Monday, December 6, 2010

Timing is Everything in Politics

This post is not about any part affiliation or whether or not I agree with any policies or decisions that have been made so far. This is about the actual art and skill of being a good politician. I’m also not trying to compare being a mayor to being the president. Those are two different things by far and the POTUS has a much tougher job than any mayor in any city. I’m just trying to show you that in politics timing means everything.

Since Mayor Landrieu took office he’s been doing a lot of things in small amount of time. He got things done during the budget process that Ray Nagin would have been ran out of town for even suggesting the last few years of his term. He’s taking on the sanitation contracts that some black people in the city treat like the symbol of Civil Rights. He’s also gotten taxes increased and council members that voted No if Nagin asked no matter how dire the situation was. We don’t know how things are going to work out but I can give him credit for knowing when to strike when the iron is hot.

The city has so many issues that eventually things about to start getting rough and when that day comes people will retreat back to their comfort zones. When that happens it’s going to be hard to get anything major done because then you’re worried about votes and campaigning. If you want to play hardball with the black owned sanitation companies and raise property taxes on everyone including the rich then you have to do it when the majority of people were so disenchanted by your predecessor that they are willing to give your plans the benefit of the doubt. That’s how you use political capital. You use it before you lose it.

That brings me to President Obama and his style. I know he had an economic collapse and the auto industry to deal with when he first got in office but it just seems like if he was going to make major changes the best time to take a shot at it was the first six months of his presidency. I know he passed the health care bill and know one else was able to do that but it just seems like it took so much time and effort to get done and there was so much compromise involved that it drained all the political capitol he had to get it passed. His party controlled the House and the Senate.

With all the chips he cashed in to pass that bill he could have gotten the Bush tax cuts handled, closed Gitmo, and probably got a green jobs bill passed before his conservative opponents regrouped and the Tea Party movement had a chance to establish itself and gain all that momentum. Now I can’t see any of these things happening because his opposition has no fear of disagreeing with him. I think President Obama didn’t make use of President Bush’s incompetence the way Mayor Landrieu is making use of Ray Nagin’s. Of course, I’m just assuming the president wanted to make a lot of changes in the first place. If the current direction was part of the game plan and he didn’t really want to do all the stuff he said during the campaign then I’m misinformed and I owe him and his staff an apology.

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