E.J. Dionne has an important article in this morning’s Washington Post about the need for the President to stop divorcing “politics” and “governance.”
Regular readers of this column will recognize that this has long been a concern of mine. Dionne shows how both FDR and Reagan were largely successful because they did not divorce politics from governance, but FDR lived long before, and Reagan lived just at the dawn, of the age of the professionalized elections, with media consultants, and polling consultants, and fund-raising consultants, and direct mail consultants.
The point is not just if Obama can regain his mojo in time to avert a midterm meltdown. The point is that the essence of American liberalism is that government is the only actor in our culture with the power to identify and achieve those social goods that are unmet in a free society where the moneyed interests are dominant. Obama needs to get his mojo by re-reading Arthur Schlesinger’s “The Age of Jackson.”