The Obama loyalists argue that while he is being impolitic, he will leave a great legacy behind. True, they proffer, he may have gone for health care while the people wanted jobs, and tried to bail out Main Street by bailing out Wall Street rather than the other way around. However, look at the first major health care reform in decades, and the first major financial reform in years, and so on. (Actually there are not so many “and so ons”.) The president himself once intimated that if he had to choose, “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” Most recently he allowed that he was governing while the Republicans were “politicking,” but now he must also do some of this degrading stuff.
Well, the bad news is that if he does not do better politically, his legacy will not last long. If the economy continues to meander along, Japanese style, and the U.S. continues to be mired in a losing war in Afghanistan — both look likely now — the Republicans may well win control of both the White House and Congress in 2012.
And although they will not wipe out all that Obama achieved, they will cut and slice it, water it down, and then dilute it some more. The president and his remaining friends had better realize that legacy requires politicking. The argument that he can go for one at the cost of the other just does not hold water.
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