It's time for the president to twist arms
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I recently watched the movie "Lincoln." The movie centered on the approval of the 13th Amendment, which was already passed in the Senate. Strangely enough, it was the House Democrats who were against approval. However, as I watched, I could only think that Lincoln had to be the forerunner to Lyndon Johnson in twisting arms. With all the Republican votes behind him, Lincoln needed 20 Democratic votes to pass the 13th Amendment. The same situation that we had then, we have now.
On Jan. 3, when the new Congress convenes, there will be 200 Democrats in the House, and 217 of the 433 votes (there are two vacancies) are needed to pass the "cliff" bill. President Barack Obama needs 17 Republican votes -- less, if you can get some of them to just "abstain" from voting. Easier said than done.
The movie pointed out that at first Lincoln sent Cabinet members, but it wasn't beneath Lincoln to personally go to the homes of the Democratic legislators for the votes he needed, and in his own way, twist their arms. He also had to placate Republicans.
Once again, it's time to twist arms for the bill the president campaigned on. It's time to use whatever means is necessary to placate, cajole and induce the necessary votes. For increased difficulty, include in the bill that the debt ceiling be moved to the executive branch.
It's time for the president to strong arm conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats much in the same way as Lincoln and LBJ had to do in their periods of history.
First Published December 28, 2012 12:00 am