Monday, January 21, 2013

Obama's 'Big Deal'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 6:28 AM

FROM A DISTANCE: The Arkansas King bus contingent can at least see the Capitol from their inaugural vantage point on the mall.
  • Brian Chilson
  • FROM A DISTANCE: The Arkansas King bus contingent can at least see the Capitol from their inaugural vantage point on the mall.

ON THE BUS: Inaugural day Twitters include this photo of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, himself a former presidential candidate on a bus en route to the inauguration ceremony.
  • ON THE BUS: Inaugural day Twitters include this photo of retired Gen. Wesley Clark, himself a former presidential candidate, on a bus en route to the inauguration ceremony.
Paul Krugman looks back at President Obama's first term and sees a glass more than half full. It was a "Big Deal," he concludes, including:

* A historic piece of health care legislation, far from ideal, but destined to be popular when implemented.

* At least movement on income inequality, thanks mostly to the lift the poorest will get from health security.

* Some financial reform, which — if not enough — has teeth enough to discomfit Wall Street.

In conclusion, he's more optimistic than I, what with the usual forces waving bloody shirts of gun, God, gays and abortion ceaselessly:

Finally, progressives have the demographic and cultural wind at their backs. Right-wingers flourished for decades by exploiting racial and social divisions — but that strategy has now turned against them as we become an increasingly diverse, socially liberal nation.

Now, none of what I’ve just said should be taken as grounds for progressive complacency. The plutocrats may have lost a round, but their wealth and the influence it gives them in a money-driven political system remain. Meanwhile, the deficit scolds (largely financed by those same plutocrats) are still trying to bully Mr. Obama into slashing social programs.

So the story is far from over. Still, maybe progressives — an ever-worried group — might want to take a brief break from anxiety and savor their real, if limited, victories.

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