Tags: merry | obama | healthcare

Author: Obama Letting Liberals Run the Show

Wednesday, 18 Nov 2009 08:27 PM

By Dan Weil

Robert Merry, former president of Congressional Quarterly, gives President Obama low marks for his performance so far.

“President Obama has made a big error in political judgment,” Merry told Newsmax.TV.

“He is attempting to govern America from the left. Bill Clinton tried that for two years with his healthcare bill and other things. It failed miserably, and he lost Congress as a result. He recouped and created a center-left approach to government which proved to be very successful.”

See Video: Former Congressional Quarterly president Bob Merry on Obama’s failing presidency - Click Here Now

In some sense, Obama is a victim of his own passivity, said Merry, author of the new book “A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent.”

“Obama has pretty much let the liberals in Congress define his presidency, and that in my view is why he is experiencing an erosion in political standing," Merry said. "I think in the short term, he and his allies in Congress believe that he’s got to get this health bill in to maintain his standing.”

That may be correct, Merry said. But “in the long term, I think there are so many problems with that bill in terms of what it will do to the economy, leaving aside the healthcare question, that . . . it’s going to prove devastating to his party and perhaps to himself.”

One problem Merry sees: “I don’t think the Obama administration . . . is looking at it with that degree of analytic rigor.”

Republicans have a good chance to make inroads in next year’s congressional elections, Merry said, adding, “There’s still time for the Democrats to recoup and position themselves in that election. But right now, they’re looking like they’re not well positioned.”

Obama’s Afghanistan policy may play an important role in the 2010 elections, especially “if it turns out to appear like a quagmire,” said Merry, whose Polk book, coincidentally, chronicles events during the presidency of a young Democrat who pledged to serve only one term.

Obama’s predicament with Afghanistan mirrors Polk’s with the Mexican-American War, Merry said. As Obama has done with Gen. Stanley McChrystal about troop needs in Afghanistan, Polk met with his top general, Winfield Scott, he said.

“They agreed on what they were going to try to accomplish in the war, and then Scott told Polk what he needed in terms of troops and material and resources," Merry said.

"Polk writes in his diary that night that he totally disagreed that what Scott said was necessary, but he didn’t say so, because he understood that, if you are going to ask a general to undertake a mission and the general says, 'I need this to accomplish the mission,' and he’s going to be putting young Americans in harm's way, you can't really argue about that."

McChrystal's request for 40,000 more troops months ago, which Obama continues to mull, "implies a certain mission and if he’s not going to get the 40,000, then the president is going to have to revise the mission, and the discussion within the White House seems to reflect that," Merry said.

“A war that drags on and doesn’t have a clear understandable purpose, as we know from the George W. Bush experience, can really sap the standing of a president,” he said.

As for healthcare, “I’m not as convinced as many of my journalistic colleagues that this bill is going to make it. I think that it still has a long way to go, and there are a lot of pitfalls down the road.”

See Video: Former Congressional Quarterly president Bob Merry on Obama’s failing presidency - Click Here Now

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