Re: Tax Reform He Cried

Jonah, you’ve got me all wrong earlier today. I wouldn’t cackle over Obama beginning to do the kind of things he needs to do to get re-elected; I save my cackles for harmless human foibles (like cat hypocrisy). A couple of things:

1) I enjoyed your column today and think it’s exactly right. Obama henceforth will have to govern in prose, and has admitted as much.

2) On the NPR quote, I don’t think triangulating or whatever you want to call it will mean Obama ceasing to be a liberal. After the election, the question was whether he would be a Pelosi liberal–unrepentant and immovable–or whether he’d try to appeal again to the center. He’s clearly doing the latter.

3) I have one other disagreement with you about Obama. You’ve written compellingly about what a poor salesman he is. I agree that his persuasive talents have been vastly over-rated, especially by himself. But we have to discount for the material he had to sell. On the health-care bill, I believe you could have had Ronald Reagan doing the oratory, Bill Clinton doing the schmoozing, and Alexander Hamilton doing the position papers, and it still wouldn’t have gotten any altitude. It was just a rotten piece of legislation, advanced at exactly the wrong time. When Obama has better legislation to work with, and is not pushing against the grain of the country (e.g., with this tax deal, whatever its flaws), he’s likely to have better luck as a salesman.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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