News / USA

Analyst: Obama Facing More Confrontations

Norman Ornstein, political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks with VOA in a recent interview.Norman Ornstein, political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks with VOA in a recent interview.
x
Norman Ornstein, political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks with VOA in a recent interview.
Norman Ornstein, political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks with VOA in a recent interview.
Pamela Dockins
The showdown between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over deep spending cuts in the federal budget is "one of a rolling set of confrontations ahead," according to American Enterprise Institute political analyst Norman Ornstein.

In an interview with VOA's Press Conference USA, Ornstein predicted the Democratic president would face a series of such face-offs with Republican lawmakers over government spending and taxes during his second and final term.
 

The first stage of mandated spending cuts, known as sequestration, took effect on March 1. About $85 billion is being cut from the budgets of government agencies as part of a plan that could lead to $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years.
 

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans and Democrats have been debating provisions to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year and avoid a possible government shutdown later this month if no deal is reached.

Ornstein said that while Americans generally oppose the sequester and a government shutdown, the "broader public opinion" and "political dynamic" on the issues may be of less significance to Republicans.

 

"In their districts, what they are hearing is 'bring this president down,' 'take him on,' and 'cut the budget,' " Ornstein of the Republicans in Congress.
 

He said Republicans are also trying to avoid upsetting their local support base ahead of next year's congressional elections and the 2016 presidential race. Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives and are hoping to capture a majority in the Senate.

 

REPUBLICAN POLITICAL FUTURE

 

Ornstein said next year's congressional elections are coming at a time when the Republican Party is deeply divided. He said the dominant factions within the party are conservative.
 

"Missing from the debate and the dialogue, by and large, is what used to be a very significant force in the Republican Party -- moderate Republicans, centrist Republicans," said Ornstein.
 

"There are none of them in the House of Representatives anymore," he said, and "one or two" in the Senate. "By and large, they are not a force at all."

 

OBAMA'S SHIFTING STANCE

 

Meanwhile, Ornstein said he has seen a shift in President Obama's negotiating strategy with Republicans since he first took office in 2009.
 

He said Obama's first term strategy centered on "transcending" partisanship by offering compromises. "The other side saw it as a sign of weakness," said Ornstein.
 

He said Obama is now emulating the negotiating style of former President Ronald Reagan, who was a Republican.
 

"What Reagan did so well and so famously was he would take a position and say over and over again, 'This is it. I am not moving. This is where I am going to be,' " said Ornstein.
 

He said after Reagan's opponents offered a series of concessions, the president would say, "Now let's negotiate." As a result, Ornstein said Reagan would end up getting "three-fourths" of what he originally wanted.
 

Ornstein said Republicans are not happy that President Obama has adopted this strategy. They are complaining, he said, that Obama is taking on a "weakened Republican Party and making it much harder for them."

 

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

 

Ornstein also said one reason why the Democratic and Republican parties are finding it difficult to compromise is because they have set up "exaggerated images" of each other.
 

He said the parties are "demonizing" each other's positions on issues, which makes it much harder to reach compromises on issues such as the federal budget or economic policy.
 

On a more optimistic note, Ornstein said if lawmakers can get past their initial confrontations on fiscal issues, the nation would not be that far from stabilizing its debt.
 

He said 2013 could turn out to be a "remarkably productive year," which would be unusual for a second term president.

 

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: dwight from: dc
March 13, 2013 7:50 PM
Brandt:

your post is nonsense. you should mention how the fringe element within the democratic party has pushed them all to the left, and how that's causing "gridlock".

Talking about "middle class relief", republicans are against tax hikes. isn't that middle class relief? it's the dems that want to wage class warfare by tying "middle class relief" to tax hikes and other liberal agenda.


by: Brandt Hardin
March 13, 2013 4:36 PM
Will we ever see bipartisan politics in our country again? The fringe element within the Republican Party has pushed them all to the far right of the isle where they’ve gridlocked our government for two years now. Will the next two be any different? They’ve been very public about their main goal being to block and bamboozle the President’s every move when the Middle Class NEEDS relief. It takes many hands to paint the Blackface on Obama.

by: dwight from: dc
March 13, 2013 8:20 AM
it would be nice if this story mentioned how pro-liberal media (including voa) strengthens obama's case.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More