February 10, 2009

"Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?"

The Financial Times asks a question that maybe you too were thinking.

92 comments:

1jpb said...

Savage is pushing this FT piece too.

Revenant said...

I guess that depends on how you define success.

Neither the President nor the Congress has the power to fend off, or even shorten, a recession. The government can screw up the economy, but it can't fix it. It has to fix itself; that's how these things work. So I don't blame Obama for the stock market collapse or the nasty recession we're going into. I don't blame Bush, either.

Now, do I think Obama's plans will make things dramatically worse for the country? Certainly. But I'm not sure if you can call that "failure", since he'll be making things worse by doing what he said he'd do. If you promise to pay off your supporters with money you've borrowed or taxed from the productive classes, and then actually DO it, is that "failure" just because the country as a whole ends up poorer afterwards?

Henry said...

I give him until he signs the porkopolis bill. If something kills it in conference, he gets another try.

Host with the Most said...

What rev said.

And frankly, this conservative isn't mad at Obama. But I fear it's beginning to look as though he is in over his head. How sad.

veni vidi vici said...

I think it's a little early for post-mortems on the Obama presidency.

That said, I'd like to believe, in my most cynical of hearts, that the Dems have bloated this thing so much in part to cue it up for a big fat veto by Obama, who will say, "I promised smarter gov't, a new way of doing things, and blah blah blah this is just more of the same-old; Congress, let's do what the people elected us for, and make some truly great legislation to head off this economic crisis -- we can get to the other spending later when we're over the hump."

He would have 90+ percent approval ratings immediately if that were to occur.

Unfortunately, I'm growing more convinced that my initial impression, that we are watching the "amateur hour" we elected, is more likely true.

Daryl said...

YES.

It is a failed presidency.

First, the pathetic sideshow of his nominees' tax problems.

Second, he campaigned on Paygo and a $187M stimulus. Now he's going nuts with deficit spending and a stimulus six times as large.

Third, he's on track to destroy every good thing that Bill Clinton did in the White House (free trade, welfare reform, responsible spending)

His popularity is cratering--he's lost more than 10 points in a week.

And he hates white people. Why else would he fail to provide relief to Kentucky?

The free pass is over Barack. You will be held accountable for your lies, false promises about being a moderate, incompetent appointments, spiteful refusals to help a state in need, and irresponsible extreme left agenda. You will be held accountable. Your toadies in Congress will be held accountable. Republicans are coming back in 2010, in a big way.

Because YOU FAILED. You're the worst president ever. And we can already tell, in just two weeks.

God save us from Obama's power grabs and crisis-mongering. He wants a never-ending crisis to expand his own power over our economy, our government, and our lives.

RESIGN, Mister Obama.

1jpb said...

Daryl,

Is your real name Joe, as in Joe Biden?

Henry said...

Rev, good words.

People forget how clueless and unpopular Bill Clinton was his first two years. The difference is that Obama asked for a 800 trillion dollar dead albatross around his neck in his first month. He's defining his presidency before he has any idea what he's doing.

That said, a lot can happen. Maybe a year or two from now he comes through on something completely different. Maybe, like Clinton, a Republican Congress will make him negotiate toward the bills that make him a success.

Dudley Do-right said...

One man's failure might be another man's success. By other measures, Obama might be wildly succeeding.

Whose measures?
Those who hate America.

Somewhere, at this very moment, people might be standing under a picture of the "One", laughing, smiling, high-fiving and saying, "I love it when a plan comes together."

fcai said...

Yep, failed just like that. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving empty suit.

Walt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason (the commenter) said...

My neighbor was a big Obama supporter and had four Obama banners hanging off his porch since before the election. Today those banners came down. His Christmas lights from two years ago are still up.

On the other hand, conservatives seems energized. Rush Limbaugh has Obama's anti-endorsement and elected Republican officials are finally standing together and showing some backbone.

Dampening the enthusiasm of your supporters and strengthening the will of your enemies. If that's not failure, it's the recipe for failure.

Revenant said...

And frankly, this conservative isn't mad at Obama.

I'm not mad at him either. He's doing pretty much what I figured he'd do.

The people I *am* mad at are those swing voters who voted for the silly son of a bitch and now have the nerve to act surprised at the way he's behaving. People, if you're that freakin' clueless do us all a huge favor and quit voting, ok? The grown-ups are trying to run a country here.

somefeller said...

I'm sure there were similar pieces early in FDR's term, or that of Reagan, for that matter. Nonsense then, and nonsense now. Anyone who claims that a presidency can be judged a success or failure in its first month is trying to sell you something - either in terms of ideology or newspapers.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

For me, success is achievement of goals. Failure, obviously, is not achieving them. Before you can talk about success or failure, you have to define what the goals were and are.

