Pundits are declaring Barack Obama’s speech to Congress was “Reaganesque” in style and tone.Barack Obama
And it’s true: He is a “Great Communicator.”
But Obama is channeling Ronald Reagan in a more profound sense. Like Reagan, his promises are grand – and his budget is wishful thinking. Like Reagan, he’s betting that arithmetic matters less than inspiration.
At a similar spot in a different time – a deep recession in the twilight of the Cold War, 1981 – Reagan promised to double defense spending, cut taxes sharply and balance the budget. The plan was an impossible pipe dream. And yet Reagan’s optimism helped lift the country out of its funk and restart the economy.
But there was a cost.
Can that process continue indefinitely? I don’t think so.
And I bet that Barack Obama doesn’t really think so either.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Fineman: "Reagan redux: Like the Gipper, Obama offers hope — and wishful thinking"
MSNBC, with video: