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Monday, October 24, 2016

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — Even with no real scandal and only one demonstrable policy blunder, the health care rollout, President Barack Obama had a miserable 2013 as his public standing plummeted. History suggests it is tough for a second-term president to rebound. Here are five ways Obama could defy those odds.

Open up the wagons: Ingrained habits are hard to change, and the 52-year-old incumbent isn’t going to transform himself. Still, he may appreciate how much his insularity hurt him last year. Over the past month, there have been three important additions to the White House ranks: John Podesta, a former chief of staff in Bill Clinton’s administration, who, other than Jim Baker in Ronald Reagan’s administration, was the most effective occupant of that position; plus Phil Schiliro, as health care advisor, and Katie Fallon, who starts as congressional liaison, both with considerable credibility.

Will the president listen to them in the crunch? It will be instructive to see whether Podesta will be limited to energy and environmental matters, as the White House initially suggested, or has a wide-ranging portfolio. One encouraging sign, some Democrats say, is that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough realizes the value of broadening the inner circle.

Mend health care: The president and Democrats are paying a huge price for the dreadful rollout of the Affordable Care Act and The goal of 7 million enrollees by April 1 is beyond reach. There must, however, be a substantial number — say 5 million, with a quarter of those young people — to keep the support of the insurance industry and prevent an explosion in premiums.

Obama had to enlist an expert to fix the website. The critical question in 2014 will be whether a chief executive is tapped to run the entire program. If White House resistance persists, look for more problems and controversies that will make the website screwups seem tame.

Go on the offensive: On health care, the best the White House can do is to neutralize the issue. The president’s camp knows it needs to put the Republicans on the defensive elsewhere: by pushing an extension of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and raising the minimum wage. The president also plans to emphasize the one issue that scares mainstream Republicans, immigration reform, which House conservatives threaten to kill.

The improving economy affords the president an opportunity to challenge Republicans on income inequality. Critics will yell about class warfare. Yet the incongruity of the recovery — good for the well-to-do, not so good for the working class — is beyond dispute, as was well documented recently by Steven Rattner, a former Wall Street executive and Obama’s automobile-industry rescue czar.

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Dominick Vila

    The best approach, not only to restore President Obama’s credibility, but with the midterm election in mind, is to pursue popular initiatives. The need to reduce income inequality must be a high priority, and that includes raising the minimum wage. The Veteran’s Jobs Act rejected by the GOP must be resurrected, not only because it would be a popular theme, but because thousands of troops have returned home since the end of the invasion of Iraq and the dramatic downsizing in Afghanistan. Investment in infrastructure must be proposed again, with special focus on the fact that it involves a lot more than repairing roads and bridges. Our power grid is grossly inadequate, our ports and airports are not as modern as those in many European and Asian countries. Most importantly, we must invest in education. The idea that government should not have a role in ensuring our children, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or financial means, should be able to pursue their dreams is absurd…and dangerous. Children in many industrialized countries have access to free college education. The result of the disparity that exists between our approach to education and that embraced by our competitors can be discerned by our focus on doing the menial work illegal immigrants are doing, while the best jobs our economy has to offer go to foreign professionals entering the USA with H1b visas. We lost our ability to pursue a better life, and seem content with getting crumbs while we spend our time texting, playing video games, or watching Dancing with the Stars.
    President Obama can, and should, pursue initiatives designed to improve our standard of living, provide further stimulus to a struggling economy, and improve our ability to meet the challenges that lie ahead and our ability to compete. Giving tax breaks to companies that invest overseas is not going to do the trick. In fact, we should penalize them and reward those that invest at home.
    As for ACA, we must explain its benefits in terms everyone understands, and we must continue tweaking the new law as we learn more about its strengths and weaknesses.
    The GOP did a wonderful job at discrediting President Obama in 2013, it is now up to us to respond in kind.

    • nomoretraitors

      Credibility? What credibility?

      • Sand_Cat

        Yes, we all agree: you have ZERO credibility.

  • VoiceofReason613

    President Obama and the Democrats can greatly increase their standing and future prospects by stressing the following:

    · The Tea Party has shifted the Republican Party so far to the right that Eisenhower,
    Nixon, and even Reagan would not recognize it or get nominated by
    it today.

    · Republicans are promoting policies similar to or worse than those that had such disastrous results during the George W. Bush administration, including converting a
    three-year major surplus into a major deficit, creating very few jobs,
    and pushing the country to the brink of a depression, with over 750,000 jobs per month being lost when they left office.

    · Republicans have obstructed efforts to get our country out of the ditch they left us in by consistently voting no on and filibustering many Democratic proposals to
    improve the economy, some of which they previously supported.

    · Republicans support continued tax breaks for big corporations and the
    wealthiest Americans, while cutting basic social services.

    · Republicans are in denial about the dangers from climate change, despite the views of
    almost all climate scientists and the many wake-up calls we have already received.

    · A strong majority of Republicans voted against aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy and
    against background checks for arms purchases.

    • nomoretraitors

      Do those “wake up calls” include the subzero temperatures in the Midwest and the 7 inches of snow the Northeast received on Friday?

      • m8lsem

        One effect of global warming is increased intensity of storms. No one is suggesting that global warming has already eliminated winter. But it may have made winter less pleasant.

