Tuesday, August 09, 2011

"Far More Popular than Jimmy Carter and Nearly as Popular as Bill Clinton, and Vastly More Accomplished than Both Put Together"

"Obviously this is the crux of the dispute, and I don't have the time and space to defend this larger judgment here. But Westen offers almost nothing but hand-waving and misstatements. He blames Obama for the insufficiently large stimulus without even mentioning the role of Senate moderate Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass it, in weakening the stimulus. An argument can be made that Obama could have secured a larger stimulus through better legislative tactics, but Westen does not make this case, or even flick at it. A foreign reader unfamiliar with our political system would come away from Westen's op-ed believing Obama writes laws by fiat.
"Westen's complaint against Obama is rooted primarily in a lack of factual understanding of what Obama has done."

Jonathan Chait at The New Republic criticizes Drew Westen's New York Times article criticizing President Obama.

1 comment:

KcM said...

The problem with Obama defenses of this sort - his hands are tied by Congress! - is it ignores [a] the pressure the administration itself puts on Members to dilute legislation (see: hcr, dodd-frank, both of which Congress wanted to make *more* progressive) and [b] Obama's highly un-progressive actions in areas where Congress has little to no authority (state secrets, war on whistleblowing, Somalia black sites, war in Libya)

Maybe most importantly, this defense ignores the importance of the opening bid. So President Snowe wanted something smaller than the administration in terms of the stimulus, and concessions had to be granted. That is why you start with a much bigger stimulus package at first, not one that's too small a size before it's even presented.