My previous post asked what Martin Luther King Jr might say to President Obama were the two men to meet today. Were he fully up to speed, MLK would know that Obama coyly portrayed himself as the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream. He would know that Obama's rhetoric, patterned so closely after his own message, has in fact not been fulfilled. In all likelihood, Dr. King would be dismayed with the way Obama has tainted his legacy and the imagery of "the dream", and he would be deeply saddened by the historic opportunity that Obama has squandered.
"aware that their prospects may rest on persuading voters that the results of the first term matter less than the contrast between their vision for the next four years and the alternative ideas offered by Republicans."
"Playing it safe is not going to cut it. Not proposing anything bold and not trying to do something to definitely deal with our problems would mean that we're going to have another year and a half like the last year and a half -- and then it's awfully hard to get re-elected."
"I know that in every campaign, politicians make promises about cleaning up Washington. So it's easy to become cynical. I know that for me, reform isn't just the rhetoric of a campaign; it's been a cause of my career."
"This is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words. He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination."
So much for the fierce urgency of now.
Update: My inbox pinged this morning (the 16th) with an update from Dean Baker and the Center for Economic and Policy Research. His article said this, in part:
"a wide range of economists say the administration should call for a new round of stimulus spending, as prescribed by mainstream economic theory, to create jobs and promote growth."
The answer to Baker's question is, of course, no. Obama's advisors have no theory on which to base the economic outcomes of their actions. But they do know that winning a second term is Obama's primary goal as a first term president.