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I expected, because of the title

What’s Next, Mr. President — Cardigans?

that I would run into another silly lifestyle fluff piece at Wapo, when instead it’s one of the best analysis of Obama I read in a long time (in MSM that is). And because of the lack of Reagan references, took me a while to identify the political POV

The article notices the two possible scenarios for this administration

Yet there’s no question that Obama’s massively ambitious domestic agenda is at a fork in the road: One route leads to Plains, Ga., and early retirement, the other to Hope, Ark., a second term and the revitalization of the American economy.

Although, as far as I recall, even Carter managed to reduce the deficit and championed the Democratic agenda rather than hand the treasurt to the bankers. But the writers feel it’s the choice Obama does make

Obama must be furtively reviewing the history of recent Democratic administrations for some kind of road map out of his post-100-days ditch. So far, he seems to be skipping the chapter on Bill Clinton and his generally free-market economic policies and instead flipping back to the themes and comportment of Jimmy Carter.

And some reasons for the comparisons?

Like Carter, Obama is smart, moralistic and enamored of alternative energy schemes that were nonstarters back when

Oh, I dunno about that one, I guess this betrays the political inclinations of the writers but the next one is better

as with Carter, his specific policies are genuinely unpopular.

As for this one, unless some miracle happened while I was on vacation, the writers are dreaming:

Like Carter, Obama faces as much effective opposition from his own party’s left wing as he does from an ardent but diminished GOP.

The writers do finally see the light when stumbling on the Jr.jr truth:

while he ran convincingly as a repudiation of Bush, he is in fact doubling down on his predecessor’s big-government policies and perpetual crisis-mongering. From the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists to gays in the military to bailing out industries large and small, Obama has been little more than the keeper of the Bush flame.

They not only bring up policies – civil rights and fiscal that justify this comparison, they even correctly identify resemblance in style – what they refer to as “magical realism”

In the same way that Bush claimed to be cutting government even while increasing real spending by more than 70 percent, Obama seems to believe that saying one thing, while doing another, somehow makes it so.

and give some convincing examples of magical realism:

In the same way that Bush claimed to be cutting government even while increasing real spending by more than 70 percent, Obama seems to believe that saying one thing, while doing another, somehow makes it so. His first budget was titled “A New Era of Fiscal Responsibility,” even as his own projections showed a decade’s worth of historically high deficits. He vowed no new taxes on 95 percent of Americans, then jacked up cigarette taxes and indicated a willingness to consider new health-care taxes as part of his reform package. He said he didn’t want to take over General Motors on the day that he took over General Motors.

And, because the analysis seems to come from the right (see Margaret Thatcher as source of wisdom), the final advice is startling:

Finally, it’s time to connect the poster boy for hope to the original Man From Hope.

Well, I don’t think this is as easy a task as suggested as Bill Clinton didn’t have TOTUS he could borrow, and he’s still afraid of Hillary.

Besides, one billion dollars has been footed by Obama’s owners precisely to avoid having a Clinton.

But an excellent read nevertheless.

And, will someone tell me please about the cardigans? Was that a Carter thing?