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    The Steamroller

    The Steamroller

    While he puts the usual liberal spin on it, Greg Sargent at WaPo is correct that Obama sees his path forward as overwhelming Republicans.  Sargent writes:

    Yesterday, President Obama used his Inaugural Address to lay out an expansive case for progressive governance, one rooted in the country’s founding, history and identity, vowing action on everything from climate change to immigration to voting reform to gun control to expanded civil rights for women and gays.

    What knits all these specifics together, however, is the speech’s implicit recognition that in order to accomplish any of these goals, he will have to defeat the opposition, rather than win it over. Indeed, one of the most significant things that happened yesterday is that Obama signaled recognition of the true nature of the implacable opposition he faced during his first term and will inevitably face for the duration of his second one. This means a second term in which Obama, rather than forever chase after the illusory notion that he can secure bipartisan cooperation through outreach and charm — not to mention adopting Republican ideas outright — will resort more directly to executive actions and to mobilizing the public to force cooperation wherever possible.

    I disagree as to the cause and history.  Obama only has engaged Republicans begrudgingly and only when some small bones needed to be thrown in order to achieve near total victory.

    Remember Obama’s infamous statment “I won” when Republicans tried to have input on the Stimulus Plan?  That attitude, at the start of his first term, carried through on virtually everything.

    But I largely agree that the next four years will be Obama trying to steamroll Republicans and Republicans trying not to be steamrolled.


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    Henry Hawkins | January 22, 2013 at 11:20 am

    For Obama, et al, everything hinges on the 2014 midterm elections. If the Dems cannot retake the House while holding the Senate, it’s over for Obama and he’s lame ducked for two final years. Till 2014, we’ll see the same standoffs with the GOP controlled House, while the Senate continues to twiddle its thumbs. Obama will try to win in 2014 by splitting conservative and moderate Republicans. Knowing the playbook, Bill Clinton just publicly cautioned Obama about going too far and energizing the Tea Party, which delivered landslides for the GOP at the last midterms in 2010.

    One gambit for splitting conservatives from moderates in the GOP might be to use an executive order or congressinal reconciliation to make gay marriage legal under federal law. Waste no time arguing over whether this is possible – the goal is to get the GOP arguing with itself, not to actually establish it as law.

    Expect similar actions along the social/moral axis of issues, perhaps – I dunno, winging it here – more religious agencies included in contraception mandates, restricting tax-free status for selected religious orgs, banning even the mention of religion in public schools, etc., crap like that. Whatever they come up with, it’ll be something that a deeply religious GOP-er would hate, but a go along to get along moderate GOP-er might tolerate, thereby heightening the already growing gap between the current GOP leadership and its conservative base. Obama wants to, at best, create ‘Obama Republicans’ similar to Reagan Democrats, or, at worst, get moderate GOP-ers to stay home and not vote in the 2014 midterms.

    If/when such proposals emerge, do not dismiss them if they appear to obvious nonstarters – the goal is to divide and conquer the GOP, not pass legislation. But if Obama is successful with his divide and conquer plan to win the House to go with the Senate, 2014-2016 legislation will make what passed in 2008-2010 look like child’s play.

    We need to identify weak-kneed, moderate GOP-ers dropping out due to despair and get them on board.

    Henry Hawkins | January 22, 2013 at 11:34 am

    PS: Expected to see music video upper left – Steamroller by James Taylor

    Since before the election, I have been saying that Republicans need to fight Obama every inch of the way. Their failure to do so was a big reason for their defeat in November and could lead to their defeat in 2014 and 2016.

    For example, when Obama started saying back in 2008 the Republican policies were responsible for the recession, they should have responded immediately and forcefully. The causes of the recession were complex, but Republican policies, especially the few that Obama mentioned, were far less responsible than the Democrat policies. It would have been easy to point this out.

    Obama is now going back to the “rich need to pay their share” meme. That needs to be countered, because the rich now may more than their share, unless you believe that everything they make belongs to the government.

    Campaigning has changed and the Republicans need to adapt. So far they haven’t.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JayDick. | January 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      It’s the same old story. ‘Pubs are cowed by the media. They don’t want anything “bad” said about them. They are constantly on the defensive.

      It seems the day will never come when they shed their fear of being bad-mouthed and just do the right damned thing for once.

    Insufficiently Sensitive | January 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    This means a second term in which Obama… will resort more directly to executive actions and to mobilizing the public to force cooperation wherever possible.

    And ‘mobilizing the public’ is to be achieved by Obama’s new top-down 501(c)4 NGO, a mere privatization and label-switch from his immense campaign organization OFA – now ‘Organize for Action’. But it has now metastasized into a murky boiler-room operation, which accepts unlimited donations from hopeful beneficiaries of Obama’s presidential policies, and need disclose nothing of the donors nor the amounts of baksheesh. Professor Jacobson spotted it right away, and we’ve not heard the last of it.

    Greg Sargent is disingenuous in failing to report on this new, unprecedented personal street army. Worse times are before us.

    LukeHandCool | January 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    There are no blue steamrollers or red steamrollers. Only,

    “I won.”

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