I was rereading this article by NPR – CQ: Obama’s Winning Streak On Hill Unprecedented – after Eleanor Clift did a column based on the story and the lessons President Obama can learn – A Modern-Day LBJ? – A study finds Barack Obama has the highest legislative success rate of any president in recent history.
Obama has been no different from his predecessors in that he’s always ready to send a firm message to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue as he “urges members of Congress” to come together and act. All presidents demand specific action by Congress — or at least they ask for it. But when you look at the votes of 2009 in which Obama made his preference clear, his success rate was unprecedented, according to John Cranford of Congressional Quarterly.
“His success was 96.7 percent on all the votes where we said he had a clear position in both the House and the Senate. That’s an extraordinary number,” Cranford says.
The previous high scores were held by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, with 93 percent, and Dwight Eisenhower, who scored 89 percent in 1953. Cranford notes that George W. Bush’s score hit the high 80s in 2001, the year of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But Obama surpassed them all, Cranford says.(from the CQ link)
The giant yea but in the room is that score is due to Obama picking his battles. The Cons quote it in hopes of scoring cheap political points, while liberals do so cynically – so what about the public option is the biggest complaint followed by escalating troops in Afghanistan. Clift seems to think its time for presidential humility. Presidents regardless of circumstances – LBJ had a Democratic majority, but many of those were very conservative anti-integration Dixiecrats that would later become conservative – have obstacles to overcome. Democrats would be sailing through a moderate to progressive agenda is we didn’t have a dysfunctional set of Senate rules. Where Clift scans the landscape and sees the virtue of moderation, why not a moment of clarity from the President and Rahm Emmanuel that there is no reason to reach out for bipartisanship. Why not assume this will be Obama’s first and last term and push for every thing on the Democratic wish list. Democrats approval numbers are not great, but Republicans stay in the basement.
One obvious omission from a legislative scorecard is a judicial scorecard. Instead of another Antonin Scalia – a certainty had there been a McCain-Palin administration, we have Justice Sotomayer. The president has a fair judicial appointee record that could be better if Senate Republicans were not abusing holds to stall appointments and if the administration would stop avoiding fights ( some of which can be attributed to the health care reform battle) and the foot-dragging. Judges are as important a legacy as legislative accomplishments. Obama’s secound year will probably see a larger number of appointees. Moderate judges with genuine American values that will be around regardless of what happens in 2012.
Hack extraordinaire, the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez cannot win the hospital and patient rights debate regarding Massachusetts Senate Candidate Martha Coakley without doing exactly what far right zealots like Red Mass Group, Big Journalism, RedState, Hot Air and The Anchoress have done – put words in Coakley’s mouth. What kind of person lies about a “conscience issue”?
In fact, Coakley said that if you refuse to provide legal medical services to rape victims, you probably shouldn’t work in an emergency room. Lopez cut off the quote before that was clear, suggesting instead that Coakley’s position is simply that Catholics shouldn’t work in emergency rooms.
There is a massive difference between what Coakley said and what Kathryn Jean Lopez claims Coakley said. Just enormous. Lopez suggests Coakley’s position is “Catholics need not apply”; in fact, Coakley’s position is more like “people who don’t want to do the job shouldn’t take it.” It says something about Lopez’ confidence in the merits of her own position that she feels the need to dishonestly portray Coakley’s.
In the National Review’s world you go to an emergency room and you’re screened by religion. If they can find a doctor, radiologists and a nurse that agrees with your religious views you get treatment, if not suffer, die or find another emergency room. A position that Senate candidate Scott Brown has shown sympathies for.
Brown is also a member of the right-wing smears and wacko conspiracies club, Scott Brown thought maybe Obama was born out of wedlock. He’ll fit right in with Mitch McConnell(R-KY) and James Inhofe(R-OK)
Tea Party Nation, Inc. owner Judson Phillips – “I want to make a million dollars from this movement.” The new conservative movement seems a lot like the old conservative movement. They’re just a little more unhinged.