They come right out and say it.
Barack Obama, your job is to cut Social Security. Your job is to end the New Deal once and for all. Your job is to knife the Democratic Party. To fail to do so is to be mediocre, and cowardly.
Thus says Helene Cooper in today's New York Times.
It was a year and a half ago when President Obama told Diane Sawyer of ABC News in an interview that he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.
Now, coming off one of his worst weeks since taking office, Mr. Obama is nearing a decision on whether he really meant that. Is he willing to try to administer the disagreeable medicine that could help the economy mend over the long term, even if that means damaging his chances for re-election?
“The problem for Obama is that right now, the United States is either at a precipice or has fallen off it,” said David Rothkopf, a Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration. “If he is true to his commitment to rather be a good one-term president, then this is the character test. In some respects, this is the 3 a.m. phone call.”
Mr. Obama, Mr. Rothkopf argues, has to focus in the next 18 months on getting the economy back on track for the long haul, even if that means pushing for politically unpalatable budget cuts, including real — but hugely unpopular — reductions in Social Security, other entitlement programs and the military.
So now, it's a test of CHARACTER to knife your supporters in the back? So now it's a test of CHARACTER to lie to your Democratic supporters? By this definition, how much CHARACTER was demanded of the Republicans. They are endlessly let off the hook by this supposedly liberal paper. Because, as we all know, NOTHING is more important than killing the New Deal.
I would feel a lot better about this if I could honestly say that Barack Obama rejects this notion of "character". Yet, I have to say that his actions in this whole debt ceiling showdown are much better explained by his acceptance of this idea. Is this what he meant by being a "good one-term President"? Is this how he wants to be known to history? If not, what is he doing to avoid it?