[W]hat appears to be happening is that Barack Obama is listening to his policy people. He didn’t scale back the health-care reform bill because they convinced him that the different pieces didn’t work on their own. He’s trying to close Guantanamo because a lot of people who work on this stuff think we should close Guantanamo. That’s the thing about electing a smart technocrat as president: He’s swayed by smart, technocratic arguments. The political people are being used to help sell and shepherd the policy, and to figure out how much of the policy can pass Congress, but they seem to be losing the major arguments over what that policy should be.
That sounds about right. I don’t know how effective this style of governing is though. I expected more of a pivot from the White House focusing more on politics than policy after Scott Brown’s defeat. I don’t think that’s ideal – but it seems necessary if Obama wants to keep Congress Democratic. It doesn’t seem any longer that this is the lesson the White House took.
Or it is, but they’re not letting their timing be determined by these dramatic events. Perhaps, as he has so often, Obama plans on waiting out the negative media cycle and then going for the win.