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Posted by on Apr 11, 2011 in Politics | 0 comments

Quote of the Day on Barack Obama’s Political Tightrope Act

On a day when astute political observers seem to be coming to the consensus that in The Big Budget Showdown House Speaker John Boeher “won,” the real political show to watch will be President Barack Obama’s political rightrope act — which leads to our political Quote of the Day.

Make no mistake about it: Obama now enters his most political difficult phase ever:

  • He is not feared by his party’s liberal base which in fact seems to have more fear about how much more of the New Deal/Great Society farm he will “give way”.
  • He is not feared by Republicans who now clearly feel they can press and press and press. GOPers are now, in fact, setting much of the agenda and the political assumptions of American political debate.”
  • Consensus and compromise are increasingly dirty, obscene words to many in the bases of both political parties.
  • There are an increasingly number of suggestions on various websites that Obama could face a Democratic primary challenger. It would have to be a relatively strong one to have any impact (Dennis Kucinich ain’t it.). But get ready because this theme will likely increase. Others note this, too.

    Within this context, here’s our Quote of the Day from Dick Polman:

    The electoral risk for Obama, at least with respect to revving up the Democratic base, is that his chosen role of Great Compromiser will inspire more snores than enthusiasm. It’s all well and good to be a reasonable guy who is open to compromise, but the Democratic base is still wondering whether Obama has convictions on which he is loathe to compromise.

    Compromise, in itself, is merely a process; it is not a substitute for principles. And only one side right now is pushing its principles; the Republicans are already poised to squeeze him hard on the ’12 budget, with their principled pitch to end Medicare as we know it, and lower the tax rate for rich people.

    Plouffe, on Meet The Press, suggested that those GOP’s ideas won’t fly at the bargaining stage (“certainly the president is not going to support a lot of what’s in that plan”), but where’s the evidence that Obama will stand firm? Obama is slated to outline his own ’12 budget ideas in a Wednesday speech – he’ll reportedly propose tax hikes for the rich, along with Medicare savings that would preserve the program – but Obama’s supporters, the people he needs to vote en masse in 2012, are undoubtedly concerned that he’ll move the needle rightward, in the spirit of “coming together” and “common ground.”

    What’s the good of compromise, his own voters may ask themselves, if the Republicans continue to roll him? Because thus far it would appear that the raja of reasonableness is channeling The Beatles:

    “Come together, right now, over me.”
    But Obama still seems like he has the edge in the ’12 presidential race. At least at the moment. In the wake of his official re-election announcement last week, I looked at his re-election odds in my Sunday newspaper column.

    Read the column in its entirety.