Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is Obama Hopeless?

Despite very difficult circumstances, Obama did get some things done, notably health care.  In other regards, he seems to have proven amazingly weak.  Perhaps it's just lack of experience - the tactics that served him well as community organizer and law review editor are not suitable for a President.  Brad DeLong notes a David Frum critique with approval (!).  (It turns out that Frum is riffing on a theme by David Brooks)

Frum:

Obama is His Own Worst Enemy

FrumForum: [Obama is] not an alien, he’s not a radical. He’s just not the person the country needs. He’s not tough enough, he’s not imaginative enough, and he’s not determined enough.

In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, the president ran out of ideas sometime back in 2009.

In the face of opposition, Obama goes passive. The mean Republicans refused votes on his Federal Reserve nominees and Obama … did nothing. Would Ronald Reagan have done nothing? FDR? Lyndon Johnson?

With unemployment at 10% and interest rates at 1%, the president got persuaded that it was debt and interest that trumped growth and jobs as Public Issue #1.

It's hard to disagree with his points.  Can Obama change?  The debt ceiling fiasco is perhaps a final challenge.  Will he fold?  Will he blunder into a Republican trap? 

TBD.