David A. Love: Part of the problem is Obama’s quixotic journey to the political center. There is nothing in the middle of the road but yellow lines and road kill, and you’d better believe it. Although his campaign rhetoric was progressive, this president chooses to govern from the middle.
Republicans, for their part, worry that if they tell it like it is Americans will want government to do more rather than less. They’d rather not talk about jobs and wages, and put the focus instead on deficit reduction (or spread the lie that by reducing the deficit we’ll get more jobs and higher wages).
Dick Price: “I was a child of the Great Depression. It never occurred to me our strong and vital nation could fall and fail as it has today,” he says. “I was brought up to have a sense of justice and truth as a basis of our country’s governance. That belief has been shattered, particularly in the past decade.”
Lydia Howell: Nine months after taking office, Obama began slamming the Democratic Party’s liberal/progressive base for daring to notice, much less criticize, his corporate-friendly policies and center-right positions. In the wake of his Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission, Obama will likely make a sober call for national sacrifice.
Robert Reich: Not only do we need extended unemployment benefits. We need a new WPA, modeled after the WPA of the Great Depression, to put jobless Americans to work. We need a national infrastructure bank to rebuild our crumbling highways and water and sewer systems, thereby putting additional people back to work.
Joseph Palermo: The whole tenor of the next two years is going to feel like George W. Bush never left office. The GOP will have de facto control over the nation’s politics and agenda. If President Obama goes down the Clinton path of triangulating against his progressive base (as seems likely) then he deserves to be a one-term president.