Saturday, November 20, 2010

"The decider-in-chief"

Eugene Robinson:
For what it's worth, my advice for Obama is to forget the Republicans. Not literally, of course - the new House leadership is going to make itself hard to ignore. But ultimately, it's the president who sets the agenda and who ultimately is held accountable for America's successes and failures. Obama's focus should be on using all the tools at his disposal to move the country in the direction he believes it must go.

A new report by the Center for American Progress - a think tank headed by John Podesta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton - seeks to remind Obama that shepherding legislation through Congress is only one of the ways a president can get things done.

Presidents can issue executive orders, the report notes. They can use their rulemaking powers, working through federal agencies that already have broad mandates under law. They can forge public-private partnerships. They can shape world events through diplomacy and command of the armed forces.

"The ability of President Obama to accomplish important change through these powers should not be underestimated," Podesta said in a statement accompanying the report. "President Bush, for example, faced a divided Congress throughout most of his term in office, yet few can doubt his ability to craft a unique and deeply conservative agenda using every aspect of the policymaking apparatus at his disposal." MORE...

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