Same Song, Second Verse

President Obama has been making a fair amount of noise lately about how, having endured his first term in office, he’s become wiser in his application of the powers of the presidency. So how is he applying his newfound insights to the upcoming negotiations over the fiscal cliff? Well

He will travel beyond the Beltway at times to rally public support for a deficit-cutting accord that mixes tax increases on the wealthy with spending cuts … 

Mr. Obama will keep his grass-roots organization in place to “have the president’s back,” as its members like to say, on the budget negotiations and other issues in the second term. Democrats concede that the network has not been a particularly effective legislative lobby to date. But they argue that when it was activated to pass payroll tax cuts and low-interest student loans, the pressure made a difference.

Yes, that magical grassroots coalition; the one that is so effective that it convinced Congress to give people free stuff. How do they do it?

If the president had been paying close attention during his first term, he may have noted that these barnstorming tours tended to decrease America’s affection for him. Better to stay in Washington, keep your head down, and do the job.

Lesson not learned. Prepare for four more years of coast-to-coast hectoring.

  1. Fredösphere

    Isn’t it a complete myth that presidents can move public opinion on any specific issue by barnstorming tours? Certainly Obama and W had nothing to show for such efforts.

    I believe that Reagan was the one exception; he could give one speech and the phone lines to congressional offices would be flooded. But Reagan was a freak, essentially, and no other president has duplicated his success–right?

    Let the President make our day.

  2. KC Mulville

    Seems to me he’s been non-stop campaigning for the last two years. I wonder how much time … literally and figuratively … he’s actually spent in the office.

    What he’s learned …. sheesh …

  3. Matthew K. Tabor

    “Same song, second verse” — agreed. But the real solution is to turn the radio off and get to work.

  4. Pseudodionysius
    KC Mulville: Seems to me he’s been non-stop campaigning for the last two years. I wonder how much time … literally and figuratively … he’s actually spent in the office.

    What he’s learned …. sheesh … · 1 hour ago

    So little time, so many golf courses.

  5. Chris O.

    What he’s learned, then, is that this tactic fails repeatedly, so…he’ll try again. Look it’s not his tactic, he’s just using the activist playbook.

    It is interesting that this tactic is one-way communication. Speeches are not meant to be that way, but if your focus is always on a teleprompter…

    If he tried to open a dialogue with anyone (other than beers with cops and professors), perhaps he’d get a bit further and in the process there might be actual learning, rather than paying lip service.

  6. KC Mulville
    Pseudodionysius

    So little time, so many golf courses.

    Every time he speaks, his policies sink in the polls. When he isn’t in your face, the Idea of Obama replaces the Barack of Obama.

    I hope he’s learned that much, at least.

  7. Valiuth

    It’s okay Troy. The president will surely give a speech before congress that will rally the nation behind him, bridge the divide between himself and the opposition, and become a must read for all future American History majors. 

    With the election over people will go back to not caring, if they ever actually did. The new normal is here. We don’t expect things to get better, and we have re-elected the man that will live down to our expectations. 

    I think the Republicans should get out ahead of this and propose a really big deal. Raise taxes on the rich get rid of their deductions, and then slash budget down by nine dollars for every dollar raised in revenue over the next decade. Make the budget cuts come out of every department, but let every department choose what to cut, make them proportional and make them include Social Security and Medicare. Then be willing to settle for six dollars in cuts to every one raised as long as the half the cuts occur before the implementation of the tax increases. 

  8. Pilli

    The President may not be able to get people to light up the White House phone lines…but Rush can.  Maybe the President can get help from Rush.  NOT.

  9. BlueAnt

    The same grass-roots populace, of whom only 15% cared about the deficit over the economy and jobs?

    issues.png

    And of those 15%, Obama lost 2/3 of their vote.  I’m not sure what exactly he expects to gain by going “back to the people” on this one.

  10. SunnyOptimism

    Valiuth

    Then be willing to settle for six dollars in cuts to every one raised as long as the half the cuts occur before the implementation of the tax increases. 

    Sorry, but this will not happen.  Tax increases are permanent and immediate because there is a Treasury and IRS to collect them.  Budget cuts require multiple departments and mid-level bureaucrats to implement them.  Too much inertia to overcome not to mention the “grassroots” temper-tantrums that will happen.

    Tax cuts must come first, be enacted into law and then only allow rates to go up once the cuts actually happen.  Also, tax rate increases must be allowed to expire every 2 years and require re-authorization by Congress.

  11. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    Obama’s game will be to try to bully the Republicans, and it will not work. They were just recently elected, too, and they are not afraid of him.

  12. mask

    Obama is a one trick pony.

  13. Valiuth
    SunnyOptimism

    Sorry, but this will not happen.  Tax increases are permanent and immediate because there is a Treasury and IRS to collect them.  Budget cuts require multiple departments and mid-level bureaucrats to implement them.  Too much inertia to overcome not to mention the “grassroots” temper-tantrums that will happen.

    Tax cuts must come first, be enacted into law and then only allow rates to go up once the cuts actually happen.  Also, tax rate increases must be allowed to expire every 2 years and require re-authorization by Congress. · 1 minute ago

    I think you can delay the rate of increase and make it dependent on budget cuts happening. Also can’t you just give a department less money? I mean if they don’t have the money how can they spend it…can a department just put IOUs on the budget?

    I don’t think tax increases should expire every two years though that is as silly as an expiring tax cut. Our goal should be a stable tax rate, whatever it may be. I think stability is probably more important than a marginally lower rate. 

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