From last night’s “All-Stars.”
On President Obama’s first 100 days:
I think it hasn’t been the most important 100 days. I think it has been the most revealing 100 days in our lifetime. After all, this man when he was elected was one of the great mysteries of American politics. He was the most unknown, untested, untried, and really un-figured-out man ever to ascend to the office.
And in the first 100 days, he has told us who he is. And before his inauguration there was a big debate. Is he a centrist who talks a good centrist game, or is he a leftist who talks a good centrist game? Now we know.
He is a man who has expressed in the joint address to congress, in the budget, and again in the speech he gave to Georgetown a few weeks ago, a radical domestic agenda which involves, as he puts it every time, a holy trinity of healthcare reform, by which he means nationalizing healthcare, and he wants to federalize education with essentially a federal guarantee of college education, and to seize control of the energy economy with a carbon tax.
And this is all in the service of leveling the differences between rich and poor and leveling the differences between classes.
That’s as radical an agenda since FDR, and I think even more so, since FDR entered office willing to experiment. Obama knows where he wants to go to establish more social democratic America, and he has told us exactly what it is in the first 100 days.
On Arlen Specter’s switch:
The reason Specter is switching is because he was going to lose as a Republican. The idea that he switched for ideological or philosophical reasons is a joke.
As Jonathan Chait of the liberal “New Republic” said, the man is an unprincipled hack. He was 40 years ago when he became a Republican in order to win an election. Now he is becoming a Democrat in order to win an election again, he hopes.
In fact, as Fred says, the apogee of the move to the right of the party was under Reagan 30 years ago. And ever since—and Specter was quite happy under Reagan—in the last 20 years, it has moved to the center.
And for Specter to pretend otherwise is his usual, unprincipled hackery.