I recall Hillary’s quote during her campaign that she and Mcain both had the experience for the presidency. Obama made a great speech in 2002. Voting present in the Illinois House. Then only a couple years in the US senate.
He never established the vital personal relationships that are needed to get things done. Worst yet, by all account he’s not a very personable or warm guy. From what I’ve read and heard he didn’t use his first term to make those vital human connections.
I’ve heard several hours of the Johnson tapes. Johnson was the ultimate networker. There’s recorded calls he made at all hours of the night. Personally calling different people in the house and Senate. Calling in favors and arm twisting. Those decades as a Senator paid off in spades. Listening to those tapes is a Graduate course in how a efficient government works.
Clinton is my favorite President. A master at the glad hand and back slapping thats so needed to build direct bridges with other politicians in both parties. He was my governor and I read a lot about his work. Clinton would hang out in the halls of the legislator. Shaking hands and urging the members to support his bills. He was tireless in doing that. Then in Washington it was more formal but I think he still reached out from the White House. Quiet meetings that never made the press. Even with Clintons personable approach there still was the budget crises and government shutdown. Eventually Clinton found a way to work with Newt Gingrich and they got some good legislation done.
After 4 years I don’t see Obama’s approach changing. His idea of governing seems to be dragging in the Speaker of the House and and Senate Majority Leader. That kind of formal meetings isn’t going to cut it. It takes years to build relationships in the House and Senate. Tap into those blocks of power. I see no indication at all that Obama has even tried to do that.
In fairness I’d say exactly the same about Bush the 2nd. He sucked at building those relationships too.
Clinton was the last master politician that we’ve had. Reagan built his alliances in the House and Senate after he was elected. He made friends with Tip O’Neill and got a lot done. They got together every week just to hang out and get to know each other.
I don’t think we’d be any better off with Romney. Another odd duck with zero personality and no experience.
Even if Obama had a cudgel of +5 charisma, I don’t think it would help. The problem, at least with the fiscal crisis, is that “no new taxes” is the hill that the Republicans have chosen to die on. (My guess is that the reason for this is that if taxes do go up AND the economy improves, then their last shred of credibility evaporates.)
I’m approaching fifty and never seen such a dysfunctional government. Getting anything done at all just seems like you’re moving a mountain. I ran across an article a few months ago about critical restoration work that needs to be done on the Capital building. It’s literally falling apart in places. They can’t even manage to fund those repairs. The building they work in and these clowns can’t even get that done.
I’m beginning to see that Boehner just doesn’t have the leadership either. He can’t pull his troops into line. Now he’s depending on Harry Reid the Senate Majority Leader to get this budget thing done. Only then will it come up in the House.
This lack of leadership is just scary. We’ve had Democrat Majority and Republican Majorities in the house and Senate. The power balance often shifts every two years with the House elections. Somehow the previous Presidents always managed to work with whoever was in power. We’re not seeing that with Obama.
I don’t think any President could deal with this House. They’re unmanageable. This isn’t a “both sides are in the wrong” situation, IMO- the fault all lies with the House. And it’s the individual members (most of them Republican) who are the problem… the birthers, creationists, Christian dominionists, and other know-nothings and troglodytes who make up a majority of the Republican caucus just can’t be reasoned with.
Obama’s failure seems to be depending on Reid and Boehner. You got to reach deep into the House and Senate. Make connections with the power brokers. The guys that can bring small blocks of votes with them. Don’t depend on Reid and Boehner to do the grunt work. Get dirty, get in a room or on the phone and work it. Make the deal happen. That’s what governing is. If Obama doesn’t have those connections himself then work through political operatives that can that know which levers of power to pull.
Whether he’s doing this or not, there’s just not enough votes for a compromise unless it’s without a majority of Republicans in the House. It doesn’t matter what kind of deals and dirty grunt work he’s doing. There’s just no dealing with some people.
Ya know, I asked in a different thread about Reid and Pelosi’s work on the fiscal cliff and IIRC the response was that they would go along with Obama’s deal. To me that is a perfect example of what the OP is talking about. Obama seems to have no one working for him in the House or Senate.
Yes the House are being obstructionists but that is their job if they feel going off the cliff is better for the country than compromise*. What Obama needs to do is either convince the Pubs that it really is not in their best interest or make it extraordinarily painful for the Pubs to stand their ground. With control of the Senate and the veto, the Dems can also obstruct the Republicans’ work in the House.
It is a tacit assumption in any discussion on SD that Obama’s programs are always the best and to obstruct them is NOT in the best interest of America. Oh and all Republicans are stupid and want to hurt America while all Dems are beacons of truth and hope and light. Baba Booey!!
I think Obama’s plan is to make is extraordinarily painful for the Republicans to stand their ground, because there’s nothing else that would work. I don’t think all the Republicans in the House are “stupid and want to hurt America” (I don’t question their motives- but I think a large number of them, perhaps a majority, wouldn’t agree to anything Obama would sign because they think anything Obama would agree to must be bad for America). And I think Obama is taking the lead rather than Reid or Pelosi because Obama is far more popular than either of them right now.
I’m not being hyperbolic when I’m talking about the majority of House Republicans- I think half or more are less vocal versions of Allen West or Bachmann- they really think Obama is a socialist/communist/terrorist sympathizer, they really think the Democrats are “anti-American”, and there really is no compromise possible with Allen West, Michelle Bachmann, or the like. I think what’s going to happen is that Boehner is ultimately going to be pressured into allowing a vote that will pass, but with more than half of the Republican caucus against it, and his speakership may end. He just hasn’t been pressured that much yet.
We studied this in my college political science class. With 435 House members the only way to get a bill passed is to make friends. I’ll vote for your bill and you vote for mine. The more charismatic members draw people around them. Arkansas has 4 members in the house. 4 votes out of 435 isn’t going to get squat done. They have to network to get bills passed that helps their state. It’s similar in the Senate. You have for instance The Three Amigos McCain, Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham that work together. I’d imagine each of those men have dozens of allies in the Senate that they work with.
The Johnson tapes really give an insight into how the levers of power work. As a previous Senate Majority leader, Johnson was wired into everything. It’s a shame we don’t have that historical record for the other presidents. Thanks to the Watergate Tapes decision. A lot of valuable history has been lost forever.
How exactly is Obama supposed to cultivate friendships with people who insist that he’s a super secret Muslim terrorist and who have declared that they will veto everything and anything he wants passed?
What makes you think that? That’s not an inherent assumption at all. But the way it works with mature, sensible politicians is that if the President proposes something that you think isn’t in the best interest of the country, then you propose something else, and work together on compromising between all of the proposals so you can get something that the majority can agree on. The problem is, that’s not happening with the current crop of Republicans, and if the only choices available are do things the President’s way, or sabotage the country through inaction, then yes, out of those two choices doing it the President’s way really is the best.
Obama needs to bring down the wrath of the Presidency on recalcitrant House members, the way LBJ did. Punish their congressional district. Close military bases, cancel construction projects, delay federal funding; the President has a great deal of executive power to make life miserable for Republican congresscritters and those who voted for them.
Leave a little blame for the filibuster-mad Republican Senators. True, they don’t add a hell of a lot to the mess, as the House has usually shat in the stewpot first, but they are a part of the failure to govern.
I am no fan of Obama, but on this one, I will have to say that NO ONE is ever fully ready to become President. Some people (such as governors of large states) are better prepared than senators, but there is no other job you can have that will fully prepare you for the office.