Barack Obama’s easy election in 2008 said more about the state of the country and John McCain’s relative merit as a candidate than it did about Team Obama. This guy, and his crack staff, have all the political savvy of Don Imus.
It started with picking Joe Biden for vice-president. I love Joe Biden. Voted for him for president as far back as 1988. I think he’s done a nice job as VP. The trouble is, he would have been a lot more help in the Senate, where he was a senior member who knew how to get things done. Casting the tie-breaking vote in The Age of Filibuster so neutered his abilities his dog feels sorry for him. Hillary Clinton has been a fine Secretary of State, but she and Biden (along with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar) could have given Obama the filibuster-proof majority he needed for some of his initiatives.
Senate and House Republicans routinely roll him on negotiations, yet Barack “Charlie Brown” Obama keeps thinking John “Lucy” Boehner will let him kick the football. A prime example can be found in last year’s deficit reduction negotiations. The original ratio of tax increases to budget cuts was supposed to be 1:1, until Obama looked like he might agree to it. Then it was two dollars in cuts to every dollar of tax increase. Then 3:1, 6:1, until now moderate Republicans say 10:1 and the firebrands will accept no tax increases. Obama doesn’t only not draw lines in the sand; he doesn’t even draw them in water.
The current blow-up over health insurance paying for contraception is a perfect point. First, how could people smart and sensitive enough to public opinion to win a presidential election not realize conservatives would pounce on this like a tiger on a tethered goat? (I left out religious leaders because they are but stalking horses for conservatives here. This is all about politics, or they would have complained over similar rules put out by the Bush Administration.) After getting burned once, Obama stepped in it again with his “compromise,” which not only failed to satisfy the original critics (surprise, surprise) but now placed a burden on private enterprise by requiring insurers to provide birth control for free.
The solution was easy. These are health insurance companies we’re talking about, right? They pay for prescriptions, right? Then just say they have to pay for all prescriptions and be done with it. Birth control pills, Viagra, insulin, tranquilizers, heart medications, you name it. Don’t distinguish among what the scrip is for; just fill, baby, fill.
Anyone who isn’t depressed by the fact that Obama is far and away the best choice to be president for four more years—considering what Republicans are passing off as candidates—isn’t paying attention.