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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Obama's Second Term: Mixed Opening

The Pew Research Center reports:

Barack Obama is viewed as the clear political winner in the fiscal cliff negotiations, but the legislation itself gets only a lukewarm reception from the public: As many disapprove as approve of the new tax legislation, and more say it will have a negative than positive impact on the federal budget deficit, the national economy and people like themselves.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 3-6 among 1,003 adults, finds that 57% say that Obama got more of what he wanted from the tax legislation while just 20% say Republican leaders got more of what they wanted. And while 48% approve of the way Obama handled the fiscal cliff negotiations only 19% approve of the way GOP leaders handled the negotiations.
Republicans take a particularly sour view of the outcome: just 16% approve of the final legislation, and by a 74% to 11% margin they think Obama got more of what he wanted. Only 40% of Republicans approve of how their party’s leaders handled the negotiations; by comparison, fully 81% of Democrats approve of how Obama handled the negotiations.
Relatively few Americans expect that the tax legislation that resulted from those talks will help people like themselves, the budget deficit, or the national economy. Just three-in-ten Americans say the tax measure will mostly help people like them; 52% say it will mostly hurt. And even when it comes to the budget deficit, 44% say the deal will mostly hurt, while 33% say it will mostly help.

At MSNBC, Chuck Todd reports:
There is no question that Team Obama’s campaign operation outgunned the Romney effort last year. And there’s little doubt that the Obama White House outmaneuvered (at least in the short term) congressional Republicans in the fiscal-cliff talks. But since November, where the White House has fallen short -- and seemed completely disorganized -- has been in its planning for staffing the second term. For starters, Susan Rice’s and Chuck Hagel’s potential nominations to top cabinet jobs were allowed to twist in the wind for weeks, with Rice eventually pulling out of consideration for secretary of state and Hagel now in real fight to win confirmation as defense secretary. In addition, the White House yesterday announced that Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was leaving the administration -- on the very day the New York Times ran a piece observing the lack of women in the administration. And also yesterday, the White House said Attorney General Eric Holder, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski are staying in a second term, but it didn’t announce what’s happening with the other cabinet secretaries, which then set off mini-feeding frenzies “are you staying, are you going?” for the cabinet secretaries not included on this seemingly arbitrary list.
Jennifer Rubin writes:
 Personnel is policy, the saying goes. We know that in selecting Chuck Hagel, whose advice the president finds so valuable, we are headed, as Bill Burton said, for “huge” cuts in the military and a less pro-Israel national security policy. With the announcement that chief of staff Jack Lew will be nominated for Treasury secretary we know that the president (if you had any doubt) was going to seek confrontation, not cooperation, with Republicans.
Every GOP House and Senate office I spoke to yesterday had the same take on Lew. “Much worse than [Tim] Geithner,” said one. Another cited Bob Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics,” arguing that Lew “was always the one to screw up any deals, pushed for the lefty position.