July 9, 2008

What would a Pres. Obama face from Congress? [Karl]

As a political analyst, Dick Morris is a great pollster.  However, it is worth considering his forecast of what an Obama administration would face from a Congress that will in all likelihood be more progressive, with more Democrats than it has now:

Faced with the same situation in 1993, as he took office as president, Bill Clinton found no alternative but to move dramatically to the left, shelving for the moment his promises of a middle-class tax cut and welfare reform. He had no choice. The Democratic majorities in both Houses served him with notice: Either you stay within the caucus and not cross the aisle in search of support for centrist policies, or we will do unto you what we did to Jimmy Carter when Tip O’Neill turned on him and made his life miserable. Clinton was forced to emphasize healthcare reform over welfare changes and to go with a liberal economic stimulus package capped by big tax increases. The liberal stain sank so deeply into the fabric of his presidency that it caused him to lose Congress in 1994, and almost to lose the 1996 election.

I am again reminded of the 16-year cycle of “change” elections the US has tended to have since WWII:

Once in office, JFK, Carter and Clinton all had difficulty moving their agendas through Democratic Congresses.  And they were perceived as weak by our foreign adversaries, with serious consequences for US foreign policy that often outlasted their terms in office.

Morris here adds the interesting wrinkle that such presidents can find themselves hobbled by a Democratic Congress, regardless of whether they fight Congress (as Carter did) or become hostage to it (as Clinton did).  An Obama administration would have to Hope that Congress would Change its expectations.

Aside: Though Morris does not mention it in his column, I suspect that where he is headed with this is that John McCain will have an argument for gridlock to deploy between now and November.

Posted by Karl @ 8:00am
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Comments (24)

  1. Baracky’s agenda is Harry and Nancy’s agenda. The change he’s talking about is to dispel all pretense of governing from the center. He’ll be the first black president, you see. His legacy assured from day one. This is something new I think, and I think it changes the dynamics a lot. It’ll be Mac n Cheese and I helped on issue after issue I think as congresspeople vie for Rose Garden bill-signing pictures. Or not, but we’re talking about our congresspeople.

  2. Then you turn on the radio and sing with the singer in the band
    And think kind of sadly to yourself
    This isn’t exactly what you’d planned.

  3. O! will be a democratic fuck doll for four years, just like Jimmah!

  4. Even if Obama means what he is saying as he moves to the center trying to win the general election, the fact is that he will be forced to move very far to the left should he become president

    The chairman of the House Budget Committee said Sat that a 2009 spending blueprint passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress will restore funding for health care, energy and education while leading to a balanced budget by 2012. – Jun 7 2008

    Not only does Obama say he won’t eliminate the deficit in his first term, as McCain aims to do, he frankly says he’s not sure he’d bring it down at all in four years, considering his own spending plans.

    “I do not make a promise that we can reduce it by 2013 because I think it is important for us to make some critical investments right now in America’s families,” Obama told reporters this week when asked if he’d match McCain’s pledge. – Jul 9 2008

    I don’t think Dick Morris knows what the fuck he’s talking about really.

  5. and stay right here, cause these are the good old days I think

  6. I think it is important for us to make some critical investments right now in America’s families,” O

    You know, Happy, our socialist utopia ain’t gonna be free. Mediocrity for all!!!

  7. Morris has always seemed to me a symptom of the ill-health of our politics. I don’t mean to blame it on him, just that the fact his type can get within a hundred miles of DC and manage to stay around this long indicates something amiss.

  8. Well, Sdfree, Morris has largely been consigned to the press. Which is a positive sign, I guess.

  9. Morris likes to hire prostitutes so he can lick their toes.

    Nothing wrong with that I guess, I just think it says alot about his ability to see the potential in a situation.

  10. Thinking outside the box, as it were…

  11. Morris is a toe jam sucking hobbit!

  12. As noted in the original post, I generally don’t think much of Morris as analyst. But if the Congressional races turn out as expected, I think he’s right about the choices open to a potential Pres. O! Go left and suffer the backlash, or go center and have Congress crap all over him.

  13. BTW,

    Morris is also the guy who invented suing Big Tobacco for health costs. A terrible idea, but effective.

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  15. the choices open to a potential Pres. O! Go left and suffer the backlash, or go center and have Congress crap all over him.

    Sounds like a “win-win” to me.

  16. Carter and Clinton also didn’t have to deal with renegade Congresscritters conducting their own “foreign policy” while waging a battle with the Executive over Constitutional separation of powers.

  17. I think blue-dog Democrats are going to be more of a factor than anyone realizes.

  18. …I think it is important for us to make some critical investments right now in America’s families,”

    heh.

    I get it. What he means by “investment” is telling psrents to “fuck off”.

    Your kids are OURS!

  19. Comment by Sdferr on 7/9 @ 9:50 am #

    Morris has always seemed to me a symptom of the ill-health of our politics. I don’t mean to blame it on him, just that the fact his type can get within a hundred miles of DC and manage to stay around this long indicates something amiss.

    I live in the same town where Morris does (or did), and one night I met him at an Indian restaurant where he was picking up “to go” food.

    I think it was about 1992.

    Anyway, it was before he was famous, and someone asked him what he did. He said “I do some consulting for the White House”. Whereupon, I said, “Why in the world would you ever say that out loud? Clinton is an asshole.”

    He, (and most of the other people there) gave me dirty looks.

    Fortunately, it was about three months before I stopped drinking, and I was toasted enough to start laughing (derisively).

    I don’t think little Dick liked that very much.

    But I saw him in the bank about a year ago, and he remembered my name – which to me, seems very telling. Nothing better than a Karate chop to the ego.

    He should have listened to me. If he had, he probably would never have been busted for toe sucking.

    But he actually is a pretty nice guy – if you can bury his career.

    And he’s also really short.

  20. I think Dick Morris is on the money on this one. Although an intelligent man, IF Obama becomes president he will be taken advantage of by the more experienced members of his party who wish to push through their own agendas. The Democratic Party leaders are well aware of this, and probably part of the reason the super delegates so willingly support Obama over the Clintons. Sorry to say, but politics as usual–no real change in sight.

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