Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Taking Obama's Measure

With ten percent of his term in office gone, Barack Obama is being graded from the left and right and, not surprisingly, found to be doing (1) not enough and (2) too much.

(1) Paul Krugman faults him for "Not Enough Audacity," praising "Barack the Policy Wonk, whose command of the issues--and ability to explain those issues in plain English--is a joy to behold" but faulting "Barack the Post-Partisan, who searches for common ground where none exists, and whose negotiations with himself lead to policies that are far too weak."

(2) Peggy Noonan sees "a persistent sense of extraneous effort, of ambitions too big and yet too small, too off point, too base-pleading, too ideological, too unaware of the imperatives. And there is the depressing psychological effect of seeing government grow so much, so big, so fast. This encourages a sense that things are out of control and cannot be made better."

Somewhere between these polar views may be many who are less outspoken but trust Obama's instincts and judgment and, given the challenges he has to face, are willing to cut him some slack when he seems to be moving too fast or too slowly or trying to do too little or too much but won't hesitate to criticize him when we think he's going off course.

The opinion polls are getting iffy, but we still seem to be in a majority (pace Rush Limbaugh) who understand that, if Obama fails, we all do.

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