February 17th, 2009
03:08 PM ET

Field General Obama

Robert Shrum
The Week

Not since FDR has a new President achieved such far-reaching change as swiftly as Barack Obama. In office less than a month, he signs a $787 billion emergency stimulus bill into law. And remarkably, almost everything he was criticized for during the battle contributed to his victory.

He was assailed for letting the House Democrats write the bill instead of dispatching his own legislation to the Hill. He supposedly lost control to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then to Senate Leader Harry Reid. The truth is, the original House version was very close to what the President wanted. Was it really conceivable that the gathering Obama Administration wasn’t constantly conferring with congressional allies? It was beyond naïve to think otherwise—or to suggest that Obama was the passive recipient of a proposal he didn’t favor or largely shape.


Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Its going to be interesting to watch and see how Obama handles even more stimulus legislation that is said to be needed in the near future. I'm not sure there is much public appetite for more bailout plans even from Obama.

    February 17, 2009 at 8:48 pm |

    The bill may be what he originally wanted. The bottom line is that it won't stimulate the economy. I don't think I will go out on a spending spree receiving $13 a week. It would have been slightly better if they gave everybody a lump sum rebate. There would be a slight chance that some recipients would use it to make a major purchase.

    February 17, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  3. Karen

    This is so refreshing after the passed 8 years on nothing!

    February 17, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  4. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    After reading some of these comments FDR had his critics as well but history will be the final judge. The MORONIC 'sooth sayers' will just fade into oblivion when the actual results come in 🙂

    February 17, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  5. Barbara in Boston

    No, the Obama efforts at bipartisanship were not for show. They were real and they were in effect at the writing of the bill. The White House told the House democratic leadership that they had to include a sizable amount for tax cuts. The original bill contained a huge chunk for tax cuts, which was a Republican issue. Obama's people had been conferring with Republicans ever since the election.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  6. Mike in NYC

    Who could that be, Claudia? I didn't vote for the Shrub.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  7. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Thanks for admitting that the Obama bipartisan efforts were all for show. If he publically reaches out for Republican ideas while all the while supporting Pelosi's liberal wish list which included no Republican ideas, he's proven to be no more than just another 2-faced Washington politician. I think the 3 Republicans who tried to be bipartisan won't like it too much at having been played. Let's see how any of those votes he gets next time.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx


    February 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  9. Mike in NYC

    Oh, how much saintly wisdom and subtle genius can reside in the cranium of a mere mortal? What have the gods wrought in the person of the most noble BO?

    Newsflash: he's a front for shrewd, motivated, and eminently self-interested interests. Nothing more.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm |