January 24, 2009

A DAY LATE MAY BE BETTER THAN NEVER...:

What Does Obama Think Government Should Do?: He still hasn't told us. That's worrisome. (Jacob Weisberg, Jan. 24, 2009, Salte)

In 2009, looking out over the largest crowd ever assembled in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama framed the issue in terms of simple efficacy. "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works—whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified," he said. "Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end."

This view is in keeping with Obama's nonideological approach to politics. To most of those listening, it surely came across as an expression of our new president's unsentimental good sense. Yet on rereading the speech in the less euphoric light of the next day, that passage seemed insufficient as a governing philosophy and, if taken for one, rather troubling. "Whatever works" is less a vision of the public sector's proper role than a place-holder for someone who has yet to figure out what he thinks that role should be.


...but how sorry is the admission from a leading pundit that he was incapable of analyzing the speech sensibly when it was given?

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Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2009 9:14 AM
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