Saturday, November 07, 2009

Vexation without representation

Christopher Caldwell, Financial Times:

Democratic strategists say the president needs to be more energetic in pursuing his agenda – particularly his healthcare plan. But “special interests” are no longer the big obstacle here, if ever they were. The obstacle is that the public now disapproves of it. Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post columnist, wrote in defence of the president: “What many progressives (including me) sometimes see as Obama’s temporising on issues ... might be sensible politics.” Mr Robinson mentioned public health funding and gays in the military. It is a wise insight. But it differs little from what Mr Obama’s harshest detractors say: that the president’s real political programme is something he dare not avow in public. If that is right, we can expect his support to erode further.

It seems to me Obama was elected so that he might "pursue his agenda," and his popularity has fallen to the degree that he hasn't.  If the public doesn't like his health care plan, that is probably because they didn't expect the health insurance industry to write it.   In many other ways, the CEO conception of executive power -- that the right person gets the job done -- has been scuttled on the proprietary shoals that lie always beneath its surface.  But because commercial claims to the White House "are no longer the big obstacle here, if ever they were," the question rests squarely on Obama's shoulders as to what kind of CEO he will become.

Much breath is wasted in these debates, so popular amongst enthusiasts of the state.  In fact, the only thing Mr. Obama needs to do is figure out how to exercise power on behalf of his constituency without too much revealing to his supporters that they are not it.  Politics is the art of remaining popular when you have no business being so.

1 comment:

almostinfamous said...

Politics is the art of remaining popular when you have no business being so.

so it's just like show-biz, then. this is SOOO going on my twitter, man!