The Corner

Obama’s Backbone

Ruth Marcus is “beginning to worry that there may be a little too much presidential inclination to crumple.” But in many of the cases she mentions, Obama was wise to “crumple”–or, rather, to withdraw ill-advised ideas. Marcus argues that too much caving will reduce lawmakers’ respect for Obama and make it less likely that he will get his way, and that is certainly a risk. But would Obama really have been better off if he had gone all-out to bill veterans’ private insurers for service-related injuries? Would congressmen have respected him if he had spent weeks fighting for the proposal, lost a few points in the polls, and then lost? Or would they have concluded that he can be a stubborn fool?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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