January 27, 2010


The change we need now is a rougher, more radical Barack Obama (Jonathan Freedland, 1/17/10, guardian.co.uk

A more appealing strategy would have Obama realise that radical troubles call for radical answers – and that his only hope lies in bold, decisive moves.

First, Democrats have to finish what they started. It has been pathetic to watch so many throw their hands up in defeat at the first setback. The historian Tony Badger, author of an outstanding study of FDR, is unforgiving: "Democrats have forgotten how to legislate, they've forgotten how to govern." Now Obama has to push them to use whatever procedural trick it takes to pass healthcare reform: probably the house voting on the bill already approved in the Senate and making minor changes later. Sure, that bill is flawed. But it's better than nothing. This is what some Democrats don't seem to have clocked: that they will be slammed in November's midterm elections as the do-nothing Congress if they drop a bill that has obsessed them for a full year. They are blamed for the unpopular bits of the bill anyway – simply for advocating it – so they might as well get the benefit of its upsides. Electorates prefer strong leadership, even in a direction of which they disapprove, to no leadership at all.

With healthcare out of the way, Obama should recall the most famous bit of Clinton advice: It's the economy, stupid. Here action associated with the left has far wider appeal, which is why it's so encouraging that the president's first response to Massachusetts was a direct attack on the banks, demanding they no longer play the roulette tables with their depositors' money. He should keep up the fight, whether tightening regulation or capping bonuses. Let the Republicans filibuster that, holding up the Senate day and night for the sake of the bankers. If the Republicans want to fight the 2010 elections as Wall Street's chums, go ahead.

...that the UR should give it to the American people, who he's already spooked, with the bark on or that attacking business will help him revive the economy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2010 2:52 PM
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