Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Obama's unprecedented power derives from the astonishing events of the last four months that have made indistinct the line between public and private sectors. Neither the public as currently alarmed, nor Congress as currently constituted, nor the Constitution as currently construed is an impediment to hitherto unimagined executive discretion in allocating vast portions of the nation's wealth.The first thing you see on the White House's website: Change Has Come to America. It is telling, I think, that the website was changed even while the parade was in progress. It has a blog. Can we hope President Obama Twitters from his Blackberry? Question: Does this kind of outreach befit a president more like George Washington or Francois Mitterand?
He acquires power just as the retreat of the state has been abruptly reversed. The retreat began 30 years ago this May, when Margaret Thatcher became Britain's prime minister; it accelerated 20 months later when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated; it acquired an exclamation point a year after that, when adverse market forces compelled French President Francois Mitterrand to abandon socialism in a nation receptive to it.