'Meet the Press' Panelist: Obama Should Be 'Doubling Down,' 'Didn't Do Enough Stimulus'

On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin pleaded with President Obama to tell voters: "'I am doubling down on what I did.' He didn't do enough on the stimulus. He didn't do enough investing in the future. The things he believes in, he has to say we need more of it. And that's our future." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Goodwin implored Obama to "diagnose that what went wrong has gone wrong for 20 years, not just the last four years. The middle class has been squeezed for a long time because of an unfair structure because of lack of investment."

Host David Gregory lamented that such a message might not work: "...the Republicans seem to have done a pretty good job saying, 'No, government's not really the answer,' even if, on the substance, a lot of people believe that the government is the only one to really inject more into the economy at this stage."


Goodwin led up to her Obama campaign advice by making a comparison to Teddy Roosevelt:

...Theodore Roosevelt, in 1907 there was a financial panic. It was pretty serious, pretty deep. And the Wall Street guys and the conservatives were piling on him saying, "You caused it with your regulations."

He then gave this fiery speech where he said, "Well, first of all, if any individual actions caused it, Europe had a lot to do with it.  But it was you guys who did – who were depositors in banks....It was you guys who abused the power in the railroads and the oil company. And I've saved you from that. My regulations are making it better, and I'm going to double down on the regulations."  

Goodwin urged that Obama, in similar fashion, must "say we're at a fork in the road."


Here is a transcript of the June 17 exchange:

11:11AM ET

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: Somebody else who's not always right in the moment but is always hanging around with these guys in history is you, Doris. So what do you make of, again, what I thought was so important about this week is that this was not a distraction. This was not noise. This was very much what the campaign will be decided on, which are these two visions of what to do about the economy.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: And I think the person who wins will be who can tell the more compelling story about what caused the problem in the first place and what they're gonna do to solve it in the second place. You know, the guy I'm hanging around with now, Theodore Roosevelt, in 1907 there was a financial panic. It was pretty serious, pretty deep. And the Wall Street guys and the conservatives were piling on him saying, "You caused it with your regulations."

He then gave this fiery speech where he said, "Well, first of all, if any individual actions caused it, Europe had a lot to do with it.  But it was you guys who did – who were depositors in banks." Banks own deposits. They allowed them to speculate, failed as a result of it, and then there was an escalating failure.

"It was you guys who abused the power in the railroads and the oil company. And I've saved you from that. My regulations are making it better, and I'm going to double down on the regulations."  I think what the President has to do is say we're at a fork in the road. He almost has, to use your words, "I am doubling down on what I did." He didn't do enough on the stimulus. He didn't do enough investing in the future. The things he believes in, he has to say we need more of it. And that's our future.

And he has to diagnose that what went wrong has gone wrong for 20 years, not just the last four years. The middle class has been squeezed for a long time because of an unfair structure because of lack of investment. And then you go forward with your diagnosis to the future.

GREGORY: The problem is-

KEARNS GOODWIN: But you tell a story from beginning to middle to end.

GREGORY: But part of that story, the Republicans seem to have done a pretty good job saying, no, government's not really the answer, even if, on the substance, a lot of people believe that the government is the only one to really inject more into the economy at this stage.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC