From The New York Post and Vision to America;
Battered Bam STILL thinks he knows best
Last Updated: 8:51 AM, November 4, 2010
Posted: 1:06 AM, November 4, 2010
Comments: 22 More Print Michael Goodwin
Before President Obama started talking yesterday, the question was this: Will we now see an ideologue or a pragmatist?
An hour later, the answer was clear: Yes.
He will be a pragmatist only to the extent it helps him push his ideology. If he gets a free hand again, it's off to the radical races.
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Any hope he is a chastened president, ready to work for the majority of Americans instead of against them, is another illusion.
He told us so himself. Asked if he still thinks the health-care takeover was the right policy, he said the process was an "ugly mess," but insisted firmly, "The outcome was a good one."
O, NO: A glum President Obama yesterday tries to come to grips with the overwhelming Republican election victory that now leaves his agenda in tatters. But will he heed the lessons of the landslide?
There you have it. The signature policy he produced is "good," despite being unpopular, despite driving up costs and taxes, despite hindering job growth, and despite forcing companies to drop coverage or seek exemptions. Any more "good" like that and the USA will be down for the count.
Ah, quibble, quibble. Facts be damned, the guy believes what he believes.
He's a smart man and skillful politician who can certainly read election results. So, in theory at least, he knows exactly how the nation feels.
He gets it -- he just rejects it.
That explains his down-in-the-dumps demeanor. It wasn't contrition or remorse. That was self-pity.
He feels "bad" for those Dems who had the "courage" to vote with him and were defeated. If only he felt "bad" for Americans on the receiving end of his policies. Well, then he would be a different president, wouldn't he?
Still, thank heaven for small favors. He didn't pretend to be a new man or promise to be a better one, so we were spared the outrage of watching him dissemble.
Besides, if he had tried a flip-flop on what he believes, his prior statements could have been used against him. He said recently that "facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared. And the country's scared."
Even Tuesday, as voters were going to the polls to punish his party at every level of government, he warned against "special interests" and "the politics of cynicism."
His logic is circular and self-protective. People are scared because government hasn't done enough, so he has to do more, even though people don't want more because they're too scared to know better.
Bottom line: Barack knows best.
As for dealing with the new Republican House and more balanced Senate, Obama promised negotiations on all kinds of issues and claimed he is open to new ideas. Of course, he's said all that before, usually when he's trying to convince voters he's open when his mind is, in truth, locked shut. Remember tort reform?
His 2008 campaign was brilliant for its grace notes, his professed willingness to end partisanship and work for the common good.
All that went out the window the minute he put his feet up on the Oval Office desk. "I won," he declared the first time Republicans balked at his spending binge.
We already bought his bipartisanship promises once. We shouldn't have to pay for them again.
Conventional wisdom says he now must move toward the center and deal with people who see the economy and the world in very different ways. Even if he does, can we trust him?
Yes we can, as long as we remember what Ronald Reagan said about the Soviets: Trust but verify.
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