Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama Needs To Go Large With Goals


Here's a truly outside-the-box idea for the next president from Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic.

The title says it all, "Why Obama Should Copy Bush (Really!)"

Of course, Cohn does not recommend emulating Bush by ignoring the Constitution, torture and general spying on the citizenry, but he does urge W.'s one-track mind towards big goals.
One of Bush’s most remarkable qualities--and one, I admit, that I frequently admired--was his stubborn focus on goals and willingness to push political boundaries aggressively. It took a president of uncommon gumption and boldness to push such a radical agenda; America, after all, is not a radical country by nature. But Bush understood political opportunity when it presented itself and he seized it. And while I’d hate to see Obama systematically ignoring policy experts and manipulating intelligence--or deliberately stoking partisan division for the sake of winning elections--I wouldn’t mind if, like Bush, Obama showed the same sort of singular focus.
A good argument can be made the Bush presidency has been highly successful for a select few, but, nonetheless; big promises were made and delivered.

Cohn lists them:

Consider what Bush has accomplished. He has overhauled the tax code, tilting it towards the wealthy and significantly reducing federal revenues. He signed a landmark education reform that changed the curriculum in virtually ever public school. He gutted the regulatory state and hollowed out the bureaucracy. He added a drug benefit to Medicare, thereby enacting the largest single entitlement expansion since the 1960s. He tipped the Supreme Court’s ideological balance with two strongly conservative appointees.

Although gas prices hover just under $2.40 per gallon in the Bay Area, Bush did deliver his oilmen buddies prices 100 percent higher during his two terms.

A week after President-elect Barack Obama's election, there is no real gauge as to how bold his foreign and domestic agenda will be. The naming of Rahm Emanuel as presidential bulldog is a signal that he will be bold domestically with a known quantity both feared and admired for getting things done in Congress.

If Obama decides to shift the country leftward or institiute bold objectives like Bush he will have two things the 43rd president did not have: a clear mandate and confidence in his intellectual heft.

No comments: