President Barack Obama used the rollout of his budget Monday to tout aid for community colleges — a minuscule slice of his $3.8 trillion plan but one aimed at the young people who hold outsized importance in his reelection.

The introduction of his spending blueprint showed both the practicalities of creating a budget in an election year and the narrow political space that Obama occupies.

He doesn’t have the dollars or the muscle to elbow his ultimate wish list of progressive ideas through Congress — not at a time when Republicans, who control the House, remain intent on slashing government spending and blocking his agenda.

So instead of offering a transformational vision for the nation, Obama made a nod to deficit reduction and then focused on smaller — but still progressive-sounding — morsels that will appeal to his base.

Continue reading →