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Obama agenda: Obama and business

The New York Times has an interesting take on the Obama White House's extraction of that $20 billion fund from BP, as well as Joe Barton's criticism of it. "With that display of raw arm-twisting, Mr. Obama reinvigorated a debate about the renewed reach of government power, or, alternatively, the power of government overreach. It is an argument that has come to define Mr. Obama’s first 18 months in office, and one that Mr. Obama clearly hopes to make a central issue in November’s midterm elections."

"To Mr. Obama, this is all about rebalancing the books after two decades in which multinationals sometimes acted like mini-states beyond government reach... When Representative Joe L. Barton, the Texas Republican, opened hearings Thursday about the gulf oil gusher by accusing Mr. Obama of an unconstitutional 'shakedown' of BP to create a “slush fund,” he was giving voice to an alternative narrative, a bubbling certainty in corporate suites that Mr. Obama, whenever faced with crisis that involves private-sector players, reveals himself to be viscerally antibusiness. The reality, not surprisingly, is more complex."

"The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says the Senate likely will vote in July on confirming Elena Kagan to a seat on the Supreme Court," AP reports.

Peggy Noonan, who must have filed her Friday column on Wednesday morning, calls Obama a "snakebit" president and compares him to Jimmy Carter. "The president is starting to look snakebit. He's starting to look unlucky, like Jimmy Carter. It wasn't Mr. Carter's fault that the American diplomats were taken hostage in Tehran, but he handled it badly, and suffered. He defied the rule of the King in 'Pippin,' the Broadway show of Carter's era, who spoke of 'the rule that every general knows by heart, that it's smarter to be lucky than it's lucky to be smart.' Mr. Carter's opposite was Bill Clinton, on whom fortune smiled with eight years of relative peace and a worldwide economic boom. What misfortune Mr. Clinton experienced he mostly created himself. History didn't impose it."

"But Mr. Obama is starting to look unlucky, and–file this under Mysteries of Leadership–that is dangerous for him because Americans get nervous when they have a snakebit president. They want presidents on whom the sun shines."