Tuesday, June 12, 2012

George Packer on Obama and 2012

George Packer (The New Yorker):
To a surprising extent, this is still the country that Obama inherited in 2009, the one that George W. Bush led for two terms, even the one that Bill Clinton presided over. Why didn’t Obama’s first term bring transformation that he promised? That will be one for the historians, but the lines of explanation are already clear: The recession was longer and worse than the Administration expected, and for many Americans it’s still going on; the Republicans decided from the start that they would lay all problems at Obama’s door and do as little as possible to help him solve them, a daring as well as immoral strategy that paid off handsomely; the White House seemed completely unprepared for this approach, letting the President’s opponents to define him by August of his first year; Congress, especially the Senate, has sunk into a state of paralysis in which the only thing that moves quickly is money. No single President, however gifted, could bridge the political divide, because it is real and deep and semi-permanent, and to believe otherwise was profoundly ahistorical. MORE...

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