E. J. Dionne, Jr. in The New Republic:
President-elect Barack Obama has now made three things clear about his plans to bring the economy back: He wants his actions to be big and bold. He sees economic recovery as intimately linked with economic and social reform. And he is bringing in a gifted brain trust to get the job done.
Just three weeks after Election Day, Obama has already expanded his authority by seizing on “an economic crisis of historic proportions,” as he described it on Monday, to call for a stimulus package that will dwarf in size anything ever attempted by the federal government.
But Obama is also using the crisis to make the case for larger structural reforms in health care, energy and education — “to lay the groundwork for long-term, sustained economic growth,” as he put it. Obama clearly views the economic downturn not as an impediment to the broadly progressive program he outlined during the campaign but as an opportunity for a round of unprecedented social legislation.