Can Obama Triangulate?

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Q: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: One, but only if it really wants to change.

Any president, at any time, can choose to embody the consensus his nation has reached after it has engaged in a period of extended debate. That process, called triangulation, involves the embrace of the elements advanced by the right and by the left that Americans have found valid and the rejection of those from which they have turned away.

When our nation encounters a new problem, we welcome vigorous debate and encourage each side to articulate its views and elaborate its solutions. But, after a time, we have heard enough and want resolution, consensus and implementation. If Obama heeds that call, he can, indeed, turn his presidency around. But if he continues to pursue his leftist, socialist agenda and uses a feigned moderation as a guise for his radicalism, we will not be fooled again. We have been down that road with him before.

In health care, for example, the debate has left most of us in agreement that insurance companies need to be reined it. They should not be allowed to reject those with pre-existing conditions or to raise rates when their clients become sick. We mostly agree that lifetime caps on benefits are unfair. Since each of us could become sick and run afoul of those rules, we oppose them and ask for their reform.

On the other hand, we reject the total revamping of the health care industry, the reduction of doctor pay, the cuts in Medicare and the mandatory insurance embedded in the Obamacare legislation. Were Obama to embrace these solutions, he would quickly be able to pass his bill and would be hailed for it.

But will Obama do it? Will he emulate Bill Clinton and save his presidency by moving to the center? Certainly not before he has lost his control over Congress.

It was not the defeat of health care that impelled Clinton’s change of course, but his defeat in the elections of 1994. Even then, it took six months to turn the battleship around.

And after he loses Congress? Probably not even then. Clinton was a lifelong moderate who moved to the left when expediency dictated it. Obama is a lifelong liberal who pretends to move to the center when he has to.

A committed socialist, one doubts that Obama would sacrifice his cherished transformative goals for incremental policies.

But even if Obama did, it might not save him. There is a basic difference between the circumstances that surround the Obama and Clinton administrations. Clinton faced relatively minor problems, while Obama is neck deep in recession, deficit and stagnation. Clinton could reshape his presidency by positioning, posturing and passing moderate legislation. But Obama can only succeed by altering outcomes.

Americans want jobs, lower unemployment, economic growth, a reduced deficit and an end to the recession. They will not be assuaged or appeased by programs or proposals. They demand results.

The skills of the spin-doctor are wasted on his administration. All the photo ops in the world and all the populist-sounding rhetoric will not do the job. They may provide a short term bounce — as will probably follow tonight’s State of the Union speech, but they will become undone with the next week’s jobless numbers.

Just as George W. Bush could not recapture his popularity with new programs for Iraq — voters demanded a reduction in casualties and then withdrawal — Obama cannot save his by announcing new ideas. He has to produce.

All the spin in the world will not save Obama.

  • bardefa

    GREAT ECONOMISTS;) IN WH:

    GM to pay $1000.00 to Toyota cars owners to buy GM… – owned by Obama, who, recently, made fun of ScottBrown owning GM truck….Great sales pitch:)

  • Abraham Stubenhaus

    Thank you Mr. Morris.
    Mr. Obama is like a die hard smoker. You can bring them the dire warnings of one million doctors. You can show them photos of rotted lungs and collapsed veins and more. However, many of them have decided to go down with the ship. In Mr. Obama's case, he is the captain AND the ship and down they will go.
    Mr. Obama is a stubborn show off. I was actually GLAD when I listened to his State of the Union speech. It mean to me that he insists on continuing to smoke in spite of all the evidence.
    The self destructive are so deeply steeped in denial, they have convinced themselves they are being constructive.

  • Bellerophon

    Obama is the little boy who never heard anyone ever say "No!" to him. Look at his reaction to the Supreme Court defending the 1st Amendment. Look at his reaction to Fox News.

    There is no way that Obama can ever change course because for him there is only his way. He will do what every progressive has done when faced with a recalcitrant populace, he will get the US involved in a war. War is classically the most effective way to silence dissent. Woodrow Wilson, the president closest to Obama ideologically, couldn't wait to get into a war and used his worshipful press to sell the American public on the inevitability of war.

    Neither Wilson nor Roosevelt could be deterred from their goal of "transforming" America into a fascist state. Both ultimately resorted to war.

    Where will the war be? My guess is Africa.

    • Bruce

      The war – actually a socialist revolution – is right here and has been since about 1950. The intensity of this war increased when the Gramscian capture-the-culture new-age 60's leftists came of age. These "new left" radicals now infest the nation's political, educational and cultural infrastructure. Obama's election was their coup d'etat. The fight is right here and the long-term future of America is up for grabs. Our first counterattack was Massachusetts. The next will be election '10 and then '12. Forget Africa.

