During the election campaign, Barack Obama appealed to Martin Luther King’s “fierce urgency of now” in support of his improbable candidacy. Now that Mr Obama is in office, voters are discovering what he meant by it.
Thursday’s 10-year budget document breaks pretty much every political rule in the book. By asking Congress to enact healthcare reform and an economy-wide carbon cap and trade system within two years, Mr Obama is attempting to pull off two feats that have eluded his Democratic predecessors. But the document is even more ambitious than that. By asking Congress to approve his core campaign promises at a time when the budget deficit has more than tripled in the space of a year to a post-second world war record and when the global financial system is in meltdown, Mr Obama is gambling that Americans will see this crisis the same way as he does – as an opportunity to remake America.