First Speedbumps for Obama

by Sal on January 26, 2009

in Politics

I always enjoy reading the U.K. papers in relation to events taking place in the U.S., because they put a perspective on things that we don’t get from our own media, despite having their own set of biases.  Today’s U.K. Telegraph paints a picture of an Obama administration slightly shell-shocked by the resistance thet they have received in recent days.  It describes an Obama administration that rode on the coattails of an accomplice media, and is now surprised at how the Anointed One is not simply parting the seas and healing the sick, and bringing an end to the petty politics of the past (Of course, how does one bring an end to partisan politics by saying things such as “I won. I’m the president.” when policy disagreements are being discussed?).

The article also points to several areas in which Obama has generated intense backlash over the past few days, a short time frame within a Presidency to start wasting political capital:

  • His attack on Rush Limbaugh
  • His change in the Mexico City policy, allowing federal funding for overseas abortions, while trying to placate pro-life groups by saying that we must all work together to reduce unwanted pregnancies, saying that it was “time to end the politicization on the issue.”  Conservatives, and all those who don’t think that arguing over murder is political, did not agree.
  • Disagreements with the Press over access and the answering of substanitive questions.
  • The economic stimulus plan, which is a disaster and has even liberal Republican columnist David Brooks up in arms.

A separate article in the Wall Street Journal speaks of an emboldened Republican party, pointing out that at this point, both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton only had a single unconfirmed cabinet position.  Yet, to date, the following cabinet positions remain unfulfilled:  Treasury, Labor, Health and Human Services,  Commerce, and Attorney General.  The article points out that it is Republican opposition that is causing many of these delays:

But Mr. Stewart, [an aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell] aide, said Republicans are merely demanding that Democrats show the same due diligence they demanded of the Senate when Mr. Bush was president.

“Democrats for the past eight years have screamed about oversight and transparency, and now they want to put through some of these people without a hearing,” he said. “You have to live by what you called for in the last administration.”

With Obama showing some chinks in his armor, and the Republicans flexing their muscles, it pay provide the opening to oppose some of the more controversial moves by Obama, including Card Check, Universal Health Care, and the Freedom of Choice Act.  I have been concerned about Republican leadership and opposition thus far, and still am in regards to the likes of Lindsay Graham and John McCain, but if the early days are any indication, we may have a somewhat effective opposition on our hands.  That opposition will be key to victory in 2010.

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