I am generally speaking supportive of Barack Obama – I believe he is a progressive at heart and is generally trying to steer the country in the right direction. But the cautious strategy he has adopted in virtually every policy decision is threatening to seriously undermine his presidency. I don’t belong to the school of thought that advocated slamming Obama for not enacting the progressive agenda many hoped he would. He campaigned as a centrist, and is behaving like one. But the watered down financial packages and reforms he is pushing through undermine his ability to negotiate in future. Obama starts out from an extremely modest, barely left of center position and allows his opponents to cast him as a radical socialist. What then passes as significant reform really isn’t.
The financial reform package, while better than nothing, doesn’t go nearly far enough in regulating the financial industry. The stimulus (as discussed earlier today) was not anywhere near big enough, and it now looks like a fresh infusion of capitol will be needed to prevent another dip.
Obama will have to go back again and again to get more money and better regulation, and each time he will be met with screams of socialism and radicalism by the insane Right. The amount of time his administration will need to dedicate to even the smallest of victories means his presidency will be bogged down by constant warfare for the smallest of victories.
The country is in dire need of a radical transformation. The neoliberal economic orthodoxy has destroyed the fabric of the American economy, and minor adjustments simply will not cut it. Obama need to think big and act big if he wants to bring about the change he promised. Watered down reform bills and half baked measures to stimulate the economy will simply prolong the misery, and we’ll be left with a country ill equipped to navigate the next decade effectively.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.