Obama Policies Turn Political As His Polls Sag

May 3, 2010 06:45

Gallup reports that “very enthusiastic” voters favor Republicans 57% to 37% in congressional elections. Will attacks on Wall Street, deep-sixing the cap-and-trade bill and getting beaten on immigration change that? The Obama Democrats hope so. But don’t bet heavily on it.

by Michael Barone at IBD Editorials

Setting legislative priorities has been one of the chief tasks of American presidents for the past century. Sometimes, they concentrate on changing public policy. Other times, they highlight issues for political reasons, with an eye to the next election.

In his first 14 months in office, Barack Obama worked to change public policy, with partial success.

He jammed through the stimulus package in February 2009 and health care legislation in March 2010 on party-line votes.

But he paid curiously little attention to the substance of the legislation. One-third of the stimulus money went to state and local governments — i.e., to public employee unions — which helped ensure that the bill would not hold down unemployment to the promised 8%.

And the health care bill, we have just learned from Health and Human Services actuaries, is going to increase spending rather than hold it down.

Now, Obama seems to be pivoting toward legislative priorities chosen not for policy but for political reasons.


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