Despite the pundits’ rush to declare the Republicans victorious and the White House embattled, the public backs the president over the stimulus. Once again, entangled in the echo chamber of Washington, the talking-heads reach the wrong conclusion.
One of the administration’s greatest strengths is that they do not get bogged down in the mud and slush of twenty-four hour spin. They disdain conventional wisdom; accepting it would have stifled Obama’s candidacy from the start. Freeing themselves from the clutter of tactical, day-to-day posturing, the Obama team focuses on strategy, laying the groundwork for a broader picture.
In the meantime, their supporters fret, their critics delight — this was a recurring theme during the primaries. Why doesn’t Obama fight back? He’s weak. No one like that could make it to the White House.
But ultimately, the grand plan reaches fruition. In this case, Obama has established a reputation of reaching across the aisle; even his critics acknowledge this. When the administration tackles future problems — the bank bailout in the immediate future, Afghanistan and Iraq, entitlement reform — he can make a much more effective case, as people will view his actions through an authentic and conciliatory image. By strategically plotting his course, Obama preserves his core political identity.