What happens to an ideologue when the president in whom he invested enormous hope is increasingly seen as a failure? For one answer, see the lead “Talk of the Town” item in The New Yorker, where Hendrik Hertzberg writes this:
Invoking the Fourteenth Amendment has always been a long shot, a last refuge. But Obama’s seeming refusal to hold it in reserve … is emblematic of his all too civilized, all too accommodating negotiating strategy–indeed, of his whole approach to the nation’s larger economic dilemma, the most disappointing aspect of his Presidency. His stimulus package asked for too little and got less. He has allowed deficits and debt to supercede mass unemployment as the emergency of the moment. He has too readily accepted Republican terms of debate, such as likening the country to a household that must ‘live within its means.’ (For even the most prudent householders, living within one’s means can include going into debt, as in taking out a car loan so that one can get to one’s job.) He has done too little to educate the public to the wisdom of post-Herbert Hoover economics: fiscal balance is achieved over time, not in a single year; in flush times a government should run a surplus, but when the economy falters deficits are part of the remedy; when the immediate problem is what it is now–a lack of demand, not a shortage of capital–higher spending is generally more efficacious than lower taxes, especially lower taxes on the rich.