Obama's search for an enemy. Who is next?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by glennku, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. glennku


    He hasn't called anyone an "evildoer" or denounced an "axis of evil." But make no mistake: President Obama is putting together an enemies list.

    Strangely, though, those on it are not terrorists or foreign dictators. They are mostly Americans lucky enough to have succeeded through capitalism and democracy.

    In the President's words, they are guilty of being "special interests" and "lobbyists." The Bush-era tax cuts were merely "an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy" and he will bring fairness by raising taxes on "the wealthiest 2% of Americans."

    First he demonizes them, then he taxes them.

    It was a telling moment, for the markets on his watch have moved almost exclusively down. And the 55 million households that hold mutual funds are watching their savings and retirements vanish in great gobs.

    Most are decidedly middle class, making them collateral damage of this war.

    Obama himself remains popular, largely because of his charisma and because most people agree he inherited the problem. With staggering job losses and an unemployment rate now at 8.1%, the highest in 25 years, many Americans are hopeful our new President can right the ship and punish those responsible.

    But Obama has expressed little interest in prosecuting those who cooked the books to make billions and undermined the financial system. Nor is he interested in rebuking Congress, including leading members of his own party, who fostered destructive lending and borrowing policies. He seems comfortable with his aides, including those who saw nothing amiss in their former roles as Wall Street players and regulators.

    Instead, Obama's class-war language, most of it written into prepared speeches, looks like selective anger, calculated to stoke public emotion to build support for his expansive agenda. That agenda, which revolves around a dramatic increase in Washington power, relies on tax hikes on the same successful businesses and individuals he denounces.

    And always, he makes liberal use of bogeymen. On Friday, as he stood before a class of 25 police cadets in Columbus, Ohio, hired with federal stimulus money, the President delivered a standard attack line against unnamed dissenters. "They opposed the very notion that government has a role in ending the cycle of job loss at the heart of this recession," he said.

    Actually, few if any critics advocated doing nothing. But never mind. Being President means you don't have to let the facts get in the way of a plan to divide and conquer.

    Sometimes the targets are critics, including two TV commentators singled out by press secretary Robert Gibbs for faulting the President's bailout plans.

    Sometimes the targets are Republicans, like conservative talker Rush Limbaugh, the focus of a plan led by chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to divide the GOP and score points with the Democratic base.

    But the tone of the President's own attacks on industry and his spending and tax policies are increasingly worrying Wall Street and much of the business world. With the stock market reaching lows not seen in more than a decade, including a 20% drop since Inauguration Day, headlines like "Obama's bear market" are suddenly routine.

    The President dismisses the growing perception he is adding to the economic pain. Asked about the markets, Obama waved them off as like a "tracking poll in politics" that "bobs up and down day to day."

  2. gkishot


    Uncertain president during uncertain times.
  3. Arnie


    Analysis: Obama recovery plans sowing some unease
    By TOM RAUM – 23 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama offered his domestic-policy proposals as a "break from a troubled past." But the economic outlook now is more troubled than it was even in January, despite Obama's bold rhetoric and commitment of more trillions of dollars.

    And while his personal popularity remains high, some economists and lawmakers are beginning to question whether Obama's agenda of increased government activism is helping, or hurting, by sowing uncertainty among businesses, investors and consumers that could prolong the recession.

    Although the administration likes to say it "inherited" the recession and trillion-dollar deficits, the economic wreckage has worsened on Obama's still-young watch.

    Every day, the economy is becoming more and more an Obama economy.

    More than 4 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007 — roughly half in the past three months.

    Stocks have tumbled to levels not seen since 1997. They are down more than 50 percent from their 2007 highs and 20 percent since Obama's inauguration.

    The president's suggestion that it was a good time for investors with "a long-term perspective" to buy stocks may have been intended to help lift battered markets. But a big sell-off followed.

    Presidents usually don't talk about the stock market. But the dynamics are different now.

    A higher percentage of people have more direct exposure to stocks — including through 401(k) and other retirement plans — than ever.

    So a tumbling stock market is adding to the national angst as households see the value of their investments and homes plunge as job losses keep rising.

    Some once mighty companies such as General Motors and Citigroup are little more than penny stocks.

    Many health care stocks are down because of fears of new government restrictions and mandates as part a health care overhaul. Private student loan providers were pounded because of the increased government lending role proposed by Obama. Industries that use oil and other carbon-based fuels are being shunned, apparently in part because of Obama's proposal for fees on greenhouse-gas polluters.

    Makers of heavy road-building and other construction equipment have taken a hit, partly because of expectations of fewer public works jobs here and globally than first anticipated.

    "We've got a lot of scared investors and business people. I think the uncertainty is a real killer here," said Chris Edwards, director of fiscal policy for the libertarian Cato Institute.

    Some Democrats, worried over where Obama is headed, are suggesting he has yet to match his call for "bold action and big ideas" with deeds.

    In particular, they point to bumpy efforts to fix the financial system under Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

    Obama may have contributed to the national anxiety by first warning of "catastrophe" if his stimulus plan was not passed and in setting high expectations for Geithner. Instead, Geithner's public performance has been halting and he's been challenged by lawmakers of both parties.

    Republicans and even some top Democrats, including Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have questioned the wisdom of Obama's proposal to limit tax deductions for higher-income people on mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

    Charities have strongly protested, saying times already are tough enough for them. The administration suggests it might back off that one.

    Even White House claims that its policies will "create" or "save" 3.5 million jobs have been questioned by Democratic supporters.

    "You created a situation where you cannot be wrong," the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Montana Democrat Max Baucus, told Geithner last week.

    "If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would've lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs," Baucus said. "You've given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct."

