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1/31/2009
OBAMA IS FUMBLING HIS FIRST SNAP FROM CENTER
CATEGORY: General

I did a piece last week on Obama’s first few days in office and was rightly chastised by some who thought it a bit premature to be judging the performance of a president who had been in office for so short a time.

Yeah, so bite me. Everyone else wrote about Obama’s first week too, I just got the jump on them that’s all.

Be that as it may, now it has been two weeks since The One alighted from heaven to bring peace and justice to the galaxy and we are getting a glimpse into the way the Obama White House works. I think any fair minded observer would have to be troubled by the way things are going - unless you are a conservative in which case you are probably turning handsprings. On major issues regarding competence, understanding of Congress, and opposition management, this White House is surprising a lot of people by fumbling the first snap from center and watching as the behemoths on the offensive and defensive line scramble for possession.

Forgive the football analogy but I am anticipating my yearly withdrawal from the game on Monday and want to get a head start on feeling miserable for the next 7 months until I can mainline my addiction again.

In truth, the “Stimulus Package” may be slipping under the bus - at least the package in its present incarnation. The monstrosity is loaded up with so much pork it resembles a livestock exhibition at the Iowa State Fair. Didn’t anyone at the White House actually sit down and, like, you know, read the entire 647 pages of this thing to discover what was inside? Did they really believe Republicans - and the rest of the country - would buy $100 million in Planned Parenthood pork as a way to stimulate the economy? Ditto The $7 billion for sprucing up federal facilities and the $600 million for people who don’t want to pay for cable TV but won’t be able to see The Messiah on the tube unless they are given a digital converter box so they can worship him every day.

Education monies, money for Medicare, for food stamps , and the income tax credit might be supportable - as a separate bill. None of these monies will do anything to create jobs. In fact, the Wall Street Journal informs us that around $30 billion of this lemon will go to “infrastructure improvements” with another few billion spent on cutting tax rates where they will do the most good - small and medium sized businesses that create about 80% of the new jobs in good times and bad.

Everyone knows this already so I’m not breaking any new ground. The question is why is the White House surprised that no Republicans leaped to stand by Obama’s side in the House vote and 11 Democrats jumped ship entirely? Did they really believe Obama’s PR stunt of going up to the Hill to meet with Republicans would convince anyone that this bill is anything but a gigantic payoff to Democratic constituencies for their votes last November? Only Obama sycophants and toadies on blogs and the media saw Obama’s sojourn to Capitol Hill as a “reaching out” to Republicans. The rest of us who possess more than half a brain saw it for what it was - an empty gesture aimed at his own supporters who would then trumpet “The New Politics” being pushed by their man-crush.

If as many Republicans went off the reservation to support the bill as Democrats who rejected it, we would hear no end of Obama’s “success” in splitting the Republican party. But you have to wonder how many more responsible Democrats would have bailed if this wasn’t Obama’s first big game. The point being, the Stimulus is Obama’s primal thrust, his Ur issue. And judging by what we’re seeing in the Senate, I think it is going to be dicey for the new president. I expect that bill to shrink substantially - perhaps by a couple or three hundred billion dollars. I expect more tax relief, less Mickey Mouse, and perhaps more targeted infrastructure spending.

Clearly, the White House has lost control of the process in Congress as support among the public plummets; only 42% now support the stimulus down from the mid-50’s last week. The White House PR strategy is obviously failing. Every time Obama opens his mouth about “doing something” to help the economy, someone else points to some cockamamie bit in the bill that only helps a Democratic constituency. The press, while still touting the bill as the saving of America, has also been wondering about some of these specifics.

The Administration strategy of loading up the bill with pork - trying to combine what should have been 3 or 4 bills and then counting on the fear of the people to pressure their Members of Congress to ram it through before anyone had time to digest what was in it now has to be abandoned. The rank dishonesty in plugging in so much that had nothing to do with economic recovery and then trying to say it was vital to keep us from sliding into a depression has been exposed.

What else has been exposed is a basic incompetence in the White House that they believed they could get away with it. Also, the new Administration is feeling its way in Congress - something all new Administrations must do as they work the kinks out of their whip operation and Congressional lobbying efforts. Then again, most administrations don’t have the kinds of majorities enjoyed by the Democrats.

So the stimulus will pass eventually. But Republicans should take note; this guy and his people are not the geniuses of the campaign you were so frightened of. Nor are they the infallible political operators they have been built up as in the press. They make mistakes. They miscalculate. And, they may be a touch too arrogant for their own good.

