American Elephants

Just What Would You Do With Another Four Years? by The Elephant's Child

The Wall Street Journal says President Obama “has fundamentally shifted his view of modern presidential power” and “is now convinced the most essential part of is job, given politically divided Washington, is rallying public opinion to his side. As a result, if he wins a second term, Mr. Obama plans to remain in campaign mode.”

“The president views a second term in some ways as a second chance, an opportunity to approach the office differently. ..He would like to tackle issues such as climate change, immigration, education and filibuster reform.  He has told some aides that a sizable mistake at the start of his administration was his naiveté in thinking he could work with Republicans on weighty issues.”

Well, there you go. It’s all the Republicans’ fault.

I pay particular attention to comments on most anything from Richard Epstein, professor of law at the University of Chicago and NYU, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He knew Obama at the University of Chicago and through his neighbor who was a particular friend of Obama’s. He said that Obama never participated in the intellectual discourse at Chicago, and thus never subjected himself to strong ideas articulated by people who disagree with you. And this is where we are.

Obama never seriously attempted to “work with” Republicans, he was not open to compromise, or even open discussion. In his mind, “working with” was explaining to Republicans that they should agree with him on what were to Republicans matters of principle. Having never put his ideas out there to be shot down, he didn’t understand that he would have to give too.

In Tampa, President Obama said his relection might end the political stalemate in Washington, much “like popping a blister.”

The president said he wants to a better job of explaining to the public how his policies will help the economy grow. Obama claims he didn’t do a good enough job selling Americans on the stimulus plan and the auto company bailout because he was so focused on acting to fix the economy.

Obama’s self-assessment of his one acknowledged shortcoming during the past four years is his failure “to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity  and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

“He has concluded  that he was slow to understand or embrace the role of president as a kind of national counselor.” Gaack.

[W]e were in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, so we had to just do stuff fast. And sometimes it wasn’t popular,” Obama told Time. “And we didn’t have the luxury of six months to explain exactly what we were doing with the Recovery Act, which was basically a jobs act and making-sure-middle-class-families-didn’t-fall-into-poverty act.”

It wasn’t a flop because he didn’t tell us enough stories. It was a flop because Keynesian economics simply doesn’t work, as has been proven over and over. The problem is not a shortage of demand, and you can’t create demand in the economy by taking money out of the economy and then putting it back in. No multiplier.  Doesn’t work.

Richard Epstein also says that Obama does not change his mind. If he believed in a stimulus in 2008, he believes in a stimulus today — his ideas are set in concrete. Again, this goes back to his failure to put his ideas out there to be shot down so he can learn where others disagree, and revise his thinking on that basis.

You will notice that in his ideas for his next term, Obama mentions neither the economy or unemployment. Filibuster reform? Good luck with that. The President wants a Do-Over, or as they say in golf, a Mulligan. Obama is trying to steer the national conversation away from that which is the most important priority to most voters.

A second term is not supposed to be a second chance to do what you were supposed to do the first time around. “Just what”, the Economist asked on their cover, “would you do with another four years?”Apparently, just more of the same.  We need to let him go.

2 Comments so far
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He’s not entirely sure what he’d do with another four years, but whatever he did, it would be the Republicans fault.


Comment by Lon Mead

He doesn’t take the blame for much, does he. Only that he didn’t tell us enough stories. There is a disconnect there. He doesn’t seem to really grasp that others may disagree in principled ways. Just Republican intransigence. Odd.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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