Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Obama May Not Have What it Takes - Newsweek Reports

Newsweek isn't ready to pass judgement on President Obama yet, but they are reporting that he's coming under heavy criticism from all sides as opinion leaders question his competence.

Obama may be mistaking motion for progress, calling signals for a game plan. A busy, industrious overachiever, he likes to check off boxes on a long to-do list. A genial, amenable guy, he likes to appeal to every constituency, or at least not write off any. A beau ideal of Harvard Law, he can't wait to tackle extra-credit answers on the exam.

But there is only one question on this great test of American fate: can he lead us away from plunging into another Depression?

. . . [concerns inclue:]

* The $787 billion stimulus, gargantuan as it was, was in fact too small and not aimed clearly enough at only immediate job-creation.

* The $275 billion home-mortgage-refinancing plan, assembled by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, is too complex and indirect.

* The president gave up the moral high ground on spending not so much with the "stim" but with the $400 billion supplemental spending bill, larded as it was with 9,000 earmarks.

* The administration is throwing good money after bad in at least two cases—the sinkhole that is Citigroup (there are many healthy banks) and General Motors (they deserve what they get).

* The failure to call for genuine sacrifice on the part of all Americans, despite the rhetorical claim that everyone would have to "give up" something.

* A willingness to give too much leeway to Congress to handle crucial details, from the stim to the vague promise to "reform" medical care without stating what costs could be cut.

* A 2010 budget that tries to do far too much, with way too rosy predictions on future revenues and growth of the economy. This led those who fear we are about to go over Niagara Falls to deride Obama as a paddler who'd rather redesign the canoe.

* A treasury secretary who has been ridiculed on "Saturday Night Live" and compared to Doogie Howser, Barney Fife and Macaulay Culkin in "Home Alone"—and those are the nice ones.

* A seeming paralysis in the face of the banking crisis: unwilling to nationalize banks, yet unable to figure out how to handle toxic assets in another way—by, say, setting up a "bad bank" catch basin.

* A seeming reluctance to seek punishing prosecutions of the malefactors of the last 15 years—and even considering a plea bargain for Bernie Madoff, the poster thief who stole from charities and Nobel laureates and all the grandparents of Boca. Yes, prosecutors are in charge, but the president is entitled—some would say required—to demand harsh justice.

* The president, known for his eloquence and attention to detail, seemingly unwilling or unable to patiently, carefully explain how the world works—or more important, how it failed. Using FDR's fireside chats as a model, Obama needs to explain the banking system in laymen's terms. An ongoing seminar would be great.

* Obama is no socialist, but critics argue that now is not the time for costly, upfront spending on social engineering in health care, energy or education.

That's quite a list. Unfortunately it's probably generous and nowhere near complete.


Anonymous said...

Obama is no socialist.
What do you base that on? certainly not his voting record or anything he has done or said.

Anonymous said...

What B.S. The news media basically campaigned for this bozo.

A few mild criticisms now that he's safely elected aren't going to convince anybody that the news media is unbiased.

Drop the token criticisms you MSM dicks. You'll be busy campaigning for him again in four years.

Anonymous said...

When Big Owe was editor of the Harvard Law Review he didn't write one single article.
How is that being an overachiever?
How is that tackling extra test questions?
Newsweek is a joke.

Anonymous said...

um Anon #1, