February 25, 2009
Selling a New Deal, but Promising It Will Be Brief
By DAVID E. SANGER
It was only 13 years ago that Bill Clinton declared before a joint session of Congress that “the era of big government is over.” President Obama’s challenge on Tuesday night is to declare that, out of ugly necessity, big government is back — and then to make a persuasive case, with a specificity he has avoided until now, that if done right, this era will not last for long.
His aides say this is no moment for the lofty idealism of the inaugural address, 35 long days and roughly a thousand Dow Jones points ago. His task is to be at once reassuring and realistic, or, as one of Mr. Obama’s economic advisers said over the weekend, “to convince the country we’ve finally pulled the ripcord on the parachute, even if we can’t tell you how long we fall or where we land.”
The hardest part will be convincing his countrymen that they cannot save themselves without first saving the banks that let greed blot out prudence, the carmakers who ignored competitive reality for a quarter-century, and the homeowners who somehow persuaded themselves that housing prices only move up.
Continue reading at NYTimes