Monday, July 25, 2011

Obama, In the Center

Clearly the President has read Taylor Branch's fascinating book "The Clinton Tapes," and has mastered some of the historical parallels between the clinton-GOP wars of the 104th congress and today's Tea Party led Congress. We got a taste of Obama embracing Clintonianism when, in Mid December 2010, he did a co-presser with the former President, then, surreally, allowed Bill to go it alone. There is also proof that it was on his reading list last Christmas, right before he tacked hard center. From the New York Times:
After last year’s Republican midterm victories, the Clinton comparisons surged, and Mr. Obama himself said he was reading the historian Taylor Branch’s book on Mr. Clinton, “The Clinton Tapes.” (Mr. Branch last week deemed the analogies the product of a passive electorate and cynical era in which “politics is reduced to a dangerously complacent form of entertainment.”)    
A midterm shellacking does that to a President. After his Christmas break reading of The Clinton Tapes, Obama emerged, by early 2011, as truly a Clinton-Obama hybrid -- realist, for a "responsible ending" to foreign wars, hawkish on Libya (shades of reagan), aggressively (for a Democrat) pro-business. The question now is can Obama hold the Progressive Left even as he becomes a full creature of the center. The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and a new one in Libya -- are going to be hard to explain to his left, to the young who voted for a mandate of change in '08. Then again, where will they go? Nader in 2012?

Or maybe they'll just stay home?

But if Obama could increase his vote in the center, if Obama could increase his vote of white seniors -- maybe through MediScare (so successful in NY's 26th district)? -- if Obama could increase his Hispanic vote, maybe that could offset the young idealists who, brokenhearted at Obama's Establishmentarianism, will remain home in 2012.


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