Fear is his friend

Reason
by Jacob Sullum

02/11/09

I flashed back to the fall of 2001 upon reading the subhead over a New York Times story about Monday’s presidential press conference: ‘He Says That Failing to Act Could Lead to Catastrophe.’ To rush a complex, ill-considered piece of legislation through Congress, George W. Bush invoked the specter of another terrorist attack. Barack Obama, bringing the change he promised, invoked the specter of economic collapse. Just as the PATRIOT Act was a grab bag of legal changes that law enforcement and intelligence agencies had been seeking for years, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a grab bag of expenditures that leftish Democrats have long wanted, repackaged for the crisis du jour. In both cases, instilling fear was the key to suspending skepticism and cutting off debate...

//www.reason.com/news/show/131612.html



Back to the future

The Weekly Standard

02/12/09

Campaigns are generous forums. They allow politicians to make claims difficult to refute. Only the most coldhearted could oppose more hope, change and bipartisanship. Great. Where do I sign up? President Obama thrived in that environment during the 2008 election. His electoral promises thrilled, energized and inspired millions of Americans, and opened the doors to the White House. But governing is less charitable. In fact, it’s brutal and messy. It requires trade-offs, hard decisions, picking winners and losers. This is the predictable lesson of President Obama’s first few weeks in office. Facing his first governing challenge — passing a large spending stimulus bill — the new president hit some turbulence after takeoff. The bill won no Republican support in the House, and the Senate balked at the House version and changed it. Now the two chambers have hammered out a delicate compromise — mostly among members of the president’s party — and will pass it later this week. With the prospects for broad bipartisan agreement a thing of the past, President Obama fell back into campaign mode to meet these new realities...

//tinyurl.com/bf257c


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=stimulus
//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=bipartisan
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