Todd Gitlin – The Hope for Audacity

Just found a great article on the Atlantic’s website by Todd Gitlin (link), author of “The World Is Watching” (an interesting look at the SDS, the New Left, and political change in the 1960s). In it he writes:

A president, of course, can do many things that a young state senator from Illinois cannot.  He not only promotes a moral and intellectual style, but is also the master molder of the political agenda.  To realize his transformative potential and consolidate a base for more, Obama must focus, bear down, deal hard, and  deliver four crucial results:  1) an economic rescue that not only delivers an exit from the credit disaster but generates a more productive, more egalitarian, less predatory economy; 2) a green regearing of energy, environment, and job-producing investment; 3) affordable, comprehensive health care; and 4) a decent exit from Iraq.

I agree with Gitlin here in what he sees as “the four crucial results” that Obama must deliver. Underlying these and many other of what ought to be Obama’s goals is the notion that he must create a government that can survive and prosper in the coming century. FDR got the country through the Depression and set the stage for what, up until September, has worked so far. What Obama must do now is create a new stage for government that will last and adapt to changes. The auto industry has shown what happens when corporations become so bloated that they can no longer respond to shifts in technology and consumption. The government created by Obama needs to be one that can respond to shifts in economics and international diplomacy without crumbling. It needs to be one that can make use of the present world and present technologies in the same, powerful way that Obama’s campaign did. Here’s hoping.