December Wins Prove Obama is the True Maverick of Washington

By YeOldeScribe ~ April 25th, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

Dear Political Progressives Readers: Our writer went to the doctor today to get his shoulder and arm looked at because it hurt to move them… so he wasn’t able to type a 1,200 word article tonight. However, we’d like to present to you this piece instead. It was originally submitted to the Green Bay Press-Gazette at the very end of last year, but they elected not to publish it. So, here’s our writer’s take on what President Obama was able to accomplish in the 2010 lame duck session of Congress. We hope you enjoy. With any luck, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled posts tomorrow.

Two years ago, presidential candidate John McCain ran on the platform of being a maverick, meaning someone who is independent, who stands apart from his or her associates and who gets the job done.  Ironically, his counterpart in the election, President Obama, has taken a page out of Sen. McCain’s book – and one-up’ed him.

Pulling off a true Christmas miracle, Obama was able to pass four critical pieces of legislation, and was able to get through a temporary extension on the federal government’s budget in a lame duck congress that was anything but lame. The true miracle wasn’t the passing of the legislation, it was how it was done – with Republican support.

Republicans opposed all six of Obama’s initiatives for the lame duck session, and Washington looked headed for deadlock, with neither party willing to give in to the demands of the other. So Obama reached out to those who put him into the White house in the first place – the independents.

Bucking both Republicans and Democrats, Obama stuck a compromise on tax cut legislation that didn’t make either side very happy, but which they had no choice but to accept. For most presidents, passing one piece of significant legislation in a lame duck congress would be enough. But Obama was just getting started.

The Rolling Stones once famously wrote “You can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.” Putting that tune to good use, Obama was able to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ratify the START treaty, and ensure financial support for 9/11 relief workers – in a week’s time.

In doing this, Obama comes out looking like a hero, and above all else, a maverick. It would have been very easy for him to give up or not try to pass legislation after taking a self-proclaimed “shellacking” in the mid-term elections. Instead, Obama bucked his own party to accomplish what needed to be done.

Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, it’s impossible to deny that Obama has forever changed the political landscape of Washington. His election to the presidency alone broke barriers many feared would never be overcome. However, his legacy will not be based on the color of his skin, but on his political record – one that so far has more on the “accomplished” side than not.

Even in his defeats, Obama has vowed to continue fighting for his agenda. He admitted that his biggest disappointment was not passing the DREAM act this year. His solution? “I’m going to go back at it,” Obama said in a recent press conference.  “If I believe in something strongly, I stay on it. And I believe strongly in this.”

Perhaps the sense of urgency to pass these pieces of legislation stems from the balance of power in congress tipping heavily towards the Republicans come next week. But Obama didn’t act like a field general, blasting through Republican lines to get his policies passed. Obama acted more like a mediator, giving and taking from both sides so a solution could be found. In other words, Obama was a maverick.

President Obama didn’t get everything he wanted off his Christmas list, but he got everything he needed, in every sense of the phrase. Not only did he get key legislation passed that only he can take credit for, he bolstered his image and proved that he will do what it takes to get the job done right. In doing so, he got the one thing he wanted – and needed – most: more votes for him in the 2012 presidential election.

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