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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So who's whinier: the White House or those of us on the political left?

From today's Huffington Post:

"Given the economic straits we are in, the stimulus was too small, and had too many tax cuts in it, but it is still the biggest jobs bill in American history, and the biggest investment in public goods (schools, teachers, roads, bridges, clean energy, firefighters, cops, broadband, etc.). The health care bill had big flaws, including the lack of a public option, but Obama succeeded at extending coverage to virtually everyone and reining in major insurance abuses (on pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps, etc.) when every other President before for a hundred years had failed.

The financial reform bill didn't break up the banks, but we won very significant victories in reining in the financial sector, and went the right direction on financial regulation instead of the wrong direction as we did in the last four presidents' tenures. The federal budgets Obama submitted have been the most progressive in many ways, at least since 1993, and maybe since the 1960s. We won a major victory on, and expansion of, the student loan program for college students. Tobacco is regulated by the FDA for the first time. The equal pay law got passed, S-CHIP got expanded, the hate crimes bill got signed, unneeded weapons systems got eliminated. And Obama has at least pushed for other big legislation on climate change, immigration reform, and more jobs programs, even if he didn't succeed at everything.

It hasn't all been perfect -- far from it -- but Obama deserves enormous credit for wading into these big fights, and for persevering on some of the toughest, like health care (where his chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel wanted him to back down and give up.) If I were in the Obama White House, I might be feeling a little irritable myself at the lack of credit I was getting.

But here's the thing, folks at the White House: your strategy for getting the credit you think you deserve sucks. It's not working, and bitching about the fact that people don't give you enough credit is not going to get them to give you more."

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