For Mr. Obama, the sharp drop in the projected deficit, announced Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, served as a reminder that if he finishes his term with a healthier economy, it may matter more to his legacy than this week’s setbacks.
Still, the latest furors could harden an impression of an Obama presidency that has expanded the reach of government further than many Americans would like. And they can undermine a powerful tool of the presidency, the ability to focus public attention.
Translation: The Jackels have moved in for the kill.
Mr. Obama recognized the dynamic while a senator, telling aides that a president could drive just 15 to 20 percent of the public agenda; the rest of the time, he had to react. In that light, aides say, Mr. Obama maintains his famed equanimity and, free of campaign pressures, takes a longer view.
“Being in office for nearly four and a half years gives the president some perspective — it helps separate the signal from the noise,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a White House senior adviser. “When you have dealt with real life-and-death problems, the political ones seem much smaller and affect you less.”
True. Especially when you’re getting over 40 Death Threats a day.
Yet Mr. Obama also expresses exasperation. In private, he has talked longingly of “going Bulworth,” a reference to a little-remembered 1998 Warren Beatty movie about a senator who risked it all to say what he really thought. While Mr. Beatty’s character had neither the power nor the platform of a president, the metaphor highlights Mr. Obama’s desire to be liberated from what he sees as the hindrances on him.
“Little remembered” only to a beltway pinhead such as yourself.
“Probably every president says that from time to time,” said David Axelrod, another longtime adviser who has heard Mr. Obama’s movie-inspired aspiration. “It’s probably cathartic just to say it. But the reality is that while you want to be truthful, you want to be straightforward, you also want to be practical about whatever you’re saying.”
a fortiori plain speaking runs in the family
Meanwhile over in New York magazine Jonathan Chait chimes in
A post-presidency Obama who actually spoke his mind, rather than fashion himself a post-partisan eminence, as post-presidents do — now that would be awesome. But the reason politicians don’t go Bulworth is that it doesn’t work. The truth about legislative dynamics is complicated and depressing. People don’t want to hear it.
Last night, for example, Obama said of the IRS scandal, “The good news is it’s fixable, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to fix it.” That is some prime-caliber bullshit. Of course it’s not in the Republicans’ best interest to fix the problems with IRS enforcement. It’s in their interest to prevent any fix and let the problems linger as long as possible.
But if he had said that, there would have been a huge outcry, and probably a presidential apology. Nobody objected to Obama’s faux-naïve claim that Republicans will naturally want to solve the problem. Bullshit works. Bulworth doesn’t.
What Chait choses to disremember is that truth-telling led to Bulworth’s assassination.
He has also chosen to ignore what Warren’s said about politics in other contexts.
IOW, he’s known the score from the start
As for the President R&B trumps Hip-Hop
As for the 4th Estate, we’ve known its theme song for some time now. Haven’t we Randy?