Make no mistake, this plan is a dramatic—some would say radical—change in the role of the federal government. It is curious: Republicans spent two years blistering Obama for his supposedly extreme political agenda. Yet the president is very much a liberal incrementalist. Rhetoric aside, his health law fiddled around the edges of the same private insurance-based health system we have today. His response to the economic crisis was little different from President George W. Bush’s. And despite the demands of the left, the White House recipe for reducing greenhouse gases has been modest at best.
Real change, like the direction or not, is alive and well in Washington. But it is thriving at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. I anxiously await Obama’s response.