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Aug 21, 2010 11:00 pm

Will Obama's Progressive Agenda Be Successful?

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Food for Thought


...The recent period surely will not match the impact of the New Deal. Nothing is likely to, notes David Kennedy,a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, because the New Deal created much of the modern American government. “These are not as dramatic as the foundational moments,” Mr. Kennedy said, “but they’re significant changes.”

Alan Brinkley, a historian of the Depression, added: “This is not the New Deal, but it’s a significant series of achievements. And given the difficulty of getting anything done under the gridlock of Congress, it’s pretty surprising.”

The last 16 months seem most similar in scope to three other periods in the last 80 years. After World War II, the federal government helped build the modern middle class with the G.I. Bill, housing subsidies, the highway system and incentives for employers to offer health insurance. The 1960s — mostly under Mr. Johnson, but also Richard Nixon — brought civil rights legislation, Medicare, Medicaid and environmental laws. Then Mr. Reagan ushered in a period that continued, more or less, until 2008: tax cuts, less regulation and other attempts to unleash the competitive forces of the market....

Will this new progressive project succeed? There are any number of uncertainties: whether enough charter schools will succeed, whether the new health insurance markets will function well, whether the Fed will learn to become an effective regulator of Wall Street.

Some of those questions won’t be resolved for years. But one issue should become clear much sooner. Mr. Reagan, Mr. Johnson and Franklin D. Roosevelt cemented their changes by retaining enough allies in Congress and serving more than four years in the White House. Mr. Obama has yet to do so.

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More Comments:

Jorge Banner - 5/25/2010

“Categories are amorphous” and pigs fly.

Of course hussein oblabla will succeed. His failed marxist administration will leave America much more socialist than how they found it.

The GOP doesn’t have it in them to turn things back because they have swallowed progressivism, hook, line and sinker.

In the end the bower marxist will go down into history as having been a glorious communist success.

Rea Andrew Redd - 5/25/2010

Categories are amorphous, especially when handled by the print and electronic media's news/opinion entertainment shows. I am unsure if the Obama/Pelosi/Reid agenda is Progressive at all. After 18 months the agenda appears self-serving and parochial. Is the agenda is one of questionable changes in the hope of a permanent legislative majority. It appears so and not Progressive at all.

david todd - 5/24/2010

it will be a failure

Dr. Minor - 5/24/2010

We're doomed if he succeeds. We're doomed if he fails. All we can hope for is some type of semi-painful status quo.

William McWilliams - 5/24/2010

If you call coddling the greediest, sleaziest people and corporations in the country a progressive, then yes, his agenda is VERY successful.

D. McKinney - 5/23/2010