TPM Reader LF doesn’t buy the idea that Obama is weak …
TPM Reader HM is way off on the President. Yes, I admit to bias, but this is pretty typical cries of failure from our side whenever President Obama does not, as Chris Matthews would have him do, kick the other side in the balls. And therefore they come up with the idea that “he’s failed.” But it could not be further from the truth.
I think it is absurdly wrong to think that the President cannot handle confrontation (and the implicit suggestion that he is not strong). This is the person who everyone in the establishment decried when he said that, if he had a shot, he would take out bin Laden. And then, when he had the shot, and a bunch of his national security team were against it (or squishy), he took it anyway. And it’s not just that. His team wanted him to give up comprehensive health care reform in favor of smaller, achievable reforms. He did not let up. People don’t remember it, but the politics of the auto industry bailout ranged from bad to toxic at the time (Mitt Romney was very comfortable with hoping to win Michigan while saying that we should “let Detroit go bankrupt”). He still bailed out Detroit. He could have backed down from Dodd-Frank when the Republicans were filibustering (and gained plenty of campaign cash from Wall Street). He could have thrown Geithner over the rails (some think he should have, but the point is he stood by what he believed in). He did not have to push DADT repeal, much less take a stand in favor of marriage equality a few months before the election. Politically, it might have been advantageous if the President had kicked Romney in the balls, and certainly cathartic for a lot of people. But he the reason he did not do it was not because of any lack of intestinal fortitude, it was clearly a political judgment. We will see where it goes from here—maybe it’s a disaster-but it should be argued based on its merit as political calculation, not Democrats typical cries that he needs to be tougher. Because he is already as tough as it gets.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.