Canary Ejects from Coal Mine: Robert Reich sure seems to be saying that Obama should have focused on the economy and put off health care reform:
Reich's test of success or failure seems to be whether "the Democrats lose one or both houses of Congress in the midterms." His analysis of why this might happen (benefits of health plan won't be felt, lack of jobs will) appears sound. But if Obama had
focused on the economy, what measures, exactly, could he have taken to avoid a midterm massacre? A larger stimulus? Obama got as big a stimulus as he could last spring, no? Maybe Reich thinks Obama could have gotten a second tranche earlier this fall if he'd delayed health care. But Reich more or less admits that now
it's too late for any measure to have a big impact before the election. So why not get health care reform? The way things are going, it's not like Dems will have another chance in 2011.
b) Reich's clearly still miffed that President Clinton rejected his stimulus plans in early 1993, choosing instead to lower the budget deficit and interest rates. As a result, Reich declares, "the Clinton years produced few if any major social reforms." Hmm. I can think of one. Actually, two and a half ( work-oriented welfare reform coupled with the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and medical care for poor children). Even if Reich perversely won't count that as a "social reform," Clinton's rejection of Reich's advice was followed by the longest economic expansion in our history . The combination lowered the child poverty rate from 22% to 16% . Never trust content from Robert Reich .
c) You could say it's a bad sign for Obama if Reich has ejected from the health care express. On the other hand, if there were a theatrical, left-cultivating, personal-branding semi-economist who was going to get attention for himself by jumping ship, it would be Robert Reich. He's sort of a canary in the coal mine in this respect. The canary has jumped! But at this point it's only the canary. ... Any metaphors left? [ Shark-ed Well, Reich's chances of returning to power in an Obama administration are now close to zero. Maybe he's jumped that too. ... ] 9:01 P.M.
Allthumbsucking: From WaPo reporter Michael Shear's exceptionally gauzy and correct "analysis" of Obama's "challenges"--including handling the aftermath of the Ft. Hood mass shooting:
And the incident -- clearly out of Obama's control -- comes as the president appears nearing a decision to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan. Explaining that decision to the public will be a critical job for Obama during the next several months, and Hasan's actions can only make that more difficult. [E.A.]
"Only"? Really? If Obama wants to send thousands more troops to bottle up radical Islamic terrorists who would like to bring violence to America, it seems as if this violent incident might make explaining it easier , no? ... P.S.: I'm not saying it necessarily makes it righter--just easier to win support for. ... 9:01 P.M.