Owning the Compromise

Like Kevin Drum I don’t really understand why Barack Obama feels the need to pretend that legislation that’s clearly the result of a compromise process in congress is the greatest thing since sliced bread:

[Presidents] never concede a mixed bag on anything they’re associated with. The Iraq war was always going swimmingly. Welfare reform was an unqualified boon. Reagan never raised taxes. Etc. Likewise, Obama seems unwilling to admit that the healthcare reform that finally got spit out of Congress is anything other than exactly what he wanted all along.

This reached the height of absurdity with the stimulus bill. ARRA was such a fundamentally quantitative debate that there was no way for anyone paying attention to miss the fact that the administration proposed one number and congress came back with a different, substantially lower number. And I think the administration did itself a lot of totally unnecessary by not saying something like “I’m signing this bill because I think it will do enormous good for the American economy, but as you know my economic team thought a larger package was warranted so we might need to do more later. More good things about the bill here. Happy happy happy.”