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Opening Arguments

100 days

In assessing President Obama's first 100 days, I think this writer strains mightily to make a distinction that doesn't really exist:

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that the new president is broadly popular and seems to have produced an upswing in national confidence -- but also reveals that a growing number of Americans describe him as "very liberal," which surely isn't what the White House wants.

In fact, Mr. Obama doesn't quite fit the traditional definition of a liberal, but rather represents something different. He is indeed a believer in the power of government. But he differs from liberals of yore who saw government programs as the goal for most problems; he seems to see government as the way to prompt the changes he wants in the economy or society so a government program, in the end, isn't necessary.

How is wanting to use government to bring about the ideal society different from the goals of the  "traditional" liberal? Most liberals I know don't want to create government programs just to create government programs; they all have a vision of what big government can bring about. And the idea that a government program can create such magic, then disappear because it's no longer needed, is a longheld liberal delusion.


Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:21am

And it's been a long-held libertarian delusion that dismantling government will somehow transform this country into one giant Serling-esque Willoughby.

Leo Morris
Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:37am

I think Willoughby was a liberal delusion if you just consider the ending of that episode. The character's search for a simpler life and his attempts to leave the rat race ended with him jumping off the train. "Heaven on earth" exists only in our selective memories of the past -- you wouldn't find many libertarians disagreeing with that.

Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:56am

Libertarians existing "only in our selective memories of the past." My point exactly.

Bob G.
Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:45am

ONLY 100 days???

(Seems a lot longer.)

Must be "just me".

tim zank
Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:07pm

Bobby...what makes it seem much longer than 100 days is that the ONE has seemingly had a press conference, town hall, or speech of some kind on 99 of those 100 days. His campaign never stopped.

We've seen more of this guys mug every frickin day than Cubans ever saw of Castro, N Koreans of Kim, and Iraqis of Saddam. The only other leader I can think of recently that still has his face in front of more constituents is probably Chavez. 'Course, Barry may just be taking Hugo's advice.

Michael B-P
Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:07pm

I'm coming up short on when was the last time was that either a so-called conservative or liberal administration did anything other than increase the size and intrusiveness of government. In that sense, perhaps we are all delusional at election time.