It appears that part of the President’s strategy for this election year is to stir up the hornet’s nest with Congress, creating a fight over nominations wherein some can argue he’s wrong but others can argue that he’s right–and regardless, he can set himself up to wage a public fight against the Congress, which is almost always in a President’s advantage, especially with a Congress as contentious as this one.
Meantime, the President has also announced major defense reorganization and spending cuts. Although the conservative Washington Times hosts a column saying good things about it, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin takes what will likely be the standing conservative line of slamming it as dangerous and awful. Expect the issue of defense spending to suddenly appear in the Presidential campaign in a way it hasn’t in at least a decade if not more.
Meanwhile, good news for everybody (including Obama) is that the unemployment rate is down to “only” 8.5% (the unemployment rate people usually look at anyway). But I wouldn’t expect this to do too much to bolster Obama; while it’s good news considering how lousy things have been, in normal times 8.5% unemployment would be considered pretty lousy. So expect Republicans to capitalize on that and try to convince voters that it’s nowhere near enough; Obama’s best hope will be that it continues to improve from month to month and quarter to quarter. Although actually that should be everybody’s hope. Nevertheless expect Republicans to hammer home the message that it’s not enough.