Archive for September, 2011

Obama’s New Semester

September 8, 2011

The political year is sort of like the school year, only longer and more depressing. Both begin–after a summer recess–in September. Barack Obama will begin his new semester tonight, with his jobs speech. This is a curious moment for the President and last Sunday, the New York Times took a look at the two sides of the Obama coin, style and substance, with pieces by the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait and Maureen Dowd.

Both are right and wrong about the President. Chait is a humorless policy sort, with zero appreciation for the practice of politics. Dowd, as we know, is a devastating stylist whose interest in policy is, shall we say, something less than intermittent.  Chait defends the President against his left-liberal critics, which is shooting ducks in a toilet bowl. Dowd attacks the President for being a lump. Her last line is a brilliant stiletto:

Maybe Obama was not even the person he was waiting for.

My natural bias is similar to Chait’s, but with an appreciation for fine political maneuvering even when it represents lousy policy. But it’s interesting that Chait spends most of his energy–or the dyspepsia that often passes for energy at TNR–making hash of the left, rather than making the argument that Obama has really accomplished a lot. In fact, (more…)