Thursday, September 02, 2010

It's the liberal overreach

The narrative sets in, get used to it.

The first real salvo in the "it's the progressives fault" for the looming Dem disaster in November. In the section subtitled "The Overreach" (you didn't see that coming, right?) he says:

After a meeting in December 2008 about the severity of the economic crisis, Axelrod pulled Obama aside. He recalls saying, "Enjoy these great poll numbers you have, because two years from now, they are not going to look anything like this." But even as Obama aides were aware of a growing disconnect, it didn't seem to worry their boss. Instead, the ambitious legislative goals usually trumped other priorities. Both in the original stimulus package and then in the health care and energy measures, the White House ceded most of its clout to the liberal lions who controlled the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. That maneuver helped assure passage of reforms, but it also confirmed some of the worst fears about how Washington works. "I'd rather be a one-term President and do big things than a two-term President and just do small things," he told his team after Republican Scott Brown was elected Senator in liberal Massachusetts and some in the Administration suggested pulling back on health reform.

Those "liberal lions" like Max Baucus who wrote most of the health insurance reform? Or Lindsey Graham who was a lead in the energy reform drafting, until he got into too much trouble with his base and left in a hissy fit? And as far as the stimulus goes, well, Krugman takes that one:

The way the right wants to tell the story — and, I’m afraid, the way it will play in November — is that the Obama team went all out for Keynesian policies, and they failed. So back to supply-side economics!

The point, of course, is that that is not at all what happened. Keynesian analysis implied the need for a much bigger program, more oriented toward spending, than the administration proposed. People said that at the time — we’re not talking about hindsight.

It's obviously not just the way the right wants to tell the story--it's how the Village wants to tell the story. The evil liberals got their way and forced Obama to overreach on all these policies--never mind that there is no public option, that the energy bill is a shell of what it should have been to either address energy independence or climate change, and the stimulus was about half a billion less than most liberal economists (and WH advisor Christina Romer) thought was necessary and less than what the more liberal House wanted.

Michael Scherer wouldn't recognize a liberal lion if it bit him on the ass. Say what you will about the stimulus, health care reform, the as-of-yet unpassed energy reform bill, you can't say that they ended up looking like the proposals progressives put forward.