Thursday, February 11, 2010

John Judis’ article “The Quiet Revolution: Obama has reinvented the state in more ways than you can imagine.”

John Judis’ article “The Quiet Revolution " is worth a read for progressives unhappy with President Obama.

I don’t understand how progressives who worked so hard to elect Obama are so quick to turn on him for not cleaning up Bush’s mess in a year’s time.

Yes, there are decisions that can be questioned, appointments that can be criticized, but I don’t see how this justifies the 180 degree turn on the part of some in the progressive community.

I too worry about Afghanistan—my biggest reservation about the Obama adminstration. I blame the health care mess largely on spineless Democrats and obstructionist Republicans—a truly dysfunctional Congress.

But there have been some real victories which been overlooked by many progressives. John Judis in his New Republic article makes a compelling case for this:

Yet there is one extremely consequential area where Obama has done just about everything a liberal could ask for--but done it so quietly that almost no one, including most liberals, has noticed. Obama’s three Republican predecessors were all committed to weakening or even destroying the country’s regulatory apparatus: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the other agencies that are supposed to protect workers and consumers by regulating business practices. Now Obama is seeking to rebuild these battered institutions. In doing so, he isn’t simply improving the effectiveness of various government offices or making scattered progress on a few issues; he is resuscitating an entire philosophy of government with roots in the Progressive era of the early twentieth century. Taken as a whole, Obama’s revival of these agencies is arguably the most significant accomplishment of his first year in office.
There’s a lot of non-sexy detail in this article which is probably why it hasn’t lit up the blogosphere. When I’ve mentioned it to my friends, I’ve discovered that none had heard of it. And probably if I weren’t retired with the time to read a lot of policy stuff, I would have skipped it and gone on to read something more entertaining--like an article about Sarah Palin.

But this is a really important article about how government works and should have an audience beyond policy wonks.

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