How’s that hopey, changey thing working for you? 

I’m attending the Aspen Ideas Festival run by the Aspen Institute and the Atlantic Monthly in (where else?) Aspen, and I note that enthusiasm for Barack Obama and his administration seems to be conspicuously missing. Lloyd Grove has a pungent account in The Daily Beast titled “The Elite turn against Obama,” based on speeches by Niall Ferguson and my former boss at U.S. News Mort Zuckerman on economic policy.

I attended a session last night on foreign policy where almost all of the panelists painted a gloomy picture of the state of world affairs (James Fallows was a little upbeat about China’s apparent concessions on Iran sanctions and its own currency) and had little good to say about Obama administration policy. There were even occasional notes of nostalgia for George W. Bush: Charlayne Hunter-Gault noted that Africans appreciated his anti-AIDS program and Elisabeth Bumiller said that her editors at The New York Times could not believe that people in India were big Bush fans. The most stinging attacks came from Mort Zuckerman, who said the Obama policies were dangerously weak, and Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation, hardly an Obama basher in the past.

All of which leads me to wonder whether the Aspen Institute folks might have wanted to invite Sarah Palin, at least to ask her question, “How’s that hopey changey thing working for you?”

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Michael Barone

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