Rachel Maddow was on MSNBC providing analysis of the Senate’s vote to repeal DADT, when she pointed out that today’s vote is a huge victory President Obama, and one that the base should reward him for. Maddow said, “This was a difficult promise to keep, not just a promise kept, it was one that was hard to keep that cost a lot of political capital and a lot of work, and this is the President’s victory and his base will reward him for it.”
Here is the video from MSNBC:
Rachel Maddow was a guest during MSNBC’s live coverage of the Senate’s vote to repeal DADT, where she discussed the unpredictability of social issue politics, “You know, a lot of people have said that once it would clear that it was going to pass, it would open the door to some unexpected yes votes. I always tend to be a little cynical about these things, so I’m not sure I believed it, but it’s true. To see Richard Burr in particular move on this. To see John Ensign move on this. It just shows you the politics of this are unpredictable, and the people tried to denounce this as a left/right issue, the way that John McCain in particular tried to demagogue this. They’re just wrong. That might have been true 20 years ago, but isn’t true now.”
Maddow talked about this as a huge victory for Obama, “Politically though the thing not to lose touch with here — this is the president’s victory. He took a lot of criticism, a lot of abuse, a lot of skepticism from his otherwise most loyal supporters, but this is an issue on which the president did not waver. He continued to insist this was possible, that it would get done. It in fact was not possible for the President to do it through executive action. This had to be done legislatively. The President did not waver. He did work on the Senate to get this to happen. He insisted it was possible. This was a difficult promise to keep, not just a promise kept, it was one that was hard to keep that cost a lot of political capital and a lot of work, and this is the President’s victory and his base will reward him for it.”
Maddow was right. Once again, Obama managed to accomplish something that most political experts thought was impossible. He got DADT repealed, when it looked like it was going to be filibustered in the Senate, and not have a chance with a new class of Republicans hitting town next month. This is a great victory for all the advocates who have tirelessly fought for almost two decades to get the policy repealed. It is also a much needed victory for the Democratic Party, and it is a huge political victory for President Obama.
Today’s victory begs the question, when is the base going to start giving President Obama credit for his accomplishments? With new polling showing that the tax cut compromise is politically popular with most Americans, and now the DADT repeal, Obama has managed to turn around the perception of his presidency in about two weeks, and I suspect that the next round of polls will show growth in the President’s approval rating.
The only thing keeping Obama from being a very popular president is the economy. If the economy takes off again before 2012, Obama will not only win reelection, but he will return to the White House for his second term in dominant fashion. The base should reward Obama for this victory, but I have my doubts that they will. To some, what Obama hasn’t done is more important than what he has done, and I don’t think one DADT victory is going to change their perception of this president, but one can hope, and at least for one day, everyone should try to enjoy this historic victory, and signal of a sweeping cultural shift in America.