This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: – AT – Obama Political Capital Low Now (2/3)
Obama playing politically strategic small ball to advance economic agenda– not investing
political capital in other issues
Brown, Politico, 7-6-11
[Carrie Burdoff, Politico, “Obama plays small ball on policy”, http://news.yahoo.com/obama-plays-small-ballpolicy-093000064.html, accessed 7-7-11]
President Barack Obama swept into office as the anti-Bill Clinton, even saying at one point that he
wasn’t sent to Washington to “do school uniforms” — political shorthand for the former president’s
downsized ambitions against a Republican Congress.
But confronted with similar limitations, Obama is looking a little more like Clinton in the second half
of his first term, pushing modest jobs proposals and a diet of bite-size policy talkers: a new fatherhood
pledge, graphic tobacco warnings, updated sunscreen requirements, an anti-bullying summit and
entertainment discounts for fathers to spend more time with their kids.
The slimmed-down agenda is the consequence of a resistant Congress and no money to spend, but it
also aims to address a political problem for the president headed into a tough reelection fight. Just like
Clinton, Obama is attempting to show voters that, at a time of Washington gridlock, he can still work
to solve people’s problems, no matter how small they may be.
The shades of Clinton-style politics are notable for a president who fashioned himself during the 2008
campaign as a transformational figure in the mold of Ronald Reagan — not Clinton, who used small-bore,
consultant-driven proposals such as school uniforms, a TV ratings system and teen curfews to make an end
run around Congress and appeal to middle-class voters. (Related: President Obama, Republicans honor
President Ronald Reagan)
Obama invoked “school uniforms” while resisting pressure from top aides to scale back his health care
overhaul, saying he wanted to “get big things done,” according to Jonathan Alter’s 2010 book “The
“It is a matter of some interest and historical irony that a president who began with the aspirations to
be Reagan has been forced by events to adopt a stance that is, on this continuum from Reagan to
Clinton, a lot closer to the Clinton end,” William Galston, a policy adviser in the Clinton White House
and now a Brookings scholar, said in an interview. “The president, in many ways, is a realist. He is
simply adjusting his sights to events.”
Obama’s embrace of the softer powers of the presidency — most conspicuously, the bullying summit in
March — has been “a source of some amusement” to former Clinton aides who cringed at the mocking of
their boss’s legacy, one Clinton veteran said. (Related: Obamas talk bullying on Facebook)
Obama did the opposite of shoot small in the first two years of his term, realigning the American auto
industry and passing a major economic stimulus package, health care overhaul and Wall Street reform bill.
And now, he is attem...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 01/14/2013 for the course POL 090 taught by Professor Framer during the Spring '13 term at Shimer.
- Spring '13