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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Baker’

STRATEGI: Vad har Barack Obama lärt sig under sina två år i Vita huset? En lärdom är att allt inte går att förändra.

Det politiska klimatet i Washington – som Obama lovade reformera från grunden – ser ut att ha tvingat presidenten att ändra sitt sätt att jobba snarare än tvärt om.

Detta skriver Peter Baker i en längre essay i senaste The New York Times Magazine.  

While proud of his record, Obama has already begun thinking about what went wrong — and what he needs to do to change course for the next two years. He has spent what one aide called “a lot of time talking about Obama 2.0” […] During our hour together, Obama told me he had no regrets about the broad direction of his presidency. But he did identify what he called “tactical lessons.” He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise. 

Most of all, he has learned that, for all his anti-Washington rhetoric, he has to play by Washington rules if he wants to win in Washington. It is not enough to be supremely sure that he is right if no one else agrees with him. “Given how much stuff was coming at us,” Obama told me, “we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” 

That presumes that what he did was the right thing, a matter of considerable debate. The left thinks he did too little; the right too much. But what is striking about Obama’s self-diagnosis is that by his own rendering, the figure of inspiration from 2008 neglected the inspiration after his election. He didn’t stay connected to the people who put him in office in the first place. Instead, he simultaneously disappointed those who considered him the embodiment of a new progressive movement and those who expected him to reach across the aisle to usher in a postpartisan age. On the campaign trail lately, Obama has been confronted by disillusionment […]

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PORTRÄTT: Peter Baker  porträtterade Rahm Emanuel – ”the provocative and profane White House chief of staff” – i ett marsnummer av The New York Times Magazine.

Emanuel är president Barack Obamas förtrogne och Vita husets politiske chefsstrateg. ”Emanuel tells colleagues that the outsider brand represents Obama’s most powerful asset, and protecting it is Emanuel’s top political priority.”

He is the bête noire of conservatives who see him as the chief architect of Obama’s big-government program and of liberals who consider him an accommodationist who undermines the very same agenda. The criticism has been searing and conflicting. He didn’t work enough across party lines. He tried too hard to work across party lines. He pushed for too much. He didn’t push for enough. The crossfire underscores his contradictions — how can Emanuel be so intensely partisan without being all that liberal and so relentlessly pragmatic without being bipartisan? And just as salient these days, how can he be so independent-minded and still remain loyal to a team operation? (…)

Emanuel wants to jam a wedge into the fissure inside the Republican Party between, as he frames it, the descending wing that believes in small government and the ascending wing that believes in no government. Republicans lose, in this theory, whether they cooperate with Obama or not. “We’ve got to drive the ball at them,” a senior White House official told me. “Driving the ball at them, making them pick between small government and no government, putting them in their responsibility-and-accountability box. You walk away? You’re walking away from responsibility, and the public’s angry at you. You participate? Your base hates you.”

Se även: Barack Obama

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