Let the Chicken Counting Begin!

House Democrats are already laying out their plans for President Obama’s next term:

“He’s got to continue to concentrate on jobs,” Rep. Bill Pascrell said last week as the House was leaving town for a long, pre-election recess.

“I’m hoping he’ll do immigration reform,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

“We should get back to an energy policy – one that acknowledges that climate change is real,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

“The critical issues will be revenue generation … and … a concerted push on immigration reform,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.).

“I think he’d want his administration to start on healthcare,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.).

How will the president manage to succeed in bold, new legislative initiatives when such success has eluded him since, well, 2009? The top explanations seem to be:

  1. There will be a Democratic sweep, putting Democrats not only in charge of the White House but both houses of Congress as well.
  2. A Republican Party chastened by two consecutive presidential losses will start making nice.
  3. He just has to.

Eleanor Clift touches all of those bases in her imagining of the second Obama term:

Obama could do more to build relationships outside his comfort zone, but those who know him best don’t expect a major shift in how he operates. “It’s a lot to ask of anybody to get a personality transplant,” says Daschle. “It’s not going to happen.” But Republicans who are serious about negotiating will find a willing and eager partner, he says. “McConnell can’t make his infamous statement again (about making Obama a one-term president), so there is opportunity here to start anew.”

For a president who prefers to operate within a tight circle of familiar faces whether he’s making policy or playing golf, a second term represents wholesale change. Virtually all the Cabinet and a good portion of the White House staff will be gone. There will be no David Plouffe and no David Axelrod gearing up for the next campaign. Pete Rouse, Daschle’s former chief of staff and a savvy insider who has been with Obama for eight years, may finally head for the exit. Rouse is overseeing super-secret transition planning, which will guide the president immediately after the election when Obama confronts the fiscal cliff.

What Sen. Daschle and Ms. Clift are ignoring is that every Republican senator and representative still holding office will have won his or her own election and, for good or ill, that election is more important to her or him than the presidential election. What the Congressional Republicans have been doing has been working for them.

So, short of a Democratic sweep, for which the present InTrade odds are less than one in five, what are the next four years likely to look like? My best guess is that in the event of an Obama victory, if you liked the last two years, you’ll like the next two. Voting Obama is a vote of confidence in the status quo. If Romney’s challenge fails, it will be because he hasn’t been able to convince enough voters that he presents a better alternative.

9 comments… add one

  • jan

    I personally think it will be much worse than ‘more of the same last two years’ should Obama win reelection. The fiscal health of this country is not being remedied under Obama’s policies. Come 2013, there will be the expiration of Bush/Obama tax cuts, increase taxation in capital gains, dividend income, death taxes, ACA costs, sequestration demands, and predictable higher unemployment. Our economy is still not showing any growth. Sapping it more with higher taxes everywhere is like taking more blood from an anemic patient. Also, somewhere down the line these low interest loans will have to move upward. And, when that happens our interest rate on the ever-growing deficit will hammer this country even more.

    There’s an old saying that goes, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” That will apply to how the lifestyle of this country will erode under 4 more years of the same old, same old.

  • jan

    Zero Hedge’s analysis in anticipating an Obama win: On the cliff.

    The writer also assumes the House and Senate stay basically in the same party hands, with the same partisan divide.

    I) The 2% reduction in FICA taxes is history. As of 1/1/13 every worker is getting hit with a 2% tax increase. This is a very regressive tax increase.

    II) The Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250k are gone. This is a very Progressive tax increase.

    III) The Bush tax cuts for those making less than $250k will be retained. This “centrist” compromises is the result of the “give” on #s I and II. Both sides will be able to claim that they did their best for “Middle Class Workers”.

    IV) The Alternative Minimum Tax will be adjusted for inflation and will be fully phased in over a period of three years. This tax will hit 40m taxpayers (up from only 4m today). This is most definitely a middle class tax increase.

    V) The capital gains tax rate is going to go up to at least 25%.

    The result of I – V is that everyone who works, or has investment income is going to be paying more. No one will escape higher taxes.

  • Icepick

    “He’s got to continue to concentrate on jobs,” Rep. Bill Pascrell said last week as the House was leaving town for a long, pre-election recess.

    Continue?! Continue?!

    I can’t some up with a string of invective suitably foul….

  • Icepick

    I could just use the invective I’m using watching the Saints-Packers game. The officials have now blown six calls, and New Orleans is out injuring players on purpose again. Bring back the replacement officials, and everyone associated with the Saints organization ought to be banned form football for life. This is the worst officiated NFL game I have ever seen, by far.

  • Continue?! Continue?!

    That caught my attention as well. I presume that the view is that having proposed a “jobs bill” and put no weight or effort behind it, that’s all that need be done.

  • Drew

    “I presume that the view is that having proposed a “jobs bill” and put no weight or effort behind it, that’s all that need be done.”

    You guys crack me up. The guy is a zero. He’s been a zero from day one. You just now understand that?

  • steve

    Dont worry Ice. Romney will cut Drew’s taxes if he wins and you will have a job in no time. Really, it worked well in the 2000s, it has to work again.

    Agree with the Packers game. Way too many face masks. The kind where they didnt let go.

    Steve

  • Icepick

    Drew: You just now understand that?

    Yeah, dipshit, we just started criticizing Obama right now, today.

    steve: Dont worry Ice. Romney will cut Drew’s taxes if he wins and you will have a job in no time.

    I am GIDDY with anticipation!

  • jan

    Incredible dialogues here…..

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