Through bad times and good times for the president, there was one word I never associated with him and his approach to the challenges facing the country: gimmick. But this is a bright shining gimmick that advertises a lack of seriousness to both near-term economic weakness and long-run budget problems. This is decidedly not what is needed right now. If this is the best the president can do, Democrats, and the country, are in for a very long few years.
And add this…When the hell did Dick Morris get on the White House payroll?
Anyway, I think it’s about time for progressives to figure out what they can do outside of government. It’s pretty clear at this point that the government and the people who typically get elected to serve in it are badly broken. But progressive goals were only partially about government. Liberals have a variety of goals that they’ve looked to government to solve, but it’s not as if the government is the only entity that can. It’s time for progressives to think about how to get their goals achieved without government.
Meanwhile, our Afghanistan strategy is scarcely doing better. We’ve persisted in attacking Helmand Province, which shouldn’t—by COIN doctrine—be the focus at all. And someone decided to leak the full Eikenberry memos to the President, in which he absolutely trashes the Afghanistan strategy.
There is one small, small bit of good news: it looks like we’ll get high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando! WOOO! Clearly why I waited out in the cutting cold on January 20, 2009. Anyway, the odd thing about this is it shows all the savvy that I associated with the Obama administration: it’s located in a part of the country that’s enduring tough times economically, and conveniently located in a pinkish state. Also, it appears to be a substantively good project. That’s well done, all around. Weird to see something well executed these days.
This op-ed by Roberto Saviano (the journalist who wrote Gomorrah, a book I’ve been meaning to read for years now) is very good. Also depressing.
It’s odd for me to agree with Sean Wilentz on anything, but I agree with him on this: Ulysses S. Grant was a much better President than he’s given credit for.