There sure is a strong whiff of both.
Obama’s agenda is law. Obama may have over-learned the lessons of the Clinton administration by ignoring social issues and getting the stimulus passed immediately. GOP obstruction began right away, and watered the measure down to the point here it may not be enough. But it passed. This turned out to be a precedent for everything Obama would do up until now.
He would not go to the mat for things. He would spend political capital instead of earning it by forcing the GOP to take the blame for something being blocked. Yet, in the end, financial reform, health care reform (especially this) and the stimulus are law. Unless something goes wildly astray, he will have made two easy Supreme Court appointments.
Last week, I received a text message from the Obama campaign urging me to contact my senator about the unemployment extension. Earlier this week, I saw Obama give a relatively vicious speech on the issue. But by then, the measure was sure to pass!
It appears that it will be signed into law sometime early next week. Another win.
So, Obama has enacted his agenda. But has the White House gotten so used to letting one voice of objection change his plans? Take the cases of Shirley Sherrod and Elizabeth Warren. The first case was fabricated, the latter’s virtues are exactly what rankles some. Yet the WH’s reaction in both cases appears to be to mostly stay behind the scenes and find someone else.
Obama may never enact another significant piece of legislation. It’s not entirely certain he will get to appoint anyone else to the Supreme Court. It is time for him to start standing up for things that matter, even if they lose. You could argue before that it was worth it to get things into law, especially on health care.
It’s time for him to quit letting the media burn his people instantly. It’s time for him to make the Right have some Pyrrhic victories for once. Clinton was the master at the latter, most especially when it came to himself. Obama may have learned how to avoid some of Clinton’s mistakes, but he still needs to learn from his successes.