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January 15, 2010


It's an interesting question -- what is the optimal rate of presidential losses on legislation?

I'm not sure that is necessarily the right question. Surely a president could succeed just as much as Obama has, and been wildly popular because he was able to push through wildly popular legislation.

Additionally, it's conceivable that Obama could have a success rate at any interval from, say, 75% up to 100% and be more or less successful based on the content of the bills that are succeeding for failing.

Then there is the fact that the study isn't talking about the number of bills a position was taken on. Suppose Obama took a position on 200 pieces of legislation and had a success rate of 70%, this would be greatly preferable to a success rate of 95% on 20 bills, and, I think, a better measure of the success of a president on legislation as a whole.

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