Why Obama Disappoints His Allies: Too Little Time, Too Many Fires To Put Out

Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt offers a striking theory on how President Obama chose his agenda for his first two years, and why so many of his allies are so disappointed in the results. Basically, there was just too much basic repair work to be done, given the mess he inherited from the previous administration, and that left too little time and political capital to do all the things he wanted to do. It’s a must-read, but here’s the guts of it:

As Hiatt tells it, that led to a host of controversial decisions like stalling on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, letting labor-law reform die, making nice to Russia and China while neglecting close friends in Europe and a whole lot more.

It’s like what our good friend Rabbi Tarfon used to say: “The day is short, the work is vast and the workers are slow, but the reward is great. And besides, the landlord is coming for the rent.” (Mishnah Avot II:20). And bear this mind: “He also used to say” — this one is a shout-out to Obama’s unhappy allies — “You’re not obliged to finish the job, but neither are you free to walk away.”

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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Why Obama Disappoints His Allies: Too Little Time, Too Many Fires To Put Out

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