THE MASTER—OBAMA THE BARGAINER—A ONE WAY STREET

2/25/13

Article II of the constitution, reviewing the complicated procedures by which the chief executive is to be selected. The job of the modern president is to fill the spaces left between the various articles and sections and clauses of the founding document. What our system disperses among branches, states, localities, parties and interest groups the president brings together, coordinating their effort for the national good. For the formal powers of the president do not meet the informal expectations we the people have set for him. Commands simply won’t cut it, for many of the people whom the president would command need not heed him. Members of congress, judges, and cabinet department heads, even leaser of the military have their own mandates that do not require ironclad fealty to the president. A president succeeds by persuading others to do what he wants. As advisor Richard Neustadt put it, the job of the president is: to induce, them to believe that what he wants of them is what their own appraisal of there own responsibilities requires them to do in their interest not his. Because men may differ in their views on public policy, because differences in outlooks stem form differences in duty—duty to one’s office, one’s constituents, oneself—that task is bound to be more like collective bargaining than like a reasoned argument among philosopher kings.
How powerful will president obama be in his second term? In other words how successful will he be at persuading the diverse agents of our government to do what he wants them to do? The ability to persuade, the external sources, how many seat does the president party control, what is the strength of the president and his party in the last election, what is his approval rating, and all of these factors set the boundaries for how easily the president can persuade others. BOY ARE WE SCREWED
However this presidents strengths have been enumerated extensively by a fawning press corps, he awes the press, he know he has this power over them, which remains his singles greatest source of power.
And his treatment of businessmen, inviting them the White House to merely have them serve as window dressing. Early in the negotiations over the bill obama told house minority leader Boehner and Cantor that he was interested in their ideas. He did not want to play partisan games: he just wanted to jump-start the economy. Yet when Cantor presented the president a list of suggestions, Obama brought the dialogue to any icy conclusion by infamously declaring “I WON, SO I THINK I TRUMP YOU ON THAT”
Emanuel was known to respond to other G
OP suggestions by shouting “WE HAVE THE VOTES F—‘EM”.
Take the case of Dave Camp the ranking Republican on the demo-controlled ways and means committee, yet the adm hill staff didn’t even seem to know who he was. He never saw them. Republican Boehner whose caucus, which for generations has opposed the kinds of rate, increases that $1.2 trillion in new revenue would have required. Not only did Obama fail to listen during the debt ceiling struggle, he consistently sent the other side mixed messages. April 2011 Obama blasted Ryan’s budget as “leaving seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry”, and emphasized that both sides had to avoid scaring he elderly for political points. THIS FROM OBAMA, WHAT BALLS!
White House has often cut congressional dems out of the loop, inhibiting interbranch coordination and angering leaders. At one time there were 5 bills circulating on capital hill on obamacare, 3 in the house and 2 in the senate. The white house did virtually nothing in 2009 to coordinate these efforts. In early January when the two chambers had passed their bills and it came time to work out the finer points, Obama actually stormed out of a meeting after Pelosi tartley expressed her frustration with lack of leadership. It was left to Emanuel to finish the negotiations. Even Reid was cut out of the final talks.
This president does not have a solid congressional outreach program does not have a stead grasp of the expectations of legislators in either party and does a notably poor job of communication to them what he expects. Finally given direction by some power player outside the white house, often acting to avert imminent disaster, has marked almost every major deal during his tenure.
Obama simply does not spend enough time talking to member of congress. He is too aloof, and most accounts suggest he dislikes the seemingly petty, parochial nature of Capital Hill. In an interview with journalist Ron Suskind, Obma articulated what he believes to be the core of a president job, what the president can do, that nobody else can do is tell a story to the American people about where we are and where we need to go,
The ideal modern president is one “actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust and seat and blood. Pelosi probably deserves most of the credit of the legislative victories of 2009-10. She, not Obama was the one “in the arena”.
Major breakthroughs on legislation in the next four years are likely to depend on political actors outside the white house.
As Harry Truman once said the president must spend his time “flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway”. Obama does not do this. He thinks it is beneath him.

Source—weekly standard, jay cost

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