Oliver Willis gives the President high marks for his budget speech yesterday:
So, in the actual speech Obama didn’t call for dismantling social security, medicare, or medicaid while calling for a tax increase among the uber-wealthy as well as cuts in defense and medicare that don’t impact the security and health of Americans.
Oh, and he also said Paul Ryan’s plan to kill Medicare sucks.
In other words, he slammed the haters to the left and right.
I have to say, I was mightily impressed with Obama's clarity and forcefulness - it was a solid defence of liberalism and a much needed counter-vision for real growth and prosperity. Every time you think Obama doesn't get it, he pulls out a speech like the one yesterday reminding progressives he's really one of them.
The President's job from now on is to redefine the political center. The Republicans have dragged it so far to the Right that they are winning on virtually every policy decision even if they have to compromise. Yesterday's speech was an excellent start, but the Democrats must stay on message if they want to pass serious policy that actually works. The President knows full well that Republican prescriptions for the economy will be catastrophically bad, and if he enacts them he will also take the blame. So Obama must play a tricky game of appearing to agree and compromise with the GOP while doing the exact opposite behind the scenes. There is some evidence he is doing this - as JM Ashby over at Bob Cesca's site explains, the budget compromise wasn't actually that bad, and was really a good example of Obama outsmarting Republicans and getting what he wanted without giving up much at all.
If Obama can radically shift debate Leftwards (is that a word?) and continue to outmaneuver the Republicans when it comes to passing legislation, he may actually have a chance of turning the economy around - an absolute must if he is to be re-elected a year and a half from now.