  • mikeman

    I missed most of the speech, because I'm just not into mascochism. I caught one qucik comment immediatlely after the speech on the BBC news channel. The commentator started out saying that "Obama got his mojo back".
    I turned it off immediately. I am sick of this self absorbed dilletante, and his drones in the MSM press corp.

    Bush was a weak speaker, and spent too much money, but he was twice the man as this twit.

  • Johncarens

    Dear Dick;

    While I am happy you've come over from The Dark Side in recent years, I must remind you, and everyone reading about President Clinton's supposed "moderation" after the 1994 elections: "Triangulaion" is just a five-syllable word for "lie".

    Clinton was and remained (and still is) as radical a leftisit all elected Democrats are.. as has been proven by the latest back-room swindles and cock-fighting over "health care reform". Clinton may have become more pragmatic, but that was because, I think, he had a deep-seated desire to be liked by everyone (-and LOVED by all women).

    To President Obama's credit, I don't think he gives a rip if people like him. In fact, I think it fires him up to a degree to be seen as a loathed, misunderstood underdog.

    So, stop encouraging him to "Triangulate". Just let him "Lie".

  • Prudent Man, CFA

    Obama does care what he everyone, like Clinton, thinks about him because they are both slick talking (BHO's reading) ,egotistical, ignorant narcissists. What Obama want is to portray as him a "victim". After all, his only claim to fame was demagoguing victims.

    The American voters were sold a clunker, like in 1990 (Clinton was more qualified that GHWB? Nonsense!) by a suede shoe snake oil salesman and are now recognizing the product is defective even if the paint is attractive.

  • Minnie M

    Look at that photo again. He has dead eyes. He has either lost his mojo or is ready to throw in the towel. He knows he is in over his head. All that affirmative action, self esteem promotion, and other Tom foolery that got him where he is, is no longer available to convince everyone he is just as smart as his predecessor, because he isn't. He is on his own, and he's in over his head. Look for Michelle to take over like Rosalind Carter had to do for Jimmy. The next step after this vacant dead look is the spaced out on valium look Carter had the last years of his presidency.

    • Just Passing Through

      Michelle Obama author of racist papers – please tell me you are not serious?

  • Marti

    Obama the would be KING!!!!!!
    Same old tune SPEND,SPEND, SPEND!!!
    Chastising the Supreme Court in the State of The Union Address.
    This man is a NATIONAL DISGRACE!!!
    Our economy will not be able to recover until all these people are gone, then it may be too late!!!!

  • Just Passing Through

    Wake up – its already to late – there are for the most part only incompetent egoists running this country – no honest intelligent people will run for office when the 4th estate is only interested in dirty laundry of their perosnal lives- vote them all out in September -FIRE THEM ALL

  • Don L

    "They should not be allowed to reject those with pre-existing conditions "

    We don't agree at all. Apparently this thinking is written by someone who never had to run a business, make a profit, meet a payroll, or, get this, pay taxes that the government might meet its constituional requirements.

  • political hack

    In Obamaworld in 2012, a man walks into a car dealership.

    He says to the salesman, "This is the easiest sale you are going to make all day. I know exactly what I want and I have the money to pay for it."

    The salesman takes the man into the office and fills out the paperwork. The man wants a new GMC pickup with a specific list of features. The salesman says that it has to be ordered from the factory. The man wants what he wants and signs the papers and pays for the truck.

    The salesman says the truck will be there to drive away in eight months.

    The man says, "Eight months! Wow!"

    The salesman explains "New Government Management". "They spread the work around at all the factories evenly so the popular models are harder to find. But the guys at the factory are motivated and your truck will be here without delays in eight months."

    The man says, "Morning or Afternoon?"

    The surprised salesman asks, "What does it matter?"

    The man replies, "I have an MRI for a tumor in the morning."

  • coyote3

    What are you talking about? Why shouldn't insurance companies reject those with preexisting conditions, and/or exclude coverage for same? The latter is what they usually do. Why shouldn't they have caps on limits of coverage.

    Insurance is a contract pure and simple. Now, I will agree it is a contract of "adhesion", but that doesn't change the fact that it is a private venture. The insurance companies have every right to limit their risk. All business do that, or at least try to do it. I will agree that if an insurance company wants to exclude preexisting conditions and/or have caps, they better make that clear and up front. Indeed, because the insurance policy is a contract of adhesion, any ambiguity is most strictly construed against the drafter, i.e., in this case the insurance company drafts the contract. That is already well established in the case law of most states. We don't need any legislation for that.

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