Obama *Does* Take on Entrenched Interests

I missed a noteworthy item in Saturday’s New York Times because I was down in New York for this year’s Left Forum (which was terrific, by the way; I hope to be blogging about it here and there in the next couple of days, time permitting). Julia Willebrand, who was tabling next to us for the Union of Radical Political Economics, pointed us to an article about how Obama has failed to take on entrenched interests as he promised to do in the campaign, and to one ridiculous paragraph in it:

Despite Major Plans, Obama Taking Softer Stands

President Obama is well known for bold proposals that have raised expectations, but his administration has shown a tendency for compromise and caution, and even a willingness to capitulate on some early initiatives.

It was inevitable that Mr. Obama’s lofty pledge to change the ways of Washington would crash into the realities of governing, including lawmakers anxious to protect their constituents and an army of special-interest lobbyists.

Mr. Obama has not conceded on any major priority. His advisers argue that the concessions to date–on budget items, for instance–are intended to help win the bigger policy fights ahead. But his early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: where’s the fight?

And here’s how his aides respond:

Mr. Obama’s top aides dismiss suggestions that he has shied from confrontation, saying they ignore his achievements, the need to move quickly to address economic woes and the fights he has picked against some big interest groups in Washington, including components of the Democratic base, like organized labor.

See, he has taken on entrenched interests—like organized labor. This response is supposed to satisfy “left commentators and loyal Democrats”? Hmmm…

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