President Obama heard the 'entire' country loud and clear
When President Obama walked up to the podium to talk about the thumping the Democrats got in the 2014 midterm election, he was not slouching. He seemed rather resolute. It is clear that while the President nominally accepts blame, he must know that acquiescing to the will of Democrats to mostly stay out of campaigning with them likely sealed their fates. They decided not to run on Democratic accomplishments that are now paying dividends.
President Obama’s seeming disaffection to the election results was so obvious that Fox News Ed Henry’s questions became a bit contentious. “I haven’t heard you say a specific thing during this news conference that you would do differently,” Ed Henry said. “You’ve been asked it a few different ways. I understand you’re going to reach out. You’ve talked about doing that before. It’s almost like you are doubling down on the same policies and approach you’ve had for six years. So my question is why not pull a page from the Clinton playbook and admit you have to make a much more dramatic shift in course these last two years.”
In other words, Ed Henry and his ilk are asking the President to capitulate to the Republicans. He brought up President Clinton as if Clinton was a model to follow. One should remember that Clinton’s capitulation – or maybe chameleonic triangulation – effected the repeal of Glass-Steagall. That was partially responsible for the 2008 financial collapse.
President Obama’s answer to Ed Henry was simple. He said he answered the question before. He is willing to work with Republicans. “I am open to working with them,” President Obama said. “on the issues where they think there is going to be cooperation.”
The President reminded the reporters that he does not have to worry about elections anymore. “My number one goal – ‘cause I am not running again. I am not on the ballot,” President Obama said. “I don’t have any further political aspirations. My number one goal is just to deliver as much as I can for the American people in these last two years. And wherever I see an opportunity no matter how large or how small to make it a little easier for a kid to go to college, make it a little more likely someone is finding a good paying job, make it a little more likely that somebody has high quality healthcare, even if I am not getting a whole loaf. I am interested in getting whatever legislation we can get passed that adds up to improved prospects and an improved future for the American people.”
It was as if the President felt a weight lifted off his shoulders. He no longer has to cater his actions to a timid Democratic Party that Howard Dean described as afraid and not standing for something. He no longer has to accept compromises to placate Blue Dogs, they are mostly gone and his Party now controls neither legislative body.
Well the President allowed his inner bold to come out this week. He negotiated a climate deal with China. He came out strongly in favor of net neutrality for the first time. It is reported that he will be going bold with an immigration executive order. The President’s spokespeople gave the impression that he would veto any fast tracking legislation on the Keystone XL pipeline. In fact as he traveled Asia he came out with a rather strong statement on the Keystone XL pipeline. He told the truth most progressives know and the media fail to report. The Keystone XL pipeline will create few US jobs and will do little to bring Canadian oil to the US. It’s goal is to use US land and Gulf of Mexico as a conduit for dirty oil to the export markets. This does not help most Americans but it enriches a select few at all our expense.
In the President’s prepared speech before the news conference he made an interesting statement to the voters. “To everyone who voted I want you to know that I hear you,” President Obama said. “To the two thirds of the voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday. I hear you too.”
The President was making it clear that he is listening to all. After-all, voter ID and misinformation by Republicans and a campaign bordering on electoral malpractice by Democrats corrupted the body politic. As a two term president who won the popular and electoral votes by a landslide, he continues to have his mandate for the policies he campaigned on.
It is important to note that while Democrats lost, their values won. Minimum wage increases were won in the Red States like Arkansas and Alaska. Marijuana legalization passed in many states as well. Personhood bills went down to defeat.
Another interesting event occurred a few days ago. Harry Reid singlehandedly elevated Elizabeth Warren into a leadership position in the Senate, strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. In other words she will be an envoy to Liberal groups.
Is Harry Reid and President Obama moving in sync? The continued experiment with Republican Lite centrism that is nothing but the Right of years past has been a failure that has corroded the Democratic Party from within. It is much worse than it seems nationally. The Party in the states have been decimated.
The rebuilding process will not be the Clintonesque triangulation that has moved the country to the Right as the middle class got decimated. It will be the type of populism that drives not only an excitement but a hope and change that needs to be realized.
President Obama heard the electorate, GO LEFT!