Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their frank insight into the biggest question burning up the blogosphere today.

Today's question:

Should President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaYoung, diverse voters fueled Biden victory over Trump Biden's relationship with top House Republican is frosty The Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race MORE be more assertive in pushing the rest of his
legislative agenda?

Background reading here.


Herb London, president of the Hudson Institute, said:
In my judgment President Obama has not yet learned the lesson of overreaching. It is apparent that he is intent on fundamentally reshaping the national character by extending and formalizing the influence of government. What he does not seem to realize is that the United States is ostensibly a center-right nation suspicious of government and resolute in its determination to maintain individual liberty. The accumulation of debt, the insinuation of government into private sector activities (insurance, banking, automobiles) and the persistent desire to nationalize healthcare have awakened an impulse to rebel among many Americans. The Tea Partiers are merely one manifestation of this unrest. In my judgment the president would be wise to resist his ideological temptations and cogitate about next steps. Being less assertive and more contemplative would suit his long term interests far better than his present legislative strategy.

John Feehery, Pundits Blog contributor, said:

And the rest of his agenda is what? The president has put all of his eggs in the healthcare basket. It is really too late for him to push anything else.

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit blogger, said:

Yes, Obama is weak. When he brought in Rahm Emanuel, I hoped that it was to have someone tough to resist the impulses of Nancy Pelosi and Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Biden's first 100 days is stylistic 'antithesis' of Trump The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' MORE. But when it comes to congressional pork, Obama has been enabler-in-chief. Though he blusters and bullies from time to time, when push comes to shove he is not acting, but acted upon. Turning over leadership to the worst Congress in my lifetime is likely to prove a disastrous mistake for His Presidency, even if — as seems unlikely — he somehow manages to sneak this healthcare bill through.

Joe Madison,
host of The Black Eagle radio show, said:

President Obama is thoughtful, intelligent and insightful. These are traits of a strong president, not a weak one. He cannot be led around by the nose and the smell of public opinion. We forget that during Bush's two terms in office, most Americans questioned who was running government, the president or the vice president. Remember what former President Harry Truman said: "The buck stops here." President Obama is not the cowboy Bush was. Thank God. Don't confuse intelligence with weakness.

Peter Navarro, professor of Economics and Public Policy at U.C. Irvine, said:

The first big mistake Obama made in his presidency was to turn over the fiscal stimulus to Reid/Pelosi. They botched it. His second big mistake is to ASSERTIVELY and Quixotically pursue health “reform” in the face of sure political catastrophe in November.

Obama needs to discover the secret of what saved Clinton’s president early on — triangulation.   He needs to focus on policies that will appeal to the middle of both parties at the risk of alienating the far left. Worked for Clinton. Might work for Obama.

Bernie Quigley, Pundits Blog contributor, said:

Is Obama weak? By no means. He has strengths and he is as smart as Romney or Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonNever underestimate Joe Biden Joe Biden demonstrates public health approach will solve America's ills McAuliffe rising again in Virginia MORE. But he may not be cut out for the task at hand. As others have said, he is more a law professor. In fact, it is hard to pinpoint what the “task at hand” is right now. Great presidents respond to the times and “the times” are in a pause right now; between endings and beginnings. My feeling is that there will be more to do in the Middle East but we are not quite there yet. But it is coming. To go too soon would bring failure. Possibly we hoped with Obama for brief respite with a bright young man with an engaging family, knowing that there would be more difficult challenges in the years ahead of us. Rising discontent with the president today may suggest our pause is over and we are ready to go on to hard case. But weakness it is not.

Justin Raimondo, editorial director,, said:

From an objective perspective, rather than my own biased libertarian viewpoint, I would advise against it. His agenda is, as we have seen, more government. The American people, on the other hand, don't like this agenda, although they do (still) like the president. He's already used up a great deal of that good will with this healthcare business — coming on stronger will only energize the tea-partiers and polarize our politics to the breaking point.

As a libertarian, however, I would be delighted to see Obama come "out of the closet," so to speak, with his big-government ideology and program in full. As his predecessor would put it: "Bring it on!" Let's have that debate over fundamentals.

Grover Norquist
, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said:

Obama is not unpopular … his big-government bureaucratic plans are. Shoving unpopular legislation down the throats of Americans does not make you strong. It makes you lose the next election. The clearer the cap-and-tax, stimulus and government takeover of healthcare legislation became — the less popular.

As a slogan, many Democrat ideas seemed popular. When written down and read, they became threatening to many Americans.

Obama has political power. He lacks judgment.