If President Obama’s new budget proposal is any indication, he’s vastly dialed back his first-term ambitions in the hopes of winning a second one, observe Peter Wallsten and Perry Bacon Jr of the Washington Post. Whereas two years ago Obama laid out a sweeping New Deal-esque plan with major proposals on health care, energy, and more, this year he outlined a modest deficit reduction strategy that punted on many of the hard questions.
Obama didn’t touch, for example, tough recommendations from his deficit commission, like cutting Social Security or eliminating the home mortgage tax credit. That’s largely in line with public opinion; polls show Americans are worried about the deficit, but oppose cuts to specific entitlements or help for the poor. Obama did propose cutting heating aid to the poor, but the Post sees that as “political theater,” allowing Obama to look like a deficit hawk, though Democrats are sure to save the program. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)