Sunday, July 18, 2010

how can obama rebound?

NYTimes | The G.O.P.’s Dismal Future - It’s early 2011, Republican Congressional leaders are driving back from the White House after a bipartisan leadership meeting with the president, and blurt out almost together, “We’re doomed!” The president will have already told the country from the Oval Office after the Democratic losses: “You don’t have to take me behind the woodshed a second time. I heard you. These pointless partisan battles keep us from bringing the change you need.”

The president will send up four big initiatives that have to be taken up on a bipartisan basis — or not at all. A Deficit Reduction Act that endorses his deficit commission’s proposed spending freeze, entitlement reforms, the purging of corporate loopholes and tax increases. An Energy Independence and Climate Change Act that includes off-shore oil drilling but also the trading of carbon emissions, renewable energy and an end to oil company subsidies. An Expanded Trade and Export Act that embraces new Asian and Latin American trade agreements, but also ends tax breaks for companies that export jobs, and invests in the infrastructure that future industries will need to create jobs here. A Comprehensive Immigration Act that seals the borders and creates a new national identity card but also includes a path to citizenship for those here illegally.

The Republican leaders will choke on “poison pills.” Polls show that half of those who identify as Republicans today are supporters of the Tea Party movement, and 90 percent of Tea Partiers say that Barack Obama is steering the country toward “socialism.” That is why the House and Senate Republican caucuses will shun the president’s outstretched hand. “No tax increases, no cap-and-trade, no amnesty,” will be the new mantra. But voters will know whom to blame when nothing gets done.

For the president, this is either an immense opportunity to bring change or to win re-election in a 1964-like Lyndon Johnson landslide. Either would be O.K.