How Many Fights Will Obama Pick With America?

Thomas Del Beccaro

Politics is a game of addition – successful politics anyway. Great leaders, when faced with a divided electorate, not to mention difficult economic times, use a limited agenda to forge consensus out of broken paradigms. Once they achieve an initial success, they seek a broader consensus. In the 1980’s Reagan faced a divided Republican Party and a fractured and dispirited nation. Concentrating on the prosperity issue and our national prestige, Reagan first brought Republicans together and then independents and even many Democrats. Indeed, so successful was Reagan at bringing people together, that in time he could rely on a group of Reagan Democrats. Few other Presidents have had such success at building consensus let alone are able to claim a voting block from the other party in their name.

…Obama’s first year featured a huge and controversial agenda that has not served his Party or his Presidency well. Keep in mind that successful Presidents achieve but two, maybe three, lasting achievements during their terms – many less than that; hence the need for a targeted and consensus building agenda – not a controversial far-reaching agenda.

Out of the gate, this President chose controversy over consensus. His massive, $800 billion spending/stimulus bill divided Americans. To be sure, there is not a majority in this country for uncontrolled deficit spending. Indeed, the deficit is at the height of American worries and more Americans than not think the bill has not worked…

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