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Behind the Curtain: Obama, boxed in
Politico ^ | April 18, 2013 | Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen

Posted on 04/18/2013 6:47:08 PM PDT by Second Amendment First

There are two very different President Obamas.

There’s the confident, uncompromising Obama who sought to shame and bully Republicans into submitting to his agenda of tax increases and sweeping gun reform. This version of Obama was dominant until one month ago.

Then there’s the calmer, more compromising Obama — the one who has courted Republicans and taken on his own party with a call for (modest) reductions in entitlement spending. This version of Obama took command last month.

Both are flailing.

(PHOTOS: The two sides of Barack Obama)

Obama, regardless of the personality and political approach he displays on any given day, keeps running into the same wall of insurmountable opposition. The cold, hard reality is that the president is trapped in a very frustrating box: He realizes that the vast majority of Congress is as impervious to his pressure as it is his charm. He is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t — and he knows it, several of his friends tell us.

He will most likely get nothing on guns despite his vow after Wednesday’s Senate defeat that “this effort is not over.” He will most likely get nothing more on a grand bargain to lift the economy. He stands a decent chance of getting an immigration deal. But as one influential Democratic adviser told us, that’s only because the president has largely stayed on the sidelines. “POTUS really doesn’t have any sway with red-state Dems,” said a top Democratic official close to the White House. Democratic senators, the official added, “won in states that POTUS lost — some by huge margins. Also, even in blue states, many Democrats ran ahead of POTUS.”

(Also on POLITICO: Obama's mission: Reassure, rally)

Obama has privately resigned himself to this bleak reality — in fact, he anticipated it more than a year ago. In private conversations during the campaign, Obama made plain that the job of being president was a drag under divided government — and that he had deep reservations about grinding out another two or four years of minimal progress through a gridlocked Congress. Now, the combination of Republican resistance and the high number of Senate Democrats running in red states in 2014 virtually assures little change for at least 18 months.

David Axelrod, sounding shell-shocked by the decisiveness of the Senate defeat on gun reform, said Obama is indeed frustrated by the constraints that bind him and knows that’s what he signed up for. “On this one, he tried everything,” Axelrod said. “It’s easy after a stinging defeat like this to say: ‘There’s no formula.’ But what you can’t do is take your bat and ball and go home.”

Obama advisers see at least three options:

1. Work like hell to flip the House.

The only way to get big things done in a divided Congress is to control everything, like Obama did for his first two years. Democrats would need to net 17 House seats, a near impossibility for an incumbent president’s party in the so-called six-year itch year. The forecast from Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball project at the University of Virginia Center for Politics lists only seven of the nation’s 435 House districts as true tossups. The analysis points to an amazing stat that explains a lot about Capitol Hill gridlock: Just 26 House members — 17 Democrats and nine Republicans — represent districts won by the other party’ presidential candidate, and many of the members in those crossover districts are not particularly vulnerable.

2. Fight like hell for immigration — and issue lots of executive orders.

David Plouffe — architect of Obama’s first presidential race and a senior adviser in the White House for the first term — is cautiously optimistic about immigration since it seems to be in a very different place politically than gun control was. “Passing immigration reform would be a ringing start to a second term,” Plouffe said.

The Democratic official close to the White House pointed out that immigration “has more political upside for a Republican than guns does — not passing immigration is more of a downside for Republicans than the upside of blocking it. … If we can pass it with 70 votes, then the House will look like racist white boys if they don’t pass it.”

Plouffe said some of Obama’s goals will require legislative action but added that the president plans to accomplish others with his administrative powers, continuing the 44 executive actions on everything from transit to tourism that Obama has taken under his “wait can’t wait” umbrella since late 2011.

“The first preference is always to work with Congress,” Plouffe said. “If they won’t act, and we can, we will.”

3. Take the long view.

As the country shifts to center-left, the president will appear to be on the right side of history. It might take years to enact gun controls or raise more taxes on the rich or make gay marriage legal everywhere. But Obama will be able to claim credit for getting these tectonic changes rolling — or at least shoving them along. Guns are Exhibit A.

“If it’s not a matter of principle and conscience, it’s a matter of calculus,” Axelrod said. “The fear senators have from the NRA is that they’ll lose their seats. But if they realize that the voters will back them up, and people begin losing seats because they voted against something as common-sensical as background checks, you’ll start seeing changes.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections

1 posted on 04/18/2013 6:47:08 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
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To: Second Amendment First

Sounds like Politico is whistling past the graveyard. They must still believe that Obama gives a crap about any of this stuff. At this point he is just running out the clock until he can cash in by hitting the lecture tour.

2 posted on 04/18/2013 6:55:33 PM PDT by glorgau
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To: Second Amendment First

4. Obama the be prosecuted for violating his oath of office. / dream on

3 posted on 04/18/2013 6:55:47 PM PDT by South Dakota (shut up and build a bakken pipe line)
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To: Second Amendment First

Actually, one can argue that President Obama is the most PRO-GUN president in decades, if not ever. Consider:

1) The ONLY significant piece of gun legislation was an NRA-backed bill that permitted concealed carry in national parks.

