From Alegre's corner
In one regard, Obama '08 was always Bill Clinton '92, an empty vessel into which everyone could pour their hopes and dreams. But more importantly, underpinning Clinton's everything-to-everyone Man from Hope was a specific campaign platform that he challenged voters to hold him accountable for - something Obama avoided like the plague.
(Added note: Bill Clinton did talk specifics in '92. He talked and talked and talked
From Blue Lyon
I really wish the media would quit calling Health Care Reform Obama’s “signature policy.” It never was, and that’s why it is the mess it is. In March 2009 I wrote:
A bit of a refresher: The March 2007 SEIU Health Care Forum was an event specifically designed to address health care and provide the presidential candidates with an opportunity to unveil their plans or at least talk about what direction they would go to provide health care for all Americans. Regardless of the quality of their plans, Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich and Richardson, all came prepared to discuss the issue and lay out their solutions. Except Obama. He did a “Bill and Ted.” He had no plan, no ideas, just kept talking about how he was going to get people together to talk about it. Does this sound like someone whose “signature issue” is health care reform? No. That would have been the other candidate. Barack Obama was dragged kicking and screaming into health care reform and it shows.
That said, I must confess that Obama could have put off health care reform, using the economic catastrophe as his excuse for fighting another day. He also could have allowed single payer advocates to have a place at the table. His one good idea -- hearings on CSPAN -- never occurred.
From David Michael Green
I have never seen a president so utterly lacking in passion. This man literally doesn't even seem to care about himself, let alone this or that policy issue. He doesn't seem to have any strong opinions on anything, a sure prescription for presidential failure.
And on health care, his signature issue, he did the same thing. "You guys write it, and I'll sign the check." Could there possibly be a greater prescription for failure than allowing a bunch of the most venal people on the planet to cobble together a 2,000 page monstrosity that entirely serves their interests and those of the people whose campaign bribes put them in office?
From Liberal Rapture
It almost painful to watch Obama misread the country. He reads his election as a referendum on him. Still.
Obama is not smart. That needs to be repeated. Obama is not smart. He has a kind of intelligence, that's true. But he's not smart like Reagan or Clinton. He doesn't understand his job.
Actually, Obama is smarter than Reagan was. (I fondly recall Gore Vidal's joke: "I must sadly announce that the Reagan library has caught fire. Both books were lost. And he had not even finished coloring one of them.") But the question of the day is this: Is Obama wise
? If the guy is simply a screw-up, then we must answer in the negative. But if he is con artist
, then the question is more complex -- because a good con artist is a wise guy.
A lot of people are now saying that Obama stands for nothing. That may be unfair. In the grand, ongoing competition between guns and butter, he will soon take a solidly "no butter" stand. Apparently he will do so in order to "butter up" his right-wing opponents -- who will, of course, continue to call him a socialist.
Breaking tonight, the President will propose a discretionary, non-security spending freeze for three years starting in FY 2011 as part of his State of the Union address.
That means no further stimulus, even though people desperately need jobs, food and housing.
But Obama is basically saying that the stimulus fixed the economy, that there will be no further government support measures and that he’ll govern like a hybrid of John McCain and Herbert Hoover for the rest of his term to curry favor with the deficit maniacs.
And of course, the truly unbelievable thing about this is how it’s framed as non-security discretionary spending, as if spending on the military is magic and somehow doesn’t affect budgets. If anything is bankrupting the country, it’s the bloated military budget, which is currently at a higher level than during the Cold War buildup of the Reagan Administration. So this freeze will do exceedingly little for the budget deficit, but is sure to hurt a lot of poor and middle-class people.
So here's the question:
When it comes to the man in the oval office, is it true that there is no "there" there?
Or is it the case that there definitely is
a "there" there, but it happens to be a "there" that differs greatly from the "there" that a lot of people thought they were going to get?