So President Obama is finished with implementing the care and feeding of his public-sector supports in his stimulus package and the federalization of health care. Now, according to Michael Barone, he has switched to playing politics, firing up the base for the mid-term elections.
Yes. Now he's dangling financial reform in front of voters mad at fat-cat bankers, and dangling immigration reform in front of Hispanic voters. But will it work, writes Barone?
[I]f policy doesn’t work, try politics. Gallup reports that “very enthusiastic” voters favor Republicans 57 percent to 37 percent in congressional elections. Will attacks on Wall Street, deep-sixing the cap-and-trade bill, and getting beaten on immigration change that? The Obama Democrats hope so. But I wouldn’t bet heavily on it.
Evidently the president thinks that he can paint Republicans into a corner as the paid puppets of Wall Street and the bigoted enemies of hard-working immigrants.
One thing about President Obama. He always exudes a remarkable self-confidence, as if he knows what he is doing.
But does he?
Is he really going to win by dividing the American people on immigration? We know that Gov. Jan Brewer's popularity (R-AZ) has skyrocketed since she signed the law on immigration status enforcement. We know that the 2006 immigration effort crashed on divisions in both parties and the American people's strong opposition to any amnesty for illegal immigrants until border security was improved.
After a year of President Obama, the dominating fact of his presidency is the willingness to go against the will of the American people in implementing items on the liberal agenda. For a conservative it is breathtaking, because conservatives always feel that they must have the American people pushing at their backs in order to make headway against the steady trade-wind of the mainstream media and the educated class. It was breathtaking when President Clinton fired the White House travel office back in 1993. No conservative would think of committing such blatant patronage, not in plain sight. But Clinton understood that he would get a bye from the Democrat-friendly media. Likewise, President Obama knows that he can do unpopular things because he's sailing downwind, with a friendly media wafting him along.
Unless the American people rise up and vote him down.
The question for this fall is: will the dividing line fall in the right place for the president or not?
Let us think of the president's politicking not as a threat but an opportunity to redraw the lines on the playing field.
Surely the Dodd financial reform bill presents a once in a generation opportunity to tell the American people the truth. It's not Republican Senators that are in the pockets of Wall Street, as they think on Comedy Central. Come now, folks, you can't believe something like that. It's Wall Street that's in the pockets of the Democratic Party. That's why Wall Street pays big bucks to Democrats and not the other way around.
Let me repeat this, because I don't want to be misunderstood. To understand power relations, you need to know, as Lenin insisted: Who Whom. Who is sucking up to whom, who is paying tribute, and who is collecting tribute?
Back when Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House of Representatives in November 1994 the first thing he did was sent the word out to K Street that there needed to be more business contributions to Repubicans, and more Republicans working for the lobbying firms. Who whom.
But the American Association of Retired Persons, the fabled AARP, doesn't pay tribute to anyone. The president goes to the AARP, not vice versa.
So let's grab the opportunity to change the minds of the American people. It's not Republicans who encourage "too big to fail" banks. It's Democrats.
There's a similar opportunity on immigration. The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the mainstream media have done a bang-up job on selling the idea that the American people--and Republicans and conservatives in particular--are bigoted nativists.
And not just in America. Prime Minister Gordon Brown thinks the same of his own white working-class Labour supporters. Now there is an opportunity to establish another narrative.
It's not the people that are the bigots. It's the educated elite that are the bigots, cruelly allowing illegal immigrants to enter the country and be forced to live in the shadows where they become victims of every kind of discrimination and shakedown. Instead we should finish the fence, enforce the law, and then write an honest and fair immigration reform bill.
For too long, Republicans and conservatives have been afraid of their own shadows. It's time to meet the cynical manipulations of the Democrats, take principled, honorable positions on issues the American people care about, and boldly seek to persuade the persuadable.