POLITICS

Joe Klein: Obama Needs To Get Tougher On Domestic Agenda

Barack Obama has been President for six months now, and we are beginning to learn a few things about how he does business. The most surprising of these is that he is a vehement traditionalist, a small-c conservative, despite his opponents' best efforts to paint him as a radical. [...]

The fact is, Obama may be blowing a major opportunity for reform with his domestic-policy diffidence. He came to office faced with an unprecedented economic crisis, and he focused on it successfully during his first 100 days, giving two excellent speeches about the need for a stimulus plan and general economic reform. He has lost that focus as his other initiatives have come online; he has failed to speak with precision or clarity about the bills wandering through Congress. He has failed to make clear what needs to be in those bills -- and what can't be -- if he is going to sign them. He also needs to update the public on his stimulus plan, especially now that his Vice President inadvertently dissed it. And he needs to make a direct assault on the greedheads who created the Ponzi economy and are now trying to gut his plan to make them do business honestly.

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