Victory Within Grasp, Obama Faces A New Choice

Thomas Edsall wrote an interesting article for the Huffington Post…With it looking more and more likely that Obama will win-does he begin to shift his message so he can more effectively govern once he takes office?

Simple answer is no…win the damn thing first. But I remember W’s 2004 re-election-he came back with the idea that the American people had given him a “mandate” (with 51% of the vote) to make drastic reform. He started with his privitizing social secuirty message, and all of a sudden his mandate was gone. Then Katrina hit in the summer of 2005 and he has basically been a lame duck ever since. His last big push came last year with his immigration reform bill. But by then he didnt have the sway in congress to hold the line.

The lesson is: an entire term can go by real fast. That initial push in the first months of office can make all the difference to achieving anything noteworthy.

Chris Bowers of Open Left makes the argument that Obama has willfully chained himself to his own personal Katrina by supporting the $700 billion bail out package…

“In regards to the economic crisis, Obama already undermined his ability to set the agenda and govern when he, like pretty much all leading Democrats, accepted Paulson’s argument that $700 billion needed to be dispersed immediately. Not only was that clearly an example of Paulson setting the agenda, rather than Obama or Democrats, but spending of that size this year has reduced the amount of governing Obama could do next year as President.”

I don’t know enough about the bailout bill or Wall Street in general to say one way or another that it was the absolute best thing to do. (here is a post that I liked that explains the urgency. I dunno if it is right, but it sounds good to me) But Bowsers is right-this plan is for all intents and purposes in the Dems laps–they have to make sure that people understand the need and sense the urgency. Obama doesnt want to follow in W’s footsteps and be a lame duck six months into office.