CRP Blog

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Playing Chess for the Sake of the Bill

When it comes to communications, President Barack Obama is considered by many to be a chess grand master; the President’s mastery of language, sophisticated delivery, and Pierce Brosnan-like style display a complex rhetorical presence that admittedly wins over people that aren’t politically informed. Well, the chessboard has now shifted from a one-dimensional surface to a three-dimensional nightmare for the President, where the Democrats who are tasked with protecting the agenda of their leader have staged a coup d’état, and have politely told the president, “No thanks,” clearing the way for Republicans to say “checkmate.”

President Obama’s grandstanding culminated Friday, with Uncle Bill flying in to save the day again, offering his advice for how he handled the Republican shellacking he took in ’94. Obama, during the press conference with Bill Clinton, awkwardly stepped back into the shadows, hands clasped together cumbersomely, and allowed former president Clinton to take over the podium, the very podium which prominently displays the Great Seal of the President of the United States. After just 10 minutes, Obama decided that the audience was in “good hands” with Clinton, abruptly darted out a back door, and off to a Christmas party with Madame Obama.

So who exactly is the President here, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama? My belief is that Obama would actually prefer for Clinton to be President right now. Who would have thought that the master of allure would need a charismatic bailout? Instead of bringing his party together to collaborate with Republicans, Obama has upset his base, derided Republicans for trying to keep money in everyone’s pockets during a recession, and doesn’t want to deal with the flack he is receiving.

I maybe hallucinating here, but this isn’t the prudent communications strategist that was elected President in 2008, or is it? Before Republicans start rejoicing over the possibility of a Democrat catch 22, keep in mind that this could be a trap! This could be another strategic chess move by Obama to appear to be a shining knight to the pawns, who he’ll tell in 2012 he fought his own party for the sake of the bill (pun intended), all in an effort to remain “King”. Obama’s decision to allow Clinton to be President Pro-Tempore looked feeble, ill-conceived, and discouraging to Democrats. But is it just a set-up to get Democrats on board to work with Republicans? Because Bill Clinton arguably is still a likeable figure, the president could merely be taking a hit to his image to pacify his Democrat base, while at the same time setting up the narrative in 2012, that he fought his own party. Brilliant!

Or am I giving the President too much credit? You decide.

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