Well, I'm back now. Hope everyone is having a happy holidays.
Michael Barone's latest article, Even After Shellacking, Obama Looks OK In 2012, is in my opinion required reading for those who keep up with politics regardless of party or position.
Barone is a conservative columnist and author as well as a historian of sorts. While most conservatives are touting the 2010 midterms elections results as the beginning of Obama's end, Barone's insights should be good cause not to be so glib and confident about it.
Ever since the midterms, Obama has begun to dance the Two-Step, albeit not our Texas version down here. He has shown at least a little bit of willingness to broker compromise while managing to end up with a lot of the spoils on his side.
Other brave conservative columnists such as Charles Krauthammer come right out and posit that Obama did some shellacking of his own with a Tax Bill that the lame duck Congress passed, ending up with extended unemployment benefits, a payroll tax holiday and various other credits in exchange for continuing the Bush tax cuts for everyone. Obama then wrangled deals to pass a repeal of DADT and a continuation of START.
Krautie even dubbed Obama the new Comback Kid. I find that I must acknowledge a newfound respect for the guy, and I wouldn't have passed that tax bill (too much cost and the rich can afford a tax increase is pretty much how I see it). I think Krautie is spot-on in recognizing Obama's stubborn cunning when it looked like he was about as down as a President could get.
I know this marks a change in how I look at Obama and I needed to note it. There is still A LOT I cannot abide in him. But where I can abide, I want to recognize.
What he did with the Lame Duck Bunch is classic Generation X Just-Do-It ruthlessness. Watching it in action is almost breathtaking because it defies the odds and shows maximum risk-taking. This is part and parcel of the greatness that I knew he possessed, my beef was that he was not yet ready for prime time, an observation that I think has been well proven by now in the many ways he has bombed on the job. Yet, he does exhibit a penchant to be a quick learner, so he may yet grow into the job.
I think that both Krautie and Barone sense what I've described and they know it's special talent. They are both going against their party powers-that-be and proverbial thinkers by writing their columns, too, by the way. I follow what Krautie writes and he heretofore had been biting about Obama's behaviors that Krautie perceived to be childish and immature for the most part. My take is that Krautie finally has found some behavior in Obama that he admires, that Obama has finally begun to rise to the occasion, something that is expected in American presidents.
Whether Obama continues to please remains to be seen, but the most important thing that I take away is that the man cannot be underestimated or predicted. That alone makes it impossible to rely on election results or mandates from the public, because all Obama has to do is appear to mirror those mandates. Conservatives/Republicans would do well to remember that as they take leadership of the House and sport a more powerful caucus in the Sentate. Obama is doing everything he can to put the ball in their court so they can screw up as he lays in wait.
I find myself saying a nightly prayer for Speaker Boehner, because I feel that he has the talent to be a statesman and above the fray, as long as he doesn't fall into a defensive trap laid by Team Obama. If he's alowed to be the statesmen, we all win. If he becomes a defensive snipe, we all lose.