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April 11, 2011
Obama Thinks He's Winning
Paul Krugman is wrong again.
In this Sunday's column ("The President Is Missing," 4/10/11), Professor Krugman bewails President Obama's alleged passivity in the face of a triumphant Republican majority in the House of Representatives. His Exhibit "A" is the just-announced 2011 budget deal.
Professor Krugman writes, among other things, that "...the nation wants -- and, more important, the nation needs -- a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that's not what we're seeing."
Krugman's cri de coeur is strong stuff. But, with all due respect to the eminent Princeton professor and Nobel Prize winner in economics, it's also somewhat disingenuous. Does Professor Krugman really believe what he says, or is he dissembling? Because Mr. Obama's supposed inactivity -- if such it is -- is purely tactical.
It is best described as masterly inactivity.
For Mr. Obama knows that, so far, he is winning. At the moment, the Archangel Barack is the most consequential Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson.
And what have Congressional Republicans in control of the House done to repeal or begin rolling back these accomplishments?
Nothing. Because, of course, they can't. Without Republican control of the U.S. Senate and the Presidency, all of President Obama and the Democrats' historic expansions of government and entitlements will remain in place. Indeed, if the present "divided government" continues, we will continue drift towards the magic number (highlighted by columnist Mark Steyn) where a majority of Americans are paying no taxes, while most also received benefits from either the federal or state governments.
As Steyn has written, at that point, the game is up. Time to look for another country.
So, it's perfectly rational and understandable for President Obama and his allies to do no more than try to hold on to their gains. They've already made history. If the Democrats can hold on to either the White House or the Senate in the next election cycle, they'll keep ‘em too.
In short, as Doonesbury once said, back during the Nixon Administration (it was Mark Slackmeyer's father speaking): "The President is smarter than you think." Like Brer Rabbit and Brer Possum, President Obama is lying low and saying nothing. So far, he knows when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.
Only a Republican sweep in 2012 can begin to get a rollback started. And a rollback should not just take us back to 2008 either.
How about 1965?