Sunday, July 17, 2011

An optimistic assessment by James Fallows' Reader DM

Last month, James Fallows of The Atlantic wrote a piece titled "Least Valuable Player: Rep. Eric Cantor." It got some press.  He followed it this past Wednesday with "More on Rep. Cantor as Least Valuable Player" and on Saturday with "Rep. Cantor Wrap-up for Now:"  From Saturday's piece:

[A] long message from a reader who sees signs of hope in the budget standoff, in Obama's eagerness (as a Democrat) to propose budget cuts even as the economy heads back into recession, even in the recent news that the Administration is cutting back on various clean-energy projects. I am not convinced, but because you probably have not seen this case made very often, I offer it for consideration. 

Reader DM writes:

I've lost my sense of despair about Obama and the debt/deficit, social security-medicare discussions, because I think I know what he's doing.  When he first entered office, one of the things he stated as a specific goal was to solve the long-term structural deficit problem he inherited. His inaugural address included admonitions that we had to get serious, that we had to step up, and that people, all people, had to sacrifice, to fix what was broken; and it also included strong chords of hope that America had what it takes to fix it.

Look- he first jumped on Republican legislation to set up a pre-emptive deficit commission, and the Republicans ran away. He then set up his own deficit commission, and all of Congress ran away.  And now he has taken the Republican stupid-assed, testosterone addled attempt to hold the debt ceiling hostage, and has judo-thrown them into forcing a discussion of the very problem that they've been purportedly complaining about.  He is using their own two-faced complaints about the deficit (they aren't interested in the deficit; they are interested in undoing the New Deal, which are two very different things and he's called their bluff and making them look very, very stupid), and presenting them with a very sound, very practical, very compromised, totally solid proposal to deal with the long-term structural deficit, which any Republican four years ago would have leapt at, and which contains the very broad-based sacrifices that he promised in his inaugural address.

This is Obama accomplishing one of his principal campaign goals; because politically he can't do anything to stimulate the economy, or, germane to your Mountaineer post, can't commit the government to long-term strategic investment in carbon capture and the global environment, until he gets the structural deficit under control.  If he succeeds in his big picture deficit plan, he'll go into 2012 having tamed the long term deficit.  He'll be in a position to lambast the Republicans and hopefully, gain more control of Congress, and, when he's reelected, he'll have a powerful mandate to pursue his more adventuresome and long-term beneficial programs. It'll take a few more years, but he's  a long-term strategic thinker, and I think he'll get us there. The Republicans look like a lot of power-addled men who are really out of touch with the electorate.

I'm now very optimistic; and, particularly if he succeeds, then with his 2nd term programs, perhaps the economy will recover to the extent that he can re-instate the things he cut before such time as the cuts actually take effect. Because, as we all know, with the long-term structural deficit fixed, if the economy were back to the size it was before 2007, we could have our cake and be eating it too.  You go, Barack. Sir.

PS:  And won't things be looking very different after 2014 when we will all have affordable health insurance. God knows I'm having to put off a lot of things because I can't afford to deal with them now....

Fallows concludes, "It is indeed pretty to think so. And perhaps this will turn out to be true."

Interesting.  Can you get to that kind of optimism along with DM?

2 comments:

  1. "The Republicans look like a lot of power-addled men who are really out of touch with the electorate."
    No. They do not 'look like' power-addled, they ARE!
    AND, they are testosterone addled, too.
    They are totally addled - can one BE multi-addled?
    GREAT CATCH, Sparker

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  2. I agree with James Fallows. I think that Obama has a fine sense of timing. Since it is obvious that he could not get a rational budget proposal past the House, I think that he has given the Tea Party plenty of rope to hang themselves, and now he can lambaste the obstructionists as Fallows suggests, and carry this foolishness into some real gains in the next election.

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