Withering Criticism of Obama From a Supporter

Obama's failure on the financial crisis raises two equally depressing possibilities.

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By Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

We've heard some startling criticism of the Obama administration from Obama supporters Warren Buffett and Paul Krugman. Now comes Bill Galston, as smart and intellectually honest as any Democrat (or Republican) I know, making essentially the same point, that Obama should concentrate on addressing the financial crisis, and defer health care, cap-and-trade and other issues till the financial house is in order. Galston usefully and accurately cites Franklin Roosevelt's conduct in his first years in office as an example. His criticism of Obama, coming from an Obama supporter, is withering.

The key analogy between today and 1933 is the centrality of the financial crisis, which makes it hard to understand why the administration has not yet moved as decisively to fix it as FDR did on the first day of his presidency. This issue could not have come as a surprise to Obama and his chief financial advisors. Their failure thus far to restore financial confidence raises two equally depressing possibilities: Either they do not know what to do, or they do not believe they can muster the political support to do what they know needs to be done.

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