A reader writes:
I had the same reaction. I happened to walk into the room and hear the words, "...and I've got to own up to my mistake..." and I immediately thought: Grownups in the White House. Hallelujah.
Furthermore I just so appreciate the way our President takes everything in stride. Even this. No bluster. No defensiveness. It is what it is and it has to be done, it has to be said. Instead of telling us about what hard work presiding is, he is just doing it.
Once again, the predominant feeling is relief. Even in the midst of this.
There are two possible reactions to all this. The first is to jump up and down and yell "See! Change my ass!" While I certainly do not discourage such healthy expressions of civic realism, and am as happy as MoDo to see the Obamaites bump down to earth, I'm not sure this is the most revealing thing of the past two weeks.
For me, that is simply a relieved expectation that a) this president understands that change is a process in which other actors and interlocutors need to be heard from; b) his team seems able to take constructive criticism and adjust; and c) this president is not fazed by much.
The issues in the stimulus bill are real ones - the Goldilocks question of how to put together a counter-cyclical measure that will be neither too small nor too big requires some healthy to-and-fro (even if a lot of it is above my professional pay-grade). Leonhardt's column this morning is, as always, clarifying on this.
But I'm not worried yet that no bill will pass. Of course, Obama could get a partisan bill immediately if he wanted to. But he's letting the process take its (still-limited) time and work. Not a "Decider", remember. A presider.
What's that feeling again? Relief. Yes: relief.