  • itsfun

    Maybe he should try telling Americans the truth instead of lying about everything he thinks he can get away with. He lied about healthcare, lied about even knowing his half brother and lied about living with his Uncle. Maybe he should try being informed about issues, he didn’t know anything about the IRS targeting, knew nothing about fast and furious, no one seems to even know where he was while Benghazi was being attacked. He didn’t know about AP reporters being spied on. Maybe these ideas would help him.

    • edwardw69

      Yea, I can tell that you are on his side, and only want to help.

    • rkief

      This is a really damning indictment, since most Republicans pols, like Bush and Cheney, MCConnell, Boehner &Co. wouldn’t know the truth – having seldom used it – if it bit them in the left testicle.

      • itsfun

        Obama is a proven liar, and you can try to deflect that by calling others liars, but it won’t work. He is a proven liar and continues to lie and you just accept it as normal and OK.

        • rkief

          You make a valid point. I let my impressions overcome verified proof of my accusations. Those impressions are that those Republicans I have mentioned are almost always claiming to be working “for the people,” when their actions seem to be almost always favoring the special interests. My bad!

          • itsfun

            The Republican party has its share of liars also, and most Republicans act like it is normal and ok. I want to make the point that all of us, both Republicans and Democrats must stop excusing liars and hold them responsible. These types of politicians just giving lip service to us, while filing their pockets and just obeying party leaders have got to be fired.

    • bfg

      What? His uncle? Too much Fox time.

      • itsfun

        Try reading news reports sometime.

    • Sand_Cat

      Once again, next to GOP lies during his administration, not to even mention those of his predecessor, your whining about these things is exposed for what it is: a petty exercise in triviality for malicious purposes. All Obama’s so-called “lies” are laughable compared to just one of Bush-Cheney’s about weapons of mass destruction. Until you can admit that, no one here is likely to even seriously consider your arguments, though some may foolishly allow you to draw them into long arguments about your irrelevancies.

      • itsfun

        What is so-called about “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor – period. What is so-called about “if you like your plan you can keep your plan – period? What is so-called about Obama saying he knew nothing about the IRS targeting conservative groups? What is so-called about Benghazi? What is so-called about fast and furious, spying on AP reporters? These actions all help to destroy our type of government. If you don’t believe there were weapons of mass destruction used by Hussian, then you have no clue what is going on in the world. Even Colin went before the UN saying there were weapons of mass destruction in Iran.
        We cannot keep expecting and excusing our politicians lying to us. We must hold all politicians to a higher standard than we currently do. By accepting lying as business as usual, we are doing a disservice to our country and the future of our country.

        We have things like Obama getting mad at congress for going home for the holidays, while he is on vacation in Hawaii.

  • nomoretraitors

    Say, isn’t that a racist statement, kinda like “shuckin’ and jivin?'”

  • m8lsem

    Working on minimum wage and unemployment problems as “class warfare” fails to observe that we’ve been up to our ears in class warfare ever since the first ‘Right to Work’ Law, additionally since Reagan, and especially with the Bush triumph in that war with his tax cuts. When one starts actively to reply to the right-wing attack on the people, one is not starting class war, one is defending oneself in the already existing class war.

  • ThomasBonsell

    Blizzards and cold temperatures “prove” global warming is real, but a conservative mind just can’t understand it. That’s because it can’t understand the effect a high-pressure system puts on the weather.

    High ressue in summer = hotter than normal.

    High pressure in winter = colder than normal even though the sun is shining brightly.

    Putting green-house gases into the atmosphere = creating a permanent high pressure system.

  • Dominick Vila

    The worst part is that their form of austerity is limited to the middle class and the poor. The elite gets a free pass.

  • itsfun

    How many times did they write the same thing, just using different words?

    • Independent1

      Yeah! I realize it’s beyond your limited comprehension ability to realize that the author of that list was summarizing them into categories that they impacted; which since some accomplishments impacted different categories (which by the way virtually every politician creates if you’ve ever tried to write them an email). And that there are not that many repeats which still means that even just listing them, they would dwarf the accomplishments of all the previous 4 GOP presidents combined (who by the way I’m still looking for you or any other clueless troll on the NM to list more than 1 or two POSITIVE accomplshments by these disastrous 4 presidents). What did any of these worthless GOP presidents ever do positive for America??

      Maybe I can help:

      Getting America involved in wars?? No that’s not positive.

      Creating unfunded legislation that’s still adding to America’s debt?? No that’s not positive either.

      Cutting the maximum tax rate in half which started the great shift of wealth within the US such that the top 20% now owns more than 93% of the country’s wealth?? No that’s not positive either.

      Using torture to interrogate suspected terrorists which infuraited almost every country on the planet such that almost the whole world hated America?? No that’s not positive either.

      Pretending to want smaller government but then increasing the size of government by over 260,000 workers?? No tht’s not positive either.

      Adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare in a way that made it obvious it was really nothing more than a giveaway to Big Pharma because the government can’t negotiate lower drug prices?? No. that’s really not a complete positive either.

      Putting 261 marines in harms way in Lebanon while dictating that they couldn’t carry loaded weapons which resulted in all of them being killed while they slept?? No, that’s not a positive either.

      Being drunken sailor spenders such that these 4 GOP presidents are responsible for at least 15+ trillion of America’s current 17 trillion in debt?? No that’s not a positive either??

      Wow!! So again, just what did these idiots ever do that was positive??