One after another, Obamagaffes just keep coming. Two, sometimes three times a day, we are witness to the fruits of electing someone president who quite simply, had no business running for the office in the first place.
I’m tired of writing about it except that it sets up my prescient and trenchant analysis directed at our good friends on the left:
I told ya so.
I hate to say it but we have got to find a way to right the ship at the White House. History has reached out and tapped this novice on the shoulder at a time when there is real danger his bungling will result in a catastrophic economic collapse as bad as the worst in our history.
Many historians believe that the Panic of 1837 (a speculative boom to bust combined with an inflationary crisis) was even worse than the Depresssion in the 1930’s. One third of all banks in the US failed. For different reasons, we are looking at a similar crisis today in the financial markets. It is not likely that we will see 1/3 of all banks in the country go under. But unless our unsteady and clueless Treasury Secretary can get his act together - and quickly - the dominoes will begin to topple, starting with giants like Citibank, working its way down to powerful regional banks like Fifth Third.
The idea of building up anticipation for the announcement of a plan to deal with this crisis as the White House did all last weekend and then first, delaying the announcment a day and then sending out Geithner with not much of a plan at all is shocking. Didn’t the bozos at the White House have any clue that the markets were on tenterhooks waiting for this plan? When nothing much materialized, many concluded that the White House and their financial wunderkind Geithner were stymied. They didn’t know how to solve the crisis and were fumbling around in the dark, trying to figure out what to do. The markets reacted accordingly and here we are, three days out from Geithner’s “deer in headlights” appearance before Congress where he was actually laughed at by members and Congressional staffs, and we still haven’t fleshed out many details of how this “plan” is going to work , how much it will cost the taxpayer, which banks will get more cash, which will be lucky enough to have toxic assets removed from their balance sheets, and on and on into the darkness.
We know that bank executives will have their salaries set by the Treasury Department, though so that’s something. Congratulations to Geithner and his boss for concentrating on the real important stuff like playing the class warfare game by sticking it to the rich bankers.
They’ve screwed up monumentally on the big stuff like the “Financial Stability Act” that no one knows how it will work as well as the stimulus bill that even if you believe we need to spend every dime of it, one must be concerned that this 1500 page monster of a bill will never be read in its entirety because the Democrats and the White House refuse to publish it and there isn’t enough time to read it and study it anyway.
The frightening fact that this reveals is that these guys aren’t really that smart after all. For all the talk of a “team of rivals” and the brilliance of our president and his people, the truth is a lot more prosaic; they have proven themselves to be as incompetent and thick headed as Bush ever was. Personnel problems the likes we have never seen with Judd Gregg the latest colossal blunder. Obama’s promise that if the stim bill passes, the head of Caterpillar will rehire some people has been revealed to be a lie or wishful thinking on the part of the president when the CEO - a supporter of the president - contradicted his optimistic rhetoric.
Then there’s the aggrandizing of power within the White House, marginalizing the Secretary of State and the bureaucracy. The last president that tried this? Nixon. And he was roundly criticized when it turned out the State Department never knew what the White House was doing behind its back. This led to some comical foreign policy blunders including the temporary derailment of our rapproachment with China. One could add the politicizing of the census, a tiff with the military over Iraq that had the president retreating from his campaign rhetoric about withdrawal, a rambling, disjointed press conference that resembled a question and answer session between 3rd graders and their teacher, and the general feeling emenating from the administration that no one is in charge.
All of this would be enough Obamagaffes for one term and yet we are barely 3 weeks into his presidency.
It’s time to call in some wiser heads. Obama would hate it but utilizing Bill Clinton’s knowledge and experience would probably help a great deal. Clinton, was if nothing else, a competent manager of the executive branch. One of the problems right now is that the Obama people still think they’re in Chicago. They were absolutely tone deaf to the tax problems of Geithner and Daschle as well as being blissfully ignorant of the impact that Bill Richardson’s real troubles with the law might have. Clinton might be of great help in fixing their broken personnel operation; no more lobbyists and find honest people who know what they’re doing.
Obama has done well in calling in some of the other Democratic graybeards like George Mitchell and Ambassador Holbrooke. Perhaps he can expand that list to include some other old Clinton hands. Not permanent hires but people he can call on to guide him through the maze that is Washington. God knows, we need this White House to get its act together and fast. Otherwise, Obama is going to have the shortest honeymoon in history. And there are so many challenges ahead that getting things right now is vital to his - and our - future success.
Right now, his party is still united behind him and the American people seem willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But continuing to stumble and stagger around will cause people to lose confidence in him in a hurry. Democrats, a notoriously fractious and disunited bunch ordinarily, might return to their old ways if Obama proves not up to the job.
And if, despite all his rhetoric about his stimulus bill saving the day, the economy really begins to tank, the American people will desert him faster than you can say “Hope and Change.”