We got a good long look at the second-term edition of Barack Obama last week, and he's sounding more like Bill Clinton every day.Was this guy watching the same SOTU I was?
It's not all that surprising. Over the last two years, Obama has turned repeatedly to Clinton for counsel...
Obama's rhetoric still aims high; he hasn't given up all hope of transforming American politics. But his concrete proposals these days are smaller and more Clintonian, a necessary adjustment in the face of entrenched Republican opposition.
Because Jacob Weisberg knocked this one so far out of the park, I'm simply going to quote him.
Looking beyond what he was right to call the “manufactured” fiscal crisis that continues to preoccupy Washington, Obama offered a new program that was broader and more comprehensive than his first term’s.I know that pundits love to compare current presidents to those who have held that office in the past. But there's a dose of PUMA in this particular commentary from McManus.
This includes the night’s biggest surprise, a proposed hike in the minimum wage of nearly 25 percent, to $9 an hour, which would lift millions of workers out of poverty. The speech also proposed major new investments in infrastructure and early childhood education, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, marriage equality for homosexuals, voting reform, gun control, a U.S.-EU free-trade zone, comprehensive tax reform, market-based rules on greenhouse gas emissions, national energy conservation goals, more research into clean energy technology, an accelerated troop drawdown in Afghanistan, and more...
When Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, Bill Clinton responded with a long list of small-bore initiatives: gun safety locks, school uniforms, the v-chip, cellphones for citizen patrols, and so forth. Clinton wanted to show that he was still relevant and that he could still accomplish something even with a divided government. Obama, by contrast, has little appetite for legislative hors d’oeuvres. His program is designed to show not what he can do with a Republican Congress but what he can’t do with one.
There's an irony, of course, in the echoes of Bill Clinton that turn up in Obama's strategy today. In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, Obama not only ran against Hillary Rodham Clinton; he dismissed her husband's tenure in the White House as unimpressive.Overall, it seems to me that some people just can't let go of their "great white hope" and recognize that the black guy has his own way of doing things...and its working!