Is Obama an Effective Politician?

Blogger Adam Serwer argues that President Obama is better at electioneering than at getting things done. 

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President Obama speaking at his Chicago birthday fundraiser. (Getty Images)

Adam Serwer, in his blog at the American Prospect, tackles President Obama's accomplishments in reaction to a blog post by Mother Jones political blogger Kevin Drum that defends his record.

... Which brings me to something else -- Obama's biggest accomplishments aren't much more "firm" as his supposed end to the "Bush torture regime." This is the most ludicrous line in Drum's defense of Obama -- aside from a flimsy executive order banning torture, nothing is there to stop a future Republican president from bringing it back. His aggressive use of the state-secrets doctrine has prevented any court from determining that Bush's "enhanced interrogations" were illegal, and there's been no legislation to that effect. Because the stimulus bill wasn't big enough, the economy hasn't recovered, and his re-election is danger. So not only do we have a largely Republican judiciary prepared to roll back some of Obama's best accomplishments, a Republican win in 2012 could pretty much seal the deal on repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

I don't really know how this all adds up to Obama being "an effective politician." I'd say he's pretty good at electioneering and mediocre at getting things done. There are times -- like with the repeal of DADT -- his "appeasing the stakeholders" approach works remarkably well. And there are times, like with the debt ceiling, that it leads to disaster. There are some things -- like a public option -- that have been largely beyond his ability to get done ...

Read Adam Serwer's complete column at the American Prospect.

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