Pursue the Agenda, Forget the Reeps
by Deacon Blues
AP photo of the Fiscal Responsibility Summit yesterday
After the GOP’s kamikaze mission to obstruct the stimulus package, Obama rides a wave of public support, according to the latest CBS News/NYT poll out yesterday:
President Obama is benefiting from remarkably high levels of optimism and confidence among Americans about his leadership, providing him with substantial political clout as he confronts the nation’s economic challenges and opposition from nearly all Republicans in Congress, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
A majority of people surveyed in both parties said Mr. Obama was striving to work in a bipartisan way, but most faulted Republicans for their response to the president, saying the party had objected to the $787 billion economic stimulus plan for political reasons. Most said Mr. Obama should pursue the priorities he campaigned on, the poll found, rather than seek middle ground with Republicans.
Good night, GOP. You are now history.
Most Americans said the president was trying to make good on his promise to bridge the partisan divide. About three-quarters, including 6 in 10 Republicans, said Mr. Obama had been trying to work with Republicans. But only 3 in 10 Americans said Republicans were doing the same.
On the economic stimulus plan, 63 percent of poll respondents said Republicans opposed the legislation for political reasons, not policy ones. Seventy-nine percent said Republicans should now be working in a bipartisan manner rather than holding fast with their policies.
But 56 percent of those surveyed said Mr. Obama’s priority should be following the policies he proposed during the campaign last year, rather than working with Republicans.
With that as a backdrop, Obama held the fiscal responsibility summit yesterday. It came across as him being the teacher to the rest of them, his adult to their juvenile, and him as the leader trying to navigate these tough times with worthless dogs yapping at his heels. Yet it was the beginning of a multiparty dialogue about solving the country's fiscal problems.
The summit, which progressives originally worried would be the beginning of a new effort to bash Social Security, was instead a great image of a man in charge. The administration cleverly emphasized controlling health care costs, and somewhat downplayed Social Security. Moreover, by putting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan back on budget and talking up fiscal responsibility, Obama has boxed in the GOP, who can no longer advocate for keeping the Bush tax cuts out of one side of their mouth while spewing a newfound concern for deficits from the other side.
Lastly, it was good to see the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities as a key player in administration policy, after years of right wing crap from Heritage and AEI.