Earlier this morning, I tweeted, “If the arguments in the coming years are between spending freezes and spending cuts, then we’ve already won.”
I’m getting a lot of pushback on it, with quite a few folks pointing to all the exceptions in Obama’s spending freeze.
My argument is not “hooray Obama” and in fact it doesn’t have much to do with Obama’s specific proposal. My argument is that we’ve gotten a man who campaigned on expanding government to concede that his vision is not affordable. This is an enormous opportunity for those who want to see a smaller, more focused government. …
Mary Katharine Ham is of a similar mind, noting this promise is like Obama’s promise to have all health care legislation negotiations on C-SPAN. If he keeps the promise, it opens the door for good reforms; if he breaks his promise, it’s another fantastic illustration that he’s full of… it.
Krugman is despondent:
And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”
Now, I still cling to a fantasy: maybe, just possibly, Obama is going to tie his spending freeze to something that would actually help the economy, like an employment tax credit. (No, trivial tax breaks don’t count). There has, however, been no hint of anything like that in the reports so far. Right now, this looks like pure disaster.
Give us the House and Senate in November 2010, and we might just be able to re-elect this guy…