If the goal is to get through the 4 years of the (first?) Obama term with the country intact, we can't determine the success/failure yet. In fact, the only success/failure we can determine is whatever goals were to have been reached this quickly. No one expected him to fix the economy in the first month, right? But the appointments of the tarnished usual suspects ... that's a failure if his goal was to have an unprecedentedly ethical administration.

The presidency can't be a success or a failure yet unless the entire presidency is wrapped up in the first 3 weeks or so.

MadisonMan said...

somefeller, you wrote it more succinctly than I would have. Thank you.

Sofa King said...

Who was it that said that "politics is the art of defending the indefensible?" Kissinger?

Anyway, it's true. It's almost always easier to play offense in politics than defense, but when your party owns Washington, the only game you can play is defense. Democrats forgot how much it sucks and Republicans are realizing what a hell it really was and feeling rather as elated as Atlas, passing off his load to someone else for the first time in a long while.

Michael said...

"Savage is pushing this FT piece too."

Then it must be true.

*I thought nobody here listened to Savage?

Obama has been President for about 20 days. What kind of creepy people are you?

Michael said...

Rev: "I'm not mad at him either. He's doing pretty much what I figured he'd do."

He's been President for 20 days.

Michael said...

Sorry, my bad: 22 days.

Jason (the commenter) said...

somefeller: "I'm sure there were similar pieces early in FDR's term, or that of Reagan, for that matter."

Those aren't good examples I'm afraid. FDR was famous for how well his first hundred days went. And Reagan got shot early on (which made him more popular).

If you look at the news stories that have been coming out people in his own party aren't respecting Obama. Ordinary people are having problems understanding what he is saying at press conferences and even professionals are having problems understanding what his policies are.

Maybe we have to wait until the end of his term to judge. Maybe we have to let history be the judge (as Bush would say). But right now, right here, things don't look good for Obama.

Beth said...

This is idiocy.

1jpb said...

Revenant,

Aren't there some polls showing BHO is popular? For example, CNN had him at 76% approval.

And, looking at the Recovery Plan specifically; Gallup had BHO up, and Rs down.

I know there was a time when the R message on the recovery plan was getting through, but that was before BHO made an effort, and it was when all (except MSNBC) cable channels were massively giving more air time to R politicians rather than Ds, as a bar graph at Think Progress effectively and simply expressed.

But, whatever. I should just get out the way--this thread was filling up w/ some great echo chamber chit chat. Carry on.

I see that Michael's come to check y'all. That's ok too.

1jpb said...

Michael,

I listen to Savage for the same reason I like reading threads filled w/ conservatives not fully in touch w/ reality.

They're funny!!

JSF said...

Michael,

You never answered the challenge in the Fordification post. You can't claim respect without offering it in return.

Between 2003 and 2007, did you? Provide links and you get $50 into your PayPal.

If not, STFU.

somefeller said...

Jason - I'm pretty confident that the Liberty League crowd in the 1930s didn't say good things about FDR's Hundred Days at the time, despite the fact he got a lot accomplished during that time. And as far as Reagan goes, that's a good point about how the attempt on his life affected his popularity, but let's also remember that during the recession of 1981-1982, there was a lot of talk in liberal circles about how easy it would be to beat Reagan in 1984. I'm betting the anti-Obama conservatives of this era have a lot more in common with the naysayers of those eras than the winners.

Plus, as others have pointed out, Obama is riding pretty high in the polls. The people talking about failure are very much in the minority, so the talk about him being abandoned by the people that voted him in is, to put it mildly, premature.

Palladian said...

"I listen to Savage for the same reason I like reading threads filled w/ conservatives not fully in touch w/ reality."

Does "in touch with reality" mean having Obama's cock up your ass and Barney Frank's ass pressed against your lips? Cause that's what it seems like.

Haha. I remember when you used to claim you were a "conservative".

Randy said...

Revenant's second paragaph in his first comment strikes me as an astute observation that politicians of both parties, and their minions, prefer to ignore.

While Somefeller's response to the question is excellent, I prefer Beth's.

Randy said...

I remember when you used to claim you were a "conservative".

And I remember when you used to have a semblance of manners.

Psychedelic George said...

Eerie times.

The vice-president, a fool; the secretary-of-state, discarded; a distant war that has no end; the market falls; crooked courtiers; the young king hits his head.

All the makings of good theatre and bad reality.

1jpb said...

Palladian,

I (barely) remember that too, hard to believe that it wasn't really that long ago (approximately five years) when I was railing against WJC. Seems like Revenant may be wrong about all these regretful swing voters if I'm any measure. I can't run away from the Rs fast enough.

