August 4, 2009

HE KNOWS THE WORDS BUT IS UNMOVED BY THE MUSIC:

A Political Odyssey: How Obama's Team Forged a Path That Surprised Everyone, Even the Candidate (Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson, August 2, 2009 , Washington Post)

Six months into his presidency, there are questions about whether Obama can deliver on the promises of his campaign. His health-care initiative continues to meet difficulty in Congress. Increasing unemployment has raised doubts about his economic stimulus package. His energy plan faces real resistance on Capitol Hill.

As a candidate, Obama confronted similar questions and doubts: Was he too inexperienced, was he strong enough to lead the country, were his governing instincts liberal or moderate, was his commitment to bipartisanship achievable? Those questions were on the table in the late fall of 2006, as Obama and his advisers deliberated a presidential run. [...]

Did he believe that his election marked the end of the Reagan era?

"What Reagan ushered in was a skepticism toward government solutions to every problem, a suspicion of command-and-control, top-down social engineering," he said. "I don't think that has changed. I think that's a lasting legacy of the Reagan era and the conservative movement, starting with Goldwater. But I do think [what we're seeing] is an end to the knee-jerk reaction toward the New Deal and big government."

Added Obama: "What we don't know yet is whether my administration and this next generation of leadership is going to be able to hew to a new, more pragmatic approach that is less interested in whether we have big government or small government, [but is] more interested in whether we have a smart, effective government."


And the answer is, no. You're just shoveling money on the assumption that biggest is best and effectiveness be damned. His inexperience and unpreparedness certainly has to be a significant factor in the way the agenda slipped away from him. When you set out to be Reaganesque and end up Carteresque, at best, or McGovernesque, at worst, you've really biffed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2009 3:54 PM
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