Mr. Obama repeated on Saturday that his first priority would be an economic recovery program to get the nation’s business system back on track and people back to work. But advisers said the question was whether they could tackle health care, climate change and energy independence at once or needed to stagger these initiatives over time.
The debate between a big-bang strategy of pressing aggressively on multiple fronts versus a more pragmatic, step-by-step approach has flavored the discussion among Mr. Obama’s transition advisers for months, even before his election. The tension between these strategies has been a recurring theme in the memorandums prepared for him on various issues, advisers said.
“Every president is tempted to take on too much,” said one Obama adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “On the other hand, there’s the Roosevelt example and the L.B.J. example, which suggest an extraordinary president can do an awful lot. So that’s the question: Is it too risky for the president to be ambitious?”
Judging by the rhetoric coming from Pelosi and Obama himself, you'd think any internal debate was about whether to do anything at all, rather than how aggressively they should move. Coupled with their talk about undoing some of Bush's executive orders, Obama might just get things back to when the country worked -- worked in several senses of the word.