This blog post is a critique of a piece from a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who currently writes for The New Republic. Matthew Yglesias and I both objected to William Galston’s calculations, albeit for entirely different reasons.
What’s the riskier political move for Obama: pushing for an ambitious health care overhaul, even if this entails a drawn out process that shifts his attention from other pressing issues (i.e., the economy, climate change)? Or trying to get a bill—any bill—passed quickly?
Former Clinton advisor William Galston has suggested the president’s best bet is the latter. In a blog item on Friday, he encouraged Obama to take “what he can get on health care” so he can “focus more on the economy over the next three years, and persuade average Americans that the economy is as central to his concerns as is it to theirs.” There may be political consequences if he doesn’t, Galston warned:
A jobless recovery helped undermine George H. W. Bush’s reelection prospects in 1992. Its continuation weakened support for Bill Clinton’s economic program and contributed to the Democratic Party’s rout in 1994.
Galston surely hopes to see Obama avoid the same fate as his former boss, but the problem with his advice is that the political terrain is markedly different today than it was 15 years ago…
Click here to read the rest of the MoJo blog post or make a comment.
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