2) He single-handedly created tens of millions of new gun owners, just by his words.

3) He has probably DESTROYED the future of the Democrats in the Senate, who were forced to vote on bills that can only DESTROY THEM at election time. He has forced Reid and Manchin to out themselves, along with others.

For that - President Obama has been GREAT for our side.

4 posted on 04/18/2013 7:01:46 PM PDT by BobL (Look up "CSCOPE" if you want to see something really scary)
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To: Second Amendment First
As the country shifts to center-left

I don't really know where the country is right now. I don't think about it. I don't think it matters. The political class is doing what it wants -- we the people, are just along for the ride at this point. And this train is going to crash hard.

5 posted on 04/18/2013 7:06:48 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The ballot box is a sham. Nothing will change until after the war.)
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To: Second Amendment First

You forgot petulant, angry 0bama.

6 posted on 04/18/2013 7:11:53 PM PDT by YHAOS
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And don’t forget the domestic enemy of the Constitution Obama who never opens his mouth without lying and insulting our intelligence, thereby calling his own into legitimate question, who holds ATMs responsible for out miserable economy, who utters complete nonsense about how the economy grows from the middle out, who publicly and repeatedly laments that he is not officially a king or an emperor, and who blames our obsolete Constitution as the reason why he is not yet completely able to exercise dictatorial power in order to run our society as he and his oligarchical minions see fit.

7 posted on 04/18/2013 7:28:08 PM PDT by Maceman
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To: Maceman

This is why he is petulant, angry 0bama.

8 posted on 04/18/2013 7:30:26 PM PDT by YHAOS
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To: Second Amendment First
"...he one who has courted Republicans and taken on his own party with a call for (modest) reductions in entitlement spending..."

Good God. You have GOT to be kidding me...

9 posted on 04/18/2013 7:39:50 PM PDT by rlmorel ("We'll drink to good health for them that have it coming." Boss Spearman in Open Range)
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To: anyone

Personally, I think the Democrats on both the state and federal levels will quietly work like the dickens to turn Texas into a blue state asap by encouraging the importation of a new set of voters through legal and illegal immigration. As Rush has pointed out, California used to be a reliably Republican state. Permanently losing the electoral votes of both California and Texas would create an overwhelming barrier to candidates from the Right. I know quite a few US citizens from other states are moving to Texas, too, but I bet a fair number of them will bring Blue State expectations, as people have in moving to Colorado.

10 posted on 04/18/2013 7:41:16 PM PDT by Coyote Choir
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To: Second Amendment First

I have never been so ashamed of my country(’s leadership).

11 posted on 04/18/2013 7:41:28 PM PDT by IrishPennant (All warfare is based on deception.)
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To: Second Amendment First

What two faces of Obama?

I only see (1) wanna-be dictator face; and (2) already dictator face.

12 posted on 04/18/2013 7:44:02 PM PDT by Sir Napsalot (Pravda + Useful Idiots = CCCP; JournOList + Useful Idiots = DopeyChangey!)
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To: Second Amendment First

If being President is so bleak and a drag for him, maybe he ought to hang himself. I will gladly provide the rope.

13 posted on 04/18/2013 8:39:44 PM PDT by wetgundog (" Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is no Vice")
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To: Maceman; All

We need to stay focused!

Most of the news from the Obamanation Administration centers around topics that are designed to be just another Obamanation Smokescreen to divert the attention away from Obama managing each new Constitutional Crisis into a Regulation that violates the Constitution.

“Never let a Crisis go to waste,” is the rule that guides Commie Obama.

Examples of these Obamanation distractions are most of the social issues that get attention by the Liberal Agenda Media.

Our sorry Congressional RINOs have been to stupid to learn this smoke and mirrors distraction game, and run from bargain to bargain or deal to deal, with nary a thought to use REGULAR ORDER, as designed by our Founding Fathers to protect us from Tyrants such as B. Hussein Obama.

As any card-carrying Obamanation Journalist will tell you:

” - - - We must support Obama “ - - - TO FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - - - ” into a totally Regulated Communist Obamanation of Debt and Doom.

After all, how else can “- - - everyone get a fair shot?” - - - “

BTW, RECEIVING a “fair shot” would have been a lot easier if Commie Obama had succeeded in his personal recent attempted “bipartisan” destruction of the 2nd Amendment to disarm us - - - - .

14 posted on 04/18/2013 8:42:59 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Commune-Style Obama'care' violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: wetgundog

Rather than that, nobama should resign, apologize, don sack cloth and roam America begging until his dieing day.

15 posted on 04/18/2013 8:44:13 PM PDT by ogen hal (First amendment or reeducation camp?)
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