Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Say you've just been elected President of the United States after campaigning on the themes of "hope" and "change". Your opponent, an aged former military pilot, had campaigned as an experienced statesman whose decisiveness contributed to a major military achievement in Iraq. But a sharp economic downturn shortly before the election made his foreign policy expertise seem somewhat irrelevant, and his Vice-Presidential choice became a national laughingstock. Meanwhile, your moderate, optimistic proposals to cut taxes for the middle class while making the rich pay their fair share, improve health care coverage, and create national service programs for young people, were attractive enough to voters to allay their doubts about your alleged radical past. (Fawning press coverage didn't hurt, either.) Now you have a solid electoral victory under your belt, as well as clear Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. What do you do next?

Well, the future is always difficult to predict, of course. But experience suggests a few do's and don'ts:
  • DON'T expect the free ride from the media to continue. Given their irrationally stratospheric expectations, attack-dog mentality (possibly exacerbated by guilt over their previous obsequiousness) and lack of a suitable alternative powerful figure to tear down, your every scandal, misfortune or embarrassing incident, no matter how big or small, will be jumped on.
  • DON'T pander to your base with appointments and executive orders that alienate moderates and inflame conservatives. You'll only end up backing down under pressure to save your administration's tattered reputation.
  • DON'T attempt to create any grand, elaborate new social programs of breathtaking scope and complexity. You may think you have a mandate to do such things, but you don't.
  • DO go ahead and raise taxes at the high end of the income scale. If the economy hasn't recovered in a couple of years, your presidency is doomed anyway, and if it has, then the resulting improved fiscal condition of the government will more than compensate for the slight drag on spending, laying the foundation for a robust economic recovery.
  • DON'T get lured into expanding ill-defined foreign military missions. Your crisis manager and commander-in-chief cred is shaky enough already.
  • DO support free trade. Again, good economic fundamentals will come in handy once the current economic storm passes--and if it doesn't, then having pandered to unions years before won't do you much good.
  • DON'T expect your first midterm election to be a happy one.

If any of you readers happen to be in this situation, I hope this list has been helpful...


Anonymous said...

Could be wrong? Why Dan, you ARE wrong!!

Hope some day you get a second commenter.

Dansimon said...

Well, don't leave me hanging...what part of my posting do you believe to be incorrect?

abb1 said...

Hey Dan, I read you CT comments where you suggest that arguing that Zionists exercise undue influence over the US government is anti-semitic.

Could you help me form an opinion about this piece, please:

"Pro-Israel figures on Obama team

November 26, 2008

WASHINGTON (JTA) - Barack Obama's national security transition team includes a number of pro-Israel figures.

Susan Rice and James Steinberg will chair the 41-member team announced Wednesday. Rice, an Africa expert in the Clinton administration, was tapped for the U.N. ambassadorship, and Steinberg, a Clinton-era deputy national security adviser, is set to be deputy secretary of state.

"The National Security Policy Working Group works closely with key experts and our agency review teams to help prepare the president-elect, vice president-elect and senior national security appointees as they are named to make early decisions on critical national security issues," a statement from the campaign said.

Steinberg has close relations with the pro-Israel lobby. He reportedly helped draft Obama's speech in May to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and has emphasized pressing Arab nations and the Palestinians to recognize Israel and contain terrorism as a means of advancing the peace process.

Others on the president-elect's team with identifiable pro-Israel biographies include Dennis Ross, Clinton's top Middle East envoy; Jeremy Bash, a former AIPAC staffer and Al Gore's top foreign policy adviser in his 2000 run for the presidency; Daniel Shapiro, the Obama campaign's Jewish outreach director who as a Senate staffer helped draft the tough measures in the 2003 Syria Accountability Act; Mara Rudman, who helped shepherd the Holocaust insurance settlement through the International Commission on Holocaust Insurance Claims; and Daniel Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Israel who has counseled pressuring Israel to freeze settlements but who is well regarded in most of the pro-Israel community.

Notably absent are figures critical of Israel that Republicans predicted, often based on thin evidence, would feature prominently in an Obama administration: Robert Malley, a Clinton-era Middle East negotiator; Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter-era national security adviser; and Samantha Power, an expert on genocide."

Would it be one of those ZOG things you're talking about?

Thanks Dan.

Dan Simon said...

Well, if you're simply observing that between the more pro-Israel and more anti-Israel camps within the Democratic Party, the Obama transition team seems to have given greater representation to the former, then that's probably an accurate statement. On the other hand, if you're implying that Barack Obama's transition team, led by John Podesta, Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse, and consisting of Carol Browner, William M. Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Janet Napolitano, Federico Peña, Susan Rice, Sonal Shah, Mark Gitenstein and Ted Kaufman, selected a relatively pro-Israel national security team because they're under the thumb of Zionist agents loyal to a foreign power, then yes, it's one of those ZOG things.