Eduardo Graça

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Obama: mais primeiro-ministro
do que presidente

Ótimo o artigo do Matt Bai hoje no NYT sobre as razões da baixa popularidade do governo Obama. Ele escutou figurões do Partido Democrata, como Jon Podesta, do Center for American Progress, e chegou à conclusão de que Obama pensa e age mais como um primeiro-ministro, lidando com questões legislativas importantes, do que como presidente.

Ele passa longe da imagem imperial de presidentes como Ronald Reagan ou Bill Clinton, que comandavam a agenda nacional SEM ficarem presos às articulações do Congresso. Muitas vezes perdiam batalhas no Capitólio, mas o foco estava sempre na conquista da opinão pública. Os democratas devem sofrer como este estilo, digamos, tucano de ser do Obama nas eleições de novembro.

Para se ter uma idéia:

But to whatever extent Mr. Obama controlled the fate of his young presidency, Mr. Podesta believes that his most consequential decisions on domestic policy stemmed from one overarching conviction — that the president’s most important job in a crisis, requiring nearly single-minded attention, was to pass huge legislation.

“By focusing on getting big legislative accomplishments, which was understandable, they necessarily gave up a larger image of him as president,” Mr. Podesta said, referring to White House advisers. “They cast him as the prime minister. They were kind of locked into the day-to-day workings on the Hill.”

This was not a given. All presidents have laws they want to pass, but they have broader thematic priorities, too. Ronald Reagan saw a renewal of American optimism as a vital goal. Bill Clinton publicly hammered away at his ideas about economic transformation and “reinventing government.”

Unlike his recent predecessors, however, Mr. Obama had spent his entire political career in legislative posts, and he seemed determined, above all else, to clear the Congressional hurdles that had thwarted the others. He chose a vice president and a chief of staff who were masters of the legislative arena, and he filled his most senior posts (aside from those occupied by longtime advisers) with former Congressional aides.

Mr. Obama’s central strategy was to concentrate on cajoling Democratic lawmakers into passing a series of bills — the stimulus package, the health care overhaul, a new set of financial regulations. Rather than spend a lot of time rallying public support for the agenda, Mr. Podesta said, the administration expected to get an “updraft” from an improving economy; the bet was that, as unemployment came down and consumer confidence rose, public opinion would more or less take care of itself.

“That strategy was built on the no-economic-stall option,” Mr. Podesta said. “In other words, the idea was that you didn’t have to get the unemployment rate to a certain number, but you had to get unemployment going in the right direction, and people would feel that, and it would be palpable.”

The problem, as Mr. Podesta says, is that “we’re all still waiting for that.”

Para quem se animar, o artigo todo pode ser lido aqui.

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