Ted Van Dyk is less than impressed with President Obama
Obama Needs to Reset ‘His’ Presidency
The President we have is very different from the man who campaigned for the office in 2008
Time out, Mr. President.
As we approach the August congressional recess, it’s clear that our economic distress is deeper than we thought, and thus your health-care and energy initiatives are in danger of stalling out. You could use a reset button for domestic policy.
Let’s take it from the top.
Your presidential campaign was superb. You restored hope to millions — including me — who had been demoralized by the political polarization that characterized the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. You talked about reaching across party and ideological lines to get the public’s business done. Your biography was appealing, and for those of us who entered politics motivated by the civil-rights struggle, your candidacy represented an important culmination.
You displayed an intellect and sense of cool that made us think you would weigh decisions carefully and view advisers’ proposals with skepticism.
The first warning signals for me came with your acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. In it, you stressed domestic initiatives that clearly were nonstarters in the already shrinking economy.
I had greater concern when you staffed your administration and White House with a large number of Clinton administration retreads who had learned their trade in the never-ending-campaign culture of the Clinton years. Some appeared to represent what you had pledged to eradicate in the capital.
Many of the missteps that have followed flowed, in part, from your reliance on these Clinton holdovers. Your chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, defined your early strategy by stating that the financial and economic crises presented an “opportunity” to jam through unrelated legislation. To many of us, the remark was cynical and wrong-headed.
The crises did not represent an opportunity. They presented an obligation to do one thing: Return our financial system and our economy to good health.