Monday, September 14, 2009

(Un)Constructive Summer

Frank Rich points out what, frankly, I should have realized and pointed out more directly: the summer of 2009 has been a total waste from a policy perspective:
This was a silly summer, as wasteful in its way as the summer of 2001, when Washington dithered over the now-forgotten Gary Condit scandal while Al Qaeda plotted. The president deserves his share of the blame...

a certain damage has been done — to Obama and to the country. The inmates took over the asylum, trivializing and poisoning the national discourse while the president bided his time. The lies that Obama called out so strongly in his speech — from “death panels” to “government takeover” — ran amok. So did all the other incendiary faux controversies, culminating with the ludicrous outcry over the prospect that the president might speak to the nation's schoolchildren on a higher plane than, say, “The Pet Goat.”
The problem with health care has been the lack of leadership from Obama.  He finally stepped the plate on Wednesday.  But it took far too long.  His political capital is less than it was five months ago, and health care is going to take a lot of political capital.  It was a wasted summer.

And just as all four years of Bush's second term was a waste because nothing happened on the domestic front, 2009 hasn't looked too much better. Yes, stimulus got done, which is more than Bush can say about 2005-2008, but it's not enough.  Obama came in with more political capital and power than any President since probably FDR in 1932.  And what does he have to show for it?  A disliked stimulus and a bunch of two bit rumors started by idiots.  That's what I'd call an (un)Constructive Summer.

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