Barack Obama knows he’s a man running out of time. Reflecting on his presidential legacy in a long interview with the New Yorker’s David Remnick, Obama said, “at the end of the day we’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.” For Presidents’ Day, Politico Magazine asked a panel of distinguished historians to take up the obvious question this raises: How will Obama’s paragraph read? Did he get it right? What will be his place in history? Here’s what they told us, with some smart framing thoughts from Stephen Sestanovich, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations and Columbia University:
- E.J. Dionne Jr.
- Opinion Writer
The botched rollout of the health-care law has called forth some good news: Republicans are so confident they can ride anti-Obamacare sentiment to electoral victory that they’re growing ever-more impatient with the tea party’s fanaticism. Immigration reform may be the result.
The GOP is looking like a person emerging from a long binge and asking, “Why did I do that?” The moment of realization came when last fall’s government shutdown cratered the party’s polling numbers. Staring into the abyss can be instructive. For the first time since 2010, the middle of the House Republican caucus — roughly 100 of its 233 members — began worrying less about primaries from right-wing foes and more about losing their majority status altogether.
By Zack Ford
Despite agreeing to a budget this month, it seems Congressional Republicans are not yet done holding the economic fate of the country hostage in order to pass aspects of its agenda. In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told host Chris Wallace that it would be “irresponsible” for Republicans not to try to add amendments to a bill raising the debt ceiling, which they may need to pass as early late February. Failure to pass a debt ceiling increase would be catastrophic for the economy, forcing the country to default on its obligations:
WALLACE: So are you saying right here, “We are going to attach something to the debt ceiling”? And if so, what?
MCCONNELL: What I’m saying is we ought to attach something significant for the country to [President Obama's] request to increase the debt ceiling. That’s been the pattern for 50 years, going back to the Eisenhower administration. I think it’s the responsible thing to do for the country. [...]
We’re never going to default — the Speaker and I have made that clear. We’ve never done that. But, it’s irresponsible not to use the discussion — the request of the President to raise the debt ceiling — to try to accomplish something for the country.
NEW TESTAMENT: JOHN 3