Though I would have preferred that Barack Obama not appear for an interview on a network that is openly hostile to Democratic candidates, for the most part he seems to have done well dealing with a much more hostile interview than, say, the President of the United States might have faced.
That being said, a few of Obama’s remarks were surprising and a bit disappointing.
OBAMA:Well, I think there are a whole host of areas where Republicans in some cases may have a better idea.
WALLACE: Such as?
OBAMA: Well, on issues of regulation. I think that back in the ’60s and ’70s a lot of the way we regulated industry was top-down command and control, we’re going to tell businesses exactly how to do things.
And you know, I think that the Republican Party and people who thought about the markets came up with the notion that, “You know what? If you simply set some guidelines, some rules and incentives, for businesses — let them figure out how they’re going to, for example, reduce pollution,” and a cap and trade system, for example is a smarter way of doing it, controlling pollution, than dictating every single rule that a company has to abide by, which creates a lot of bureaucracy and red tape and oftentimes is less efficient.
That’s just flatly wrong. Market-based regulation certainly hasn’t worked for pharmaceuticals. It hasn’t worked for meat processing. It certainly hasn’t worked in the financial sector, as recent events make abundantly clear.
More broadly, I don’t understand why Obama is promoting a right wing framework that positions Democrats as the defenders of failed, big government regulation and Republicans as the defenders of a mean, lean, efficient combination of government and the private sector. The reality is, and has been for some time, that Republicans are unwilling to impose sensible government regulation to protect the American people. The only thing mean about the Republican framework is the lean protection it offers Americans.
For one election, can Democrats please fight the urge to concede the core issues to the Republicans? Americans are tired of a government that puts the interests of corporations ahead of the interests of the people. Let’s fight for those values instead of sliding away from them.