Friday, November 20, 2009

The Constitution In Real Time - How Obama's Inexperience Affects His Agenda

Interesting column today in the WSJ by James Taranto that highlights the Constitutional "tensions" that exist between Presidents and Congress how effective Obama, in particular, has been in that regard.  Here's an excerpt:

"Some presidents are more effective at overcoming congressional opposition than others. In recent times the master was Lyndon B. Johnson, who spent 12 years in the Senate, including 8 as Democratic leader, before becoming vice president in 1961. He persuaded his former colleagues to enact landmark civil rights laws, tax cuts, massive new domestic programs including Medicare and Medicaid, and the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

The presidents elected since LBJ have served in Congress a total of 14 years (Richard Nixon, four in the House and two in the Senate; George H.W. Bush, four in the House; Obama, four in the Senate). Plenty of legislative veterans have been nominated for president, but all have lost: Hubert Humphrey (16 years), George McGovern (14 years), Gerald Ford (25 years), Walter Mondale (12 years), Bob Dole (35 years), Al Gore (16 years), John Kerry (20 years) and John McCain (26 years). Only in the 1988 presidential election was the winner a former congressman and the loser not.

If you like the Obama agenda, you probably wish he were more like LBJ. If not, you can be thankful (at least when it comes to domestic policy) that he's such a greenhorn. And if you've found yourself in strong disagreement with any president in the past 40 years, consider that there may be a wisdom in electing men who aren't masters of Congress."

Be sure to read the whole thing.

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