President Obama inherited one of the biggest messes of any president. While George W. Bush saw himself as the commander in chief, President Obama has a much better balance of focus on both foreign and domestic policy. And Barack Obama usually has very good instincts. For example, President Obama and his family will likely pick the little nondenominational church at Camp David, Time has reported. His spiritual life will not be impeded there, which is one big advantage. He has much about which to pray.
The President had three big items on his legislative agenda when he came into office. They are education reform, energy independence and health care reform. President Obama is seriously planning to have a health bill by the end of the year, but it is still a fight that the administration could lose. Carrie Buddoff Brown at Politico thinks she can read the President's mind. Brown believes that a demand for bipartisanship will not sink his reform effort because he will go on without Republicans, and also that taxing health care benefits may become necessary, along with a mandate for everybody to be required to get insurance. The cost of health care reform will continue to drive many of the decisions made by legislators. Along with Brown, I predict that it will include a public option. The public still supports an activist government, a recent poll showed. Price competition will demand it. And there are enough senators that want it that way to make it happen, despite the fierce lobbying of Democrats by the health care, insurance and drug industries. And predictably, expectations about what is possible with reform have come down.
The balance of power among the three branches of government is becoming more rational, though President Obama still has too much of a tendency to accept a "unitary presidency" style. But courts are more often ruling against the Obama Department of Justice arguments, and over time Congress is asserting itself over President Obama's policies. Rural Democrats, fiscal Conservatives, foreign policy hawks -- all are candidates for revolt against the President's agenda. Last week, according to Politico's David Rogers, there were three skirmishes that proved to the President that politics is still local. To quote,
The topics ran from Iran sanctions to the future of the F-22 fighter jet to a $42.6 billion homeland security budget for the coming year. In each case, parochialism prevailed at the expense of the president, whether it was Republicans courting suburban Jewish voters, Democrats chasing defense jobs or both parties pursuing Homeland pork.
President Obama is already off to a great start in the face of terrible challenges: serious recession, rising unemployment rate, mostly frozen financial credit, mortgage foreclosures, wars in the Middle East, a Congress still finding itself, and what he calls "the way business is done in Washington." His optimism, his towering intellect, his good heart and his faith in the future are just what we need to overcome the status quo and eight years of ineptitude.
[Post date - July 3, 2009]
See also Behind the Links, for further info on impediments.
Blogs: My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative website is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.