NOT TO put a too fine a point on President Obama’s focus lately, but it’s clear from his chat with the New York Times that he’s feeling some urgency about what awaits him in the fall. The push coming against him lately has the unmistakable markings of the catapult to the 2014 rev up, even before immigration gets a vote in the fall and Republican extremists make fools of themselves one more time over Obamacare.
Too bad President Obama didn’t feel this way before the 2010 elections, because that’s the one that still haunts his presidency, not only in Congress, but in redistricting and state legislatures.
On one item there has been some movement, due to progressive noise, and that’s the consideration of Larry Summers to replace Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen, the current Fed vice chairwoman, is also on the short list and she would be the first female ever, with CNBC reporting that she is Wall Street’s choice. Both Summers and Yellen come from the Clinton administration. Summers is still trying to live down the sexism he has shown in the past, which has made him a pariah with progressives.
In fact, Yellen got much higher grades from the Street on monetary policy expertise and concern about unemployment, which is a major issue for President Obama. Summers is seen having more respect from international leaders, greater concern about inflation and a higher level of financial market expertise.
Wall Street, however, doesn’t think the next Fed chairman will be all that different from Ben Bernanke. Fifty-five percent said whomever is chosen will be neither more hawkish nor more dovish than Bernanke on monetary policy.
“That’s what people sense,” he said. “That’s why people are anxious. That’s why people are frustrated.”
During much of the interview, Mr. Obama was philosophical about historical and economic forces that he said were tearing at communities across the country. He noted at one point that he has in the Oval Office a framed copy of the original program from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 50 years ago, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
[…] Striking a feisty note at times, he vowed not to be cowed by his Republican adversaries in Congress and said he was willing to stretch the limits of his powers to change the direction of the debate in Washington.
“I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security,” Mr. Obama said. But he added, “I’m not just going to sit back if the only message from some of these folks is no on everything, and sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.”
Interesting that Obama is making the decision to mention his “next 1,200 days,” which will be his last in office. A sense of urgency about what lays still undone hits every president and Barack Obama is no different.
Our perpetual election syndrome robs every executive branch occupant of months and months of work that could be done, because everyone starts gearing up for the next human horse race.
The anticipation for 2016 can be seen daily, with the latest teaser an NBC miniseries on Hillary Clinton, getting the movie star treatment with Diane Lane as the former first lady and potential presidential candidate.