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Slate Pitch: Obama Is the Shrewdest Political Tactician Since LBJ

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http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/09/slate-pitch-obama-shrewd-political-strategist

 

The conventional view in Washington these days is that President Barack Obama is not having such a great second term and might already be suffering a bit of lame duckery. After all, he failed to overcome NRA and GOP opposition to modest gun safety legislation after the horrific Newtown massacre, and his immigration reform push has crashed into that brick wall known as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. But here's a Slate pitch: Obama is the most wily tactician in the nation's capital since Lyndon Johnson. 

 

Consider what Obama has recently done to two of his most bothersome foes: Vladimir Putin and John Boehner. Faced with the thorny question of how to respond to the Bashar al-Assad's presumed use of chemical weapons in Syria, Obama sent conflicting messages at first. He dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to deliver a hawkish message that seemed to suggest a retaliatory but limited strike against the regime was imminent, but then Obama surprisingly announced he would seek authorization from Congress for such an attack, fully realizing that such a move would take weeks to pull off—that is, if he could rally sufficient votes.

 

Having sparked a contentious debate on Capitol Hill—with opposition to a strike on the rise—Obama appeared to have led himself into a political quagmire. He got perilously close to what could have been an embarrassing defeat. But before Congress could vote, this mess yielded a beneficial outcome: it drew Putin into co-ownership of the chemical weapons problem. As Obama failed to gain support on the Hill for an attack on the Assad regime, Putin leapt into the fray to broker a deal that would supposedly end with Syria's chemical weapons under international control. 

 

Whether by design or dumb luck, Obama succeeded in placing Putin on the hook for Assad's chemical weapons. The Russian leader was now acknowledging that Assad's stockpile was indeed a problem and, more important, assuming the role of guarantor. Certainly, the subsequent negotiations would be difficult, with Assad likely to slow-walk and obfuscate. But having sucked Putin into the process, Obama had increased the odds of achieving his chief goal: preventing the further use of chemical weapons by the regime. With Russia-brokered talks underway, could Assad deploy chemical weapons again? Doing so would risk embarrassing (and maybe angering) Putin, Assad's top benefactor. 

 

Hawks on Capitol Hill and elsewhere were not happy that Obama traded a military attack for talks that are likely to be frustrating. But Obama's original aim was not negotiating a chemical weapons accord with Assad but a more narrow goal: stopping another chemical weapons attack. With Putin, perhaps Obama's most pesky antagonist on the world stage, now invested in an international effort to remove Assad's chemical weapons from the Syrian tyrant's control, Obama may well have succeeded. (One side benefit might be a détente with Iran.) 

 

Back home, Obama has placed House Speaker Boehner in a different sort of hot seat. By declining to negotiate with Boehner about defunding Obamacare in order to prevent a government shutdown, the president has fueled the ongoing civil war within GOP ranks. True, this pitched battle would wage with or without Obama, as tea partiers try to hold the government hostage in order to destroy Obama's health care program and less extreme Republicans contend that this act of political terrorism will backfire against their party. But sometimes in politics, it takes discipline to stand back and not get in the way when an opponent is self-immolating.

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This is stupid. Syria is a Russian client state. There was nothing more than Russian self-interest at play here with this so-called "deal". Obama bungled the whole thing from the start with his stupid "red line". We should have struck unilaterally as soon as that was breached and dealt with the fallout afterwards. If we were so fucking confident in our intelligence then we should have acted then and not dealt with Congress and waited until Syria was able to reposition its assets and sow seeds of doubt within the international community. The president has that ability to do so, and should have.

 

Instead, now we look weak (and relieved) that the Russians are dealing with it instead. The Russians! That trustworthy mob (natch) of former Communists led by a former KGB agent in Putin. Brilliant!

 

Nope, this article is an attempt at revisionist history and I detest it and outright reject it. Obama is not wily, he is calculated, and here he calculated wrongly and with much hand-wringing. Which is certainly something he's good at.

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This is stupid. Syria is a Russian client state. There was nothing more than Russian self-interest at play here with this so-called "deal". Obama bungled the whole thing from the start with his stupid "red line". We should have struck unilaterally as soon as that was breached and dealt with the fallout afterwards. If we were so fucking confident in our intelligence then we should have acted then and not dealt with Congress and waited until Syria was able to reposition its assets and sow seeds of doubt within the international community. The president has that ability to do so, and should have.
 
