Killing Them with Kindness: The Key to Obama's (Reid's) strategy of "compromise"

If Mike’s comment to me below is right about this, then Harry Reid has been reading Sun Tzu's Art of War and is one of the great tactical geniuses of our time. Or Obama is running the show now, and he fits that bill. On the "pro" side is the fact that they got the stimulus bill through, and the Republicans seem to be impoloding. On the "con" side is that it's a deeply flawed bill, and Harry was unwilling to challenge the Republicans in the previous legislative session when the Republicans hit him with a record-breaking 90 or so filibuster threats. My suspicion is that Obama is now calling the shots (Harry's protests aside) and when the chips are really down Harry will call the Republican's bluff.

Your thoughts?


In the first hour, you asked for possible other explanations for Harry Reid's apparently weak leadership during the stimulus legislation.What I about to say may be wishful thinking, but here's what I hope is going on: Obama is a devoted student and admirer of Lincoln as we all know. He's gone out of his way to signal this. I think he also knows that he faces an irrational, intransigent, destructive opposition much like Lincoln faced when Lincoln entered the White House. So I think Obama asked: What did Lincoln do? Well, Lincoln outmaneuvered the Confederates and MADE THEM START THE WAR. This undermined their moral authority, but most importantly, it unified previously divided support in the North for resisting the Slave Power.

I think Obama has done the same thing by going out of his way to treat the Republicans with respect. And also pushing Pelosi and Reid to do the same in their respective realms. If Obama got Republican support on the Jobs Bill, it would be a victory that would help him win harder battles down the road. But if the Republicans rebuffed him over something desired by a large majority of the American people, the Republicans would be further weakened and Obama would be seen as the one trying to do the right thing.

But in the negative case of rebuff, the KEY THING was for Obama (and by extension Pelosi and Reid) NOT TO START THE WAR FIRST: Instead, like the Confederates before them, let the neo-Confederate Republicans hang themselves by starting it. Again to help win much harder battles later on.

Of course, when war was declared on Obama, there were some losses for him. The Jobs Bill was watered down and is insufficient for the tasks again. If my thinking is correct, Obama knows this and will try to recoup these losses, but now on better terms and on a field of battle of his choosing.



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