The Obama presidency has started off in a whirlwind. It has been a headlong rush. This is not small-bite politics. This is not school uniforms.
With hardly a pause to take a deep breath, Barack Obama has presented an economic recovery plan, a bailout plan, a budget and a major foreign policy address.
All have been bold. But people who were surprised by that boldness have not been paying attention.
It was just a little more than two years ago, on a very cold day in Springfield, Ill., that Obama announced for the presidency by saying he was running "not just to hold an office but to gather with you to transform a nation."
And in his first few weeks in office, he has been practicing transformative politics. Without apology. Some of this has been forced upon him. Faced with the collapse of the economy, he could hardly afford to be timid in his response.
But making far-reaching changes in health care, education and energy policy in this nation is something he promised from the very beginning.
In his radio address last Saturday, Obama said: "I didn't come here to do the same thing we've been doing or to take small steps forward." He said he came to Washington "to provide the sweeping change that this country demanded when it went to the polls in November."
Nobody can say they were sold a pig in a poke. The differences between Obama and his agenda and John McCain and his agenda were very clear.
Obama never promised small government. He never promised tax breaks for the wealthy.
He promised to do big, sweeping, transformative things and if it is going to take big, sweeping, transformative government to do that, well, that was part of the deal.
And there is no reason for him to wait. His popularity is high and his opposition is in disarray.
Michael Steele, who holds the title of chairman of the Republican National Committee, is understandably miffed at Limbaugh these days. Everybody knows Rush, but who knows Steele? "Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer; Rush Limbaugh's whole thing is entertainment," Steele sniffed to CNN over the weekend.
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel thinks it is more than that. As Emanuel said Sunday on "Face the Nation With Bob Schieffer," Limbaugh "is the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party."
Limbaugh would not disagree. He has a clear vision of America. And in his one-hour-and-15-minute speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, he outlined it.
"So here we have two systems," Limbaugh said. "We have socialism, collectivism, Stalin, whatever you want to call it, versus capitalism."
And that's it. Obama and the Democrats represent Stalin, and Limbaugh and the Republicans represent capitalism. Take your pick.
But doesn't it make you kind of wonder why the American people picked Obama and the Democrats last November?
How did that happen, exactly? Was it mass hypnosis? Were we bewitched?
Or were we just tired of the endless hyperpartisanship, the endless name calling, the endless demonizing of the opposition to "energize the base" and the endless refusal to develop real solutions to real problems?
Yeah, that could be it.