Robert Reich Has Great Advice For The POTUS But Obama Won’t Take It

I couldn’t agree more with  American political economist, professor, author, and political commentator Robert Reich.  He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.  The man knows a thing or two.

I really wish President Obama would heed his words…

Robert Reich

“Occasionally I may make some of you angry because I’m going to reach out to Republicans and I’m going to keep on doing it,” President Obama said at a Democratic fundraiser last night. “Even if some of you think I’m a sap I’m going to keep on doing it because that’s what I think the country needs.”

Given the current state of the Regressive Party I don’t think this is what the country needs, at least not in the way Obama has been reaching out — putting compromises on the table before negotiations have even begun (cutting future Social Security benefits); setting lines in the sand and then caving (insisting the Bush tax cuts would not be extended to incomes over $250K and then extending them up to $400K); giving them easy escapes from the consequences of their policies (avoiding the fiscal cliff); allowing them to use the filibuster to thwart a large majority of voters (background checks before gun purchases); trying to reassure them by moving to the right (increasing deportations); and legitimizing their views (setting up Simpson-Bowles deficit commission and saying government budgets are like family budgets).

The way to “reach out to Republicans” is to be mercilessly tough on them — using the powers of the presidency to punish and reward them (and their constituents), holding them publicly accountable, leading the charge against the filibuster, and not giving an inch. When Obama reaches out to them as he has, congressional Republicans see only weakness, and they’ve used that weakness against him time and again.

6 comments

  1. There’s a difference between meeting someone halfway vs. going halfway, waiting for them, not finding them there, then continuing the rest of the way across.

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  2. I believe it was while Daley was Chief of Staff that the Administration tried this approach and it was deemed a failure. The culture in Washington has changed drastically since Reich, who I respect a great deal, last worked for Clinton. In the 90’s, for example, only around 60% of congressional districts were considered locked for one party. Today that figure is somewhere in the 90th percentile.

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    1. The culture in Washington has changed drastically since Reich…

      lj41, are you saying Reich’s approach is impossible in the 21st century? Has democracy ceased to exist? Is the only government we get is a bullying, partisan Plutocracy?

      :::Sigh::: My idealistic view of our government as envisioned by men who enslaved my people, yet, through the power of the Constitution they created, and people who believed in that document, slavery as we knew it ended. Granted there were other forms of intimidation toward Blacks, Chinese, Jews and more, but it was the Constitution that sorted it all out.

      I’m not saying the document has no flaws, but for the most part it works…when we have a Justice System that understands it.

      I don’t think Reich is being idealistic and clinging to a time long gone, I think, like me, he believes in a resurgence of the Democracy that the Founders envisioned.

      (Sorry…I get emotional about Democracy, ConLaw, etc. A leftover from my pre-law days, no doubt.)

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      1. Wow, I so apologize; it wasn’t my intention to hit a nerve. Heck, I’m a Jimmy Carter democrat so I kinda know what you’re talking about. I don’t really believe in absolutes, so I wouldn’t say impossible, just a great deal harder. Sorry.

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  3. At times it seems that persons in positions of authority, possibly fearing that doing so will diminish their aura of power, refuse to take the advice of experts.
    [Just wonderin'...]

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