In 1994, when Bill Clinton faced a wave election and lost control of Congress, he listened carefully to the voters, and changed his actions accordingly. The move likely protected him from an impeachment conviction.
Since last Tuesday’s election, Barack Obama has claimed to do much of the same.
When you look more closely, however, it’s evident that his arrogance is keeping him from following in Bill Clinton’s footsteps.
Even at his best, Obama can’t manage a poor imitation of Bill.
During his post-election press conference, Obama made a bizarre statement. See if you can understand it: “To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you.” But then he added, “To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday… I hear you, too.”
Here’s the quick translation if you don’t understand. Basically, he’s saying… I want to hear the people who didn’t vote. Screw you voters who did vote.
Obama’s fan, Chris Matthews, did his best to translate for his MSNBC audience: “What I heard him do right now was, ‘I was right. We had the wrong electorate last night. I’d prefer a different electorate. I’d like the two-thirds of the people who didn’t vote to go vote.’ Well, they didn’t vote. They didn’t show up.”
Not the Same Accent
Unlike Bill Clinton, Obama can’t stomach compromising with Republicans. Even the left-wing punditry is perplexed at how the president is responding. The Washington Post‘s E.J. Dionne described 2014 as “an even more stinging defeat” for Democrats than 2010. And then he said of Obama’s response, “A dismissive shrug is inappropriate.”
The Post’s Dana Milbank added that the victory for Republicans was “a political earthquake.” He said the voters’ message “went in one presidential ear and out the other.”
It gets even worse when you consider Obama’s insistence on declaring an executive amnesty for illegal immigrants. Rather than allow the political process to work toward immigration changes, Obama wants to dictate the policy changes directly from the Oval Office.
His amnesty plan is very unpopular, but Obama doesn’t care what the voters think.
Here’s what the media is saying post-election about the Obama agenda on immigration. NBC’s Chuck Todd said that the election results should “put an end” to the plan. He called the amnesty plan “politically provocative,” adding that “the president is going to know that if he does this, he’s starting a political war in Washington.”
A Disturbing Final Act
Over at CNN, Candy Crowley said, “We don’t know what he’s going to do executive order-wise on immigration, but if he makes a major move along the lines of what we’ve been hearing… that would be like just popping a grenade and throwing it in the middle of the Senate floor.”
The National Journal‘s Ron Fournier had the most provocative response – saying, “After this repudiation, acting on immigration by fiat would be the political equivalent of literally flipping the country the bird.”
If Obama was less arrogant and more in tune with the voters, he would channel an inner Bill Clinton and move right with the country. Clinton called his strategy “triangulation.” It resulted in the passage of a Welfare Reform bill that has worked wonders and received praise from all sides.
If he could only tame his ego, Obama could finish his presidency with the respect of the nation. Instead, his popularity slumps by the day. He’s no Clinton.
Your eyes on the Hill,