Centrist's verdict on Obama speech: "pitiful" 

“Not just weak but pitiful,” “devoid of detail,” “a waste of breath.” Those were among the reactions of The Atlantic’s Clive Crook to Obama’s speech this afternoon. Crook is no Republican partisan; he calls House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan “no good.” But he is dismayed that “the administration still lacks a rival plan,” and that, as he puts it in his penultimate sentence, “the speech was more notable for its militant—though ineffectual—hostility to Republican proposals than for any fresh thinking of its own.”

What's particularly pitiful here is that Barack Obama, with the full resources of the Office of Management and the Budget (a first-rate public bureaucracy) available to him, was able to do no better than this. But then I gather he didn't get all the asbestos out of the John P. Altgeld housing project in Chicago either.

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Michael Barone

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