Barack Obama as an Illinoisan who is also America's first African American president could be expected to be absorbed by Doris Kearns Goodwin's historical work on Lincoln, "Team of Rivals".
An impressive entry on Obama's student resume was serving as president of the Harvard Law Review. In that situation he needed to assume a collegial posture and weigh positions on issues regarding potential articles.
Obama has carried the aforementioned instances into an unrealistic expectation that as president he can deal in a Lincolnesque or Harvard Law Review context with the likes of Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman John Boehner. The only way that historical significance has relevance is if there are enough common facts to establish viable comparison.
Republican Senate Minority Leader McConnell delivered a message after the recent midterm election that should have provided Obama with a strong enough indication to recognize that his grand objective of compromise in the national interest was no more than wishful thinking without practical merit. When analyzing what Republicans expected to realize in the next two years, McConnell stated bluntly that the goal was to make Obama a one term president.
Obama the optimist overlooked as hyperbole that devastating comment. In his apparent perceived view of the national interest he invited Republican leaders to dinner at the White House to discuss means by which mutual cooperation could serve America's best interest.
What happened? The Republicans were no shows. McConnell crassly explained that he and his colleagues did not have time to attend a White House dinner to speak with the leader of the opposition, who happened also to be the nation's chief executive.
Was such a snub really not Obama's fault? Would it be anything other than his administration's fault if nothing but turmoil and failure resulted from an alleged "compromise" on the order of what David Axelrod discussed recently wherein Democrats would allow Bush tax cuts to be extended?
Obama and Axelrod need a history lesson on the Democratic Party and its championing of the nation's middle class and poor. When Hoover-Coolidge Republicanism was dead for years and Dwight Eisenhower won two terms in the presidency through a moderate Republican philosophy in which he never considered tampering with New Deal-Fair Deal achievements, what was formerly known as the Republican Old Guard brought Ronald Reagan onto the scene, seeking to package him as a citizen reformer.
For years the trickle down theory economic exponents were lost in the wilderness, so a charismatic B movie actor with an excellent television persona bankrolled by a group of friendly California millionaires. After Ronald Reagan became governor they were known as his kitchen cabinet. Reagan was also greatly aided in his California gubernatorial effort and later in his successful presidential quest by public relations guru Stuart Spencer.
After Reagan tax cut policies skewed toward the rich resulted in a tripling of the national debt during his two presidential terms, a new ploy was tried to install someone of the same stripe. Once more devious packaging needed to be invoked to make the strategy work.
George W. Bush was marketed as an "ah shucks" likable cowboy who promised to change the climate in Washington by removing partisanship. Bush's "freshness" was contrasted with Democratic nominee Vice President Al Gore, who had served under President Bill Clinton, someone who engaged in an adulterous sex act within the White House.
So after the election was stolen on behalf of the candidate who ironically promised to end partisan bickering in Washington, it was back to that same pattern of tax cuts and an emphasis on the trickle down theory. This time after two whopping tax cuts skewed for the rich along with conducting two wars the national debt was up to a massive $10 trillion by the time Bush left office.
In place of seeking common ground with Republicans who reject it, Obama and the Democrats could do something bold and imaginative during the lame duck session and pass tax cut legislation for the middle class. They could accordingly spurn any Republican effort to include individuals making $250,000 per year and more.
Phase two of such a tax strategy initiative would involve daring the Republicans to come back in January 2011 and seek passage of a tax cut to include strictly those making $250,000 per year or more. It should also be mentioned that economists warn that such a measure would add $700 billion to the ever mounting deficit.
This is the strategy that should be initiated. Will it? Do not hold your breath.