But so far, no one has had to choose between the different interpretations of Obama's election. The stimulus package didn't create a massive new domestic program, after all. More money was spent on old ones — and that fix is difficult to oppose during a severe economic downturn, unless, of course, you're a Republican. Obama's budget proposals also promise great change, but at this point they're only plans and not worth much more than the proverbial paper they're written on.
But if Obama continues to insist he has a mandate to implement a sweeping social agenda, he'll soon have to confront two political realities. First, organizing opposition to something is a lot easier than organizing support for it, even if you're Obama. And second, he still has to convince members of his own party — most of whom face re-election two years before he does — that the country really wants massive change.
So far, the answer he's getting in response to his proposals to curb carbon emissions or limit tax deductions for the rich has been decidedly lukewarm. Not a good sign.
What's past is prologue, wrote William Shakespeare. The first 100 days were just that — and not much more.
To read the "Stark Ravings" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/blogs/starkravings. Steven Stark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Tea' is for terrorism, Relentlessly ringing freedom, Hallelujah!, More
- 'Tea' is for terrorism
A year ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) produced a memo outlining the growing threat posed to this country from right-wing extremists. It compared the situation to that of the early 1990s — which culminated in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168.
- Relentlessly ringing freedom
Amid relentless bell-ringing (“Let freedom ring!” chanted the enthusiasts as they deprived passersby of their hearing and sanity), the Tea Party came to Portland last week to greet President Barack Obama.
The Democrats won and the Republicans lost. That, in a nutshell, is the bottom line.
- An Obama confidant on the surge in Afghanistan
Twenty-four hours before President Barack Obama announced a 30,000-troop escalation of the Afghan War, one of his key foreign policy advisors provided a view of the president’s thinking at Brown University.
- Trying times for Obama
It was only a matter of time before President Barack Obama turned into a deficit hawk. But it is a measure of the desperation sparked by Scott Brown's election to Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat that Obama hatched before the conclusion of the 2010 congressional elections and unveiled a spending freeze.
- Inauguration Day Round-up
Most people round these parts will be celebrating President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20. But, even those rare local GOPs who are mourning the loss of a Republican administration will be looking for a good time.
- Friends in high places
Speakers rarely get as warm a welcome as President Barack Obama's senior advisor Valerie Jarrett received last Thursday at Harvard Kennedy School.
- How Brown won
As the Massachusetts US Senate election unfolded yesterday, all that the pols and pundits wanted to talk about was how Martha Coakley managed to lose the race. And there is plenty there to dissect. But there is another part of the story, and that is how Scott Brown managed to win it.
- Tea-bagger Brown triumphs
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley may be a good person and a dedicated public servant, but thanks to her gut-wrenching loss to tea-bagging Republican Scott Brown in the race for the US Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, Coakley is now — quite rightly — a figure of local scorn and national derision.
- Uh, race still matters, folks
In a few short days Barack Obama will go from being our first black president-elect to our first black president. Yes siree, the black guy is finally going to be in charge. We finally did it. Welcome to post-racial America!
- Rise of the political bogeyman
The Republicans appear headed to a second straight national pummeling, which will leave it marginalized in the federal government and an increasing number of state houses. Many party faithful are already noting the need for the GOP to move back toward the moderate center to survive. But the conservatives with microphones are heading down a very different path — and their followers, who now dominate the Republican Party, are going right with them.
: Stark Ravings
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