P.S.

Full disclosure, it is painful for me to listen to liberal radio. They clearly have the echo chamber thing going on too. You have not suffered left wing radio if you think BHO is as bad as them.

P.P.S.

Sometimes I can take a little Rhodes. Every now and then she will pull out some interesting thinking or facts.

former law student said...

Obama's too optimistic. The FT points out the realistic view of the situation:

Under the second view, a sizeable proportion of financial institutions are insolvent: their assets are, under plausible assumptions, worth less than their liabilities. The International Monetary Fund argues that potential losses on US-originated credit assets alone are now $2,200bn (€1,700bn, £1,500bn), up from $1,400bn just last October. This is almost identical to the latest estimates from Goldman Sachs. In recent comments to the Financial Times, Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor and the Stern School of New York University estimates peak losses on US-generated assets at $3,600bn. Fortunately for the US, half of these losses will fall abroad. But, the rest of the world will strike back: as the world economy implodes, huge losses abroad – on sovereign, housing and corporate debt – will surely fall on US institutions, with dire effects.

And how did things become so dire? Nouriel Roubini has the answer -- insufficient government regulation:

the Anglo-Saxon model of supervision and regulation of the financial system has failed.

It relied on self-regulation that, in effect, meant no regulation; on market discipline that does not exist when there is euphoria and irrational exuberance; on internal risk management models that fail because – as a former chief executive of Citi put it – when the music is playing you gotta stand up and dance.

Furthermore, the self-regulation approach created rating agencies that had massive conflicts of interest and a supervisory system dependent on principles rather than rules.


What does this mean for our country?

the role of the US as the leading global economic, financial and even geo-strategic superpower is reduced.

Even without this crisis, the relative and absolute power of the US would have been reduced by the rise of the fast growing economies of Brazil, Russia India and China and by the emergence of the European Union.

But the policy mistakes of the US that perpetuated twin fiscal and current account deficits and triggered the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression has accelerated this shift in the economic and financial power balance of the world.


Thanks, Bush!

Sofa King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

"And I remember when you used to have a semblance of manners."

Obviously you have a faulty memory, Randy, my fainting violet. I've never had any semblance of manners towards those who don't deserve such niceties.

Revenant said...

Rev: "I'm not mad at him either. He's doing pretty much what I figured he'd do."

He's been President for 20 days.

What can I say, the guy works fast. :)

Michael said...

JFS: "
You never answered the challenge in the Fordification post. You can't claim respect without offering it in return."

Can you expand on that?

Michael said...

REV - You're unpatriotic.

Michael said...

Psychedelic George - Yeah, if only we could return to the wonder Bush years.

Duh.

Revenant said...

"But the policy mistakes of the US that perpetuated twin fiscal and current account deficits and triggered the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression has accelerated this shift in the economic and financial power balance of the world."

Thanks, Bush!

I knew you were an idiot, but I was almost certain you knew how to read.

Roubini didn't blame Bush. Bush wasn't even mentioned once in the interview. This is because Roubini, unlike you, actually knows something about the financial world. The things he finds problematic about our financial system date back decades; some of them, like the aforementioned rating agencies with "massive conflicts of interest" created by the "self-regulation approach", are a century old. He isn't indicting some recent shift in policy, he's indicting the way we've been doing things since before anyone here was even born.

What Roubini *does* blame is US policies that have been in place for decades. Specifically, running huge fiscal and current-account deficits. Every President since Kennedy -- yes, even Saint Bill of Clinton -- has left office with the federal debt larger than it was when he entered office. Obama and the Democratic Congress are continuing this policy mistake, making no effort to balance the budget even if you don't count boondoggles like the stimulus package.

JSF said...

I never thought I was talking to an idiot -- I guess I am.

In simplist terms: You cannot ask, unreservadly, for support of a Democratic president if you didn't make an effort of being civil to a Republican one.

From 2003 - 2007, you have posted on here. Were you civil to President Bush? yes or no. if you were, I am happy with seeing two comments, non-sarcastic, non-petty comments. No parsing. No "buts" Just a civil statement.

And of couse, please link.

If you can find two comments on the Althouse Blog as either Michael or Luckeyoldson, then fine, you can ask for support.

If you could not write any civil statements in support of President Bush, you have no standing to ask Conservatives or republicans to do the same.

I highly doubt you will take the challenge. Care to prove me wrong?

AJ Lynch said...

If it were a baseball game, the band just finished playing the national anthem. So yes it is way too early to judge.

Obama has had quite a rocky start when you consider he wasted the 90 days post-election when he should have crafted a pork-free & sensible stimulus.

Now, with that strike against him, his support could collapse quickly if he does not buckle down and get 2 or 3 things going in the right direction.

AJ Lynch said...

Michael or Lucy has been Rejected! How'd that leather sandwich taste deutchbag?

Michael said...

JSF said..."I never thought I was talking to an idiot -- I guess I am. In simplist terms: You cannot ask, unreservadly, for support of a Democratic president if you didn't make an effort of being civil to a Republican one."

First of all, I always enjoy people who try to represent themselves as some kind of intellectually inclined individual, yet still resort to unsavory name calling when attempting to make their point.

Second, I've never asked "...unreservadly, for support of a Democratic president..."

I merely think Obama deserve some time to do what he can do. Bush had 8 years to handle the job and failed miserably in almost every respect, hence one of the lowest approval ratings of any Presedent...ever.

As for Obama...22 days is not a reasonable period of time to begin evaluating his performance.

It's nothing more than wingnuts whining.

P.S. Can you say...spell checker?

Michael said...

AJ Lynch - Witless as usual.

A leather sandwich?

JSF said...

Michael,

Those are just words -- you want civility to your President, show us how you returned the favor.

It is not that hard.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama is a coaster. He gets a new job and he coasts. He never makes an impact in a job, leaves no fingerprints that he was even there. He writes no bills, has no new ideas or themes. Oh sure he makes a good speech here or there. But he basically coasts. God Bless him- I am jealous of peole like him.

When I got a new job, I busted my balls, worked my ass off to make an impact, show I was worthy,and maybe earn a promotion someday. That is the opposite of a coaster. Much as I disagree and dislike Bill Clinton, he was not a coaster.

Obama needs to work on that. We can't afford a coaster in the White House. Not now.

Synova said...

I think the question is stupid.

I think it's every bit as stupid as I thought it was every time I heard the phrase attributed to Bush. "The failed presidency of George Bush". It made no sense then and it makes no sense now.

EnigmatiCore said...

"The people I *am* mad at are those swing voters who voted for the silly son of a bitch and now have the nerve to act surprised at the way he's behaving"

I am less mad at those who voted for him (hell, I considered doing so) and are acting surprised than I am at those who voted for him and are NOT acting surprised.

Those people are the ones who really are head-scratchers.

PatCA said...

Maybe it's failed...or headed to failure with this "win" on the porkulus.

Anyway, we will get our financial Armageddon over with early, then can begin rebuilding.

Synova said...

That said... I anticipate that we're going to have to get someone capable of cleaning up his messes.

But that's not the same thing.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Some fool tried to push this same idea on The Corner last week. Yawn. I'm surprised they bothered to wait this long and didn't just start vomiting up these "columns" while Michelle and Barack were dancing in front of Beyonce.

Bruce Hayden said...

It hasn't failed - yet. But I will be surprised if President Obama is remembered as more than mediocre.

What we are getting with the president is what many of us on the right were expecting all along, a Chicago machine politician whose idea of something new is a repeat of the 1930s. Of course his appointees are ethically challenged - President Obama grew up politically in Chicago and its machine. It is only surprising that so many are surprised at the reality. And his idea of bipartisanship is brokering the left and center of the Democratic party. He probably never met a conservative until he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and still thinks they have two heads.

Michael said...

JSF said..."Michael, Those are just words..."

No kidding?

Synova said..."I think the question is stupid. I think it's every bit as stupid as I thought it was every time I heard the phrase attributed to Bush. "The failed presidency of George Bush". It made no sense then and it makes no sense now."

It makes one hell of a lot more sense than "Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?"

Bush was President for 8 years. Obama for 22 days.

Michael said...

Bruce Hayden said..."It hasn't failed - yet. But I will be surprised if President Obama is remembered as more than mediocre."

And you base this on his first 22 days??

Are you daft?

JSF said...

Let's clarify:

I offer $50 if Michael/Luckey could show how he was civil to a President he did not like.

He questions everything, shows nothing.

He expects support, when he refused to give support.

Michael is the type of person to steal from a store because he didn't like their customer service. But when his friends run the same store, he denies he ever stole.

Two comments. From anywhere on Althouse. And he is scared to find them. His words mean nothing.

he has no standing to ask for support for President Obama. AlphaLiberal and others can, Michael cannot.

former law student said...

Roubini didn't blame Bush. Bush wasn't even mentioned once in the interview.

Roubini didn't have to. Bush's fingerprints are all over both the fiscal deficit and the current account deficit. From a Brookings Institute study (from 2004):

The turnaround in the United States fiscal position has been dramatic (see chart 1). In January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office projected a decade on-budget surplus 2(2002–2011) of US$3.1 trillion. In August this year the decade long on-budget deficit was projected to be
US$3.8 trillion (2004–2013).

Three things explain this turnaround in the fiscal position: the downturn in the economy; legislated tax cuts introduced by President George W.
Bush; and extra spending, largely due to the war on terrorism.


This chart shows how our average current account deficit under Bush is three times the current account deficit under Clinton. Of course, we historically had a current account surplus through 1980, when the Great Spender took office.

http://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2009/1/28/saupload_presentation1.jpg

LutherM said...

It's been less than a month - it's not a failed presidency YET, but
vox populi, vox dei ?
Once in a while, dei seems to get a bit confused.
In Great Britain, Stanley Baldwin was followed by Neville Chamberlain, when Winston Churchill would have been the better choice.
In the United States, Franklin Pierce was followed by James Buchanan - we had to wait for Lincoln.
Now we have George W. (nuculur) Bush followed by Barack (Ethelred) Obama.
I think it was Aristotle, in Politics, who wrote "Well begun is half done".
Barack (Ethelred) surely hasn't started well - in three years, we could look back at the current mistakes and compare them to the repeated mediocrity they foreshadowed.
But that brings up another Aristotle quote, (this time from Nichomachean Ethics), "One swallow does not make a summer".
In the Episcopal Church service, one of the prayers is for (among others) the President.
It could get better.

Synova said...

It doesn't apply to Obama or Bush, Michael, because it's an invalid paradigm. There isn't a minimum standard or a way to define failure or success.

It's sort of a little bit like the qualifications for the office of president itself which are only getting elected. We can *say* that so-and-so isn't qualified, but words don't make it so.

Alex said...

To Michael - how DARE you question my patriotism? Fucker.

Alex said...

In my Sunday prayer group(I'm an atheist), I'll be praying that Barack the magic Negro fails.

blake said...

I'm not sure about that Synova.

In our system, it seems like "failure" begins when the President's political capital is expended, and he can no longer operate. So he's left with the legacy he created to that point.

Bush spent all his on Iraq, and couldn't get Social Security reform or--e.g., reform of Fannie and Freddie.

So, if Obama spent all his on this bill, this would end up being his legacy and his success or failure would be judged based on that.

I mean, say this bill actually were a financially savvy way to "jump start" the economy, but Obama were unable to do anything else, we'd say he had a successful Presidency. Conversely, if it failed, we'd say his Presidency is a failure.

Of course, it's never that simple and it seems a little hyperbolic to suggest that this will deplete all of BHO's political capital, but I think it's not inherently invalid.

I suspect it's more wishful thinking than anything! ("OMG! I can't believe Obama's pushing this POS bill! It's over for him!")

Synova said...

I think that a President can fail at one thing or another (or even practically everything) but that's a different sort of fail than failing the office itself.

I think this stimulous bill is likely just as bad as the worst predictions.

I think that Obama has done nothing to feel confident about in foreign policy yet, but could pull it out later.

The presidency failing precludes any area of success and I don't buy it. I think it was an accusation used by Bush haters to deny any success. (And also their own bad behavior, and an excuse for not doing anything constructive whatsoever.) No specific support to what had "failed" was necessary because the *presidency* itself was a failure.

If Obama does nothing but successfully warm the oval office chair, that won't be true.

Revenant said...

I suspect it's more wishful thinking than anything! ("OMG! I can't believe Obama's pushing this POS bill! It's over for him!")

I have thought for a long time now that it was "all over" for whoever won in 2008. The economy is probably going to go to shit, likely for substantially longer than the usual two-year recession. As bad as things are now they're going to get a lot worse, and voters ALWAYS blame the people currently in office for that.

The reason the "stimulus" bill is bad for Obama is that there's no economic theory under which the actual bill being passed makes for good stimulus. So even if Keynesian stimulus worked to ward off a deep recession (and the evidence for this is scant), this particular $850 billion boondoggle isn't very likely to do anything other than saddle us with more debt and make investor capital even harder to come by two or three years from now.

In short, he's was probably screwed to begin with, and is blowing his shot at *avoiding* being screwed.

John Stodder said...

Most of you are reacting to the incendiary title of this post, which is also the first sentence of Martin Wolf's article. But the article is really about Obama's apparent mishandling of the stimulus and the new Tarp Geithner was unable to explain. And it is very much worth reading. It's not like one of those pieces that conservative bloggers will have a dance around and liberal bloggers pretend doesn't exist. It is a thoughtful analysis of how Obama has gone off course in these two crucial policy initiatives.

I read it and didn't think, "oh well, this guy thinks he's a failure." I read it and thought, "Come on, Obama, grab the reins. You run the show, not Pelosi and not Geithner. You define what you want your historic legacy to be. Don't go along to get along. Kick ass."

Because, make no mistake, Obama might be a saint with kind eyes, a killer smile and an IQ twice as big as Bush's, but his economic programs really suck. He should be ashamed to affix his name to what Pelosi and Reid are coming up with. And Geithner now can be fired now as far as I'm concerned. He's just not a leader. The tax evasion turns out to be of a piece with his character. He's a guy who lets the dog eat his homework.

AllenS said...

Obama is his own worse enemy. Today I get my 2nd social security check electronically deposited in my checking account. I have plenty of money to spend, but every time Obama opens his mouth, I'm reluctant to buy anything. His outlook on life is sour. Where's the hope? Here's a guy who said that we can't continue to drive our SUV's, then makes an appearance at a town with high unemployment because nobody is buying RV's. Would anybody want to buy one now? Is he filling anybody in this country with expectations of a better life? Him and his followers will continue to blame Bush. He is in over his head. Affirmative action at work.

Xmas said...

I'm hesitant to trust anything that blames Bush's tax cuts for our Banking problems. If it said runaway Republican spending,sure. But blaming tax cuts, nuh-ah. That is automatically biased to support big government.

blake said...

John--

Fair point, except for one side of the aisle pretending it doesn't exit. 1jpb starts with guilt-by-association ("Savage is pushing this FT piece, too"), Michael chimes in with "nothing to see here, people, move along" and ZPS goes with "this is the same 'failure' meme already discredited by crack party agents".

I would love to see Obama shoot this thing down--he'd boost his stock in my eyes infinitely--but I also spent eight years waiting for Clinton to man up and not be a weasel about every freakin' thing.

(To clarify, I thought Clinton should've used Dennis Miller's line: "Yeah, I inhaled, then I drank the bong water." And I think he should've said, in response to the Lewinsky charges, "None of your damn business." I'd like to see him defend the Gorelick wall: "We feel that coordination of Federal intelligence agencies is a bigger threat than terrorism.")

But I get the sense from both of them (Clinton and Obama) that their image in their most devoted fans' minds is what they're trying to maintain.

This works for them, too. I had plenty of Dem friends (women, mostly) who insisted WHC would never sully himself with such trash as Monica, right up until it became obvious he had. Then it became her fault.

Pogo said...

People are still projecting all sorts of hope onto Obama, thinking he'll do this or that, as if his current behavior is somehow out of character for him.

But get used to it. This is his character.Past is prologue, and BHO's past is pretty much this same style of go-along-get-along low level corruption, Blago style.

We've elected a smiling mediocrity, a lefty nihilist in training pants. A man with ambition but no vision, who hitched his wagon to the racism-socialism star, and did very well when his decisions mattered very little, when he could do exactly what his mentors did, and maybe even get credit for their work.

People voted in our first adolescent president. Our economy is not his fault, but it is his problem. He hired on some good economic advisors, but this bill is typical 1990s bullshit pork. And all that spending is going to throw us further into debt.

Me? I'm with Wall street. It will hit 3-4000 before bottoming out. I have quit spending on anything but essentials. Canceled magazines, gym fees, online subscriptions, etc. This is getting ugly, and I expect it to end in violence.

It may also end without any America anymore.

AJ Lynch said...

There you go. Two sensible commenters (Pogo & AllenS) have heard Obama's doom & gloom sermons. So they have stopped spending. Yesterday, Obama apparently said companies should not hold expensive meetings in Las Vegas.

Keep that up Mr. President. That'll get the economy back on track.

MadisonMan said...

Today I get my 2nd social security check electronically deposited in my checking account. I have plenty of money to spend, but every time Obama opens his mouth, I'm reluctant to buy anything.

This I agree with, but I think Obama's trying to convince Congress at the moment to pass his bill, so he has to paint a bleak picture. But you're right -- it's counterproductive. It's not like anything Congress will do will help; what will help is more confidence in the Economy, and for that to happen, consumers have to believe it.

I hope that in the near future, the all is woe lectures from the White House will cease.

Shanna said...

somefeller: "I'm sure there were similar pieces early in FDR's term, or that of Reagan, for that matter."

Those aren't good examples I'm afraid. FDR was famous for how well his first hundred days went. And Reagan got shot early on (which made him more popular).

I was about three at the time, but didn't all those hostages come home, right about the time Reagan took office?

