It’s debatable whether Obama is more crudely political than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan. But what’s transpired over the past several weeks isn’t debatable: He’s made a series of calculated, overtly political gestures that are far more transactional than transformational…
No one accuses Obama of playing small ball quite as cynically as Bill Clinton did — no school uniforms this year, thanks. But Obama’s January speech to the country was more like a slam dunk contest than a blueprint for sober governance, with no-miss poll-tested proposals that won’t translate into points on the board unless Democrats win super-majorities in both houses, and even then maybe not.
Take the so-called “Buffett Rule,” which seems to have been introduced for the sole purpose of getting Republicans to reject it. It won’t appear on the House floor but it will be a mainstay in Democratic campaign ads. Some of ’em might even be bankrolled by super PACs.
The plan to levy a 30 percent tax on billionaires makes the GOP look bad, and it makes Romney — who paid 15 percent on his earnings — look even worse. But the tax revenue it raises would barely make a dent in deficits.