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:
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.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.