While proud of his record, Obama has already begun thinking about what went wrong — and what he needs to do to change course for the next two years. He has spent what one aide called “a lot of time talking about Obama 2.0” with his new interim chief of staff, Pete Rouse, and his deputy chief of staff, Jim Messina. During our hour together, Obama told me he had no regrets about the broad direction of his presidency. But he did identify what he called “tactical lessons.” He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise.
Most of all, he has learned that, for all his anti-Washington rhetoric, he has to play by Washington rules if he wants to win in Washington. It is not enough to be supremely sure that he is right if no one else agrees with him. “Given how much stuff was coming at us,” Obama told me, “we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.”
Translation: "Expect me to continually capitulate even more to the Republicans in a good faith effort to address their concerns and to tell anyone to the left of Ben Nelson to go straight to hell, right up until my impeachment for the crime of not giving the GOP 100% of what their Tea Party fanatics demand."
The Village will eat this up. The Republicans will still impeach him anyway. The Democratic base will of course, continue not to do much of anything.
Amazing to see Obama basically throw in the towel three weeks before the election in order to...what, exactly? Convince independents that they should come back to him because he's not everything evil that the Republicans accuse him of? Does he not get that the Republicans blame him for making them attack him on race, religion, ideology, policy, and everything else?
Good luck with that. Jesus wept.