Listening to President Obama’s liberal (or “progressive,” or whatever the proper term is) critics reminds me of this scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
While I too would like to have had a more comprehensive health care bill, the one we got is not only the best we could have procured given the circumstances, but the best one that has EVER passed (with the possible exception of the Social Security Act of 1965, which included Medicare). The Democrats didn’t even get a bill out of committee when Hillary Clinton (then First Lady) tried to steer one through. You might say she got the “Obama treatment” (remember the term “Hillarycare”?). Like Obama, she was also opposed by people in her own party, and the government had a lot more money then.
Would I like more reform of Wall Street? Of course. But why is it that Wall Street, at least at this moment, is opposing Obama?
I just read Jonathan Chait’s analysis of liberal criticism of Obama, and found it to be spot on (he mentions the Life of Brian scene above). Liberals have never been satisfied with Democratic presidents while they are in office; they seem to love them only in hindsight, and, as Chait points out, this even holds true for saint FDR. Money quote:
There is a catchphrase, which you’ve probably seen on bumper stickers or T-shirts, that captures the reason liberals have trouble maintaining political power: ‘Stop bitching, start a revolution.’ At first blush it sounds constructive. If you consider it for a moment, though, the line assumes that there are two modes of political behavior, bitching and revolution. Since the glorious triumph of revolution never really pans out, eventually you’ll return to the alternative, bitching. But there is a third option that lies between the two–the ceaseless grind of politics.
So, unless you want more Antonin Scalias on the Supreme Court, get out and work for a Congress that believes that government should actually exist (is this the Democrats’ new catch phrase?).