Govern From the Base

Two interesting polls in the last couple of days: one shows that the American people wish Obama was less bipartisan and the Republicans more so. A lot of people have made the obvious point that this is further evidence that Obama should get more aggressive, particularly on economic policy.

But get this: it’s not just that Obama will be able to hold onto support from moderates if he pushes the Republicans a little harder. It’s also that Obama’s attempts to reach across the aisle doing nothing to help his popularity with Republicans.

Which means that in the court of public opinion, this is basically a no-lose situation. Push harder, and he’ll make the base and the center happy, while only pissing off people who are going to dislike him no matter what. And on the policy side, the benefits are pretty obvious.

Of course, I fully expect the Republicans to ignore that first poll. They seem to have doubled down on opposition for its own sake.


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