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Friday, November 05, 2010

Obama Is No Clinton, Boehner Is No Gingrich

"The new majority here in Congress will be the voice of the American people".-- John Boehner

After two years of continuous bickering, back room deals, straight party line votes on the part of Democrats to pass legislation that was opposed by the majority of the American public, American voted for Republicans based on their promises to undo the most egregious aspects of Obamacare and focus on the issues that concern Americans the most (economy, unemployment, lowering spending and reducing deficit) instead of battling constantly on an overreaching party agenda.

Doyle McManus at LA Times hits this issue and nails it:

Democrats are apt to prettify recollections of the aftermath of the Republican takeover of the House in 1994. But Obama isn't showing signs of being Clinton, and Boehner's no self-destructing Gingrich.

The immediate messages communicated from both sides gives us an idea of how each side has decided to handle the next two years.

Bill Clinton understood and acknowledged clearly that he was given a message in 1994 when Democrats lost a massive amount of seats in midterm elections, as he stated "They sent us a clear message. I got it"

Barack Obama on the other hand admitted to getting a "shellacking" but blamed it on not explaining things properly, not persuading the American public of how his agenda was good for them, not messaging correctly.

He is in denial or he simply doesn't have the intellectual honesty to admit he and the Democratically controlled Congress and Senate pushed their agenda onto the American people and the midterms was American voters pushing back.

Barack Obama has decided to continue fighting for a far left liberal agenda while trying to appear humble, but his words and actions belie that appearance because he didn't acknowledge the depth of the public's disapproval over the Democrats conscious decision to move forward on an agenda that Americans were clearly showing their opposition to.

Another difference from 1994 is Boehner's contrast to Newt Gingrich, who immediately went big, over reached and pushed a far right agenda and cost Republicans the support they had gained in the first two years of Clinton's presidency.

In 2010 John Boehner and Republicans immediately communicated their messaging by showing they understand they were being given a second chance, acknowledging the message they received and are expressing clear intent not to push a far right agenda but to instead go small, keep it simple and make it count.

Incoming House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) seem to have quickly adopted a strategy for their swelled congressional ranks: Keep it simple.

Both Boehner, in an interview with Fox News Channel, and McConnell, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation, emphasized that their party would focus on job creation, deficit reduction and the repeal of the health-care law -- and little else -- when the 112th Congress convenes next year.

"It's my view that Americans are no more interested in a Republican platform for using government to re-engineer society than they were in the Democratic plan to do so," said McConnell. "Republicans will focus on doing a few things and doing them well."

"They want us to stop spending," said Boehner of the American public. "And it's going to be our principal goal."

The relative limited scope of Republicans' ambitions stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by the party following the 1994 elections that restored the GOP to majority status in the House and Senate.

Led by then House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), Republicans pursued an expansive -- and ideological -- agenda that allowed then President Bill Clinton and the Democratic majority to recover politically in advance of the 1996 election.

Bottom line

Politicians from both sides need to keep 2012 in mind with everything they do.

Barack Obama's first message failed to acknowledge his understanding of the message sent as Clinton signaled his understanding in 1994.

Republicans must stay connected to the American public, listen to them and move forward with issues that they show support of, then if the Democratically controlled Senate refuses to follow through or if Barack Obama vetoes such legislation, they are going directly up against not the Republican party but against Americans that will be voting in 2012.

Early indicators show that Republicans received the message loud and clear and have learned from the failures of 1994 and Barack Obama and Democrats not only did not hear the message but did not learn from the success of Clinton in 1994.

That is the difference between 2010 and 1994 and will be the difference between 1996 and 2012.

[Update] John Boehner is also acknowledging the things Americans disapproved of the last four years in a WSJ piece, which includes how he proposes to change how things are done from how they have been done;

Let Americans read bills before they are brought, No more "comprehensive" bills and No more bills written behind closed doors in the speaker's office.

A good start.