Swoop: Washington’s World: February 15th – February 21st, 2010

Swoop: Washington’s World: February 15th – February 21st, 2010
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“This past week Washington has been on pause while snowstorms brought the federal government and private business to a halt.

This pause has provided ample opportunity for speculation about how the Obama Administration will pursue its agenda, now that it is drifting in the polls and faces severe procedural obstacles in the Senate.

Among Democratic party strategists, the choice lies between trying to pick up enough moderate Republican support to push ahead with something resembling the President’s original agenda or, in the manner of President Clinton in 1994, to move closer to the “middle ground” and settle for a less ambitious reform program.

Our conversations with senior Democrats do not suggest that they have clear answers to this dilemma. Obama’s own instincts are to build “bipartisan” support for his ideas.

The outcome, therefore, is for a more modest program of legislative reform aimed at gathering broad Republican support. This will be balanced by more aggressive use of the President’s executive powers that allow him to introduce regulatory changes without Congressional consent. All in all, the scope for dramatic initiatives will be slight.

Foreign policy, while affected by these calculations of Congressional voting numbers, offers more freedom of maneuver for Obama.  While we do not expect any progress from Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to the Middle East, elsewhere Obama faces a more supportive environment. At present, there is solid Congressional support for Obama’s policy of expanding the war in Afghanistan.

Should, as appears likely, he choose a more activist policy against Iran, he again will find enthusiastic support on Capitol Hill.

The same is true over China. As we have reported earlier, here there is a deepening concern among senior officials that Chinese cooperation cannot be expected on an array of issues, notably Iran. Linked to the political dynamics on US job creation, the prospects for further tensions between Washington and Beijing will be significant and multifaceted.”

Source: http://theswoop.net/sys/index.php?PHPSESSID=9f5378f1ea2fe34571c7d12c5021cc44