The View From 1776
Friday, July 17, 2009
We now see the problem in electing a president who had never before had any executive experience greater than working as a community organizer.
The President seems to believe that reading stirring speeches from his teleprompter is the sum of his responsibilities. He concentrates upon grand visions of harmonizing all of mankind while leaving the real work to others.
Read the concerns of liberal-progressive Ted Van Dyk, who was Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s assistant in the Johnson White House and active in national Democratic politics over 40 years, as well as a supporter of Senator Obama during his campaign.
Your staff recently has compared your strategy in pushing health-care and energy initiatives to the way Johnson pushed his Great Society legislation. That’s not a fair comparison. Johnson’s initiatives were framed in the White House by his administration. But at every stage, congressional leaders of both political parties and financial, business, labor and other private-sector leaders were consulted. Johnson wanted to assure that his legislation was substantively sound and could get consensus support in the Congress and the country.
Your strategy, by contrast, has been to advocate forcefully for health-care and energy reform but to leave the details to Democratic congressional committee chairs. You did the same thing with your initial $787 billion stimulus package. Now, you’re stuck with a plan that provides little stimulus until 2010. A president should never cede control of his main agenda to others.