Jewish World Review Feb 5, 2014 / 5 Adar I, 5774
Job No. 1 for Obama --- compromise
By Dan K. Thomasson
JewishWorldReview.com | The latest presidential message is that he is not concerned about the nation's capital but about moving the country forward on the strength of its grass roots. Barack Obama is expecting to set an agenda to do that and then use executive orders and the bully pulpit to accomplish it.
What's new about that?
This is a president who always has been more comfortable campaigning than pursuing the nitty gritty of Washington politics in achieving his goals. As a consequence, he seems to have failed to develop the skills necessary to accomplish great things (with the exception of the Affordable Care Act) in a divided Congress. More time spent learning the art of political compromise and manipulation, as coarse a word as that may seem, would have served him well.
Now Barack Obama obviously faces severe challenges at a time when his overall approval with Americans is at its lowest, leaving him to face a coming midterm election that could end the congressional division in favor of the Republicans. That would, of course, make his last two years in office miserably benign with his only hope for historic redemption the things he has set in motion for a successor to accomplish like immigration reform, the end of two wars, health-care reform and a better economy.
The dilemma he finds himself in, for instance, is trying to satisfy the left of his own Democratic Party and the right of the GOP at a time when moderate Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio have indicated a willingness to tear up the party's "just say no" polices of the last five years and present him with opportunities for compromise. The first of these would be immigration. To his credit, the president has said he is willing to soften his own demands and move forward.
Another would be a positive decision on the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada through the center of the nation to the Gulf Coast. The project, which Republican proponents claim is of great benefit to America's domestic oil needs, has been solidly opposed by conservationists and the Democratic Party left as potentially environmentally disastrous.
But the State Department last week released a report finding that the pipeline would not "significantly exacerbate "climate change through greenhouse emissions, giving Obama a perfect chance to approve the plan and show he is eager for some bipartisan accommodations.
The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta, and Obama said last summer that he would favor the project if it did not further worsen the climate. Another factor Obama must consider is that if the pipeline is not approved, the oil will be loaded into railroad tankers for transportation, a potentially dangerous method since rail lines run through urban areas. On at least three occasions recently there have been derailments that cause oil spills, including one recent fire.
Yet the president seems still reluctant contending he wants to have more investigation by other Cabinet members and agency heads leaving his critics to logically conclude he wants to study the matter to death and to put Secretary of State John Kerry between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
One of the initiatives the president's men have emphasized in his determination to bypass the Congress through executive action is expanding broadband service to 20 million American students in 15,000 schools over the next two years. The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it will double from $1billion to $2 billion the amount it spends on adding high-speed Internet connections in schools and libraries. The money will come from restructuring the $2.4 billion E-rate program for advanced telecommunications and information services. The program is supported by fees paid by telecommunications users.
How much time the president spends campaigning for individual Democrat candidates over the next nine months until the November elections is problematic. Clearly his lower poll ratings have made him less desirable on the stump. On the other hand he clearly expects to be taking his agenda to the people and advocating for party candidates is routinely a part of that.
The president's State of the Union pledge to spend less time warring with Congress and more with assuring Americans that he will move forward is hardly news. It's been that way since he was first elected in 2008 and it hasn't worked terribly well.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
• 12/27/13: Fixing our schools
• 12/17/13: Geek babies? Say it ain't so
• 12/10/13: Bank profits rise as taxpayers subsidize employees
• 11/22/13: The myth vs. reality of President Kennedy
• 11/04/13: How could NSA spying surprise Obama?
• 10/01/13: Remember Valerie Plame and her hubby? She -- and her publisher -- hope you do
• 09/10/13: Public schools need lessons in effective education
• 08/21/13: NNCAA reforms can't come too soon
• 08/09/13: Military justice system failing in Fort Hood case
• 08/02/13: Bradley Manning's case offers cautionary tale
• 07/30/13: Disciplining students requires perspective
• 07/23/13: Not quite your great-great-grandfather's log cabin
• 07/12/13: Courting diversity in college enrollment
• 06/24/13: Post-arrest DNA collection is justified
• 06/18/13: Tax reform may have effective Dynamic Duo
• 06/14/13: Stop outsourcing government secrets
• 06/10/13: IRS couldn't survive one of its own audits
• 05/31/13: Higher ed gaining more support from states
• 05/24/13: Does Obama have Plausible Deniability?
