Congress Essay

More or less zero. The way things look right now, there is no chance that Republicans in Congress are going to feel as if they have any reason to cooperate with Obama. They are going to oppose him on everything important and hope that they can beat him next November President President Obama has recently introduced a number of reforms and job stimulus ideas, all of which have been rejected or tabled by the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

Both Obama’s introducing them (knowing they had no chance) and the House rejecting them (knowing an election is coming) were political moves timed to position themselves for running in the strongest possible environment. I think both sides know they cannot fix the economy by next November, so they are trying to impress upon voters who they should blame for it. Obama’s window of opportunity was from 2009-midterm elections in 2010.

Unless something seriously alters the political dynamic between now and next fall, Republicans in Congress will “play to their base,” and thus see compromise as politically lethal. There are very few aspects of Obama’s agenda that stand a chance of getting through Congress, I think My first pick is Franklin D. Roosevelt. He faced so much hardship in his time of office (the Great Depression and World War II). He was elected to rescue the nation from its worst economic crisis ever! FDR exuded hope to people accustomed to despondency.

Acting immediately, in his fabled first hundred days in office, FDR enacted much of the framework of his “New Deal” economic program, which was to get Americans working again, even if it cost the government a fortune to do it. He created agency after agency in an attempt to put people to work. Roosevelt also looked to protect Americans at risk of impoverishment by establishing federal programs to support individuals financially with programs like Social Security and the establishment of a national minimum wage; Roosevelt protected unions with the passage of the National Labor Relations Act.

My second choice, which my wife thought I was insane for, is Richard Nixon. Love him or hate him, the late 1960s and early 1970s were all about Richard Nixon. He entered office with the undeclared war in Southeast Asia as the nation’s albatross, and personally directed its prosecution. Without a mandate to do so, he escalated the conflict, and then shifted the emphasis from ground forces to air power, and eventually negotiated with the North Vietnamese.

He successfully split the Soviets and the Chinese from Hanoi by playing the two superpowers off against each other, and then initiated the foreign policy objective of Detente to reduce tensions between the East and West. In doing so, Nixon laid the groundwork for much that was to follow. Domestically, he implemented new economic policies and rallied the “silent majority” to action. The only real threat to Richard Nixon was, in the end, himself. Were it not for his self-inflicted wounds, his presidency would have been seen as an unmitigated triumph.

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