What would a Pres. Obama face from Congress? [Karl]
As a political analyst, Dick Morris is a great pollster.Ã‚Â However,Ã‚Â it is worth considering hisÃ‚Â forecast of what an Obama administration would face fromÃ‚Â a Congress that will in all likelihood be moreÃ‚Â 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 ofÃ‚Â theÃ‚Â 16-year cycle of Ã¢â‚¬Å“changeÃ¢â‚¬Â elections the US has tended to have since WWII:
Once in office, JFK, Carter and Clinton all hadÃ‚Â difficulty moving their agendas throughÃ‚Â Democratic Congresses.Ã‚Â And they were perceived as weak by our foreign adversaries, with serious consequences for US foreign policy thatÃ‚Â 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 becomeÃ‚Â hostage to it (as Clinton did).Ã‚Â 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 isÃ‚Â headed with thisÃ‚Â is that John McCain will have an argument for gridlock to deployÃ‚Â between now andÃ‚Â November.