James Forsyth

Obama’s domestic policy risk

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“We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed.  Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.  The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.  All this we can do.  And all this we will do.”

This was the key domestic policy part of the speech. It was a clear statement that Obama views the stimulus package as the most important part of his domestic policy programme and that he will try and pass it whole. This is a risky strategy as it essentially places the prospects for his whole first term into one bill. If it passes quickly and as Obama intends, then his momentum will allow him to carry through healthcare reform and pretty much any other part of his domestic agenda he chooses. But if he is forced into compromise after compromise, then he could find himself an increasingly diminished figure.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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