Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics thinks Obama has just made an egregious political error. When I read Trende’s analysis, it seemed off. He was missing something, focusing on the wrong thing, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I agreed… the press conference was confusing. But that one press conference alone couldn’t be that significant, right? That was my feeling
That is, until I read Matt Lewis at Politics Daily.
Lewis dissects it perfectly. Obama has two good choices: play hard ball with a winning hand, or compromise and declare victory. If he compromises and then tells the world he lost, he gets no credit for being moderate and no bump from his base for being liberal. Whether you like or dislike the results from the compromise, now you have a reason to dislike Obama. And more than that, by blasting the deal he just made, Obama is erasing whatever moderate bona fides he could have earned, bona fides that would have given him a stronger hand in future negotiations. Republicans wouldn’t get away with shutting down government and going to the mattresses against a moderate– they just might against a liberal.
For a president who claims moderation and compromise are at his core, Obama sure sucks at messaging from the political center.