Friday, July 16, 2010

Obama Pushes Through His Agenda.

Obama is notching up his third big victory. But The New York Times appears to think that he has pushed things as far as he can:

If passage of the financial regulatory overhaul on Thursday proves anything about President Obama, it is this: He knows how to push big bills through a balky Congress.

But Mr. Obama’s legislative success poses a paradox: while he may be winning on Capitol Hill, he is losing with voters at a time of economic distress, and soon may be forced to scale back his ambitions.

The financial regulatory bill is the final piece of a legislative hat trick that also included the stimulus bill and the landmark new health care law. Over the last 18 months, Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congress have made considerable inroads in passing what could be the most ambitious agenda in decades.

Mr. Obama has done what he promised when he ran for office in 2008: he has used government as an instrument to try to narrow the gaps between the haves and the have-nots. He has injected $787 billion in tax dollars into the economy, provided health coverage to 32 million uninsured and now, reordered the relationship among Washington, Wall Street, investors and consumers.

But as he has done so, the political context has changed around him.
The problem, as far as NYT are concerned is unemployment and the way the Republicans are able to argue that government is the problem rather than the solution. I am puzzled when I read this logic.

Only the government could have delivered near universal health care and only big government could have reformed the financial sector. Why is Obama's success in doing what he set out to do somehow the proof that the Republicans are right and big government doesn't work?

I actually admire the fact that Obama is not being driven by the polls and is doing what he promised that he would do.
“You know, sometimes these pundits, they can’t figure me out,” the president said last week, campaigning in Kansas City, Mo., for the Democratic Senate candidate there. “They say, ‘Well, why is he doing that?’ That doesn’t poll well. Well, I’ve got my own pollsters, I know it doesn’t poll well. But it’s the right thing to do for America.”
The NYT compare this comment to George W. Bush's insistence that he was not going to be persuaded by the polls to abandon his unpopular war in Iraq. However, there is a major difference between these two presidents. Bush did not campaign promising to invade Iraq, unlike Obama who is simply doing the things which he promised to do if he were elected.

And people are right to be worried and upset over rising unemployment, and they have the right to be upset that Obama hasn't done enough to turn the situation around, but I don't accept the NYT's logic that concern over unemployment means that Obama should not have reformed healthcare and the financial system.

And I feel like screaming when I read the NYT saying this:
Part of the problem for Mr. Obama is that he came to Washington vowing to change the partisan tone in the capital, something he has thus far been unable to do.
The NYT should lay the blame for that squarely where it belongs; at the feet of the Republican party.
Yet, for Thursday’s final Senate vote on the bill, 60 to 39, just three Republicans joined 57 Democrats to support reform. In the House, only three Republicans voted for the bill when it passed that chamber in June, 237 to 192.

Republican opponents would have you believe that lack of bipartisanship was evidence of the bill’s unworthiness, but the margin of victory was really about partisan politics and not the bill’s content.

As was the case with last year’s economic stimulus and this year’s health care overhaul, Republican opposition to the bill was primarily an attempt to drag down Mr. Obama by killing any legislative accomplishment.
The Republicans don't seem to accept that their policies and their ideologies were completely rejected by the public.

And the New York Times are being faint hearted to argue that public anger over unemployment means that Obama should abandon the things he was elected to achieve.

The Republican "no" to all things Obama is so knee jerk and automatic that it should reflect badly on them and no-one else.

He certainly should not adjust his course at this point in time to accommodate them.

Click here for full article.

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