According to the New York Times, Barack Obama is Soft

Apr 18 2009 Published by under Featured News

According to a column in the New York Times, Democrats should be disappointed with Barack Obama because he has chose pragmatism over digging in his heels and fighting. They allege that the president is soft, so my question is, are you disappointed in the job that President Barack Obama is doing so far?

The New York Times piece points out, “Mr. Obama has not conceded on any major priority. His advisers argue that the concessions to date — on budget items, for instance — are intended to help win the bigger policy fights ahead. But his early willingness to deal or fold has left pundits and prognosticators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: where’s the fight? How is Obama soft if he hasn’t conceded on any major priority? That first sentence undermines the entire argument that follows.

The writers seem most upset that Obama made some concessions to the Blue Dog Democrats on the issues of taxes and the budget. They are also unhappy that Obama will not press to renew the assault weapons ban. They also make the assumption that Obama is going to be soft on immigration and health care reform. If you want to understand Obama’s pragmatism, you need to look at the last administration whose party controlled both the White House and Congress.

George W, Bush rammed legislation down the throats of the then Republican
Congress, and sure he got what he wanted, but the main consequence of this type of governing was a bitter relationship between the White House and Congress, that resulted in the Congress ignoring Bush, and doing whatever they wanted.

Obama has a more restrained approach to governing. He appears to be waiting to flex his political muscle. Obama could go against the wishes of some in his party, but the result would be an inter-party fight that could block progress on legislation.

It is my guess that Obama is keeping his ammo dry, because he knows that issues like immigration, health care, and the Employee Free Choice Act will take a great deal of heavy lifting on his part to get passed. I don’t think that the term soft fits Obama. He has been practical, but not soft. It would be hard to be disappointed in a president that has passed a term’s worth of legislation in a few months, and the poll numbers seem to bear out, his popularity, but my question is are you disappointed in Barack Obama?

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