Daniel Larison is one of the few conservatives not drinking the kool-aid:
There is a widespread and quite wrong conservative interpretation of the present political moment as being very much like 1993, but where Clinton mistook a repudiation of Bush for an endorsement of an aggressive Democratic agenda it is the GOP that has misread what just happened last year. Most of the right seems to expect a replay of ‘93-’94, and so are sticking to the same tactics that they used then (including the turn to Limbaugh and the return of Gingrich)…
Conservatives seem to have spent the last year rapidly regressing from cheering on lame politicians who could at least intelligently recite their platitudes (Romney) to worshipping pseudo-populists who could not even do that (Palin) to elevating random guys who didn’t like taxes (the Plumber) to rallying around a radio host who makes Romney’s own brand of Reagan nostalgia and three-legs-of-the-stoolism seem deep and meaningful by comparison. Of course, there isn’t that much substantively different between Romney’s opportunistic recitations and Limbaugh’s boilerplate, but at least with Romney you knew that he was capable of saying something else and would have said it if he had thought it was to his advantage. The boilerplate is not only all Limbaugh knows how to say, but if you pressed him to elaborate on any of it he would just repeat himself.
I am glad that Obama has come out against it.
It would be a regressive move that would hinder the development of highly fuel efficient cars, whereas the gas tax punishes inefficient cars.
National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein has a nice piece regarding a press interview that President Obama gave on Air Force One on the way to Chicago yesterday. In particular Brownstein hones in on how Obama’s outlook could tell us about his leadership style:
“My consistent bottom line is: How do we make sure that the American people can work, have a decent income, look after their kids and we can grow the economy.”-President Barack Obama
Any compromises or course corrections, he argued, must serve those overriding priorities.
That’s an elastic and responsive vision of the presidency which doesn’t quite match the preferences of either the ideological warriors of left and right, or those who define consensus as simply the midpoint between each party’s traditional answers. It contrasts markedly with the style of George W. Bush, who too often viewed rigidity as proof of resolve. Bill Clinton came closer to Obama’s approach, but even he seemed more intent on proving certain fixed assumptions — that opportunity could be balanced with responsibility, for instance, or government activism squared with fiscal discipline. Ronald Reagan likewise shared an instinct toward compromise, but he operated within a more constricting ideological framework than Obama.
Obama’s determination to elevate ends over means could bring him closer in temperament to presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt (who pledged “bold, persistent experimentation”) and Abraham Lincoln, who often insisted, “My policy is to have no policy.” That doesn’t mean either man lacked identifiable goals, much less bedrock principles. It did mean they were willing to constantly recalibrate their course in service of those goals and principles — as Lincoln once put it, like river boat pilots who “steer from point to point as they call it — setting the course of the boat no farther than they can see.”
“It pains me to watch normally reasonable colleagues overreacting to Obama’s situation now–which is far less dire than Clinton’s was. Some form of stimulus will pass. If it doesn’t revive the economy, then more stimulus will be passed. Obama’s maintaining the proper balance of reaching out to Republicans, making some compromises, but staying firm on the need for a bill that includes public works as well as tax cuts. A Republican Senator, a vocal opponent of the bill, told me the other day: “The guy has really impressed us. We may not vote for the bill, and he may have to learn that you have to give us more than he wants to give us to make us happy, but he’s made a really strong start that will work to his benefit down the road.”
…The legislative process is as ugly as a wart. We only notice it when an earth-shattering monstrosity like the stimulus bill comes gallumphing down the track, but there is no such thing as elegant legislation. You always have to throw in a little sweetener–the museum of organized crime in Las Vegas, the military kazoo band, whatever–if you want to cobble together the votes needed to win. This is business as usual–and Barack Obama is guilty as charged: he’s trying to get this thing through the old-fashioned way. So what? What’s new is his priorities: his efforts to put the needs of the working poor and the unemployed ahead of the wealthy, to build a new green economy, to fund inner city education and remake the health insurance system. That is what the American people voted for after an era of Republican neglect. The messiness of the current process is not only inevitable, it also says very little about Obama’s ability to deliver on those very necessary goals.”
-Joe Klein, 02.05.09
Hat Tip: Funny or Die.com
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South Minneapolis Winter / Northstar Chronicle
“Because of what? Some ice? We’re going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town,” Obama said this morning. “I’m saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.”
-President Barack Obama, after Washington, DC schools closed due to wintry weather.
As you probably know, everyone and their grandmother were blogging on the inauguration last week. I just didn’t feel like it, to be honest, to be typing away at a computer while history was happening.
I got up late, watched the inauguration speech (which was truly sobering AND great) and turned it off during the official poem (which SUCKED way beyond what words can say). Afterward, me and my sweetie got dressed and went to a neighborhood bar. I bought a beer for myself and a round of drinks for the afternoon drinkers there. And then we left for an Irish pub where we had a nice lunch. To put things in perspective, people at the first bar were watching inauguration coverage and the people at the second bar were watching a Manchester United soccer match!
Later that night we attended a party. Everyone there could not believe that Bush and Cheney’s term had finally come to an end. I was as amazed as the next person.