Monday, March 09, 2009

Obama's Stress Test

In the absence of an outrage du jour by the Bush Administration, the American Commentariat is now caught up in a more complex, elusive project--analyzing the nation's fall into future shock and Barack Obama's fitness to deal with it.

Is the President on a speeding-up treadmill struggling not to fall behind, as Paul Krugman suggests today?

"The problem with the budget," John Cassidy diagnoses in the New Yorker, "isn’t its size or its underlying philosophy, which is one of pragmatic progressivism. The problem is that unless the deterioration of the economy stops, the Administration’s ambitious multiyear plans could end up being purely symbolic...

"With some economists talking openly about a 'depression,' the Administration needs to start rethinking elements of its recovery program, and the President himself needs to get more involved."

In the New York Review of Books, long-time Washington watcher Elizabeth Drew observes that "the still-new President has a staggering number of challenges before him...Yet the President was traveling for most of his third and fourth full weeks in office. A little more management may be in order" and adds that "the President's aides had concluded that it hadn't been helpful for Obama to be seen participating in the give-and-take of Washington, that 'that's not what he was elected to do.' Yes it is."

All this polite, nervous yet serious criticism of a president they were prepared to cheer on reflects the disappearance for opinion makers of the black-and-white days of Bush and the new era of huge gray issues such as economic stimulus, bank bailouts and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for Detroit.

MSM pundits and bloggers alike are struggling to adapt as Markos tells CNN that "our challenge is that line from destructive criticism to constructive criticism, because there is going to be criticism. The issue is how we manage that and it's a fine line and it's very tough sometimes."

Meanwhile, Barrack Obama is beginning to show a little gray in his hair as the rest of us watch and hope and hold our breaths.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People need to realize that Mr. Obama promised a lot of things to get elected. I would say maybe even too much to handle for one man. He has to solve an unbelievably large number of critical problems and each of these problems has to be solved in a perfect way to make everyone happy. So if he only messes up at 5% of all these problems, media will criticize him greatly. Thats the sad part. He tries hard, but nobody is perfect, he has to make a mistake and everyone is just waiting for this mistake to start blaming him for all the bad that US is facing right now. I wish Mr. Obama all the luck in the world because I see hes trying hard.

Take care, Julie