“Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste,” chief-of-staff-designate Rahm Emanuel told the New York Times the Sunday after Barack Obama’s election. “They are opportunities to do big things.”
Emanuel deserves points for candor. But perhaps not for perspicacity. His assumption was that the economic crisis was and would remain Bush’s crisis and that the opportunities were and would remain Obama’s opportunities. But what if the crisis becomes Obama’s crisis? Then the opportunities can be Republican opportunities.
by William Kristol
The first two months of the Age of Obama haven’t turned out quite the way Emanuel and Obama’s legions hoped and expected. The early momentum is flagging. The effort to rush through big-government liberal policies, as somehow part of a response to a financial crisis he’s not actually addressing effectively, may backfire. Several of his nominations and appointments have had to be withdrawn, and others should have been.
Meanwhile, the GOP recovery program is going pretty well. Republicans have progressed from shell-shocked timidity through small-bore sniping and onto robust (and responsible) opposition. The GOP has shown itself able to stand up and counter Obama’s arguments. The Bush hangover seems to be proving less burdensome than expected, and some of the GOP’s members of Congress are turning out to be more presentable than suspected. Organizing in opposition to Obama’s onerous cap-and-trade energy proposal, his attempted government takeover of health care, his attempt to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections, and his tax increases is proceeding apace, and holds out reasonable prospects for success.