Finally, to all the centrist wise men and reasonable-sounding conservatives — how do you like me now? You said I couldn’t get re-elected unless I was more bipartisan, more moderate, more Clintonian. You blamed me for Washington’s gridlock and assumed the country would as well. You said I should campaign on Simpson-Bowles, of all things, instead of social issues.
Well, guess what? I did it my way, and it worked. I got tax increases without entitlement cuts, I flipped the script on the culture war, and now Marco Rubio is going to help me pass an immigration bill. I’m still up for a grand bargain, but I don’t need one: The economy’s limping back, the deficit should stabilize in the short run, and the long term — well, that’s my successor’s problem. I’d like to win on gun control and climate change, but I’ll settle for making the case and seeing whether a Biden administration (you only think I’m kidding) can finish the job.
Sure, second terms can be dicey propositions. But as long as I don’t get impeached or start a land war in Asia, I’m feeling pretty good about my legacy.
And oh, you centrist chin-strokers who kept saying I was no Clinton? You were absolutely right.
I’m the liberal Reagan. Deal with it.