I get it. If I’m promised a pony and a rainbow by a politician when he or she is running for office, I shouldn’t expect much more than some horseshit and downpours after the election.
I’m an adult. I don’t expect magic solutions.
I do expect progress where delivering the goods is not about magic solutions or free lunches. Here are two areas where the current Administration is tilting towards failure for me.
1. Transparency on the economy in general and on bailouts in specific. Geithner is so far little different in his approach to this basic commitment than Hank Paulson. I do not buy that secrecy about the flow of resources into the financial system is a necessary precondition of the success of Administration policy. So far, in fact, every single disclosure about the joint Paulson-Geithner plan is showing that secrecy actually retards the effectiveness of government action. Either you understand that sunlight is cleansing as a basic matter of principle or you don’t. So far the Obama Administration is giving every sign that they don’t understand, and see transparency just as a buzz word.
2. Cutting back executive power to previous structural limits and boundaries. I’m so far deeply disappointed with the Administration’s approach to detention and other national security matters. What it increasingly looks like is that their strategy is to selectively engage in limited policy reforms while retaining the underlying infrastructure of Cheney’s claims about executive authority during a time of endless national emergency, e.g., to act like “enlightened unlimited executives” rather than to abjure the basic concept of limitless authority. Now if you’re one of those right-wing blatherers who had no problem with this concept when it was the Bush-Cheney Administration, kindly go stuff yourself, because you weren’t paying attention when we were pointing out the long-term structural danger this sort of claim posed. On the other hand, if you were worried about this sort of claim under the last Administration, every day that the Obama Administration fails to decisively dismantle it is more and more alarming.