Obama at one year

The theme I chose for this version of the blog lets you upload your own photo for the frame in the heading (it originally had a truly adorable picture of a little girl).  I spent a while trying to decide what picture might represent a half-changed world, and then picked the one that’s there, which I took on Inauguration Day last year. One year later (well, plus 5 days), I do think we’re living in a half-changed world.  Not as much changed as I wanted, as I believed was coming, but changed.  If you had told me four years ago that we’d be at this stage, I’d have been pretty darn pleased.

I think this Administration has messed some things up.  If they hadn’t wasted so much time over the summer trying to be all bipartisan, health care would have been passed by now.  They seem to have just been blindsided by the populist rage over TARP.   I grind my teeth every time the President suggests that small-business tax cuts should be part of the jobs bill and ducks talking about direct job creation.   And while the public doesn’t care that there are still significant unfilled positions in the agencies waiting for political appointments, it’s a bad sign, and makes it hard for the government to do its job.  They’re not as smart as they think they are, and they’re trying to thread some awfully tight needles.

But I don’t have any reason to think that Clinton would have done any better over the past year, and I’m quite confident that McCain would have done a lot worse.  I think under a Republican administration, we’d have wound up with a “recovery” bill that was nothing but tax cuts, and we’d have national unemployment levels that look like Michigan’s.  It’s hard to rally the troops under a banner cry of “it could have been worse!” but it could have been a lot worse.

Update: Schmitt and Perlstein are far more thoughtful than I am.

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