• 05/20/13: Google Glass is progress at a cost
• 03/25/13: NCAA's March Madness still scores points
• 02/27/13: School safety radicals make things considerably worse
• 02/21/13: Wrestling needs a firm hold on Olympics
• 02/18/13: Obama may be able to do little about gun violence
• 12/17/12: When is a majority not a majority?
• 12/12/12: Government snooping's historical precedent
• 11/13/12: Petraeus learns a lesson the hard way
• 10/26/12: High court must settle affirmative action
• 10/16/12: Report confirms SATs flawed indicator
• 08/20/12: All the news fit to tweet?
• 07/27/12: Economic disillusionment marks young voters' views
• 07/20/12: Will Postal Service follow Pony Express route?
• 07/13/12: Paterno's statue should be covered up
• 07/10/12: 8.2 jobless rate endangers Obama's job
• 07/03/12: It's still the economy, stupid
• 06/19/12: Mitt Romney's chances look better
• 06/08/12: Pakistan not an ally worthy of the name
• 06/05/12: Americans have a right to be bloated
• 06/01/12: Quota system would dilute school's quality
• 05/27/12: Even now, Memorial Day means summer camp
• 05/18/12: Is there a public right to know too much?
• 05/09/12: American exceptionalism --- exceptional generosity
• 05/04/12: The Edwards trial is a sorry affair
• 05/02/12: Common sense needs to be taught . . . to school administrators
• 04/30/12: We must deal with college student debt rate
• 04/10/12: At least Ryan has a deficit-cutting plan
• 04/05/12: Celebrate one-year rent-a-teams?
• 03/12/12: A kinder, gentler day when fists settled disputes
• 03/05/12: Do conservatives want a victory or a statement?
• 02/27/12: Hillary vs. Jeb?
• 02/17/12: Why wait for the until GOP nominating convention?
• 02/17/12: Prez is not a god, just a cause of O.G. D.: Obama Governmental Dysfunction
• 02/13/12: Minor tardiness doesn't warrant court action
• 02/08/12: College rankings aren't always reliable
• 02/01/12: Millionaire Fans Watching Millionaire Players
• 01/30/12: Kiriakou case may plug leaks, stifle democracy
• 01/09/12: Feds need to find if Brit hackers targeted 9/11 families
• 12/23/11: NIH flu-strain decision endangers us all
• 12/09/11: U.S. Postal Service may be beyond saving
• 11/30/11: Do-gooder gets deserved earful
• 11/24/11: Lawmakers should pledge to think on their own
• 11/22/11: Iowa: Vital to GOP now, irrelevant later
• 11/16/11: Pentagon's senior mentor service takes hit
• 11/14/11: With Congress, expect more intransigence
• 11/08/11: Paterno's illustrious career faces tarnished end
• 10/31/11: The FBI is burned by its Boston informants
• 10/18//11: President Inexperienced again picked style and enthusiasm over caution. He must pay
• 10/10/11: Prosecutors routinely abuse plea bargaining
• 10/04/11: In Christie,shades of William Howard Taft
• 09/27/11: One word for Obama's prospects --- bleak
• 09/26/11: Obama quickly running out of time
• 09/23/11: Big-time college football is now all about the money
• 09/22/11: A trip to the dentist cleans out your wallet
• 09/06/11: College rankings a useless exercise
• 08/31/11: Thankful a mother isn't alive to see this hungry mess
• 08/30/11: Supercommittee should meet in secret
• 08/22/11: Is college still worth it? Some majors are
• 08/15/11: Pray for miracle from debt committee
• 08/09/11: S&P mixes credit ratings with politics
• 08/08/11: Politics again takes precedence over common sense
• 08/04/11: In modern society, a distinct pattern of senselessness
• 07/29/11: A debt solution: Throw the rascals out, all of them
• 07/21/11: Campaign finance reform --- you're kidding, right!?
• 07/08/11: Casey Anthony jury did its job
• 07/05/11: Nailing a prominent figure or institution should come at a heavy risk and an even greater price if proven a hoax
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE