Friday, February 06, 2009

Striding Into A Mine Field

The President's op-ed in yesterday's Washington Post was a toned-down version of his recent rhetoric. While not quite as blunt as the vaudevillian "Shut up, he argued," President Obama contines to insist that his 52% margin in the general election trumps all considerations from the conservative side.
In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis -- the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long.

The President conveniently ignores the fact that 100% of House Republicans and 17 Republican Senators (of 35 seats on the ballot this year) also won their elections last November.

Analyzing the Sarah Palin phenomenon for Commentary, Yuri Levin writes that "Both economic and cultural populism are politically potent, but in America, unlike in Europe, cultural populism has always been much more powerful. Americans do not resent the success of others, but they do resent arrogance, and especially intellectual arrogance."

This is dangerous territory where the President's increasing reliance on the formula, "I won" to support his sweeping actions to bypass Congressional deliberation. It is going to go up with a bang soon. Charles Krauthammer thinks it already has:

After Obama's miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell -- and that this president told better than anyone.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.

UPDATE: Rich Lowry at National Review writes today :

[Circumstances] change, and no president can adhere to every jot and tittle from his campaign, but the “I won” argument only works if the campaign program matches the governing program. ...

When Barack Obama ran last year, he didn’t say he’d engage in faith-based economic policy on a grand scale. He didn’t say he’d toss aside the normal processes of governing. He didn’t say he’d quickly act to add waste to the federal budget. And he didn’t say he’d try to brush away criticism with the mere assertion of his victory. On the stimulus, when Obama says “I won,” he’s out of better arguments.


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