Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Agree with Reich

Robert Reich has an very interesting post on the strategic choice that Obama faces with his stimulus package. It has actually changed my thinking.

Here's the choice. Does he make it as big as possible for economic effect and roll the Republicans to get it enacted? Or does he work with Republicans, which will inevitably mean a smaller package that may not work? Paul Krugman comes down firmly on option one. Surprisingly, Reich goes for the second path saying:

Why would he ever choose the second strategy? Because his goal is not just to get the biggest stimulus package he can squeeze through Congress. It’s to get a Congress that’s mostly united behind whatever stimulus package emerges. This would ensure that Republicans and blue-dog Democrats take some ownership of the package, and therefore responsibility for making it work.

As partisan as I am, I agree with him. Clinton rammed through his economic plan, which led to 8 years of prosperity and he was rewarded with a loss of a Democratic majority in both houses. Bush rammed his through leading to vicious partisan divisions for his entire term.

Obama has got a long term strategy for making fundamental change in Washington. I agree with Reich that, while working with the Republicans might mean a short term loss in economic effectiveness, it could work to bring about the fundamental change that Obama has promised for the whole campaign.

Maybe he meant it?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Goodbye, Mr. Bush

In typical British fashion, the Financial Times gives the best requiem on the Bush Administration I have seen. Here's just one killer quote:
With his preternatural ebullience, fathomless lack of curiosity and disdain for empirical reality, Mr Bush compromised America’s reputation as a power that stands by the rule of law – giving real succour to an enemy he helped multiply.
But you have to read the whole thing to get the full effect.


I went down to my office today to pre-position my minivan for our getaway from the Presidential Swearing In ceremony. After dropping off the car, I walked over to the White House, which is only three blocks away. There were lots of people milling around and I could get surprisingly close to the reviewing stand for the parade. I checked my watch. It was 12:30 pm. Less than one day left in the catastrophic Bush Administration.

I have to say that this is the most consequential positive historical event in my lifetime. Words fail me. I find myself suddenly welling up at the strangest times. I ran into a colleague in front of the White House who was there with friends. She exulted, like everyone does, at how amazing it all is. When I began to talk, I choked up and had to cut the conversation short so as not to embarrass myself.

The picture is of the Corcoran Gallery where there is an exhibit entitled