Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

January 23, 2014

Maybe, we can't

(Continued)

This is the Johnny Appleseed version of the presidency in which important programs ignored by the daily press make a huge impact in people’s lives in the future. That is the essential argument of Michael Grunwald’s book “The New New Deal” on the $800 billion Obama stimulus package passed early in his tenure. Judged at the time based on whether it would halt the economic slowdown, its lasting impact may well be in the programs it launched — everything from Race to the Top to improve education, to ideas promoting electronic medical records to transportation innovations, to support for clean energy.

Remnick treats this evolution of Obama’s vision as a laudable outgrowth of his special temperament. The president takes the “long view,” a sensible antidote to the conventional wisdom that a president must achieve success on big things quickly and almost despite the obstacles. This is right, but it is not Obama’s insight alone. This view about history’s verdict provided solace to George W. Bush as well. Bush also said he was never worried about the day-to-day evaluations of his presidency because history’s verdict was all that mattered. “You can’t possibly figure out the history of the Bush presidency — until I’m dead,” he told Robert Draper in a typical remark. According to Peter Baker’s book “Days of Fire,” Bush and Obama also shared another realization. In the New Yorker interview, Obama seems to be embracing a view of the presidency’s limitations that Bush offered in the response to an aide who asked him what surprised him the most about his presidency. “How little authority I have,” said Bush.

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Opinion
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  • Reduce property tax Editor:The regular July meeting of the Rend Lake Conservancy District Board of Trustees is always interesting, and this year was no different. It is at this meeting that the board makes the annual tax levy for the district. Like every year, the debat

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  • No Headline Provided House and Senate conferees have agreed on a $17 billion bill to address the scandal over poor health-care service at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation is now on a fast track to pass Congress before its August recess, showing that Re

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  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

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  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

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  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

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  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

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