The anticipated move to the center by Obama
Apparently that’s what everyone expects to hear in the SOTU address. And most see it as a reflection of political reality. Independents deserted the Democrats fairly quickly after the Obama administration took office, apparently not liking what they saw developing at all. So here comes the inevitable shift – at least the perception of one – to the center in order to win them back.
The left? Where are they going to go? Who else would they vote for? They’re not going anywhere despite all their grumbling and mumbling about Obama’s attempt to move right (and yes, a move by Obama to the center means a distinct move to the right). Here’s the reality:
A labor official, who asked not to be identified in order to speak more candidly about the president’s political situation, noted that “the midterm elections freed” Obama to work independently and without regard to his party’s left.
“The left understands that the choice in 2012 will be Obama or somebody far worse,” the official said. “They will have no choice, no matter what Obama says in the State of the Union address. No matter how much we complain, he knows that at the end of the day, we will be supporting him in 2012 — and that affects what he can do now. The choice for us will be an administration that disappointed us or a Republican administration that will be out to destroy us.”
Colorful language, but you get the drift. The far left is stuck with him and Obama knows it. It is the center where elections are won, and right now they don’t belong to him.
So how does he win them back?
Well the Democrats hope that it will be through leadership. Rep Anthony Weiner lays it out:
“He’s the president of the United States, and he’s got to go in there and lean into the idea that he still has an agenda he wants to accomplish,” Weiner said. “He has to make sure he’s leading the debate and Paul Ryan is responding, not the other way around.
“He has to make it clear that he’s not going to be held hostage over issues like the debt-limit increase,” Weiner said.
But, as usual and instead, the President plans to vote “present”:
But the president’s decision not to lay out his own vision for reducing the national debt has infuriated balanced-budget advocates, who fear that a bipartisan consensus for action fostered last month by Obama’s commission could wither without presidential leadership.
"There is no way you get momentum without the president. If you don’t lead now, when is it going to come?" said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "He has to go first and he has to be specific. He has to pivot to something hard."
And pander, of course:
The direction of Obama’s speech became apparent over the weekend, when the White House informed Democratic lawmakers and advocates for the elderly that he would not endorse the commission’s recommendation to raise the retirement age and make other cuts to Social Security – the single largest federal program.
The sound you hear, my friends, is that of the can being swiftly kicked down the road again – something candidate Obama said wasn’t going to happen on his watch.
The administration claims that it’s goals will be more specifically addressed in the budget request the White House submits in mid February. Per Robert Gibbs, the SOTU is just not the proper venue for specifics. Well, except when you want to take a shot at the Supreme Court, who, by the way, will only have partial attendance this year, with a group of conservative justices clearly deciding to show their disapproval of the partisan sniping they were victim too in last year’s SOTU.
Yup, all in all politics rules the day with the political advice being as predictable as sunrise. Obama, being the ultimate political animal, will indeed heed it, but the left shouldn’t look for any leadership to suddenly emerge where none has been evident in the past and the center should be wary of the now well-known smoke and mirrors show the administration puts on regularly – saying one thing and doing something else altogether.
Life in the Obama White House I’m afraid.