William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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QUOTE OF THE DAY - ON BARACK OBAMA - AT 12:31 P.M. ET:  From Dan Henninger at The Wall Street Journal:

Harry Reid's Senate had just secured its 60th vote for Mr. Obama's health-care reform. Whatever one's view, its trillion-dollar-plus cost is an agreed given. Days earlier the public saw Congress vote to raise the debt ceiling by almost $290 billion to make room for the needs of the $800 billion stimulus bill, the unprecedented $3.5 trillion budget, and the House's approval Dec. 16 of a new $154 billion jobs bill. Amid this President Obama said Monday: "We can't continue to spend . . . as if the hard-earned tax dollars of the American people can be treated like Monopoly money."

From the Wizard of Oz to Tiger Woods, the greatest danger to grand men is feet of clay. There are varieties of clay. For the politician known as Obama it is that, if he is shown to be a cynic, he is finished. "Monopoly money" was an everyone-agrees-with-me remark. But to everyone, it was simply fantastic.

The American people took a flyer on Barack Obama. If they conclude Obama is just the name of another lesser god, his fall could come as fast as his rise.

COMMENT:  Next year, 2010, may well be Obama's decisive year.  The honeymoon is over.  Obama must produce, not just for his political base, but for the great majority of Americans.

Kennedy, whose first year was disastrous in foreign policy, saved himself in his second year by a new toughness, and by succeeding, more or less, at the Cuban Missile Crisis, a crisis brought about because Khrushchev had perceived the young president as weak.  Obama has been doing some chest thumping recently.  Is he pulling a JFK, or just posturing before going back to his little red book?  We'll start to find out the week after next.

December 26, 2009