“The cornerstone of what could turn out to be one of the most extraordinary two-term presidencies in American history”

Super read from the NYT about the place of Barack Obama and Obamacare in our history.

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What the Supreme Court’s decision does do is preserve Mr. Obama’s status as the president who did more to expand the nation’s safety net than any since Johnson. It preserves a bill intended to push back against rapidly rising income inequality. And for a self-consciously historic figure, it allows Mr. Obama to argue that he has delivered on the most cherished goal of his 2008 campaign: “Change we can believe in.”

“Historians will compare this to F.D.R.’s Social Security and Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare,” said the historian Robert Dallek, who has written about both presidents. “This is another step in humanizing the American industrial system.”

In political terms, said Douglas G. Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University, “It’s the cornerstone of what could turn out to be one of the most extraordinary two-term presidencies in American history.”

Beyond his legislative agenda — not just on health care, but on education and Wall Street regulation — Mr. Obama has sketched out a view of government as a force for good, a great leveler and a protector of the middle class. That view stands in stark contrast to the Republican mantra, articulated by Reagan, who headed in the opposite direction in his first inaugural address, saying that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

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