Many of the president-elect’s advisers had been reading histories of the New Deal. They had ambitious plans to address the crisis: federal jobs programs, new building projects, new spending initiatives. This was no time to worry about deficits, they said. This was an opportunity to address needs that had been neglected for decades.
Obama, in this fanciful version, held up his hand. He told his aides to put away the history books and reject the New Deal comparisons. Unlike in 1932, Americans today have a raging distrust of Washington, he observed. Living through a crisis caused by excessive debt, they will viscerally recoil at the prospect of federal debt without end. “Somehow,” Obama concluded, “we have to address the crisis without further terrifying the American people.”
The stimulus package, he continued, should rely heavily on cutting payroll taxes. This, he argued, will send a quick jolt to the economy without concentrating power in Washington. It will deliver a sharp psychological boost to the middle class. It might even be bipartisan. Obama noted that John McCain had a $445 billion stimulus plan along these lines and his fellow Republican senator, Mel Martinez, a $713 billion plan.
A fanciful version indeed. The frightening thing is that David Brooks actually believed (and perhaps, somehow, still does) that Barack Obama was ever ideologically capable of such a thing, or so wise. You and other bien pensants foisted him on us, David, despite our warnings, because you didn’t want your DC party invites to dry up. When will you admit that you quaffed too deeply the koolaid?
The offense looked very good, but it will have to be to make up for the porous secondary. 30-10 is a nice-looking score, but UConn beat themselves. When they go up against a team that has receivers who can hang on to the ball, I’m afraid they’re going to get lit up. We’ll find out next week against the Irish.
I guess what I was trying to say is that those early days were magical. But, well, maybe magic isn’t the best basis for a… Shit. Look, maybe the best way to do this is just come out and say it. I think it’s best if we take a break.
There, I said it.
Come… come on Barack, please don’t be that way. And don’t act so surprised, I mean you must have at least seen some of the approval rating signs. Tea Party? No, Tea Party didn’t put me up to this. Yeah, sure I’ve see him around the neighborhood. I mean, what am I supposed to do while you’re off vacationing with your friends? Sit around this place without a job and watch MSNBC? No, it’s platonic. So far. And for your information, Tea isn’t the retarded Nazi racist loser your friends are always painting him to be. And guess what? He listens to me and seems to like me for what I am, and doesn’t expect me to wear that stupid complicated Scandinavian nurse outfit like you gave me for Christmas. By the way, the charge card bill from Frederick’s of Stockholm just arrived yesterday. $1 trillion, Barack? Really?
A New York Times survey earlier this year occasioned shock when it found that “Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class.” We’re so accustomed to the notion of a revolt of the dispossessed that a revolt of the possessed (in the non-demonic sense, of course) strikes us as a strange offense against the nature of things. But it’s threatening to wash away the Democratic congressional majorities in a historic wipeout.
In extremis, Democrats and liberal commentators have dragged the debate over the tea party into the well-worn rut of elite condescension to the bourgeois, a term coined in its modern sense by Rousseau and not meant as a compliment. For more than a hundred years, the bourgeois have been accused of being insipid, greedy, and unenlightened. To the long catalogue of their offenses can now be added another: unenthralled by Barack Obama, the Romantic hero seeking to transform the nation.