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Posts Tagged ‘George H.W. Bush’

Beware passion gap 2012

May 5th, 2011


This piece was originally published in Politico.

“Let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11,” President Barack Obama said Sunday night, when he announced the death of Osama bin Laden. OK. With Sept. 11, it lasted one year — until September 2002, when the Bush administration began the “Iraq War rollout.”

Three presidents before Obama tried to unite a divided country. We’ve had national trauma, military victories and charismatic leaders. Yet division has persisted. In May 1991, President George H.W. Bush, still basking in the glow of Operation Desert Storm, was at 74 percent in the polls. A year and a half later, dragged down by a recession, he got 31 percent of the vote.

Could that be Obama’s fate?

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Obama’s Aces Over

January 5th, 2010


This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.

In Washington, the conventional wisdom says that President Obama has spent his last nickel of political capital. His quick and substantial action to steady the financial markets, stimulate the economy, reset the war in Afghanistan, and, most of all, to reform health care, have all been bold and, to varying degrees, controversial. These mega-battles have left his political allies exhausted and his political coffers bare. His approval rating has steadily bled to an all-time Obama low. The outlook for 2010, the CW says, is for no further action in Congress and a grim midterm election for Democrats.

But such thinking fundamentally misunderstands the nature of political capital – it isn’t spent on big initiatives, it’s gambled. Right now, the President may appear to have a meager stack of chips in front of him, but it’s because his entire bankroll is in the pot. And as it turns out, he’s holding a couple of aces.

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