Today, he very clearly and loudly said: that savior persona is not me. I am the pragmatist. And you know what, I don’t have a whole lot of patience for the idealists. I share their ideals, but I don’t share their approach and I’m not going to get bogged down in recriminations over not living up to some abstract ideal.
I don’t think this a change in the fundamental truth of who he is or of what his politics are, but with today’s press conference the pretense that he might yet be someone else was finally dropped. Not only was he announcing that this is who I am, but he was also effectively declaring, I am not that other guy.
That’s a significant change in his personal narrative and as I say a change I suspect in the public narrative of his presidency going forward.
TAP’s Jamelle Bouie breaks down some of the biggest Dem Senate kick the can moments:
Indeed, this holds true for many of Obama’s big disappointments. No one forced Blue Dog Democrats to slash funding from the stimulus, and Senate Democrats weren’t required to block Obama’s plan for closing Gitmo, Max Baucus didn’t have to hold out on the “Gang of Six,” Ben Nelson could have held back on the “Cornhusker Kickback,” and Russ Feingold could have swallowed his ego and voted for financial reform. On issue after issue, Obama tried to lead, and congressional Democrats refused to follow. Granted, that’s democracy, and I don’t begrudge parochial members for holding to parochial interests. But insofar if you’re angry at Obama, you can’t attack him without also forcing these Democrats to shoulder some of the blame.
Feingold has legislative standards, principles, but quite often they do the taxpayer and liberal agenda more harm than good. Righteous isn’t always right. Feingold has shown repeatedly that if a bill isn’t as 100% liberal as he wants, he will vote against it and allow it to become even less liberal. His Fin Reg hold out was one such vote.
Salon’s Alex Pareene has some valid criticism of how we perceive the President’s negotiating style:
While congressional Democrats are to blame for putting Obama in this position, and Obama’s hands were basically tied, he continues to imagine that his liberal critics are upset with the idea that compromises need to be made in order to accomplish progressive policy goals. Some of them are that stupid. But lots of them are actually critics of the White House’s legislative strategy, and their apparent willingness to preemptively compromise before the negotiations have already begun.
It does seem that way, but I just don’t think Obama feels the need to big foot people, like he feels Chris Christie does.
People will say the press conference is hippie punching, but he calls Republicans “hostage takers”, and he states a simple fact. he has accomplished a lot, and the reality of the votes isn’t there for these fights Dems all of a sudden want to have. They Senate Dems should be ready to fight in the summer next year. It would make their winters much better.