I stumbled upon two good pieces today at Washington Monthly’s “Political Animal” that I’d like to share. In a way, they are related, and in a broader sense they both touch upon some recent discussions we’ve had here at Once Upon a TPM and elsewhere.
Seems to me that many far-left progressives have been threatening to stay home in November, or vote Green Party (which, much as they hate to hear it, are one and the same thing). Steve Benen addresses this concern in his first piece, here:
In fact, a lot of the Obama administration’s accomplishments were pipe dreams.
A near-universal health-care system? Why would Obama and the Democrats succeed when Truman, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton had all failed, and politicians as adept as FDR and LBJ refused to even make the attempt? They’ve seen the numbers, right? The health-care industry is bigger now, and richer, and there are no more liberal Republicans. There’s no way.
A $787 billion stimulus? Yes, it was too small. But everything Washington does is always too small. And within the confines of that stimulus, the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress managed to make a host of long-term investments that would’ve been considered huge accomplishments in any other context, but are largely unknown inside this one. Huge investments in green energy, in health information technology, in high-speed rail, in universal broadband, in medical research, in infrastructure. The Making Work Pay tax cut. The Race to the Top education reform program. No recent president has invested in the country on anything like that level.
As to what Obama is continuing to try to accomplish, again Steve Benen writes a great piece, here:
Colin Powell on Meet the Press said, this morning, if I may sum up, that all of Obama’s accomplishments are too much – a big bag of heavy rocks, is what he likened them to. I find this hilarious seeing as how the far-left feels Obama hasn’t done enough! Anyway, Powell feels that Obama should stop doing so much and simply concentrate on job creation.
Steve Benen answers this ridiculous statement of Powell’s beautifully:
Obama should “go right after” unemployment. Great idea. How should he do that? The president has called for a major investment in infrastructure, which would create jobs, and which Republicans have already vowed to kill. The president called for a small-business-incentives bill, which would create jobs, and which Republicans deliberately delayed for months as part of a campaign strategy. The president has called for a major overhaul in U.S. energy policy, which would create a lot of jobs, and which Republicans have already successfully killed.
Notice the pattern here? Obama is taking an active approach to job creation, and offering ideas with merit, but it’s running into a brick wall of knee-jerk Republican opposition, which, despite being in the minority, has the tools to bring the policymaking process to a halt.
Indeed, the GOP is instead offering an alternative — a Bush-era tax policy that already failed to create jobs.
Powell’s advice isn’t wrong, it’s just misdirected. Instead of urging President Obama to focus more heavily on job creation, perhaps Powell could use his credibility and stature to publicly call on his Republican Party to stop standing in the way of economic progress.
Well said, Mr. Benen. But even Powell, one of the sanest Republicans these days (Chuch Hagel notwithstanding), apparently won’t do such a thing as to publicly call out his own party.
Perhaps those on the left who plan on staying home, or voting Green party in November, will decide to publicly call on the Republican Pary to stop standing in the way of economic progress by coming out with us to the polls and voting Dem this November.
Hey, I can dream, can’t I?