For whatever reason, Obama failed to bring the change he promised. That would be forgivable, so long as he was determined to keep trying. But he isn't determined to keep trying. His campaign message so far boils down to this: You just can't work with these people. I tried, they're not interested, so it's war. If they want bitter partisan politics, they can have it.
My instinct tells me this is a losing strategy.
To me it seems so obviously the wrong strategy, in fact, that I struggle to understand what Obama's people can be thinking. The fact that Republicans refuse to compromise is not, tactically speaking, a problem for the Democrats, but a wonderful opportunity. Offer centrist compromise proposals on the issues that confront the country--Bowles-Simpson on fiscal policy, to cite the most obvious instance--and let the Republicans reject them. Keep offering, keep being rejected. Don't stop coming back with appeals for moderation and common sense, and let the GOP respond with promises to eliminate the federal government. See where that gets them.
In the end, remember, Bill Clinton defeated Newt Gingrich. He had to stare down the base of his own party to do it--but he won.Ah, yes. Clinton "won" -- by getting impeached and then promptly repealing Glass-Steagall. Win-win!
But look -- there's nothing even remotely "centrist" about Bowles-Simpson. The GOP's craziness is an opportunity, alright, but not one to serve up more shit sandwiches like Bowles-Simpson.
I struggle to understand what Clive is thinking.