Contemplate that while you decide whether to break faith with your constituencies and vote for this piece of crap.

By: Rick Moran at 9:17 am
12 Responses to “OBAMA IS FUMBLING HIS FIRST SNAP FROM CENTER”
  1. 1
    obamathered Said:
    9:40 am 

    The best thing that could happen to Obama would be that this pork-laden fiasco languished and died in the Senate. My guess is, unfortunately for the country and its battered economy, the one-party domination of D.C. will shove through this scandalous hyper-inflation machine. The Republicans have been smart to force the Democrats to own this monstrosity. It isn’t banking on failure but merely acknowledging failure’s likelihood. While I suspect this over-reaching nonsense to lead to huge GOP mid-term congressional gains, bear in mind a Republican Congress probably would help Obama in the sense that the Democratic Far Left loons would be marginalized.

    As an American, though, it disheartens me to realize the president is an economic illiterate and all-round dumb fuck on domestic matters. This may be the result of his feel-good election on “getting out of Iraq” and not being expected to know his ass from a hole in the ground on domestic issues but this nation will suffer because of it. People who only now have noticed what a pathetic lightweight Obama is share the most blame.

    It is early and we could speculate this disaster, basically Obama’s economic Iraq, would be a one-time event. Sadly this appears to be what we can expect from his four years–eloquent ignorance and incompetence.

  2. 2
    SeniorD Said:
    9:55 am 

    Here in Wisconsin, the Democrat Party owns the Congressional Bloc. Chances that any of the people representing the State siding with anti-Democrat ideology are greater than those of Jupiter becoming a moon of Pluto. I really don’t think they owe allegiance to anyone other than Harridan Harpy Nancy, Harry the Artful Loser and the all powerful money they reap from lobbyists and their Federal paychecks.

  3. 3
    sara in va Said:
    11:47 am 

    Let’s look at this another way.

    Suppose the Democrats are so sneaky that they would intentionally load up the bill with ridiculous pork, knowing that we would balk.

    Like terrorists, they are willing to lose a first round, knowing that patience will pay off. They make a show of supporting what they know is crap, knowing that a lot will get cut, but in the end the party gets what it wanted in the first place.

    It gets two things. A big “halo” for The Messiah, because he came in, worked things out with his awesome negotiating skills, and oversaw passage of a more streamlined bill (but way too big still for conservatives; and

    More government control of business/the economy/our lives. This experienced, politically savvy bunch now running things must know they can’t get everything they want all at once. So, by appearing to compromise, they get a damn good start.

    My guess is that the Democrats/Marxists are laughing their heads off at the simplicity of the plan behind closed doors, as I post this. They KNEW they’d never get $350,000,000 for STD prevention. Come on.

  4. 4
    cdor Said:
    1:59 pm 

    Sara in va, what’s absolutely frightening is that they had no shame in proposing it to begin with. And remember, the bill haspassed the House. We are now relying on Rick’s positive assessment that the Senate will stomp it down. The best that can happen is delay, filibuster, and expose. Continue to shine the light of day as public support dwindles into the low 30% range. At that point it might be possible to develope a real stimulus bill of lower taxes and energy grid upgrades only.

    One can dream.

  5. 5
    Jim Digriz Said:
    2:38 pm 

    Sara,
    Nancy Pelosi is too stupid for such a scheme. The simple explanation is that they thought, because of Obama’s popularity, and because of the present crisis, that they would get away with it. And they may yet.

    Jim

  6. 6
    funny man Said:
    2:58 pm 

    Folks,
    I just have a few questions that I honestly don’t understand. Forget about politics for a second, not the same old Pelosi this, Obama that.
    What I understand is that a lot of people took out bad loans that they couldn’t really pay. So than some banks default because they are not getting their money. Why is this a big deal? Is the money gone or if not, who has it? I also know that the worth of money is not an equivalent of gold but ‘trust in the American economy’. Does that mean it is all virtual money? Where are all those trillions of dollars? Please help me out here before we trash all these proposals because I have the sinking feeling that neither ‘liberal’ nor ‘conservative’ economists have any idea what they are talking about.

    Much, much more complex. Banks took those loans, bundled them together, and sold them as securities to banks like Lehman and Morgan Stanley. Those biggies then bundled them into even bigger packages and sold them around the world. A market developed for them in the stratosphere of high finance and these pieces of paper were bought and sold numerous times, each profit or loss being recorded as if the damn things had actual value outside of the small market that was trading in them.

