Second, the ARRA--which would have been a McCain initiative had he won, by the way, or so his advisors say, even though opposed by every single Republican office-holder today--looks very much like it has achieved the results promised--even though it was done at only about 5/8 of the scale Obama proposed (the necessity of getting Voinovich, Snowe, and Collins on board to do pretty much anything weakened it) and what was proposed was only about 2/3 of what was appropriate.Ah yes... the Tea Party Republicans do strike a different pose. They separate out from Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum by taking radically crazy positions on all kinds of issues.
Third, the bank stress tests--opposed by every single Republican office-holder today, by the way--appear to have performed much better than I at least expected (although HAMP and PPIP do not look like successes).
Fourth, the auto rescue--opposed by every single Republican office-holder today, by the way--has also performed much better than I at least expected.
Fifth, health care reform--also a Romney initiative, by the way, even though opposed by every single Republican office-holder today--appears to be performing, so far, as expected: providers are gearing up to deal with an inflow of more patients able to get insurance and insurance companies are thinking hard about how to handle themselves in the new market structure that will emerge after 2014--although, of course, health care reform was also weak tea relative to what ought to have been done, as the necessity of lining up sixty senators including a bunch of DINOs made itself felt.
Sixth, financial reform--also a McCain initiative, by the way, even though opposed by every single Republican office-holder today--appears to be performing as expected. At least, shady mortgage and other companies that function by making borrowers bear risks they don't understand appear to be scared of Elizabeth Warren.
Seventh, the TARP--also a McCain and a Romney and a Giuliana and a Paulson initiative, by the way, even though opposed by every single Republican office-holder today--has performed as well as expected. And it is important to note that the Republican legislators of Washington DC appear now, to a man, to be opposed to it.
Eighth, the focus on Afghanistan appears to be performing as well as focuses on Afghanistan ever do.
Ninth, the carbon tax--a Republican initiative pushed hard by Republican economists like Dick Schmalensee, Jim Poterba, Greg Mankiw, etc., even though opposed by every single Republican office-holder today--well, it did not pass because Republicans blocked it.
Tenth, cap-and-trade--also a McCain and a Romney and a Giuliani initiative, by the way, even though opposed by every single Republican office-holder today--well, it did not pass because Republicans blocked it.
Consider what the world would look like if the current crop of Republican candidates had been in control over the past two years: no TARP, no auto rescue, no financial reform, no stress tests, no ARRA. It would look much bleaker than the current picture looks.
Now I don't doubt that David Frum and his friends could have done a better job of governing America over the past two years if they had had total power over the U.S. government and if they had had omniscient prescient 20/20 hindsight about everything--and if they somehow could be convinced not to have launched a war on Iran in early 2009. But if they had lacked hindsight? I think that they would have done worse than Obama, even if they could have been restrained from launching a war on Iran in early 2009.
And, of course, David Frum and his friends are not the current Republican Party seeking office this November. They are a despised and exiled remnant, wandering through the desert of Sinai, longing for the fleshpots of Egypt with no manna in sight...
I believe that in Obama's mind there is a distinction between himself and McCain "the candidate for President". But the problem is that as "leader", Obama simply had no spine. He opted for "compromise" and snuggled up to Republican positions to avoid any "problems" with the Republican opposition. Sadly, the Republican opposition in December 2008 decided that the winning strategy for mid-terms in November 2010 would be to flatly oppose anything Obama proposed and paint him as a "socialist" for proposing policies that the Republicans had in fact drafted.
Guess what? Their strategy has worked. The public thinks Obama is a flaming radical so they have embraced the Tea Party Republicans as the party of "moderation" and a "fresh start". But the Tea Party Republicans are simply the craziest of the Republicans from the Bush years funded by the craziest of Americas many looney right wing billionaires.
For over 40 years politicians have kept edging to the right to win elections. As a result the real interests of the working class and the middle class has been completely abandoned in favour of the interest of the top 0.1% of Americans, the ones who can afford to buy their politicians and skip sullying their hands "voting" or engaging in a contest of ideas. The art of "selling" a naive public on some socially conservative issues to bait them into a frenzy and send them off to vote the agenda of the top 0.1% under the pretense of fighting gay marriage, abortions, immigrants, school prayer, balanced budgets, socialists-born-in-Kenya, etc.