Larry Elkin, on over at the Wall Street Pit, says President Obama has three real choices available to him, in how he might proceed in the next couple years in his efforts to get any work done and hope to make it through to a second term. The twist comes along when, even though she saw massive losses while Speaker, it appears Nancy Pelosi will keep her leadership position among House democrats… essentially ensuring that Obama wont be able to compromise much with republicans.
Unlike Pelosi, the president does not represent a safe district. He represents the ultimate swing district: the United States of America, which has alternated parties between the past four presidents. Up until now, Obama has remained largely in step with Reid, Pelosi and other true believers in the party’s pro-labor, activist-government, business-skeptic philosophy. Now, however, if Obama wants to win another term, he will have to act on the message voters sent at the polls and move toward a more centrist path.
Having Pelosi as House Minority Leader will make it difficult for Obama to widen his appeal. If Pelosi remains in a high-visibility position, Republicans will make the 2012 election as much a referendum on her agenda and policies as the 2010 election was. Republican candidates will once again run against Pelosi instead of their direct opponents, including in the race for the White House.
This puts Obama in a no-win situation. If he, too, runs against Pelosi, he will offend most of the Democratic base and lose the election. But if he defends Pelosi, he will go down the same path that just led dozens of his party’s members to a political dead end.
He’s right… this doesn’t help Obama’s prospects in 2012. This far out you really never know, and given that the GOP is at least somewhat likely to nominate some joker like Romney or Palin, Obama might have an easier shot at winning than some think, but with the negative baggage that comes with Pelosi, and the wild card of some kind of (or several) non major party runs… who knows?