John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Fake Right, Drive to the Left

Posted on March 5, 2009

Fake Right, Drive to the Left


            Our new President likes to play basketball.  He’s a south-paw, and apparently has a soft touch around the hoop.  I haven’t played against him, but I have played my fair share of basketball in my time.  Most basketball players have one move that they perfect, a move they use time and time again. 


            My guess is that Obama’s favorite move on the basketball court is to give a ball fake to the right, and then with a little cross-over dribble he moves sharply to the left as he drives to the basket. 


            We already know that he makes that move on the political version of the basketball court.  He fakes right almost every time he touches the political ball, and then moves his policies sharply to the left.


            And, it seems that each time he pulls off that move, the American people fall for it.

            His approval ratings are still impressively high, even though his policies are coming under attack. The people like his rhetoric about working with Republicans, about cutting wasteful spending, about cutting taxes, about fairness.


            But at the same time, he signs a bloated, unfocused, and expensive stimulus bill that had little, if any, Republican input.  He unveils a budget that one historian called akin the Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.”  He says that he wants Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman to draft a universal health care bill.  He pushed a mortgage relief bill that according to one poll, 60% of the American people think is unfair to people who have played by the rules.


            The budget was a clarifying moment for many political observers.  It showed that he was going to shoot for the moon, and shoot from the left side of the court. 


            Now, on the basketball court, the way you stop someone from faking right and going left is to overplay his left hand and force him to the right.


            The only way to force Obama to go right is to put maximum pressure on moderate Democrats like Max Baucus, and Blue Dogs in the House.  They will have to push Obama to the center.  Republicans can warn the country until they are blue in the face about Obama’s move to the left, but it won’t make much of a difference.  People expect Republicans to oppose Obama on just about everything.


            Nope, the only way is to get the Blue Dogs to think about their own political futures.  Their constituents don’t want the country to veer so sharply that it becomes a socialist Republic.    


            Only politically vulnerable Democrats can stop Obama from faking right and moving left. 

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