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Obama- Too much too fast

January 20, 2010
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One of the interesting things about Americans is their dislike for big government– it is almost universal. Coming from Canada, it was hard for me to understand– the government is usually seen as a benign (if sometimes incompetent and wasteful) force. Less intrusion is always better; people should be free to do as they please. They make exceptions to this rule occasionally, but only when the situation is desperate. Witness the situation with health care reform.

In this column, David Brooks points out that Obama’s efforts to overhaul government have resulted in a backlash– not because he is not good at what he does– but because he has done too much.

I can appreciate this point and I think he is spot on. The pace of change has simply been too much for most people. People prefer incremental change– it is easier to adjust to. Of course, incremental changes led to the fiasco that is America’s current health care system. Incremental changes can also lead to the drip-drip erosion of civil and political liberties that form the cornerstone of the American identity.

In times of crisis, Americans rally around their government, but most of the time they have treated it as a supporting actor in national life. Americans are an unusual people, with less deference to central authority and an unparalleled faith in themselves. They seem to want a government that is helpful but not imperious, strong but subordinate.

Over the years, American voters have reacted against any party that threatens that basic sense of proportion. They have reacted against a liberalism that sought an enlarged and corrosive government and a conservatism that threatened to dismantle the government’s supportive role…

But his has become a voracious pragmatism. Driven by circumstances and self-confidence, the president has made himself the star performer in the national drama. He has been ubiquitous, appearing everywhere, trying to overhaul most sectors of national life: finance, health, energy, automobiles and transportation, housing, and education, among others…

Americans, with their deep, vestigial sense of proportion, have reacted….

Now, the question is, how will Democrats react to the recent weariness that voters feel towards Obama. Will they pin the defeat of Martha Coakley on a bad economy? Or will they step outside their bubble long enough to realize that there is more going on?

Many Democrats, as always, are caught in their insular liberal information loop. They think the polls are bad simply because the economy is bad. They tell each other health care is unpopular because the people aren’t sophisticated enough to understand it… Full story.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2010 2:26 pm

    Well stated. It will be interesting to see how the administration reacts in the coming weeks.

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  1. Tea and Patriots « Christine Scott Cheng

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