Barack Obama, M.D.

On the diagnosis and treatment of the newly-discovered memory disorder romnesia.

On the diagnosis and treatment of romnesia, a newly identified memory disorder.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

4 thoughts on “Barack Obama, M.D.”

  1. Pretty good. Starting to go somewhere with a bit of light-hearted rhetoric.

    One line that I wish he had said last night at the Al Smith dinner: “Gov. Romney keeps talking about his experience in small business, but he never brewed a drop of anything worth drinking.”

    1. At the 1960 Al Smith dinner, Kennedy joked that he wished he and Nixon could have gone to the Herbert Hoover dinner. (Yes, I do think this is relevant. No, I do not think I am being self-indulgent. Both jokes are similar in that they link the Republican opponent to his religion which is different from the behavior of the Democrat telling the joke, and, on a more removed level, raise interesting, if mildly self-indulgent, questions about the relationship of Catholicism to American conservatism.)

  2. My reading of the campaign has been that Obama’s team hasn’t gone after Romney as a flip-flopper because they judged it wouldn’t get traction.
    If we assume that’s true, then Romney’s reversals are a bit of stone unturned and a stone unthrown.

    In Debate 2 some of Obama’s most effective moments came when read from what Chait has called Romney’s “greatest hits from the Republican primaries”.
    In fact Obama even unleashed the “he was for it before he was against it” trope and said “you’ve got to be consistent”.
    That is all wonderful. It’s fresh. It’s telling. I suspect it is the theme to the finish line.

    1. Yeah, this Obama guy knows about pacing.

      In the post-GOP primary, pre-debate period, we were all expecting Etch-a-Sketch to move to the center, and he didn’t. Obama hit it right by going after him for being an out of touch plutocrat and severe conservative who did not really care about the middle class or women. If he had gone for the flip-flopper, he could have convinced some affluent sort of liberal people that it will be OK to vote for Romney because he’s just saying all that conservative stuff to get the tea-vangelical vote. And I know a few people are still clinging to that line, to justify voting for Romney because he won’t raise their taxes (and they can, like, create jobs and stuff by having their kitchen remodeled), but I think it would be worse had Obama deployed Flip-Flopper during Romney’s rightward sub-3 marathon.

      So the final stretch is going to be -who is this guy, what does he really stand for, why won’t he tell us, and how can we possibly know what he is going to do?

      I do remember that W, who I really could not stand, had a stunningly sincere (sounding) and very effective moment during his otherwise train-wreckish 2004 debate stretch. He closed with something like “You know who I am, you know what I believe, and even when you don’t agree with me, you know what I’ll do”. Expect President Obama to show us how an articulate person can deliver that line.

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