Update of LSW’s Obama administration page

The Obama adminstration page has been updated using an article by Elisabeth Drew in the New York Review of Books.

The new information placed on the Obama administration page is the following:

LSW wishes to update its Obama administration page and will uses an article, “Obama and the Republicans”, by Elizabeth Drew in the New York Review of Books.

A few salient points from the article (LSW must admit that Drew’s articles are the source of reading enjoyment as well as a source of non-partisan insights):

In his efforts again win the independent vote after wining it in 2008 and losing it in 2010, Obama has moved to take over Republican ideologies, such as the notion that government is too big, it is unwieldly, regulations prevent job creation and that deficits can be fought using spending cuts as opposed to tax increases. He has already taken aim at a favorite Republican target, federal workers, and implemented a wage freeze for the folks toiling away in government innards. (LSW is not sure why the mavens of Wall Street have not been targeted given that they destroyed the U.S. and its future much more effectively than have federal workers or that bearded dude in the cave ‘over there’). But that typical Obama.

He has in addition argued that federal spending should be frozen for five years, thus making clear that he considers the Great Recession over, and the country no longer in need of stimulus measures. Nonetheless, Obama’s call for more spending on infrastructure projects was lauded by both the notoriously right-wing Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO in a joint statement.

In response to criticism, even by insiders, that his White House was not working properly, was out of touch and not framing its messages in an effective way, he undertook a retooling.

The abrasive (LSW’s word, based on mentions here and elsewhere that Emanuel did not exactly express himself diplomatically) is replaced by William Daley who was valued not so much for his business contacts (as LSW writes below) as his background and contacts in politics and government service and his long list of contacts.

Dailey seems to be the ‘grownup’ that some said was missing in a White House previously filled with high flyers sometimes striking out on their own.

Drew points out that while some have said the new White House appointees signal a more business-friendly Obama, he has never been a flaming liberal, more a pragmatic left of center pol. LSW, not an expert, nonetheless would position Obama in liberal Republican territory. But LSW is an amateur.

Drew cites some polling that might indicate that the 2010 elections did not signal the rightward drift of the country that is usually assumed. The Republicans and the tea bags may overestimate their footing in the electorate and lose ground.

The Tea Party, “driving the Congressional leadership crazy”, may challenge Republicans in primaries while the conservative demand for spending cuts would entail getting rid of the Park Service and the FBI. Actions which may not delight all the voters.

The administration would like to aid business expansion (thus the proposal to cut corporate tax rates), make the place more appealing for foreign investment and get business to spend more the 2.2 trillion piling up in corporate safes.

Drew raises an interesting personality aspect:

“Obama has a worrisome tendency to seem eager to appease those who bring sustained open pressure on him, as the military brass did before he decided to send more troops to Afghanistan. Moreover, in the last election, Wall Street’s and other business donations had shifted notably from the Democrats to the Republicans. Speaking of the administration’s frantic overtures to business, a prominent Republican lobbyist says, “This is about raw politics. The Democrats saw the business community shift its donations dramatically to the Republicans.””

The White House and Congressional Democrats are working on a more “coherent” messaging strategy in which Obama remains above the fray while congressional Dems say things like they are desirous of cooperation across the aisle while allowing the Republicans and tea bags to distance themselves from the U.S. electorate.

Republicans can easily allow their swaggering ideological blindness to push them into a gulch. For example, Drew notes that the Obama administration was smart enough to implement popular parts of the much maligned health care reform, such allowing children to stay on their parents’ policy until they turn 26 and then asking Republicans if they wanted to repeal this part (LSW assume this was done without an accompanying shout of ‘Gotcha’).

Drew also points out that while the tea bags may not like the health care reform, health insurance companies certainly like the new business presented them by forced enrolment of everyone in health care plans.

They have instructed their lobbyists to make sure that regulations don’t effect changes that will take a whack out of their profits.

Other interesting points include a take on Paul Ryan, the 41 year old rising Republican star, framed by a comment made to Drew that in Washington articulateness is often mistake for brilliance. His basic views, Drew says, are too radical for even Republicans and would privatize Social Security, replace Medicare with vouchers and redo the tax code so that the middle class pays more taxes than the rich.

Drew also notes that while Obama is often blamed with bloating the budget deficit, the deficit was already on its way to the moon as a result of Bush administration choices, such as two unfunded wars, two unpaid for tax cuts, unpaid for prescription drug program as well as the effect of the recession and the costs to arrest it (TARP etc.)

She ends the article noting that in private talks the leaders of both parties have agreed on the need to reach bipartisan agreement and a Grand Bargain regarding the budget, replete with agreement on tax reform and deficit reduction actions.

LSW will enjoy watching the maneuverings heading on toward 2912.

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