Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obama In The Catbird's Seat

First, let us note that Obama sings sweeter than any bird- he is the 21st century William Jennings Bryan. In Oslo, he explains why he wages war, in an acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize- and they stay to applaud.

This guy could sell iceboxes to Eskimos.

Equally shrewdly, his "passive" presidential style splits the opposition. He will only lead on matters in which the Executive is expected and required to lead. Anyone attacking him is also attacking the powers of the next president.

Republicans are thus split. Those who want to preserve the powers of the presidency can't attack Obama, but an apparently larger number of Republicans derive more pleasure from whining about how they are mistreated, and would happily throw out the baby with the bathwater.

It's actually a pretty good position from which to drive forward a progressive agenda- if the rest of the team could start making the plays.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What Did You Expect?

Faced with great challenges, we're learning that the US Congress has no great talent for governing. Who knew?

After all, they looked like they were governing when they passed the laws industries wanted, paid for the roads people wanted, and kept the economy at, at least, a mild simmer with Keynesian war-spending and Social Security.

Oh, sure, there were some troubling signs, such as their failure to save us $2 trillion over the past 40 years by legalizing drugs, or the fact that they couldn't enact taxes to pay for all the war spending. But that was, in a sense, the beauty of the thing- the money just kept rolling in and 2% of us became immeasurably wealthy.

But here we are now with a situation nobody expected- there aren't any more continents where we can "discover" natural resources, and all of our pointless (or worse) expense is hanging heavily on our shoulders in a lean and mean world economic environment.

The good news for people is that universal social services actually strengthen the body politic, so many nations do better at providing health care or education than we do. Whether the Congress will discover this in time for it to be good news for Americans remains a big question