Barack Obama brings to mind a world-class athlete I once saw, slogging through deep sand to strengthen his legs for competition.
In Libya and Washington, the President is doing just that, certainly not by choice, but it could help get him into condition for the 2012 marathon.
With only days left to avoid a government shutdown, he is pushing through Republican resistance even as they unload an even bigger pile of muck for the year ahead.
“We want to get spending and debt under control,” says House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, “and we want to get the economy growing, and we want to address the big drivers of our debt, and that is the entitlement programs. We have a moral obligation to the country to do this.”
As always, the GOP is grading morality on a highly skewed upward curve.
“It seems to be the same old, same old,” says Chris Van Hollen, the Committee’s ranking Democrat. “It’s going to be continued big tax breaks for millionaires and big corporate special interests like oil companies and deep cuts in education for kids and health care for seniors.”
The President will likely avert this week’s shutdown (even John Boehner can remember as far back as Newt Gingrich), but his campaign challenge will be to beat back the ruinous Tea Party surge toward dismantling government rather than trimming it back–and then communicate that choice to the voters.