David Kirkpatrick

February 2, 2009

Obama’s power

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:27 pm

David Frum made a great point today at NewMajority on the strength and confidence Obama has carried into the White House.

From the link:

In three cases, President Obama’s nominees have encountered potentially nomination-wrecking problems. Richardson withdrew, Geithner brushed past all objections, and to date anyway Daschle is benefiting from senatorial courtesy.

So: multiple sloppiness on the part of the Obama vetters? Not impossible, but unlikely. Richardson’s issue was common knowledge; Daschle volunteered the information about his tax difficulties.

The Obama administration went ahead anyway – even though Geithner’s and Daschle’s issues were at least as serious as those that blocked the confirmation of Linda Chavez in 2001 and Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood in 1993.

So why is Obama succeeding where Bush and Clinton failed?

It’s not just that President Obama has the votes in the Senate: Clinton and Bush both started with Senate majorities too. (50 votes plus the vice president in Bush’s case.)

It’s not just that he has the press on board: Clinton started with a favorable press too.

What Obama has that Clinton and Bush lacked is the self-confidence that comes from facing a thoroughly defeated opposition.

Frum analysis is on the money. I’m hoping Obama will make good use of this strength. I voted for him, but at the same time I have concerns any time one party controls the White House, Senate and the House.

I’m not even sure the GOP is offering a true opposition right now. It comes off as much more simple obstructionism than honestly engaging the debate on issues.