Second term Obama is emerging as an undeniable force, a winning force — seemingly out of nowhere (if you’re a Republican who doesn’t pay attention).
Regular Fox News panelist Nina Easton observed in a column for Fortune that Obama is the “biggest warrior”, besting the Republican Party, which has prided itself on being the “reigning champs” of exploiting opponents’ weaknesses. She points out that the harm to the GOP was self-inflicted, “Beware when this White House is handing you a suicide pistol.”
Explaining how Obama is the better warrior (though Easton seems to see Obama through a Fox lens regarding policy), Easton reminded Republicans of how Obama handed them a pistol to aim at themselves in the 2012 election, and aim it they did:
In crafting a way forward, Republicans should study another Obama guerrilla tactic — this one from the 2012 campaign. The Obama campaign handed Republicans a pistol to aim at themselves in the form of its rule forcing Catholic organizations to offer birth control in their health plans. At the time, the rule seemed politically dumb: Why pick an election-year fight with the Catholic Church — and its powerful voting block?
In retrospect, the tactic was brilliant, slipping the words “birth control” into the Republican primary water table when none of the GOP candidates wanted to talk about it. Unlike abortion (Gallup shows a slim majority of Americans describe themselves as “pro-life”), birth control is a nearly universally-accepted fixture in American lives.
Second term Obama is Obama unleashed; an Obama much smarter than his opposition, unfettered by an election and empowered by winning a two elections with 51% or more of the popular vote (something last done by Eisenhower). This Obama, first glimpsed by Republicans after they lost the 2012 election (slow going, boys), knows how to use the extremism of the Republican Party against it.
After four years of obstruction so ridiculous that it found Republicans voting no on their own ideas just to get Obama, the President gave up expecting Republicans to meet him in reality land for the good of the country. First he kicked their bums with the fiscal cliff deal and next up are the debt ceiling and sequester.
Republicans didn’t see Obama coming the first time, and it looks as if they’re going to make the same mistake again — claiming they have the upper hand and proceeding as if they do, when everyone knows they don’t. Most importantly, they don’t have public opinion behind them or their policy positions. But they continue to deny reality, and skew their own polls while ignoring the data screaming at them that they are not on the winning side of said issue.
John Boehner thinks he has the upper hand in the upcoming sequester. He thinks Obama’s liberal base will force Obama to cave to Boehner’s demands. Rather than seeing that the problems are his own tea divided House and indeed his own party’s extremism, Boehner thinks he can split the left with threats to earned benefits. But his own party is clearly terrified of the defense cuts.
Please proceed, Speaker. (No alarm bells yet?)
When will Republicans ever learn: “Beware when this White House is handing you a suicide pistol.”
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.