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Milbank: Obama Must Save Moribund Presidency

From the Washington Post:

A presidential bystander

By Dana Milbank | April 30, 2013

It’s never a good sign for a president when he feels compelled to assure the public he still has a pulse. 

This is the unenviable position President Obama was in Tuesday morning when he held a news conference in the White House briefing room and faced a profusion of questions about the stalled pieces of his legislative program…

Back in 1995, Bill Clinton assured Americans that he was still relevant; this may be the first time a president asserted that he was still alive.

What an echo chamber our one party news media is.

One hundred days into his second term, Obama has already lost control of the agenda, if he ever had control in the first place. He ricocheted through his news conference, as he has through his presidency recently, between issues and crises not of his choice

The president was out of sorts from the start of the news conference, scheduled for 10:15 a.m. and postponed to 10:30. Obama finally came out at 10:46. “Good afternoon,” he said. “Or good morning.”

Maybe he should have opened with a joke about Rush Limbaugh.

He didn’t attempt to set the tone for the event, skipping an opening statement.

Which was probably supposed to be about the courage of Jason Collins, which would have kept the press from asking any disrespectful questions.

And he often found himself remarking on the difficulty of his job: intelligence sharing (“this is hard stuff”), closing Gitmo (“it’s a hard case to make”), Republican governors blocking his health-care law’s implementation (“that makes it harder”) and responding in Syria (“it is a difficult problem”).

If there was a common theme to the president’s many troubles, it was an uncooperative Congress…

Obama is correct about the dysfunction, and the difficulty of passing even uncontroversial bills. But his stance was frustratingly passive, as if what happens in Congress is out of his hands. It’s the president’s job to lead, and to bang heads if necessary, regardless of any “permission structure.” Obama seemed oddly like a spectator, as if he had resigned himself to a reactive presidency…

Remember how the Washington Post demanded that George Bush lead, even if his goals were unpopular with the public? We don’t, either.

Anyway, it’s clear that our media betters are going to start pushing Obama to be more ‘aggressive.’ Which means, since Congress refuses to act on so much of his agenda, that Obama needs to bypass Congress again, and to start issuing even more executive orders.

After fielding questions from the five TV networks, Obama gave the last question to a Chilean journalist, Antonieta Cadiz, perhaps hoping that she would ask about immigration. She did — but, even then, Obama answered as if he were a bystander.

“I’ve been impressed by the work that was done by the Gang of Eight in the Senate,” he said, also vowing to be “open-minded in seeing what they come up with” in the House.

Open-mindedness is nice. But lively leadership is the way to resuscitate a moribund presidency.

You see? Obama shouldn’t be open minded, or even think about compromising. He needs to show leadership and make an executive order giving everyone amnesty.

After all, we can’t wait any longer on this dysfunctional Congress. Amnesty is too important to let the Constitution and the rule of law stand in its way.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Milbank: Obama Must Save Moribund Presidency”

  1. He ricocheted through his news conference, as he has through his presidency recently, between issues and crises not of his choice…
    Not of his choice? Crises not of his choice? Yeah, I suppose it would be much easier to deal with a crisis of your own choosing. From what I’ve seen over the first term and the second [shudder] thusfar is that apparently the only problems we have are that there are too many greedy rich people, they aren’t paying enough in taxes, and Republicans are evil, racist, bigot, homophobes who just refuse to cooperate with Obama. They have foiled every amazing idea Obama has had, and refuse to give on anything that is, as we all know, simple common sense.

    Moribund Presidency… we should be so lucky.

  2. Liberals Demise

    Oh hey…..I smell another vacation coming around the corner.
    The only thing he’s any good at.

  3. mr_bill

    Nancy Pelosi should change her vinyard name to “nerobama” then he could have some wine (whine), since that’s all he ever does. “This is hard. Congress is making it hard. It’s hard.” Remember when Kennedy decided to do things “not because they were easy, but because they were hard.” Half a century of liberalism has neutered even the best “man” they can put forward. I think he should take his own suggestion seriously to get his things together and leave. I’m sure Reggie Love will help him pack his…stuff.

  4. bousquem25

    “Uncontroversial bills” that can’t pass congress at because of the democrats in the senate. They just whine and won’t give a bill an up or down vote and just spend their time whining on TV about how the nasty republicans in the house won’t give Obama a blank check and permission to run this country into the ground faster. The gun control bill, cap and trade, and other crap are probably considered “uncontroversial” by the washington post and most super liberals. If there was no term limit then we would have the campaigner-in-chief doing like he did for his first 4 years and campaign constantly to keep getting elected and pass out taxpayer money in “free stuff” to his base to keep his support from the sheeple up.


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