We now know what President Obama plans for 2012. He’s not going to lead. He doesn’t intend to govern. Work with Congress to deal with critical national problems such as slow economic growth, high unemployment, and exploding debt? Forget it. Obama is devoting the year to running for reelection.
Presidents seeking a second term usually pay special attention to the politics of reelection, but nothing quite like what Obama has in mind. It wasn’t until July 1948 (an election year) that President Truman summoned a special session of the Republican-controlled Congress to justify his charge of a “do-nothing Congress.” Obama started last month with a hyper-partisan speech in Osawatomie, Kansas.
Josh Earnest, deputy White House press secretary, described Obama’s strategy this way: “In terms of the president’s relationship with Congress in 2012 . . . the president is no longer tied to Washington.” That sounds a bit vague, but it means Obama will spend the year denouncing House Republicans without doing meaningful legislative business with them.