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Monday, May 2, 2016

Presidents Propose, Congress Disposes

Monday, March 19, 2012

President Obama shouldn't have to shoulder all of the blame for the abysmal national state of our Union, should he? Of course not, even though he has a Democrat Senate, the House has been Republican for a year and a quarter. Sure, he had all Democrats for his first two years, and they did some stuff.

In bemoaning the split House (Rs) and Senate (Ds) that President Obama must work with (or against) it is easy to forget that in the last two years of oft maligned President G W Bush's tenure, both houses were Democrat. That, plus the exaggerated power of the presidency, should not be forgotten.

When it comes to ruling our land, Presidents are not as important as we often think. If elected, Newt Gingrich isn't going to "reduce gas prices to $2.50," and none of 'em has the power to "repeal Obamacare," as all have said they will. Not on their first, last, or any, day in office. They can issue significantly effective executive orders, but Congress controls the strings, purse, and most policy.

Conversely, unless it is veto-proof, a Republican Congress cannot repeal anything without Obama's approval. Without turning the Senate around, don't expect dramatic changes in legislation. Hence, taking control of the Senate is as important to conservatives as is the presidency.

"Presidents propose, Congress disposes," the saying goes. It may sound demeaning but a good chunk of a president's role can be compared to a cheerleading, glad handing, PR guy. I suggest that this should have been Obama's strongest, but might be his weakest point. Not because he doesn't try, but gaffes (on Israel, Iran, International gay rights, Libya, and other apologetic, appeasing, sometimes tentative actions) by him and his staff often negate his good intentions. Republicans are not alone in misspeaks.

Obama has presided like he knows, or fears, that he will be a one term guy, for he has tried to do too much, too fast. Past wise leaders have known just how far in front of public opinion was "affordable."

Energy Secretary Steven Chu told The Wall Street Journal in late 2008, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," and said he supported gradually increasing gasoline taxes over 15 years to coax consumers into buying more efficient cars. This indicated how attuned the administration is to the east and left coasts.

Chu recently disavowed those comments about increasing gas prices to European levels, "I no longer share that view," Chu said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, adding that he wants to lower gas prices. "Talk is cheap -- takes money to buy whiskey," the saying goes -- Keystone Pipeline, Mr. Secretary? Mr. President? (for the fuel future-our future)

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Not $4 dollar gas, not Afghanistan, not unemployment. Although these are likely to be the issues that will determine his November fate, I think that President Obama's biggest problem is that his overall perception of the "American Way" just isn't in tune with the majority of Americans.

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He wouldn't have a chance in November if Republicans had a candidate who captures voter's imagination. This is the case today, as it was four years ago. To support my belief that we place too much emphasis on presidential pizzazz, how do these polling results make sense? Real Clear Politics reports that President Obama's approval/disapproval rating is dead even at 47%, but the same polling says we think the country is on the wrong track by a margin of 61 to 31. Obama's Hope and Change leaves a majority of us hoping for change, all right!

If right is spelled that way, why isn't wrong spelled rong? It isn't too late....

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In fact, President Obama couldn't have been elected under more normal circumstances. The economic stars became aligned in his favor the two months preceding his election.

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Former prisoner of war John McCain had military star quality but was too hawkish for some, and too moderate for others, and in an attempt to grab the far right, chose his VP candidate rashly.

It is dangerous to assume anything these days but if Mitt Romney is the candidate it appears he has a similar problem -- uninspiring. Unfortunately, it is not enough these days to be successful, experienced, and competent; it takes pizzazz. And, a persona that appeals to the far left or far right helps. Carefully choosing a VP running mate will be extremely important for the next Republican candidate.

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After hearing that Afghani nationals burned a U.S. soldier in effigy, Sarah Palin (or Joe Biden -- take your choice) asks why Obama isn't sending troops into Effigy.

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Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That


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