The political calculus at the White House today seems to be based on the following propositions:
- The president must always look cool, calm and collected.
- Democrats must never appear to be partisan.
- Mainstream Republicans are significantly more reasonable than Tea Party Republicans.
- When Democrats advocate a particular policy, they should also mention that they want to reduce the deficit.
- Voters love “bipartisanship”.
- The jobs picture in 2012 will look good enough for the president to get re-elected. So start catering to the bond market.
- Extremist Republicans in Congress will cause their party to overreach this year. So just stay out of their way.
- Labor unions have no choice but to support the president in 2012. So don’t get out in front when Republican governors like Scott Walker go nuclear on workers.
- The president must not try to change the parameters of the political debate in this country. “Moderates” will be offended.
- The president must never question the values of Republicans.
Although I disagree with every one of these propositions, I still think the president will be re-elected. How depressing.
Barack Obama could accomplish so much more if he showed a hint of that famous audacity.