Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Richard Wolffe - Obama: Was the Hype & Hope Justified?

He could have used the opportunity merely to push his book that is currently on sale - but Richard Wolffe yesterday gave a considered analysis of Obama's first months in office and the challenges to come. It was a very interesting presentation and Q&A.

We heard that Obama's greatest problem is the economy, not healthcare - that he is by nature cautious and a compromiser - and a disciplined rule breaker. Obama's own phrase was stressed - "ruthless pragmatism".

I asked who was the greatest threat to Obama's future - re-invigorated opponents on the right? Democrats in Congress? or grassroots supporters in the country?

Wolffe pointed out that the greatest threat came from the right - Conservatives were fighting for the independent voters. They are seeking to divide Obama from the voters - many who formerly identified with the Republican Party - particularly women in the exurbs and rural areas.

There will be disillusionment amongst the Obama volunteers - but Wolffe expects several rounds of healthcare reform.

Democrats in Congress will cause difficulties. But this is to be expected. A deliberate policy was followed of recruiting conservative democrats to fight and win seats in conservative areas - it would be difficult to complain now that they now represent conservative Democratic views. As Wolffe said - you can't campaign to represent 'red' and 'blue' America, but govern just for 'blue' America.