The Cato Institute’s David Boaz has a good piece on NPR about the one-year anniversary of the Obama administration. The introduction is a good summary of Boaz’s assessment of this past year:
Happy anniversary, Mr. President. Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts is a rude ending to a year marked by falling poll ratings and growing opposition to signature policy initiatives.
It is true that the mood of the American people is quite different from what it was on that freezing day a year ago when the president was inaugurated. Boaz rightfully explains that by pursuing so many big government programs, the president has energized small-government supporters who had been demoralized by the previous eight years. I would add that the president has also managed to turn off many of his supporters who didn’t foresee how big he wanted the government to be.
Now, Obama has several models to choose from, Boaz says:
He could reverse his tax-spend-and-regulate policies and hope for the same economic and political results that Reagan achieved. He could, like Bill Clinton, recognize the political obstacles to his sweeping ambitions and learn to work with Republicans on modest reforms. He may well end up like Lyndon Johnson, with an ambitious domestic agenda eventually bogged down by endless war. But I don’t think his wished-for FDR model — a transformative agenda that is both popular and long-lasting — is in the cards.