Instead, now we look weak (and relieved) that the Russians are dealing with it instead. The Russians! That trustworthy mob (natch) of former Communists led by a former KGB agent in Putin. Brilliant!
 
Nope, this article is an attempt at revisionist history and I detest it and outright reject it. Obama is not wily, he is calculated, and here he calculated wrongly and with much hand-wringing. Which is certainly something he's good at.


You really don't understand, do you? Something tells me you're more of a checkers guy as opposed to chess. Sometimes you have to give up a bishop to get the opponent in checkmate. He has boner, Putin and Assad all in checkmate. Republicans, the American warrior class, can NEVER come back out and say we need to go to war because some Ruler treats his country wrong. Putin has admitted that Syria's chemical weapons are a problem, and Assad cannot allow this to go sideways, and lose Russia. Win, Win, and Win. And by putting the decision on an attack in the public square, i.e. congress hands, he additionally slowed the expansion of executive power, without actually conceding any of said power.
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Kenneth, I respect you and your opinion but I think you're off base here. This is nothing more than a face saving measure for the Obama admin when they tried to act all hard with the "red line" statement, got called on it, and bailed. Obama should have NEVER NEVER made such a claim...it's very similar to troop withdrawal timetables. THESE THINGS SHOULD NOT BE MADE PUBLIC.

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Obama just may be one of the bigger douchebags to ever inhabit that office....which is a task when you follow W as Prez. 

 

 

Less of a task when you consider they're two different sock puppets for the same hand.

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Ken, how do we have Putin and Assad in checkmate?

 

Good post Bung. I disagree with one point and that is we should have just attacked. To attack in the middle of a civil war would most likely have devastating effects. We should stay the hell away from that situation, including funding and giving weapons to the opposition of Assad. There is no way we can possibly win in this scenario imo. I agree with all other points you made though.

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Ken, how do we have Putin and Assad in checkmate?
 
Good post Bung. I disagree with one point and that is we should have just attacked. To attack in the middle of a civil war would most likely have devastating effects. We should stay the hell away from that situation, including funding and giving weapons to the opposition of Assad. There is no way we can possibly win in this scenario imo. I agree with all other points you made though.


I explained myself. If you think I am wrong, refute it with logical points. As far as what Bung said, he is right in that Obama came out with a view that you would have expected the Military Industrial Complex i.e. the republican party, to support, and they didn't. So he threw it back in their laps.
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All I know is we need to fill this quota. So we need to hire a woman to be the president then an arab then we good and back to the old days.

 

Obama's a Muslim; isn't that the same as an Arab?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:ninja:

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I explained myself. If you think I am wrong, refute it with logical points. As far as what Bung said, he is right in that Obama came out with a view that you would have expected the Military Industrial Complex i.e. the republican party, to support, and they didn't. So he threw it back in their laps.

 

Alright here is my logical points. Assad and Putin are not in checkmate and are both in the drivers seat. No one is going to unseat Assad because the alternatives include Al Queda ruling Syria (win for him). Putin MAJORLY outplayed Obama on this issue. 25% of American's think Obama is now a better leader and its near 50% for Putin (win for Putin).  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/27/putin-obama-syria_n_4002351.html

 

Obama drew a red line, then ignored it until pressure mounted. Then folded when pressure from the other side mounted stronger. I have no idea what he really wants/wanted to do. He is the weakest leader I have personally ever seen.

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Alright here is my logical points. Assad and Putin are not in checkmate and are both in the drivers seat. No one is going to unseat Assad because the alternatives include Al Queda ruling Syria (win for him). Putin MAJORLY outplayed Obama on this issue. 25% of American's think Obama is now a better leader and its near 50% for Putin (win for Putin).  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/27/putin-obama-syria_n_4002351.html
 
Obama drew a red line, then ignored it until pressure mounted. Then folded when pressure from the other side mounted stronger. I have no idea what he really wants/wanted to do. He is the weakest leader I have personally ever seen.


You still proved nothing. Opinion polls? Seriously? He's only the weakest because you're a republican, and your mind doesn't quite shoot signals properly between your synapses.

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You still proved nothing. Opinion polls? Seriously? He's only the weakest because you're a republican, and your mind doesn't quite shoot signals properly between your synapses.

 

I am not a Republican. you shouldn't judge people based on limited knowledge. I am absolutely disgusted with the republican party. I am in between parties currently until one starts seriously focusing on what is important to me, but I don't see that in the near future. 