I do agree with your general point, somefeller, that you can’t judge a presidency by the first 20 days. (I think you can’t truly judge a presidency until you’re about 20 years out, actually. We’re just now beginning to be able to see Clinton’s clearly, and I think we will have to wait a while for Bush).

But for Obama, you sure as hell can judge the first 20 days, can’t you? Which, imo, have not been all that impressive. We’ll see if he gets better. God, I hope so.

Leland said...

My definition of success in this case would be almost anything short of impeached and arrested. And frankly, I haven't seen anything from Obama that comes close to either. Chucky Schumer maybe, Dodd and Rangel certainly, but not Obama.

I don't agree with Obama's direction, but he's far from failed.

I do agree with JSF though. If expect civility, you first have to show some.

traditionalguy said...

Obama's failure is not the point of this article. The european's viewpoint is that the USA has failed and will never rise again to threaten European interests. They will be correct if Obama keeps going along to get along in false hopes that his personality alone will face down our "Allies" in the present struggle for domination of the world's economic future by a New World Alliance controled by a European ruling group. After all, what leadership role should a former colonial mob, now bankrupt, have in Brussels today?

X said...

Well, I voted for Obama and I think he's a miserable failure so far. Where's the tax cut for 95% of Americans? He said he'd close Gitmo on day one and instead he's been putting arsenic in my water for the last 3 weeks. How can a guy who graduated at the top of his class at both Columbia and Harvard be blowing it so badly? I hope he changes.

PatCA said...

"I have plenty of money to spend, but every time Obama opens his mouth, I'm reluctant to buy anything."

Me too. I'm scared of the economy, and scared of him! What is Emperor Tim going to do next with my IRA and checking account?

Why the heck is Obama running around the country campaigning, when he controls both houses of Congress?

Synova said...

Of course, most of us didn't care for Obama before. I don't know if his supporters are any more upbeat or willing to spend. I suspect that a certain percentage of them perceive negativity as the opposite of ignorant denial. Doom and gloom proves they're smarter than other people.

Consider the criticisms of Bush for *not* visibly panicking and scaring the crap out of children when he got news of the 9-11 attack. Consider the scorn when he told us to go shopping.

Maybe we're supposed to be *encouraged* by Obama's constantly telling us how bad it all is.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Obama's trying to convince Congress at the moment to pass his bill, so he has to paint a bleak picture

And why is that? Isn't he the leader of his party and don't they control both houses?

ricpic said...

Don't be so sure President Zero will remake "Amerika."

The spirit of '76 is rising in the land.

dick said...

X,

The problem is that during the campaign a lot of us were asking why Obama was not truly vetted and that he should have been. He was not. We were told that his intellectual background was all we needed to know about what he would be like as president. Turns out that we were right and the ones supporting Obama were wrong. The man is decision-averse and all too read to go along to get along with his congressional party leaders. He is supposed to be in charge and he is letting them lead him around by the nose.

Add to that his decision to hold a news conference in a city that was destroyed by the policies he supported. Not good. And then his news conference was so obviously scripted. When he could not find the next reporter he was supposed to call on he was lost. His answers were not even very good when he did respond. I was hoping at least one reporter would ask him a question that he would have to answer on his own but they did not do that. He still screwed up.

Now we are stuck with a real loser who is trying to get us to like him, to really like him. Sorry but I prefer a president who acts, stands responsible for his actions and does not pander to the lowest common denominator and also does not act like a spoiled brat. Obama is not him.

Bruce Hayden said...

Bruce Hayden said..."It hasn't failed - yet. But I will be surprised if President Obama is remembered as more than mediocre."

And you base this on his first 22 days??


Right now, I have seen no evidence that he has the qualities or capabilities to grow much beyond the most inexperienced president at least since Truman, and likely since before FDR.

He has shown no ability to be bipartisan. He doesn't appear to have the stomach for fighting or making hard decisions, even when called for. His Chicago background is probably why he is tone deaf as to corruption. And he is sounding more and more like Bill Clinton in terms of veracity.

Under Bill Clinton, we learned all about the the various meanings of "is" and "sex", and that anything was legal unless there was no controlling legal precedent. We have our new President redefining "bipartisanship" and "earmarks" as an excuse why he broke his promise on both.

Revenant said...

This I agree with, but I think Obama's trying to convince Congress at the moment to pass his bill, so he has to paint a bleak picture.

He had enough votes in Congress to pass the bill before he ever made the speech. He isn't trying to gather Congressional support, he's trying to convince the VOTERS that the damned thing is a good idea. In order to do that he has to terrify them first.

hdhouse said...

Revenant said...
" In order to do that he has to terrify them first."

wow! stole one out of ol' GWB's playbook there!

