There is always a presumption in presidential politics in favor of the president. He has his bully pulpit, his status as head of state. What the president wants, when the chips are down, he usually gets.
But is President Obama's position on the debt-ceiling talks as strong as it seems and as the mainstream media wants us to think? I suggest that the president's position is in fact strategically very weak.
Oh yes, the president can win any tactical fight. He can use the mainstream media to make the Republican opposition look extreme and partisan. The question is: would he want to if he wants to win reelection?
The president's basic problem, as I developed in "Where Obamanomics Went Wrong," is that he chose the wrong economic policy back in 2009. Now he is starting the reap the whirlwind, with a weak recovery, a danger of inflation, and still no bottom in the housing market. And he's scared the wits out of the business sector, as gambling king-pin Steve Wynn admits.
I'm telling you that the business community in this country is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he's gone, everybody's going to be sitting on their thumbs.
They talked this way in the late 1930s. Business has gone on strike, they said.
I can understand Obama's tactics. From his point of view, he wants to get as much liberal stuff on the wall before they ring down the curtain on this "liberal hour." The problem is, of course, this. What if this isn't just another "liberal hour" but the "Liberal Last Act," after which America turns a corner, demands real change and gets a Republican who does a real number on entitlements, and never lets a liberal in the Oval Office again?
The president is gambling that he can keep most of his agenda, win reelection, and avoid a complete blowout in the 2014 second mid-term. It's easy for him: win or lose, he'll still be America's First Black President, with all the perks and privileges of a former president. For the American people, his gamble could result in a generation of hard times.