    When housing prices collapsed, the bubble burst on these mortgage backed securities. All of a sudden, you had trillions of dollars in paper that no one knew what they were worth. They sure weren’t worth what people had been trading them for.

    These are known now as “toxic assets.” I don’t understand the mechanism for trading them except it was a small change to an obscure law that allowed these securities. Passed in 1999 by a Republican Congress and signed into law by a Democratic president. In short, the libs are right for saying you can’t blame this on people who took out bad loans. That amount is a pittance compared to the amount in bad paper carried under these mortgage backed securities around the world. It might top $13 trillion dollars when the value of all bad mortgages is around $1.2 trillion.

    Basically, we have a banking system that has less than zero net worth. That’s why everyone is so afraid we will have a depression.

    ed.

  7. 7
    Is Obama Displaying Incompetence? « Pinged With:
    3:50 pm 

    [...] Obama Displaying Incompetence? Rick Moran thinks so. On major issues regarding competence, understanding of Congress, and opposition [...]

  8. 8
    Chris Said:
    7:32 pm 

    I have never understood the urgency to act that is being communicated by the White House. Bush did this and so is Obama. We have already seen that dumping money into this blackhole doesn’t solve the problem. It delays the inevitable for a short time. Actual thought and work to solving the problems takes time. The panic reaction has gotten us nowhere.

    Obama wants this big bill to demonstrate his leadership ability, for people to know “I won”. To his advantage, Obama has the same Congress that knows no other solutions other than to throw money at the problem.

    The bill is attractive to Democrats because it has all of their dream programs. The problem is it clearly will not work as you have pointed out. Currently they are operating like a monkey with a hand in the cookie jar. They have a handful of cookies but the hole in the jar is too small to get their stuffed hands out.

  9. 9
    Gaia's Child Said:
    11:31 pm 

    There is no way that I can defend the stimulus bill that passed in the house. I agree it is loaded with pork. I hope that it is streamlined in the Senate and I believe that it will be. Also, as a democrat, I hope that Obama learns from this fisaco. If he is going to try to govern as a centerist then he is going to have to fight the left wing of his own party.

  10. 10
    funny man Said:
    12:44 am 

    Rick,
    thanks for clarifying. Truth be told, this sounds rather Kafkaesque. So people played around with securities that they thought had worth but then they didn’t. However, some people made some really good money, didn’t they? You did a good job though to convince me we are in quite a mess. At least plenty of stuff for future novelists; does that also fall under stimulus package?

  11. 11
    obamathered Said:
    1:19 am 

    Oh, Chris. The urgency is predicated on the ability of folks to read. Dems hate that literarcy shit, and Exhibit 1 is their public education system.

  12. 12
    Postagoras Said:
    1:17 pm 

    I did a piece last week on Obama’s first few days in office and was rightly chastised by some who thought it a bit premature to be judging the performance of a president who had been in office for so short a time.

    Yeah, so bite me.

    I’m getting the notion that this is not one of your “high minded” essays.

    In truth, the “Stimulus Package” may be slipping under the bus – at least the package in its present incarnation.

    Well duh. The Democratic majority in the House crafted a bill, and so did the Democratic majority in the Senate. The House passes a bill, the Senate passes a bill, and then it goes to committee for reconciliation. The President, meanwhile, is triangulating between all the parties, including (gasp!) the Republicans. This is not throwing it under the bus… this is how Congress works, for better or for worse. I guess you have an issue regarding understanding of Congress.

    Clearly, the White House has lost control of the process in Congress as support among the public plummets; only 42% now support the stimulus down from the mid-50’s last week. The White House PR strategy is obviously failing.

    Sorry, Rick, but you have no clue as to what the White House strategy is. You see a bill that you think is bad, and I agree… it’s larded up with unnecessary stuff. And it’s the kind of bill that is easy to demagogue against… there’s something in it for EVERYONE to hate. Now, if President Obama is stupid, then he will use up all his Bully Pulpit chits on getting it passed just the way that Pelosi and Reid want it. But maybe, just maybe, that’s NOT his goal.

    I agree that “the new Administration is feeling its way in Congress.” But having a Democratic majority and a Democratic President does not mean that they will be anywhere CLOSE to lockstep.

    Sorry if this comment was too high-minded. I know that you get annoyed if the comments don’t match the tone of your post. I tried.

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