Opinion

The Great Debate

Obama’s Two Choices: Good and Better

By Keith Koffler
February 26, 2013

President Barack Obama must like the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue right now. Politically speaking, the sky is clear, and the few clouds on the horizon have silver linings.

Because where things now stand with Congress, if he wins – he wins. And if he loses – he wins.

Getting Republicans to bend to his will on any of the banner issues this year – whether immigration reform, gun control or deficit reduction – will help enshrine him as a president of real achievement. If he fails, however, these same issues can be used as bludgeons to pound Republicans as heartless, even racist, knuckle-draggers who only want to service their rich masters.

It’s also unclear whether the disunited Republicans are in a position, or frame of mind, to do much about this.

In many respects, Obama has, in fact, failed. The economy remains a basket case, with unemployment still near 8 percent. In foreign policy, Iran is getting closer every day to the bomb; China is spreading its wings over U.S. allies, and the Middle East is in chaos.

But presidents are generally remembered for achieving one or two Big Things ‑ and Obama has risen to that standard. Obamacare, for better or worse – I say for worse – will reshape the delivery of healthcare in the United States. It may change forever the relationship of government to the people, with an even wider assumption that Washington has the right to control our destinies. This is, as Vice President Joe Biden noted, a big … deal.

Obama has also precipitously withdrawn U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, recasting the United States as a far more restrained player in world affairs.

If the president can add immigration reform and changes in gun law to his portfolio, while substantially increasing the progressivity of the tax code, he will go down in history as the transformative president he hoped to be.

But even if he fails to pass his agenda this year, just think of the possibilities for demonizing his opposition! Obama can perhaps shred the already tattered GOP brand so much more that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will have a solid chance of seizing the gavel from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2014.

Obama spent his 2012 re-election campaign putting the hapless Republican nominee Mitt Romney on the operating table and turning him into a political Frankenstein. Romney, as remade by Obama, didn’t care a whit about half the country – 47 percent, to be exact. He wanted to re-enslave African-Americas (Biden’s contribution) and realize the fondest dreams of the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent. He would do all this while waging a “war on women” and playing a role in outsourcing every other U.S. job to India.

Obama signaled that he has every intention of continuing to lob his ad hominen fusillades when he told Al Sharpton during a radio interview last week that Republicans would rather sink the nation into despair than abandon their love affair with the rich.

“My sense,” Obama said, talking about the GOP position on the sequester, “is that their basic view is that nothing is important enough to raise taxes on wealthy individuals or corporations, and they would prefer to see these kinds of cuts that could slow down our recovery over closing tax loopholes. And that’s the thing that binds their party together at this point.”

So Republicans would rather see the country sink into sequester-induced Hades than harm one hair on the heads of their rich friends? Really?

One can be sure, once the sequester takes hold, that every teacher, fireman and police officer who has lost a job – along with anyone whose ambulance didn’t arrive in time or whose flight was delayed more than 15 minutes – will be paraded through the East Room so that all might know only cold hearts beat in Republicans’ breasts.

If significant gun control measures aren’t passed, the president will be seen shaking his head in pity for the rising death toll that Republicans refused to prevent – just so they could please their masters in the National Rifle Association.

The most unpleasant possibilities surround the immigration bill. The White House has already shown it is willing to inject race into political campaigns.

Biden’s suggestion that Republicans want a return to slavery is only the most egregious example. Obama, during the 2010 campaign, charged Republicans were “counting on … black folks staying home” and advised Latinos to head to the polls and “punish” their “enemies.”

Biden, meanwhile compared Republicans to the anti-Catholic and xenophobic Know Nothing Party of the 1850s. Michelle Obama suggested those who support voter ID laws are trying to make African-Americans “feel unwelcome in the voting booth.” She also argued that what was at stake in the 2012 election was the right of “every child” to get to the top “no matter what she looks like.”

Once the GOP favorability rating has fallen below that of the Taliban, Democrats will be poised to seize Congress. Then, Obama may well get his legislation passed – with the added bonus of having politically disemboweled his enemy.

Resistance by the GOP isn’t futile. More Americans still consider themselves more conservative than liberal. But if Republicans can’t find something to pull them together and out of their current fractious state, they may not pose effective opposition until they settle on a single messenger – and message – in 2016.

But by then they’ll be confronting another Frankenstein from Obama’s laboratory: Liberal policies so firmly ensconced that they may take a generation to reverse – if ever.

