In which I outsource my critique to Bruce Bartlett

I pretty much agree with everything Bruce Bartlett says about the President’s first year:

Does this mean I am happy with everything Obama has done in office? Of course not. I am sympathetic to the idea that the stimulus plan was too small and insufficiently front-loaded to turn the economy around. But on the other hand, the Republican idea that we should have done nothing or just cut taxes is nonsense.

I think Obama erred in pushing forward with health care reform before the economy had recovered and before sufficient time had been spent developing a comprehensive plan. The whole health reform effort has looked to me as if it was jury-rigged from day one, based less on a serious analysis of what needed to be done than about getting something–anything–through Congress that could be called health reform.

I am disappointed that the idea of bending the cost curve has gotten short shrift, but I am even more disappointed that Republicans adopted the extraordinarily cynical strategy of defending Medicare from any cuts whatsoever, just to pander to seniors quick to panic over any threat to their generous, taxpayer-provided health benefits.

As a strictly political matter, I agree with analyst Charlie Cook that Obama should have kept his eyes focused on the economy to the exclusion of anything else that didn’t require immediate attention. Whatever one thinks about their desirability, health reform, cap-and-trade, immigration reform and other issues that have occupied the president’s attention could have been put off. One consequence is that reform of the financial sector, which is badly needed, has languished and been picked apart by industry lobbyists.

I wish Obama had pulled out of Afghanistan rather than doubling down our commitment. I would have thought that he would have understood he was on the wrong track when he was cheered by right wingers like Bill Kristol who have been wrong about every major issue of the last decade.

That said, I think Obama has done an adequate job in office his first year and given McCain’s statements and actions, which show no remaining evidence of the independent streak he once exhibited, I have no reason to think we would be any better off if he had won. So I am comfortable with my vote and willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt for a while longer.

I have to say that I’m also disappointed in many of President Obama’s positions on executive power and civil liberties, but there’s no reason to believe McCain would have been any better.



One Response

  1. Great post Dr. Taylor!!! I follow Bartlett’s blog which is really great!

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