What Obama now says that he would have done differently
He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise. . . .
Well, Obama has set massive records on spending, overseeing a 21.4 percent increase in Federal spending over two years. This sounds like a very temporary election conversion. As to the taxes that he pushed, it wasn't the type of taxes that Republicans like. His large deductions that are then phased out as income increases raises the marginal tax rate and actually reduces the return to people working. Here are the violins:
“we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” . . .
But if Obama really thought that these were the right things to do, why didn't he campaign on what he was going to do? Don't the people at the NY Times remember that he clearly promised to cut government spending after he became president. Take the third debate (though he also made this promise very clearly in the second debate).
But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut. I haven't made a promise about . . . . What I want to emphasize, though, is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches. . . .
The consistency here is that Obama walks away from what he really believes when he faces the voters.