President Obama completed a legislative hat trick yesterday, as he passed a landmark financial reform bill, to go alongside his landmark health care bill, and his mammoth stimulus bill. These victories essentially line up with his campaign promises, but they’ve come at a political cost, giving plenty of ammunition to conservatives who argue that the government is overspending and overreaching, writes Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times. The White House particularly lost the message war on the stimulus and health care.
“They clearly made a decision that political capital was something to be used, not saved,” said one Democratic lobbyist. “He didn’t trim his sails, he didn’t change his philosophy. He didn’t compromise. “ But now, he’ll have to make the case that those actions were wise. “These pundits can’t figure me out,” Obama said while campaigning last week. “They say, ‘Well why is he doing that? That doesn’t poll well.’ Well … I know it doesn’t poll well. But it’s the right thing to do for America.” (Read more Barack Obama stories.)