The Obama administration keeps having to learn that bland centrism is not pragmatic, that it's not helpful in resolving a big crisis and that it certainly doesn't buy you any love.Howie P.S.: "Rahm’s fingerprints all over package, tactics" gives us a peek backstage. "Did Reid roll Pelosi?" suggests "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid played a little high-stakes chicken with each other at the tail end of Wednesday’s shotgun stimulus talks." This NY Times story,"Stimulus Victory for Obama, but in a New Political Climate" asks if the bill is just the beginning of an "ambitious domestic agenda" or another example of "reduced expectations?" Thomas Edsall says the big stimulus winners are "the upper-middle class people who make 80,000 to $250,000 (and) are influential and vocal in pressing their complaints to Congress." Barack Obama
Oddly this week, both the good news for the president -- in yesterday's agreement on a stimulus package -- and the bad news teach the same lesson.
There is nothing wrong with a sensible centrism that tries to balance competing goods. But Washington has become too concerned with appearances and with calculating the distance from some arbitrary midpoint in any given debate. The sensible center should be defined by what works, even if that means discovering that the true middle ground isn't where we thought it was.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
"Lost in the Middle"
E. J. Dionne: