QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Going into this week, most of the Obama administration’s key accomplishments seemed to come from the first half of the first year. It’s not that the president hadn’t scored some big wins — the stimulus, the budget, counter-terrorism successes, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a credit card holders’ bill of rights, new regulations of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, a Supreme Court nominee, the largest land conservation law in nearly two decades, defense procurement reform — it’s that there hadn’t been any breakthroughs in quite a while.
With this in mind, this week has a the capacity to be a game-changer.
After signing healthcare reform into law, agreeing to a new nuclear arms reduction treaty and moving forward with financial reform, President Barack Obama will spend the weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.
And top White House aides say, “He knows he has” earned it.
“Best week we’ve had in a long damn time,” one senior administration official told The Hill. [emphasis added]
When you pass health care reform after 100 years of trying, complete the most significant nuclear arms treaty in decades, and complete a major overhaul of federal student loan programs, folks in the West Wing can walk with a bit of a spring in their step.
It’s worth keeping in mind that a breakthrough week like this doesn’t necessary create a new political landscape, at least not right away. Patrick Ruffini predicted earlier this week that the tracking polls would show President Obama’s approval ratings around 58% or 59% by today.
That hasn’t happened. Using Gallup data as a guide, over the last two weeks, there’s been a swing in the president’s direction, but it’s been modest. Approval is up a few points over the last two weeks, and disapproval is down a few points, but the shift has been gradual. The victories we’ve seen this week are historic, but the “bounce” isn’t dramatic. (The polls don’t include news on the new arms treaty, but I’d be surprised if a foreign policy succes like this changed the domestic political equation much.)
But as a political matter, a week like this one changes the trajectory, and its victories are the kinds of breakthroughs that can pay electoral dividends far into the future.