Political Strategy

Obama’s Leadership: Will “Buffett tax” fly?

by Gloria Feldt on September 19th, 2011
in Economy, Election Watch, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, The Economy

I didn’t get around to answering Politico’s question “Will ‘Buffett tax’ fly?” In time for them to publish it. But after a day of hearing the President argue his case, I’m sharing my thoughts with you. Let me know what you think.

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Arena Asks: President Barack Obama will release a plan today to cut the federal deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade, drawing half the savings from new tax revenue and sparing Medicare recipients from having to wait longer to collect benefits. Invoking calls by investor Warren Buffett, Obama’s plan would also would prohibit millionaires from paying a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans. Will this populist-sounding proposal win broad backing? Or is it repackaged class warfare that won’t play well in an aspirational society?

My Answer: If Obama had launched this bold Buffet Rule initiative in January 2009, it would have been a slam dunk…

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Pump Up the Passion: Why Dems Need a Bachmann!

by Gloria Feldt on September 13th, 2011
in Activism, Economy, Election Watch, Feminism, Leadership, No Excuses, Political Strategy, Politics, Power, The Economy, Women & Politics

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Kevork Djansezian / Getty ImagesPassion! What a relief to see President Obama express some in his jobs speech Thursday. And for the first time that I can remember, a presidential proposal specifically addressed women’s essential role in driving the economic engine.

But the political narrative shifts awfully quickly these days. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential candidacy, a hot ticket just a couple of weeks ago, is suddenly melting. And Sarah Palin is in her bus, hurtling full-speed toward self-parody as an attention-seeking political used-to-be. While women’s importance in the political landscape can no longer be overlooked, some might say that the much-hyped “year of the conservative women” is over…

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Will Obama’s jobs plan work?

by Gloria Feldt on September 9th, 2011
in Election Watch, Leadership, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, The Economy

What’s your opinion of the president’s speech? Please post below. Here’s mine:

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Arena Asks: President Barack Obama on Thursday proposed a $447 billion jobs package composed of tax cuts, aid to states and infrastructure spending, challenging a joint session of Congress to shut down the “political circus” and pass what he dubbed the American Jobs Act as soon as possible.

Will President Obama’s jobs plan work? And can any president really “create jobs”?

My Answer: Passion! What a relief to see President Cool Obama express some passion. I think the whole nation, regardless of political persuasion, breathed differently when at last, he energetically, definitively, told Congress what he wanted: “Pass the bill.”

I hope they do pass the bill, and soon…

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POLITICO Arena: What would you ask the candidates?

by Gloria Feldt on September 7th, 2011
in Election Watch, Leadership, Media, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, Power, The Economy, Women & Politics, Women's Rights

Get into the act! What question do you want to ask the candidates? Post your comments here.

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Arena Asks: Eight Republican presidential hopefuls are gearing up to take the stage tonight for the POLITICO/NBC News debate – the first major faceoff as campaign season kicks into high gear.

If you were a moderator at tonight’s debate, what would you ask the candidates and why?

My Answer: You see government as the problem. Yet you want to be not just part of it but to lead it…

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Should voters consider candidates’ religious beliefs?

by Gloria Feldt on August 31st, 2011
in Activism, Election Watch, Leadership, Media, No Excuses, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics

Don’t get me wrong: I think religious literacy, as in knowing the history and beliefs of various religions including one’s own, is important for every citizen. And in answer to the question of whether voters should consider candidates’ religious beliefs, I should have added that people need to understand what each of the candidates’ religious beliefs are so as to understand better how that individual might govern. Beyond that…well, read on and let me know what you think.

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Arena Asks: Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, writes that the religious beliefs of Republican presidential candidates should be a factor in voters’ decisions. Does Keller have a point? Or does this view, as conservative radiotalk show host Hugh Hewitt suggests, “stoke the fires of religious intolerance by turning this presidential campaign into the occasion for an inquisition into all of the Republicans’ religious beliefs?”

My Answer: I do not care what people believe. I care what they do…

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Is Rick Perry dumb?

by Gloria Feldt on August 29th, 2011
in Election Watch, No Excuses, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, Power

When you have Kinky Friedman, shame on him, lauding Rick Perry’s charms, you must believe with perfect faith that the Politico Arena question of the day can only be answered one way. Read on please and tell me what your answer would have been.

