Andrew Sullivan contrasts political strategy and political tactics.
Should Obama become a partisan attack-dog in response? Check out the Gallup poll here. If Krugman, Yglesias and Brown are right, these polls are very wrong. Obama is winning the stimulus fight - because he seems more connected to the actual crisis people are confronting than his rivals in both parties, and more reasonable in finding a way forward.
One feels exactly as one did in the primaries as his occasional drifts against Clinton led to a chorus of attacks from the base that he was being too much of a wimp, too defensive, too polite. My gut is to advise him to let rip. But Obama's brain is often shrewder than many guts. From a long-term strategic perspective, even the critics are already entrenching the central meme that Obama has tried to bring as many people on board as possible.
Yglesias notes that in addition to political strategy and political tactics there is policy, that policies have consequences and those consequences matter even to the hypothetical person who only care about winning elections.
the argument that the administration has erred by not being more hardcore about the stimulus isn’t an argument about short-term politics. It’s an argument about the irrelevance of short-term politics. The administration will be judged in 2012 on the basis of its results. Unpopular 2009 actions that produce a strong recovery will be rewarded. Popular 2009 actions that prove insufficient to drive a strong recovery will be punished. “But the voters liked this approach 40 months ago” isn’t going to convince anyone.
Ouch, that's got to leave a mark.
Yglesias' case against Sullivan is strengthened by a brief glance back at Sullivan's argument "One feels exactly as one did in the primaries as his occasional drifts against Clinton led to a chorus of attacks from the base that he was being too much of a wimp, too defensive, too polite. My gut is to advise him to let rip. But Obama's brain is often shrewder than many guts."
Odd analogy no ? To Sullivan a proposed draft bill appropriating hundreds of billions is like being polite during a campaign. Evidently he hasn't noticed that it's not just talk now, that after the TV cameras are turned off, actual money is actually going to be spent, while during the campaign, policy proposals were just words. They were promises which might be kept or broken, but which wouldn't have any effect on policy unless something else was added (you know like legislature and executive orders and stuff) *after* the next election.