The Swarm

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December 10, 2010
To get tax cut deal, Obama brings out big gun on 'triangulation'

President Barack Obama is getting an endorsement for his triangulation on tax cuts from the triangulator-in-chief, Bill Clinton.

Obama, trying to tamp down a revolt from liberal Democrats over his tax cut deal with congressional Republican leaders, called on the former Democratic president to offer his blessing.

"In my opinion, this is a good bill," Clinton said at a unusual White House press conference this afternoon after meeting privately with Obama. As Obama looked, Clinton said the deal will be a "significant net plus" for the still-struggling economy.

As for the criticism, mostly from liberal House Democrats and advocacy groups on the left, he said, "There is never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of the partisan."

Clinton may sway some moderates; whether he'll persuade any liberals is an open question. Many on the left still haven't forgiven Clinton for pushing through sweeping welfare reform, the biggest legislative achievement of his triangulation efforts.

Obama, after Republicans took control of the House in November, now faces a somewhat similar situation to Clinton after the GOP takeover of the House in 1994, also midway through his first term.

With the advice of political guru Dick Morris, Clinton triangulated between Democrats and Republicans in Congress and cast himself as the moderate defender of average American families.

Obama seems to be trying to do the same, and how well he does will help determine whether he wins a second term as Clinton did.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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