3.29.2009

Jonathan Alter: Obama Caught In the Act of Thinking

Imagine that? President Obama meant what he said. Education. Energy. Healtcare. They're all being overhauled recession or not.

From Jonathan Alter:

But if the public wasn't gambling last fall (John McCain was arguably the riskier choice), the president is now. Obama is tripling down, wagering not just that his recovery plan will work but that he can simultaneously dent three huge problems (not fix, dent) that keep getting worse. He's telling the people exactly what to expect from him for the duration of his presidency. He's insisting that repairing the nation's "foundation" begins right now, in this year's budget. And he's set himself up for failure if he doesn't bring big changes in our new policy trinity of Health, Energy and Education, or what I lamely think of as HEE-HEE (constant repetition being necessary for the priorities to sink in).

[snip]

Washington isn't bored by Obama; it's dazed and confused by him. I was on Capitol Hill in early March on the day the president's proposed budget came out. It was as though an IED had hit the place. Congressional aides asked each other in amazement, Did you read the thing? (They didn't mean actually read it. Nobody has time to read a big bill beyond the cheat sheets.) Can you believe it? The guy is trying to do what he said he would! This counts as heresy in a capital conditioned to believe that campaign promises are, in Ron Ziegler's immortal argot, "inoperative" on the day after the election. Last week a Democratic senator told me with a mixture of awe and worry that "every time I think he's gonna step on the brake, he hits the gas."

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