December 29th, 2010
05:23 PM ET

Advice for Obama: Move to the center is a wise one

Kristi Keck

In the aftermath of the midterms, President Obama acknowledged the "shellacking" handed to him and his party.

"I've got to take direct responsibility for the fact that we have not made as much progress as we need to make," he said the day after the GOP slapped Democrats with the worst congressional beating in more than half a century.

Republicans celebrated what they considered a repudiation of the Democrats' agenda while analysts watched closely for any indication of what was to come from a president grappling with his new political reality.

After a few message misfires in the days following the election, Obama changed tactics, separating himself from the Democratic leadership he'd been so closely tied to and showing a willingness to compromise with the minority party.

If the past few weeks have shown anything, it's that the president knows how to rebound.

"I think he has slowly but surely recognized that the American people want the president and the Congress to work together," said Ron Christie, a Republican strategist who worked in the Bush administration from 2001 to 2004.

That's what Obama did when he bucked the liberal base of his party and forged a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years, a deal that got a thumbs-up from two-thirds of Americans.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Opinion • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Professor J

    Americans are burning with anger and frustration: there are 17 million people out of work and there is a recession driven by a housing crisis. These two interrelated catastrophes fueled voter rage . This justified emotionalism set fire to reason and led to the election of the wingnuts of the Tea Party.

    To put out the fire Obama must strategicially and decisively take down unemployment . To do this he must stop the massive flood of foreclosures. There is no recession. We have a housing crisis . No rocket science is needed: banks sold houses at inflated prices, the prices could not be sustained, people will walk away rather than pay the mortgage-when they do cities don't get taxes, lay-offs, a climate of panic etc. Obama could stop this by giving banks a tax credit for reducing principle.

    If banks would then actually reduce principle people could stay in their homes and the fire of the foreclosure crisis is put out. The economy is a psychological engine. That alone might be enough to change the climate and get the wind blowing in the right direction.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    I wonder why this article is entitled "Obama moving to the centre is a wise one"
    I always thought that Bipartisan ship, changing Washington were Obama campaign pledges, that Republicans deliberately showed quite clearly they were NOT "NO" way for change. One example, still over 70 Senate approval positions outstanding (Bush same time 6). Until today 23 of his recess appointements 18 were subsequently approved with big majorities = lack of principle to the opposition.
    Finally and more damaging to Republicans everything they pledged except cutting government spending ( but of course not defence medicaid or medicare) is a promise to keep everything again as status quo under Bush.
    All this means there is no compromise on anything from Republicans policy wise. It will backfire if they pusue NO/status Bush quo as agressivelty as they have till now.
    Cutting stimulus and govrnment dicretionary spending are job killers and keeping military budgets ( not cutting) is deficit increasing as Obama and Gates made proposed cuts!!.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:08 am |
  3. Phil

    Obama's schellacking is due to his own prommissing without producing. He has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that his bark is definately worse than his bite

    December 29, 2010 at 10:25 pm |