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And I don't see any evidence that he's learned from that mistake.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
But he was quite willing to raise taxes on the top tier with only Democratic votes. Obama doesn't have that kind of grit, in my read. In '96, after the grotesque overreach by Gingrich and the attempt to shut down the government Clinton gleefully took it to them in 96. It took the Whitewater and Monica Lewinski circuses to stop him from doing more. We will see how Obama responds to what will be coming his way now. I suspect Clinton nostalgia will grow.
Obama has great personal gifts but seems singularly inept at the art of governing. He got his health care bill at the cost of having a bill that is so bad that it is just barely worth having and that, unless reformed, will strangle the country. What needs to change -- reining in the insurance companies and big pharma -- is going to be impossible to approach in any way that will help for at least the next two years. I am certain others can identify his other signal accomplishments in his first two years, during one of which he had 60 Democrats and independents in the Senate. To me it seems like his focus was on keeping Congress from doing any more than it did.
I can give Clinton some slack on the financial deregulation issues, as the dangers were still prospective at the time and as Clinton was going through his own learning curve about the power of the financial sector, as witnessed by his famous alleged quote, in response to Robert Rubin: "Do you mean to tell me that whether I am re-elected and whether my agenda passes depends on a bunch of fucking bond traders!" The dangers of that path were all too clear even prior to the '08 election -- for those with eyes to see.
As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
If Obama was a moderate liberal rather than a moderate authoritarian, the Justice Department could have got a whole hell of a lot done, but that was a fight that was lost in the early Democratic presidential primaries. A moderate authoritarian as President was a best case scenario once it came down to Obama versus Clinton.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
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