FDR did have a bunch of naysayers in the media and in Congress, but with cable TV blaring Republican talking points day in and day out the passage of the stimulus bill is getting lost in the shuffle because Republicans didn't join in the bipartisan dog and pony show.
But the Washington Post has a good piece today that adds some perspective to what's transpired in recent weeks. It's a reminder that while the trees have been frustrating at times, the forest looks pretty impressive.
Twenty-four days into his presidency, Barack Obama recorded last night a legislative achievement of the sort that few of his predecessors achieved at any point in their tenure.
In size and scope, there is almost nothing in history to rival the economic stimulus legislation that Obama shepherded through Congress in just over three weeks. And the result -- produced largely without Republican participation -- was remarkably similar to the terms Obama's team outlined even before he was inaugurated: a package of tax cuts and spending totaling about $775 billion. [...]
[E]ven before the plan passed the Senate last night, the president's top advisers were crowing. "We've been in office, what, 2 1/2 , three weeks? We've passed the most major sweeping comprehensive legislation as relates to economic activity ever in a three-week period of time," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Thursday evening in the West Wing.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) credited Obama's leadership on the legislation yesterday, saying, "The American people know, and historians are judging, that this is one remarkable president."
For historical parallels, the Post piece noted that we haven't seen a legislative win for a president on this magnitude since FDR's banking system overhaul in 1933, "which cleared Congress within days of his inauguration."
We heard a lot of talk after the election from the president and his team about hitting the ground running. I guess they meant it.
As Steve notes, the White House did let messaging get away from them. I agree and one reason is because they were a bit blind to the fact that the media isn't interested in a real debate on economics. That would be no fun at all. They'd rather have crying Boehner throwing papers around on that endless loop. But what President Obama achieved very quickly is a historic moment indeed.