February 19, 2010

GEE, YOU'RE SWELLEANOR!:

The Barack-Bill Parallels: The 2010 midterms are looking a lot like the 1994 election. Why that might not be bad for Obama. (Eleanor Clift, 2/19/10, Newsweek)

Obama's tenure so far is strikingly similar to '93 and '94 when another young Democratic president entered office with high expectations and soon found himself down in the polls and battling a wave of conservative sentiment. The advisers around Obama would never admit it, but losing one or even both houses of Congress might be better for Obama than the gridlock paralyzing his agenda. History in our partisan age suggests that for a president to be truly successful and get big legislative achievements, a divided Congress may be necessary. Only then does each party have some stake in governing, and maneuvering room to compromise.

Clinton never would have been able to sign welfare reform if the Democrats controlled Congress, and the same is true of the balanced budget that Clinton achieved in '97. These were Republican initiatives that many Democrats would have resisted.


History demonstrates that the Gipper and W had significant victories with full or partial control of Congress. It is only Democrats who need the GOP in control in order to govern effectively. Which reveals an awful lot about the nature of congressional Democrats.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2010 2:14 PM
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