Monday, August 22, 2011

E.J. Dionne is delusional this morning

His column reads like a fit of pique, instead of the usual smart commentary from a columnist who knows how the real world works.
President Obama has only one option as he ponders a world economy teetering on the edge: He needs to go big, go long and go global.

Obama should not be constrained by what the Tea Party might allow subservient Republican leaders in Congress to do. He should state plainly, eloquently and in detail what he thinks needs to happen. Neither history nor the voters will be kind to him if he lets caution and political calculation get in the way.
Ah, surely Dionne must be coming up with a laundry list of ideas that depend on executive action instead of a recalcitrant Congress! Let's hear them!
Going big means immediate action to boost the economy, even though this will increase the short-term deficit. His proposals to continue the payroll tax cut, extend unemployment insurance and enact patent reform are good, but they are not enough.
Wait. Pretty sure those items would all require action from a recalcitrant Congress...
At the same time, Obama should put forward a plan of his own to close the long-term deficit. He should not be hemmed in by his negotiations with congressional Republicans to get the debt ceiling raised. They don’t hold the nation’s credit hostage anymore. He should lay out exactly what he would do and abandon his practice of making preemptive concessions to his opponents.

That means Obama should not be shy about urging eventual tax increases, particularly on the wealthy. And let’s be clear: These would not be immediate tax hikes; they’d kick in a year or two from now.
Yeah, this really requires the cooperation of a recalcitrant Congress...
Ah, but won’t congressional Republicans block as much of this program as they can? That’s the wrong question.
Well, no, not really.

Count me among those who believe that Obama hasn't been a very effective negotiator, ceding ground to Republicans in his opening moves instead of making them make him give up stuff. That means the whole process gets pulled to the right. And what's more, I think Dionne's list makes sense.

However: Dionne is urging the president to lay out an agenda that has no chance of being enacted with Congress in its current political configuration. Doing so would most likely make the president look even weaker than he already does. This stuff would be great on the campaign trail, but as an actual agenda for the next year of governance it's suicide.

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