Tags: Barack Obama | | Newt Gingrich | budget | Congress | Republicans | compromise

Politico: Obama, Finally, Shows Willingness to Compromise

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 07:23 AM

President Barack Obama may be taking a leaf from former President Bill Clinton's relationship with Republican Newt Gingrich, who was House speaker in the 1990s, in deciding it's worth antagonizing his base on issues like the budget for the sake of keeping the government running, Todd Purdum writes in Politico.

In the interest of the greater good, likewise, then-President George W. Bush — facing a Democratic Congress — irritated conservatives by turning to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass the Troubled Assets Relief Program, an initiative to purchase assets from financial institutions in the wake of the economic downturn in 2008.

Obama began his presidency "far too deferential to the congressional wing of his party," said an unidentified Capitol Hill observer.

Now the Obama White House has decided, Purdum writes, that the American public expects those two branches of the government to cooperate and that doing so is smart politics even at partisan expense.

The budget bill passed with 57 Democrats backing it and 139 opposed. Minority Leader Pelosi pronounced herself "enormously disappointed" with the administration, Purdum writes.

Both Democratic presidents faced a Republican-controlled Congress; Bush was facing a Democratic-led Congress.

The parallels, however, are imperfect. Clinton was in his first term and trying to move the Democratic Party to the center. Obama, with two years left in his second term, is only belatedly trying compromise to avoid governmental paralysis.

Obama conceded some of his party's priorities — on supervision of the banking industry and on campaign donations — while coming away with continued funding of the Affordable Care Act and avoiding a reckoning over his recent executive orders on immigration.

The administration was partly motivated by an appreciation that failure to bend with the current divided Congress would leave it needing to cover the same ground with a more powerful, Republican-majority Congress next year, Purdum writes.

"Were he inclined to be a careful student of Clinton's successes," writes Purdum, Obama would recall that Clinton was seen as weak for compromising.

Yet "by the end of his tenure, no less a critic than Gingrich adjudged him 'the best tactical politician, certainly of my lifetime,' and today he is remembered, for better and worse, as the kind of president who could close the deal," Purdum concludes.

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Politics
President Obama may be taking a leaf from former President Bill Clinton's relationship with Congress in the 1990s in deciding it's worth it to antagonize his base for the sake of keeping the government running, Todd Purdum writes in Politico.
budget, Congress, Republicans, compromise
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2014-23-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 07:23 AM
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