I don't have much (useful) to add to this excellent Henry Farrel post on Clive Crook's hippy punching. Crook argues that Obama would be more popular if he had broken with the left. He wrote
He should have chosen centrism unreservedly – as many voters believed he had promised during his election campaign. Then he could have championed, as opposed to meekly accepting, centrist bills that maintained the role of private insurance in healthcare and a stimulus that included big tax cuts.
To compare the non-debate about including large tax cuts in the stimulus, with the public option debate is totally incorrect. Obama supported the public option and lost. Obama proposed tax cuts and won. IIRC, the tax cuts were almost exactly 80% of what Obama proposed (reduced from 500 per individual per year and 1000 per couple to 400 and 800). Far from meekly accepting the tax cuts, Obama proposed larger tax cuts and meekly accepted the reduction in the size of the tax cuts.
This is not some dark secret. The proposal of larger tax cuts was an offical public act.
Now Crook might think that Obama would be more popular if he had opposed the highly popular public option. I can't imagine any actual reasoning behind such a view, but, at least, he doesn't make a plainly false assertion on a simple matter of fact which is in the public record.
Crook also wrote on "Had he owned and campaigned for those centrist outcomes ..."
Crook is ranting. He thinks that Obama could have "owned" the tax cuts. In a poll 12 % of US adults correctly answered that under the Obama administration taxes have been cut for most US taxpayers. 12% ! Convincing people whose taxes were cut that there taxes were cut is a step prior to "owning" those cuts. Obama has been working on this for months. I note 1710 hits for "tax cuts" at www.whitehouse.gov. It should go without saying that you can't always own what you want.
Clive Crook is clearly blinded by ideology. He is not reality based.