs nobly says this is the sacrificial price he’ll pay to make health care and energy reform an American reality.
Political martyrdom talk by Obama of one term to get his agenda through is not new. He said the same thing in an interview on NBC’s Today Show two weeks after he was sworn in. He said that if he didn’t deliver he’d be “a one term proposition.”
His seeming obsession with being a one termer has got to be a first for a president. That is to talk about defeat before he’s barely through his first year in office. This hardly inspires confidence in the troops.
This is not a case of panic, fear, or crystal ball gazing. Obama’s simply facing a bitter reality that dogged him even before he raised his hand to take the oath of office. A majority of mid-America and Deep South voters not only voted against him, but rabidly denounced his policies, even before he clearly articulated what those policies were and what he’d do to try and implement them.
Obama won the bulk of independent votes less because of anything he said or did that convinced them he really could deliver his much promised change, but because of their disgust and revulsion at the scandal, corruption, bumbling, and duplicity of Bush and the GOP.
Obama’s independent voter support was always fragile, tenuous, and cautious, and they could turn against him at any time. As the Ross Perot insurgency in 1992 showed, a significant number of independents are white, middle-class, centrist, and small government, fiscal conservatives. The diametric opposite of what Obama and the majority of Democrats purport to be. Polls show that they feel they’ve been crossed and they’ve turned with a vengeance against Obama.
Take health care reform, the issue that Obama through Gibbs cited when he made his one term quip, and has cited repeatedly in the past as the thing that he’d rise or fall on. This is the issue that independents feel they’ve been crossed on.
Obama gambled that he could beat back the fine-tuned, well-oiled and well-endowed health care industry juggernaut and get health care reform, any health care reform, through Congress and into law. Only one president has been able to do this and that was Lyndon Johnson. He arm-twisted, browbeat, and out smarted Congress and the health care industry to get Medicare.
Johnson had won a landslide election victory in 1964, had fine-tuned, hard-nosed political skills and had the reform spirit of the civil rights movement and a solid Democratic party behind him. And he had the wellspring of public sympathy after JFK’s murder.
But Obama can never be mistaken for LBJ, politically. Health care reform degenerated into a raucous and contentious fight that has been picked at and pecked away at until it resembles a grotesque caricature of what it started out to be. The health care battle gave a badly fractured and reeling GOP the wedge issue it needed to get back off the political mat.
It took the shock of the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts for Obama … (READ MORE)
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