Obama, Reagan and innovation

I tracked down a transcript of the segment of the January Obama interview that has so enraged the left. This is what he actuallly said:

“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what’s different are the times. I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.

“He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people just tapped into — he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

“I think Kennedy, 20 years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times.

“I think we are in one of those times right now, where people feel like things as they are going, aren’t working, that we’re bogged down in the same arguments that we’ve been having and they’re not useful. And the Republican approach I think has played itself out.

“I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies that are being debated among the presidential candidates, it’s all tax cuts. Well, we’ve done that. We’ve tried it. It’s not really going to solve our energy problems, for example…so some of it’s the times.”

I’m still not sure who Obama is, or what he plans to do with his power besides wield it. But I think it is interesting that he can mention Reagan in the context of positive change; also saying that at one time the “party of ideas” were the other guys.

I think we know that Obama is intelligent, and he seems to be able to innovate in certain areas. The outstanding example of innovation is his Amazing Money Machine. At this time we don’t know whether Obama just fell into this cornucopia of wealth pouring out of Silicon Valley, or whether he somehow made it happen. I lean to the former based on what I know so far, but remain open to the possibility that he is a skilled political innovator as well as a skilled orator and machine politician.