Meanwhile, the Kevin Drums of the world want us to know that Obama’s done everything he can.
It’s all too easy…to convince yourself that he could have waved a magic wand and gotten a bigger stimulus and a better healthcare bill and stronger financial regulation and a historic climate bill. But honestly, you have to buy into some pretty implausible political realities to believe that (Olympia Snowe would have voted for a trillion-dollar stimulus, there were Republican votes for a climate bill if only it had been a bigger priority, healthcare reform could have been passed via reconciliation, Harry Reid could have unilaterally ended the filibuster, etc.). The votes just weren’t there and the president’s leverage over centrist Dems and recalcitrant Republicans just wasn’t very strong. Maybe he could have done better, but the evidence says that, at best, he could have done only a smidge better.
Sorry, Kevin. No “recalcitrant Republicans” or “centrist Dems” forced Obama to double-down in Afghanistan or expand the War on Terror(TM) in Pakistan. No one’s forcing him to keep 50,000 troops in Iraq. Olympia Snowe isn’t the one expanding the worst of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties abuses.
Those aren’t “smidges.”