There's a "curious sense of disappointment afflicting liberals," says Jonathan Chait in The New Republic, "the belief that they've been let down by a president who is, in fact, racking up historical achievements." With BP's ruptured well fouling the Gulf of Mexico with oil, the left is fuming because President Obama isn't enacting a far-reaching green energy bill, over a Republican filibuster if necessary. But that's not how Washington works — the Senate has "nowhere near enough votes to pass even a stripped-down cap and trade bill." Progress doesn't come quick; it's a "grubby" slog. As Michael Tomasky notes in the journal Democracy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn't wave a wand and pass the New Deal. It got done in "stops and starts," with critics whining at every step that Roosevelt wasn't getting enough done. Now it's Obama's turn to deal with the unreal expectations created by the "cult of the presidency." Here, an excerpt:
"It may be nice to imagine that all political difficulties could be swept away by a president who just spoke with enough force and determination. It's a recurrent liberal fantasy — Michael Moore imagined such a speech a few months ago, Michael Douglas delivers such a speech in "The American President." I would love to eliminate the filibuster and create more accountable parties. But even if that happens, there will be a legislative branch that has a strong say in what passes or doesn't pass. And that's good! We wouldn't want to live in a world where a president can remake vast swaths of policy merely by decreeing it."
Read the full article in The New Republic.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- The Obama administration's nonstop incoherence on ISIS
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- The European Union was supposed to end nationalism. It gave it new life instead.
- Your 2-year-old doesn't need to go to school
Subscribe to the Week