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Patience requires a bit of distance, so let's stand back for a moment. Barack Obama was elected President because the governing philosophy of the last 30 years, arrant Reaganism, had proved itself bankrupt. Reaganism was distinguished by four characteristics--at least, according to its own mythology: the belief that government was "the problem" and so less of it was better, tax-cutting (for the wealthy), deregulation and an insistence on military strength as the primary projection of American authority overseas. These were, in some cases, fantasy attributes: After lowering taxes in 1981, Reagan raised them in 1982 and 1983. In many cases, especially deregulation--I'm talking about you, Lawrence Summers--Democrats were complicit in the excesses. In almost every case, a mild form of Reaganism was a plausible corrective for the Democratic excesses that had gone before. In a few cases, like Reagan's toughness toward the Soviet Union and in some forms of deregulation, it actually worked.
What Barack Obama pledged to do during the campaign--what he is trying to do now--is to change course on every one of these Reaganite assumptions. He believes that government must be part of the solution in areas like health insurance, education and energy policy. He will, eventually, restore Clinton-era levels of taxation on the wealthy. He will re-regulate the financial markets. Overseas, he has restored the primacy of diplomacy over the use or threat of military force.
Actually, Obama's foreign policy is illustrative of his overall philosophy. It is comprehensive and complicated. In the case of Pakistan, for example, it involves diplomatic suasion, economic aid, military aid and the discreet use of military force. It will not yield results overnight. It isn't as dramatic or easily judged as an invasion. It may not, in the end, prove the right course. But, as with Obama's economic policies, it will take time to assess fairly. And so, patience, please! We can feed Obama to the Limbaugh lions if he fails ... Or maybe not, should he succeed.