The president took to the stump yesterday and gave a major address on fixing the economy and creating jobs. He promised to spend his remaining 1,000 plus days in office working toward that end.
If the president’s goal was trying to get more Democrats elected to congress in 2014, his remarks were spot on. But if he was trying to get something done on the economy he will find his effort wanting; because it takes more than well crafted remarks to get things done in Washington.
Unfortunately for the country, this president has yet to figure that out.
The president’s supporters will naturally blame the country’s economic doldrums on what they feel is the most intransigent congress in our history. “What alternative does the presidents have” they will say “than to put pressure on congress by taking his message directly to the American people.” They would have us believe that this president is facing a wall of congressional obstruction never before witnessed.
Let’s be clear, Barak Obama is not the first president to face a congress hell bent on destroying his agenda. One need only look back to the 1990’s to find a president who was able to get things done in spite of facing overwhelming political opposition.
When Bill Clinton took office he faced a job crisis and a $4 trillion dollar deficit. His time in office was marked by scandal. The Republican opposition was led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich; a formidable opponent who makes John Boehner look like a puppy. Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky brought him public humiliation. His arrogant decision to lie about the affair before congress led to his impeachment by the House.
Yet Clinton managed to balance the budget and add 22 million new jobs to the economy.
Clinton understood that in order to get things done in Washington you often need to get in bed with people you hate. You might not like what you see on the menu…but sometimes you have to choke it down to survive. Clinton understood that. He found ways to work with people that wanted to destroy him…that wanted voted to impeach him. And the country was better for it.
Barak Obama could learn a lesson or two from Bill Clinton.
He might want to give Bubba a call.