I am seeing a number of suggestions and comments that claim President Obama is naive. I don’t think so, but I can see why some would suggest that.
The President promised that Washington business would not be as usual, and partisan politics were over. After 2 1/2 years in office, things do not look much different. Is this because he is naive?
In a dysfunctional relationship, it takes at least two.
The current basis for most all Congressional members to remain in office is, at its heart, only remotely in the interest of American tax payers. It is very difficult to dine sumptuously from the public troth and still serve the tax payer honestly.
Congress members are about getting reelected and in the process improving their own personal wealth. This is no different than anyone else in the public sector, except Congress members have been elected to serve first.
It should come as no surprise then that the President is locked hopelessly in a battle with Congressional Republicans (and some liberal Democrats). Each of these Congress members needs to appease key constituents who hold the means to finance their reelection. Compromise and, dare I use the words, “personal sacrifice” are not part of this game.
The President is well aware of this situation. His style is not “in your face”. As a consequence, he must use committees, commissions, and study teams to vet issues. These are all doomed to failure but they are building a consistent record of the President trying.
The President’s tactics have also another aspect. Like a chess master, President Obama has allowed Republicans to cook their own goose. Representative Paul Ryan put forth the Republican fix for Medicare and Medicaid. Not content to just push costs onto those with fixed incomes, Ryan proposed tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of Medicare recipients. In the debt ceiling debate, Republicans are hanging tough on no tax increases even when presented with tax loop holes that favor only the very wealthy.
The President has cleverly enabled Republicans to define themselves. Once again they have stepped forward as the party of the rich who view the rest of us as second class.
Barack Obama is anything but naive.