French Toast

Roger Cohen is scared that Barack Obama wants to turn American into France:

The $3.6 trillion Obama budget made me a little queasy. There is a touch of France in its “étatisme”….For everyone from the oil and gas industry to drug companies, the message was clear: Off with their heads!….I’d thought of Obama as less Robespierre than Talleyrand….The former French President François Mitterrand….manifold sensual, aesthetic and gastronomic pleasures offered by French savoir-vivre….High French unemployment ….French frontiers have not shifted much in centuries….careful to steer clear of his French temptation….The United States is in full post-Bush nemesis. In its core values, un-Gallicized, lies the long road to redemption.

Is there something about having a New York Times column that makes you lose your mind?  Obama wants to push taxes on the super wealthy back up to 2001 levels.  He wants to move in the direction of carbon pricing and universal healthcare, just like he promised repeatedly during the campaign.  He wants to increase defense spending, but increase it slightly less than the Pentagon would like.  Stimulus outlays aside, the budget as a whole is up only moderately compared to two years ago.

If you object to this, fine.  But Cohen doesn’t. “After the excesses of Reagan-inspired deregulation and the disaster that unfettered markets have delivered, the pendulum had to swing.”  But how much less could Obama swing it and still be making any noticeable difference at all?  What, exactly, has Cohen so worried?  He never says.  He just loses himself in a paroxysm of stammering cliches.  Has he been taking lessons from Maureen Dowd?

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