Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ezra Klein on Obama's Anniversary

Klein's analysis of Obama's first year in office is right on the money.

That there is a wide gulf between Obama the Candidate and Obama the President is middle-aged news. Of course, the constraints of campaigning are far different that the constraints of governing. For one, there's the Constitution. For another, particularly with regard to security issues, the stakes are higher and information is better. But with regard to financial regulation, climate change, and health care, Obama's adoption of an "insider" governing style is puzzling, given that the strengths/lessons of the campaign, the reasons Obama beat Clinton and then McCain, were 1) control of the narrative, and 2) running an end-around the traditional communications apparatus/establishment to make direct contact with voters. My guess is that the administration has judged that the electorate would be exhausted by that approach, but in rejecting it has committed the cardinal sin of not dancing with the one that brung it. Governing is different from campaigning, but it's still politics, right?

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