Saturday, December 06, 2008


I've been getting into battles with fellow lefties (see the comments to the previous post) about the progressivism, or lack thereof, of Barack Obama -- and I have to tell you that this is a hell of a lot more important to me than whether Joe Lieberman gets spanked:

Obama Pledges Massive Public Works Program

President-elect Barack Obama committed Saturday to the largest public works building program since the creation of the interstate highway system a half century ago....

Mr. Obama and his team are working with Congressional leaders to fashion a spending package that could invest hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy. A big part of that would be infrastructure projects such as building or repairing roads, bridges, schools, sewer systems and other public utilities....

The president-elect in his Saturday address offered some general ideas of what he wants to see in the package. Besides public works construction, he promised to make government buildings more energy efficient, modernize school classrooms and libraries with computers, expand access to broadband Internet service and upgrade information technology in hospitals and doctors' offices....

Obama name-checked Eisenhower, but somewhere in the afterlife, FDR is smiling. This is a slap in the face to thirty years of Reaganites -- a rejection of the notion that all good things come from the profit motive and the private sector. And it's pitched as a response to the economic crisis, but we know some of it was on Obama's mind all along. (And this country, old and worn down in a lot of places, needs it and will benefit from it.)

This is Keynes rather than Hobbes. This is a sea change. This is progressive. I'm pleased, and I don't apologize for that.

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