Listening to the Right, the Left and the Media, it is clear that newbie President Obama has made a royal mess of things already and the stimulus package he's planning to sign into law is way "too" (much/little, depending on your bent) to ever save us. In other words, he's a loser & we're all screwed.
Of course, after all of the agita expressed by the various factions, that's one way to look at things. On the other hand, after I heard that the bill had finally passed on Friday night, I said to my husband, I sure hope that he can keep losing like that. As the Washington Post put it, Obama Scores Early Victory of Historic Proportions:
Twenty-four days into his presidency, Barack Obama recorded last night a legislative achievement of the sort that few of his predecessors achieved at any point in their tenure.Echoing that sentiment, Steve Benen observes, A 'Hostoric' Win:
Looking back over the last couple of weeks, I've complained a bit about aspects of the economic stimulus bill and the process in which it worked its way through Congress. It's not ambitious enough. There are too many tax cuts. President Obama overemphasized bipartisanship. The White House lost control of the message. House Democrats made too many concessions. Senate Democrats made far too many concessions.And then Frank Rich provides his usual witty and on-point analysis, in They Sure Showed That Obama:
You get the idea.
But the Washington Post has a good piece today that adds some perspective to what's transpired in recent weeks. It's a reminder that while the trees have been frustrating at times, the forest looks pretty impressive.
Am I crazy, or wasn’t the Obama presidency pronounced dead just days ago? Obama had “all but lost control of the agenda in Washington,” declared Newsweek on Feb. 4 as it wondered whether he might even get a stimulus package through Congress. “Obama Losing Stimulus Message War” was the headline at Politico a day later. At the mostly liberal MSNBC, the morning host, Joe Scarborough, started preparing the final rites. Obama couldn’t possibly eke out a victory because the stimulus package was “a steaming pile of garbage.”We're certainly don't know how much it will help (or, if anything can do it at this point), but at least he's determined to try. And, if it doesn't work, I'm sure he'll try something else, if he can, before the naysayers try to declare total defeat.
Less than a month into Obama’s term, we don’t (and can’t) know how he’ll fare as president. The compromised stimulus package, while hardly garbage, may well be inadequate. Timothy Geithner’s uninspiring and opaque stab at a bank rescue is at best a place holder and at worst a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the TARP-Titanic, where he served as Hank Paulson’s first mate.But we do know this much. Just as in the presidential campaign, Obama has once again outwitted the punditocracy and the opposition. The same crowd that said he was a wimpy hope-monger who could never beat Hillary or get white votes was played for fools again.
Either way, I agree with Obama's words that doing nothing is not an option. Here's hoping he can change what the Bush Administration has otherwise made inevitable.