The Campaign Spot

‘Barack did the stimulus, and he thought he checked the box and moved on.’

Do not forget this anecdote from New York magazine, November 29, 2009:

But the most damaging consequence of all may have been inside the White House, where bullishness about how rapidly the stimulus would kick in led to foolish projections that unemployment would peak at 8 percent—and where the bill’s passage bred a certain cockiness and complacency about the need to drive a sustained economic message in the months thereafter. “I recently talked to a very senior friend of mine in the White House, and I said, ‘How did we not spend a year talking about the economy?’ ” a Democratic think-tank maven recalls. “And he said, ‘Look, I think Barack did the stimulus and he thought he checked the box and he moved on.’ I said, ‘That’s not governing, dude. That’s some other thing.’ ”

“Barack did the stimulus, and he thought he checked the box and moved on.” Of course, unemployment remained high, and the economy continued to struggle through this year. Obama moved on, of course, to Obamacare, phenomenally unpopular legislation that may very well be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

It would be bad enough for a president to presume that economic recovery was “done” and to move on to another agenda item. But to do so for legislation struck down about two years later…


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