Greetings infidels, a fantastic read today by Steven Hayward in the WSJ on the comparisons between Obama and Reagan on the differences of how they got their respective economic plans through Congress in their first 200 days.
This quote is quite telling:
One of the main themes that emerges from the IAP [Initial Actions Project] report is that Reagan and his team didn’t assume that a landslide victory meant they had a mandate to do whatever they wanted. To the contrary, the report’s authors, Richard Wirthlin and David Gergen, wrote: “The election was not a bestowal of political power, but a stewardship opportunity for us to reconsider and restructure the political agenda for the next two decades. The public has sanctioned the search for a new public philosophy to govern America.”
Establishing a new governing philosophy, in other words, would require sustained public argument — something for which Reagan had an abiding instinct. Even in private sessions with Democrats, Reagan relished vigorous arguments about the welfare state. This was much to the annoyance of then House Speaker Tip O’Neill, who just wanted to cut deals.
Reagan never attempted to stifle debate by saying “I won.” The IAP [Initial Actions Project] noted that President Jimmy Carter “failed to realize that leadership means more than ‘laying it all out;’ it also means keeping at it.” Like Mr. Carter, Mr. Obama seems peeved that Washington won’t roll over for him.
The IAP report understood that the American people “are yet to be convinced that Mr. Reagan’s policies will work.” Relying on his skills as “the great communicator,” the IAP recommended that the president focus on “the outlining of broad strategic policy outlines, and not on narrow programs” and that his explanations be “simple, straightforward and understandable.”
Translation for Mr. Obama: Don’t go on TV to talk about the stimulative effects of “weatherization.” Even Jon Stewart thought that was lame.