I'll be truly afraid when I see some big mushroom cloud hanging over Dick Cheney....but I digress.

By the way, can there be a more idiotic topic for a post?

DADvocate said...

If it hasn't, he's trying like hell. I've never seen such a rush to failure.

DADvocate said...

...he's trying to convince the VOTERS that the damned thing is a good idea. In order to do that he has to terrify them first.

In other words, he thinks we're idiots who will fall for whatever spiel he gives us.

Synova said...

wow! stole one out of ol' GWB's playbook there!

Supposing that's actually so (I already provided two examples of Bush doing his best to keep us confident and calm, and he was mercilessly taunted for both of them) does that make it wrong *now* for Obama to do, or *right* when it was Bush?

"But he did it first!" or "She did it too!" is a stupid argument when it's second graders, and it's a stupid argument when it's presidents.

Revenant said...

wow! stole one out of ol' GWB's playbook there!

Yeah, Bush totally made up that thing about thousands of Americans being killed by Muslim terrorists. Never happened.

Revenant said...

In other words, he thinks we're idiots who will fall for whatever spiel he gives us.

Why wouldn't he think it? It worked three months ago, didn't it? :)

blake said...

Yeah, Bush totally made up that thing about thousands of Americans being killed by Muslim terrorists. Never happened.

Yeah, but don't say that down at the World Trade Center. Those guys are really committed to the lie. (H/T "Family Guy".)

Revenant said...

Bush's fingerprints are all over both the fiscal deficit and the current account deficit.

As are Kennedy's, Johnson's, Nixon's, Ford's, Carter's, Reagan's, Bush Sr's, and Clinton's, and Obama's. I already explained this stuff to you, Student; try to keep up.

In January 2001, the Congressional Budget Office projected a decade on-budget surplus

An intelligent person would know better than to take an outlier as representative of the whole. The CBO based its estimates on a projected continuation of the speculative bubble (colloquially called "the dot-com boom") that led to the budget surpluses and false economic growth of the late 1990s. The CBO estimates throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s routinely (and correctly) predicted deficits. Indeed, the few on-the-books surpluses we've enjoyed occurred only because revenues increased unexpectedly and closed a planned budget gap. I say "on-the-books" because we haven't had an ACTUAL budget surplus in at least half a century; the national debt has increased every year, even during the supposed surplus years of the late 90s.

This chart shows how our average current account deficit under Bush is three times the current account deficit under Clinton.

The funny thing is that you don't realize you just proved my point. Roubini criticized the United States policy of running a current account deficit. You just proved Clinton had one too. In fact, it turns out that the last time the US had a current account surplus was shortly before Clinton took office; the CA deficit has been steadily increasing ever since. It passed the previous historical record size of 3.4% a year before Bush entered the White House.

Clinton added around $2.5 trillion to the national debt. Clinton ran a current accounts deficit. These are exactly the behaviors Roubini was criticizing -- the ones you blame on Bush. The ones Obama is enthusiastically continuing today and plans to continue indefinitely into the future.

This is why people think you're not that bright, Student. Were the Bush years worse than the Clinton years on the issues Roubini was concerned about? Absolutely. But they were serious problems before Bush was even elected Governor, let alone President. They remain serious problems now, because neither party has leadership that is willing to tell voters they have to live within their means.

Methadras said...

This is all a conspiracy of lies!!! LIES I TELL YOU!!! Leave Mr. Barely alone!!! Leave him alone!!! I MEAN IT!!!

BJM said...

Henry said: People forget how clueless and unpopular Bill Clinton was his first two years.

The difference between Clinton's rocky start and Obama's is that the Dems had been out of the White House for 12 years and didn't have much of a bench. The old turks had died off or departed and generational change swept young talented people into Washington on both sides of the aisle.

Obama has a wealth of experienced Dems from which to draw so his rookie stumbles are more difficult to excuse than Clinton's.

Host with the Most said...

I can understand the views of michael, Zachary, hdhouse, somefeller, and other defenders of Obama - they enthusiastically supported and voted for him while maintaining unbelievable levels of hatred for their last President. And that is completely their right and privilege.

But, if this negative talk about Obama is so ridiculous to them, why in the world are they so concerned about it? Certainly our President Obama-loving/President Bush-hating friends can sit back and put up their feet in confidence that everything about Obama will work out just fine. Which means that those of us criticizing any aspect of Obama's Presidency at any point will certainly be proven completely wrong.

You know what I think? I think the Obama supporters aren't nearly as confident in Obama as they like to appear.

In fact, I think they are deeply fearful and afraid of buyer's remorse, even this early - 22 days - in.


Ah, delicious irony.