As I wrote last week, President Obama can point to several successes as he runs for re-election. But like all presidents, he has made his share of mistakes as well. I promised to list what I think are his five biggest errors. Here they are: 5. Jamming through health-care reform
In last week’s article, this made the list of the president’s biggest successes. But it also makes his list of mistakes. The president spent most of his political capital in his first year in office on health care, which he saw as a defining issue of his presidency. Aside from lingering questions over the constitutionality of the law’s central provision — the Supreme Court will likely rule this summer whether the government can mandate that all Americans have health insurance — and questions about how much the program may cost, Obama did himself and the Democratic Party immense damage in terms of how the bill was passed. The president and congressional Democrats used divisive, bare-knuckled tactics, shoving the law down the throats of anyone in their way. “Hell no!” cried then-House Minority Leader John Boehner moments before the bill was passed. Anger over the Democrats’ tactics helped fuel the rise of the Tea Party and the “wave election” of 2010, in which the GOP stormed back into the House majority. Obama has since complained of steady GOP obstructionism and a “do-nothing” Congress — but in a sense, he created this problem by passing major social legislation without first achieving any kind of bipartisan consensus. That’s not how a president makes good policy.
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