TEXT OF COMMENTARY
Kai Ryssdal: A dynamic political system takes all kinds. It takes the press people on the inside of the campaigns — the communicators — whose jobs it is to get the candidate’s message out. It takes pollsters to count noses and tell us who’s up and who’s down. And it takes pundits to tell us what to think.
As we continue our series on the people behind the machinery of politics, one of our regular pundits: commentator David Frum. He’s weighed in on just about everything this election cycle. And so today, why he has decided to vote the way he will.
David Frum: I know, I know, I know! There’s Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul and Sharron Angle. Never mind Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Fox News. There’s the crazy guy in Texas who says that revolution is “on the table.” And anyway, what kind of fiscally conservative party campaigns on a pledge to protect Medicare exactly as it is?
Yet I will, nevertheless, be voting the straight Republican ticket on Nov. 2, and here’s why: The Obama Administration has launched more big bold initiatives than any administration since Lyndon Johnson’s, from health care reform through Afghanistan.
Now ask yourself this: Which of these measures has produced the results promised? Of them all, in fact, there’s only one that has done the job — and that was a continuation of a Bush-era policy, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. TARP averted a second Great Depression. But the Obama stimulus did not ignite job creation. Health care reform will increase the number of insured Americans somewhat, at enormous cost, but it will not slow cost inflation. It will mean higher subsidies and more taxes. The auto bailout is just plain bad economic policy. More disappointments.
The financial regulation fix ignored as “too hard” — the status of the government mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “Green jobs” is an excuse for government boondoggles. Meanwhile, the crucial goal of energy security is no closer today than two years ago.
We need a change of course. And ironically, the biggest winner from such a change might be the president himself. Again and again, this president has excessively deferred to Democrats in Congress. He let them write his stimulus and his health care bill.
Obama won’t defer to Republicans, which means a big Republican win will not only redirect the country, it will also remind this president that it’s his job to lead, not just preside.
Ryssdal: David Frum is editor of FrumForum. In earlier days, he was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Next week in this slot, our regular commentator Robert Reich. Your opinions are always welcome, no matter when.