 

PHOTO (Top) President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association at the White House in Washington, February 25, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

PHOTO (Insert Middle): President Barack Obama walks through the colonnade of the White House in Washington, February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

PHOTO (Insert Bottom): Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young


 

 

 

 

 

Comments
10 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The author complains that if immigration reform isn’t passed Obama and his ilk will accuse the Republicans of racism? Gee, I wonder why. We have seen a centrist president whose policies are right of center compared to Tricky Dick Nixon vilified and treated with an utter lack of respect by congressional Republicans. Obama has to work every day with the elephant in the room that is that racism, as do people of color during their everyday lives. To deny racism exists on the right is pitiful and shameful. It’s time to call it what it is. Does anybody really think the tea party rallying cry of “Let’s Take Back America!” doesn’t refer to the fear of older white Americans as they stare at the demographic changes taking place?

Posted by MisterSmith | Report as abusive
 

“So Republicans would rather see the country sink into sequester-induced Hades than harm one hair on the heads of their rich friends? Really?”

Yes, really. You should have stopped right there, the point has been made over and over again – backed up by reality – which is more than I can say about the remainder of your piece.

Posted by JilliBrown | Report as abusive
 

As evidenced by the comments above, most of America has bought into the class warfare and race baiting of the current administration. Apparently, from now on success must be penalized by the government. Progressives have convinced the uneducated and poorly informed they are correct and the fundamental properties of the Constitution and Bill of Rights will forever be trampled on. It really doesn’t matter who wins elections from now on, the majority appears to have bought into demonizing success. Personal responsibility and hard work will never be rewarded again.

Posted by Oredigr | Report as abusive
 

The undeniable truth in Mr. Koffler’s tea leaves, which he is NOT misreading, is that neither political party has any genuine intent of stopping the growth of the size and influence of the American government. The sequester cuts are patently inadequate to meaningfully address the chronic overspending endemic in how America “does business”, and yet each party sees disaster if we do not keep on a course all agree is “unsustainable”.

In election after election “we, the people” are presented with choices of “bad” and “worse”. We can no longer vote “for” someone or something, but only “against”. There is no consensus as to what kind of nation America should be,, and no individual pushing for the PUBLIC debates necessary to define and support such consensus.

Without agreed priorities and agreed fiscal policy, we have what we have…a government responding to endless demands that will grow until it collapses. No government can afford to be everything to everybody.

Any light at the end of this tunnel is more likely another train on a collision course. More and more it seems all one can do is point, yell, and take cover from the inevitable.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Pretty funny Mr. Koffler. A broadside critique of the Republican brand by impersonating its paranoid delusional mindset to its fullest.

Posted by Sanity-Monger | Report as abusive
 

MisterSmith has no idea what he’s writing about. Immigration reform is about ILLEGAL immigration, not race. Obama is nowhere near a centrist or right of center politically- that’s just ignorant of the facts. A better comparison than Nixon would be to compare his own senate record to a contemporary Republican senator. And how soon you forget liberals crying about taking their country back from Geo Bush. And the name-calling he took. So back to your own delusions.

Posted by ArnoldLayne | Report as abusive
 

it’s all about… Bush!

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive
 

Praise by damning Obama. How original. But there is one point that is sheer fabrication. Iraq withdrawal. We were not wanted there. There was no status of forces agreement to protect our troops after the deadline. The deadline was the doing of President Bush.

And Romney remade by Obama? Obama is not responsible for the fact that Romney simply could not connect with people outside his circle.

Republicans in the House have gerrymandering to thank for being in control. That is not going to change anytime soon. It comes down do they want to govern, or simply say no? And so far, they say no even to things Republicans in the past have favored.

Posted by pavoter1946 | Report as abusive
 

@Sheep. Are there only two of us in this world that see the Beltway for what it really is? It’s all about the political aristocracy squeezing 330 million people to secure their personal power, influence and wealth.

“Journalists” such as Mr. Koffler only serve as shills to the same aristocracy.

Those who think this is exclusive to one party are delusional. It will not change until we implement term limits for all, including a provision that one must resign their current position as soon as they announce for another.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive
 

@One of the Sheep:

Yes, the powers that be in Washington are not friendly to the wishes of the common people, and put forth the idea that we cannot know what is good for ourselves. Do not trust those who see you as a “resource”, and pay attention to who they are. Trust not their smiles!

Posted by usagadfly | Report as abusive
 

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