In fact,the great conundrum of Obama’s presidency is that he has accomplished a hell of a lot–preventing a depression with his stimulus package, passing a plausible universal health care plan, fighting the good fight on financial regulatory reform, saving the auto companies–but it has worked to his political disadvantage. Dowd is correct about one of the reasons for this: the President simply isn’t a top-draw politician. If he were, we’d be talking about the Obama tax cuts–there have been two big ones–instead of the “failed” Obama stimulus package; the Obama Senior Citizen prescription drug benefit (he closed the donut hole), universal health coverage that you can never lose instead of death panels; the Detroit auto boom as a path to a revival of manufacturing. Most important, we’d be talking about jobs instead of deficits. We would never have played the Republican deficit follies these past nine months. He would be defining the political arena. Instead, the Republicans are.
Thursday, September 08, 2011
With a good deal of pain, I have read, and ruminated over, and sometimes pushed back against, a large number of assessments of Obama in this season of failure following the debt ceiling debacle. Today I think Joe Klein actually got the mix about right, providing some clarity: