If you thought Pres. Obama was a died-in-the-wool liberal, who would risk his presidency (and the number of Democrats in Congress) on his ability to ram through as much of a leftist agenda as quickly as possible, you were right. But if you’ve also concluded that he was no Bill Clinton in the sense that he would not triangulate like Clinton and that Obama simply did not possess the ability make a political shift toward the center in order to get re-elected, well, we’re all about to find out.
Now that the mid-terms are over, Obama is taking practical steps to demonstrate that his official team (i.e. those who work for him in the White House) will shape his campaign. Obama is now courting big business, he’s hired as his chief of staff a businessman who criticized Obama’s financial markets regulations, and other similar changes are expected. The message: I will listen. The reality? Who knows?
Presidents can re-invent. Obama already got his health care bill, and the financial oversight bill, and the stimulus, and so forth, so the first two aggressively liberal agenda years weren’t a total waste. Then came the elections, which were clearly a referendum on his agenda. The bully pulpit is powerful, however, and he knows it. Just because the first two years were repudiated, doesn’t mean the next two won’t be rewarded. People can often have short memories. So if Obama has decided that to remain viable he needs to moderate his positions, and if he’s also decided that indeed wants to be viable, then a Clinton-like pivot is forthcoming.