 

As far as proving something, Vladimir Putin looked more stately in the Syria conflict than our president. Vladimir Fucking Putin, Ken... 

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Obama isnt playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers, if he is he's playing chess with Democrats who think he is a liberal fighting for liberal causes, instead of a corporate shill and neoliberal, which is what he really is.

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Obama isnt playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers, if he is he's playing chess with Democrats who think he is a liberal fighting for liberal causes, instead of a corporate shill and neoliberal, which is what he really is.

 

How does this post get a -1?  Kenneth prolly cuz someone was talking bad about Obama and that can't happen cuz he's the same skin color!!!!!  You've been duped.....once again. 

 

Obama is proving to be worse than Bush, but as T-Dub stated, it's the same masters they serve.  I think Obama is simply following the already laid out plan just as Bush did.   Can't go against these plans because your political career will be over, your embarassing/criminal things you've done will be made public and the media will blast you 24-7.  He knows the rules, he'd better play along.   Or maybe he is a fully willing participant, either way, he's a douchebag. 

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How does this post get a -1?  Kenneth prolly cuz someone was talking bad about Obama and that can't happen cuz he's the same skin color!!!!!  You've been duped.....once again. 

 

Obama is proving to be worse than Bush, but as T-Dub stated, it's the same masters they serve.  I think Obama is simply following the already laid out plan just as Bush did.   Can't go against these plans because your political career will be over, your embarassing/criminal things you've done will be made public and the media will blast you 24-7.  He knows the rules, he'd better play along.   Or maybe he is a fully willing participant, either way, he's a douchebag. 

 

I didn't give him a -1, but i sure did give you one.  Once again, you show your limited education.

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I didn't give him a -1, but i sure did give you one.  Once again, you show your limited education.

 

Everyones education is limited, in more ways than one.    Here's some education for you though.....your boy is a deceiver.  Of the highest order. 

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Everyones education is limited, in more ways than one.    Here's some education for you though.....your boy is a deceiver.  Of the highest order.


First, he's not my "boy". He's the president, trying to govern the country. Too many of you think that if he isn't doing exactly what you want him to do, that he's wrong. That's so much bullshit. A true leader cannot be an ideologue, he's got to be a pragmatist. You had an ideologue before in Bush, how'd that shit work out for you? Because of his pragmatic policies, the economy is slowly coming back, we've gotten out of Iraq and are getting out of Afghanistan, and we now at least have a national health care law, flawed though it might be. And all this while having an entire faction of the country doing everything possible to give him nothing to work with, to fight him every step of the way, is astonishing. I know you have a beef with me, but I don't really give a shit.
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First, he's not my "boy". He's the president, trying to govern the country. Too many of you think that if he isn't doing exactly what you want him to do, that he's wrong. That's so much bullshit. A true leader cannot be an ideologue, he's got to be a pragmatist. You had an ideologue before in Bush, how'd that shit work out for you? Because of his pragmatic policies, the economy is slowly coming back, we've gotten out of Iraq and are getting out of Afghanistan, and we now at least have a national health care law, flawed though it might be. And all this while having an entire faction of the country doing everything possible to give him nothing to work with, to fight him every step of the way, is astonishing. I know you have a beef with me, but I don't really give a shit.

 

 

I don't have beef with you, I don't know you aside from your internet persona.   But you're wrong about Obama.   There is a reason someone like him was put in that position. 

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I don't have beef with you, I don't know you aside from your internet persona.   But you're wrong about Obama.   There is a reason someone like him was put in that position.


Someone like him? Please expound on that.

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Someone like him? Please expound on that.

 

Goodness.  I'm not going to get baited by you.  Think long and hard with your unlimited education about what I could have meant by that....contextually.

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First, he's not my "boy". He's the president, trying to govern the country. Too many of you think that if he isn't doing exactly what you want him to do, that he's wrong. That's so much bullshit. A true leader cannot be an ideologue, he's got to be a pragmatist. You had an ideologue before in Bush, how'd that shit work out for you? Because of his pragmatic policies, the economy is slowly coming back, we've gotten out of Iraq and are getting out of Afghanistan, and we now at least have a national health care law, flawed though it might be. And all this while having an entire faction of the country doing everything possible to give him nothing to work with, to fight him every step of the way, is astonishing. I know you have a beef with me, but I don't really give a shit.

 

 

I'd be happy if he was a Statesman.

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