Monday, November 15, 2010

Caddell and Schoen must have smoked some bad granola

Caddell and Schoen must have smoked some bad granola before suggesting that Obama not run for re-election.  There are two fundamental problems with this idea; firstly, Obama would never do that, and secondly, it wouldn’t accomplish what Caddell and Schoen think it would.

Obama doesn’t understand why Democrats got pummeled in November.  He seems to think it’s (1) a function of the economic environment, and (2) not accomplishing transformational change fast enough.  As to the first, that is surely a factor, but it is a factor that he and the Congress exacerbated with their agenda of, well, transformational change.  Obama’s excuse of insufficient change is ridiculous because, in the words of NR’s Victor Davis Hanson, “It’s as if Bush had explained his nosedive in the polls by his failure to invade Syria and Iran or expand Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.”

Obama does have reason to be confused.  Despite ongoing insistence that Obama campaigned as a moderate, anybody with the sense to consider his positions knew he was campaigning more or less openly as a small-s socialist of the vaguely euro-Fabian variety.  He favored wealth redistribution through a negative tax rate.  He professed a philosophy of raising certain taxes for purposes of “fairness” even when it was stipulated that raising that tax would bring in less money to the government. On his 2008 campaign website he proposed banning “scab” employees, which, in conjunction with his support for EFCA/”Card Check”, would give unions a stranglehold over capital.  As a candidate, he supported the Global Poverty Act, a massive trillion dollar international redistribution scheme.  Even before the total collapse of the auto industry, Obama was promoting dirigiste re-tooling loans to the Big Three.  And this is without examining the shady characters from his past, or relying on offhanded remarks to plumbers -- these are merely some of the items he actually campaigned on.

So Obama campaigned as a socialist (- again, small “s”), was elected, and proceeded to govern as a socialist in keeping with his campaign promises.  Surely the electorate knew what it was voting for, no?  And yet, the people grumbled.  It should then come as no surprise that Obama doesn’t “get it”, and from Obama’s recent media appearances it is fairly clear that this is still the case.

Schoen & Caddell:
If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.

This is a little too messianic for my tastes.  If only the President would sacrifice himself, the Republic could be saved!

S & C
Obama can restore the promise of the election by forging a government of national unity, welcoming business leaders, Republicans and independents into the fold. But if he is to bring Democrats and Republicans together, the president cannot be seen as an advocate of a particular party, but as somebody who stands above politics, seeking to forge consensus.

If the guy still thinks he’s right, and doesn’t understand why (or even that) the electorate rejected his policies, he’s not going to be eager to compromise on ideological matters.  Moreover, certain big issues are ones where compromise is fundamentally impossible, where completely opposite plans cannot be reconciled.

And if he still thinks he’s right, and still thinks that the voters want his particular variety of change, he’s not going to step aside in order to travel this path.  Caddell’s and Schoen’s plan will die in its crib from the twin ailments of unworkability and unlikeliness.

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