    Republicans assert that Obama's proposals, including the "cap and trade" fees on polluters to combat global warming, would raise taxes during a recession that could touch everyone. "Herbert Hoover tried it, and we all know where that led," says House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.

    The administration argues its tax increases for the households earning over $250,000 a year and fees on carbon polluters contained in its budget won't kick in until 2011-2012, when it forecasts the economy will have fully recovered.

    But even those assumptions are challenged as too rosy by many private forecasters and some Democratic lawmakers.

    Many deficit hawks also worry that the trillions of federal dollars being doled out by the administration, Congress and the Federal Reserve could sow the seeds of inflation down the road, whether the measures succeed in taming the recession or not. The money includes Obama's $3.6 trillion budget and the $837 billion stimulus package he signed last month.

    Polls show that Obama's personal approval ratings, generally holding in the high 60s, remain greater than support for his specific policies.

    "He still has a fair amount of political capital, so the public is willing to cut him some slack and go along with him for a while," said pollster Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. "But the public will have to get some sense that the kinds of things he's proposing are going to work, or are showing some signs that they are working."

    Allan Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics, a Boston-area consulting firm, said the complexity and enormity of the crisis make it hard to solve.

    "There's no way to get it all right, regardless of which president is making policy," Sinai said. "The problem is the sickness got too far. The actions taken, medicine applied, were mainly the wrong actions. So it's just worse, and it gets harder to deal with. At this stage, there is no easy answer, no easy way out. It's a question of how we fumble through."

    EDITOR'S NOTE _ Tom Raum has covered Washington for The Associated Press since 1973, frequently reporting on the economy.

  4. Actually ....who is "really" president ?

    Obama is the "mouthpiece" of Pelosi, Frank ?....

    Why ?

    Look at the makeup of the "rescue" package....

    "Pelosi's Pork Barrel"

    Look at all the "SAME FACES, SAME PLACES"....


    Do the same things, same people, same results....
  5. Lucrum


    Same faces or feces?

  6. Gold bugs :p
  7. 377OHMS


    What, you guys gonna tell me you can't manage to hide under the 250k bracket for a couple of years?

    Advance and/or defer income like everybody else and stop bitching.
  8. Agreed.
    And that is why the market is struggling.
    Zero earnings visibility, and tons of debt.
  9. "Others said Obama has had to aim high, or be attacked by those wondering what the election was all about.

    "The talk that this is veering left is wildly off base," said Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution. "If you consider dealing seriously with health care as lurching to the left, if you consider trying to move to a low-carbon economy as veering to the left, if you consider returning to Clinton tax rates for upper-income households as veering to left, then I suppose it is."
    No filibuster

    Obama will enjoy Senate rules that protect the budget resolution from a filibuster, allowing it to pass with a simple 51-vote majority instead of the 60 that most bills now need; Democrats may also have to resort to the filibuster-free reconciliation process for health care and climate change. Even so, more than a dozen moderate Senate Democrats led by Indiana's Evan Bayh have begun plotting ways to tame Obama's spending.

    "I understand what they're doing," said Stanford University political scientist and Hoover Institution fellow Morris Fiorina. "They think they have a once-in-a generation opportunity. It's a bold strategy. But I think they may be overestimating the congressional support they have and what position they're putting some of the Democrats in."

    Obama's path has been trod by other "transformative" presidents, some of whom succeeded and some of whom didn't. Johnson won his Great Society programs, but lost his working majority in the next midterm election. Reagan won tax cuts and big increases in defense spending, but lost 26 House seats in the midterm elections. In 1982, Reagan signed the largest peacetime tax increase to get the deficit under control.

    Historically, a president's first year is almost always his most productive. "If you can't do it in your first term with your first budget, you almost never get a chance to do it later," said Stan Collender, a veteran budget expert now with Qorvis Communications, a Washington public relations firm. And when a new president comes from a different party than his predecessor, big changes are expected."

  10. <cite>Obama's search for an enemy. Who is next? </cite><p>I think the analogies here are way off base. Barry does not have a military bone in his body. He is too testicularly challenged to be a warrior.

    He is an elitist and an academic.

    He won the election by winning the primary against Hillary if you can call that a win. If Barry had to participate in the Republican primary he would have lost and if McCain had to participate in the Democrat party he would have lost.

    Barry parlayed the rules and the media drooling over him into a primary victory and in this year, if Fritz the Cat was a democrat, he could have beaten the crazy old codger on the Republican ticket.

    But Barry is FULL of HIMSELF and he believes everything the MSM has said about him.

    Barry is not looking for any enemies, he is looking for someone to campaign against. He is in campaign mode. And surrounding himself with idiots like Rahm Emmanuel does not help. Emmanuel is more political driven than Bush's brain Karl Rove.

    It is funny that they are looking to run against Rush Limbaugh. I am sure Rove would have liked to pick on the fattest idiot in the Democrat Party and run against Michael Moore. But Rove was smart enough to know that as unpopular as Bush was he could have won a popularity contest against, Michael Moore. Americans are prejudiced in that sense, they will always take the side of their President against that of blabbering fat slob, no matter what his ideology.

    But Presidents are required to do something, and obviously Bush picked Cheney to do what he was supposed to do.

    The problem here is that Barry is dithering as Paul Krugman put it, and there is no one doing anything, except the congressional incompetents such as Pelosi and Reid, who will serve Barry no better than Hastert or Frist served Bush.

    Barry no warrior, he looking for no enemies, he just simply full of himself and looking to win popularity polls against a set of personalities that are neither popular nor populist for that matter. The reality that his words do not become deeds just because he wish it so, has not yet popped into his elitist brain or if it has he just enjoying the ride too much to give a damn.
    #10     Mar 8, 2009