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Arena Asks: Doubts about Gov. Rick Perry’s intellect have hounded him since he was first elected as a Texas state legislator nearly three decades ago.While Texas loyalist reject the suggestion, Perry seems to almost welcome the low bar, even cracking on the campaign trail that there were few differences between he and former President George Bush. Does Perry’s attitude threaten to derail his presidential race if he continues to compare himself to Bush?

My Answer: Dumb like a fox…

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Does Libya Success Vindicate Obama’s Leadership or Clinton’s?

by Gloria Feldt on August 23rd, 2011
in Economy, Election Watch, Leadership, No Excuses, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, Women & Politics

The other day I tweeted:

“Love Traister’s writing http://t.co/GPYXI1X but it misses key #leadership lesson: executive responsibility C gets, O doesn’t.”

I was immediately flooded with retweets and comments both there and on my Facebook page. Some disagreed but most concurred–strongly. As I see a preponderance of the comments on the Times post do.

Have you read this article? What are your thoughts?

In case you didn’t see it yet, the article referenced is a New York Times Magazine piece speculating “What Would Hillary Clinton Have Done?” by one of my favorite feminist writers, Rebecca Traister. The intent of the article was to suggest people stop speculating, whereupon she speculates that there would have been little difference because the two candidates were both center-right in political philosophy.

I have to disagree strongly with my friend Traister this time. Full disclosure: she interviewed me and quoted me extensively in her book Big Girls Don’t Cry, which analyzes Clinton’s run for the presidency and chronicles Traister’s own slow shift from supporting Obama to Clinton as she considered the gender, racial, and socio-political implications of her voting choices.

So when I received the Politico Arena question, the answer came easily. Their query was: Is President Obama vindicated on Libya?

The answer to the question, it seems to me, is rooted in the same missing piece of analysis as that in Traister’s article. Executive leadership requires setting an agenda, having a strongly articulated point of view and teaching/arguing/inspiring/politicking/leading the people and then the Congress to it…

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POLITICO Arena: Bachmann’s victory

by Gloria Feldt on August 13th, 2011
in Election Watch, Leadership, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, Women & Politics

It’s hard to believe the next presidential election is still almost 16 months away. If you were Michelle Bachmann’s advisor, what strategy would you propose she take to sustain her momentum and end up as the Republican standard bearer? (Ouch, I have a headache…)

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Arena Asks: Michele Bachmann was named the winner of the Iowa straw poll tonight, taking 4,823 votes out of nearly 17,000 cast. Ron Paul was a close runner-up, taking 4,671 votes. In a distant third place was former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who took 2,293 votes after investing heavily in the event. What does this victory say about Bachmann’s future in the presidential race? And is this the end of the line for Tim Pawlenty?

My Answer: Pawlenty’s third place was actually better than his numbers would have predicted going in, so he’s lived to fight at least one more day. Cain, Santorum, Huntsman, and Gingrich can go home now…

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NO LESS THAN SIX — Take Action to Make “Super Committee” 50% Women

by Gloria Feldt on August 9th, 2011
in Activism, Economy, Election Watch, Leadership, No Excuses, Political Strategy, Politics, The Economy, Women & Politics

sixIt is coming down to the wire and you voice needs to be heard! Republican Speaker John Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are making their choices to select a 12-person bipartisan “Super Committee” to decide upon critical issues that came to the forefront when the debt-ceiling measure was passed. DEMAND NO LESS THAN SIX!!

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Is Geithner good for Obama?

by Gloria Feldt on August 8th, 2011
in Economy, Election Watch, Leadership, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, The Economy

Psychology professor Drew Westen’s New York Times commentary “What Happened to Obama’s Passion?” is good supplementary reading for today’s Arena question. It’s the most on the mark piece I’ve read about Obama’s leadership and why we’re all feeling icky after the “deal.” I’ve been writing about Obama’s leadership problems since the start of his administration: “Is a Good Enough Stimulus Good Enough?”
President Harry Truman
To be fair, many of the constituency groups that supported him have been complicit in not holding his feet to the fire. But we know where the buck stops. I hope against pattern that he will listen to and learn from the S and P downgrade that you might as well go ahead and do what you know is right because your enemies are going to find a way to castigate your decision no matter what. A true leader stays ahead of the opposition and drives the agenda rather than responding and offering “deals.”

Politico TheArena logoArena Asks: The Treasury Department announced yesterday that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will remain in his post through President Obama’s reelection campaign. Is Geithner’s continued post a good thing for Obama’s re-election? Will voters see this decision as a step toward economic stability?

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