Why Losing Mass. May Be Great News for Obama

Having big majorities in Congress is a mixed blessing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2010 5:49 PM CST
President Obama laughs with Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen during the Duke-Georgetown game Saturday.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

(Newser) – Scott Brown's Massachusetts victory just might end up being the best thing that ever happened to President Obama, writes Matt Bai. And it could propel him to becoming exactly the kind of transformative president his supporters hoped for back in January. Look at history: Presidents who have to work with the opposing party (think Ronald Reagan) get things done, while those with majorities in Congress (think Jimmy Carter) often get mired in intra-party squabbling.

"Americans like their presidents most when they seem like grown-ups, the kind of people who can forge consensus from cacophony," writes Bai in the New York Times Magazine. Obama is free now to stop obsessing over every vote and parliamentary maneuver on Capitol Hill and take his case to the people. "Losing his advantage in Congress might yet reveal to the president new paths toward the kind of less ideological, more enlightened governance he was supposed to represent."

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