Obama, Non-Lefty


A very sane piece from Andrew Leonard. He sees the central conservative wisdom behind the Geithner plan: if it doesn't work in getting credit moving, we will indeed have little choice but receivership and all the headaches and unintended consequences of that endeavor. To get the economy moving again without that exigency is surely worth a shot - and a sign that Obama is a pragmatic liberal before he is an ideological one. You saw that in his caution on healthcare in the campaign, never quite biting off the full Clinton option. But since he took office, you have also seen, even in the haphazard attempt to figure out the economic crisis, a methodical coolness that is the essence of pragmatism:

Geithner's plan may well not work, and it may be too beholden to Wall Street, but its rollout has not been an exercise in helter-skelter chaos. In dealing with the economic crisis as a whole, the Obama administration has put into play a steady flow of initiatives that should, in theory, all work together. In addition to the stimulus, the housing plan and credit relief for small businesses, there's also been a budget proposal addressing long-term issues that even Paul Krugman found impossible not to praise. The Fed has been doing its part by engaging in its own extraordinarily broad-scale stimulative monetary policy...

All along, it has been universally agreed that the most glaring weakness of the Obama portfolio has been the lack of detail on how Geithner intended to tackle the banking system. But there is a difference between a lack of detail and utterly contradictory confusion. If we can hold our breath long enough to calmly assess the last two months, one can see that amid all the noise, the Obama administration has been moving carefully forward in one direction.

We'll see, won't we? I stick by my basic assessment of Obama's progress here.

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty.)