When President Obama took office during a sharp economic downturn, the administration’s mantra was “you never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Instead, you use the ensuing panic to push through reforms too radical to enact during ordinary times.
Six years later, declaring that the “shadow of crisis has passed,” Obama wants to use the ensuing sense of relief (if any) to push through leftist reforms he couldn’t enact during the “crisis.”
If Obama were to see a psychiatrist, he could say: “Doctor, I have these strange thoughts; everything reminds me of the need for free community college.”
In reality, good policies are good policies regardless of the rate of GDP growth at that particular moment. So too with bad policies like placing the weight of the government behind one, not particularly effective, educational option.
As Yuval Levin points out, though, the real purpose of Obama’s domestic and economic proposals is not to enact them but rather “to draw contrasts with Republicans.”
Perhaps Obama should tell a psychiatrist “I have these strange thoughts; everything reminds me of the need to make my political opponents look bad.” The shrink could respond, “don’t worry; it’s a very common problem in your line of work.”
By the way, Levin’s discussion of Obama’s speech is well worth a look.