Law and Politics

John Zogby’s President Obama’s Weekly Report Card (Jan. 1-6)

January 9, 2013
Sometimes, I must admit, giving grades is not an easy task. I always have to strip away personal feelings, ideology, anger from readers, and what I think people want to see. I also have to call it as I see it.

But, pity the pollster this week, Oh Reader: what on earth did I see this week? Congress self-imposed a deadline, a line in the sand. They scared the American people by defining a fiscal cliff, which then became inconvenient so it morphed in the minds of some into a 'slope', perhaps even a bump on a rug.

Yes, we will face another recession. No, it's not so bad after all.

The GOP finally caved because they were going to get the blame. The President sent in the Vice-President to play by the old rules — personal, amiable, the club guy — to help both sides and the institution of Congress itself save its collective hide. Mr. Obama wins the first round and is empowered to draw a line in the sand on the debt ceiling and domestic budget cuts.

Congress' compromising moment was gone within minutes of the January 1 deal. We are back to Mediterranean Avenue, to use the only only metaphor that hasn't been worn out from over use. President Obama scores points for using the Biden option to schmooze the Senate.

Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner correctly could see the looming GOP cliff if there were no deal. Speaker Boehner played the best hand of poker and waited as his party's challengers folded.

And Mr. Obama appears ready to fight for former Senator Chuck Hagel to lead Defense. If you like fights, stay with Fox and MSNBC. If you like good fights, switch to HBO.

Last week's grade: C-

January 9, 2013

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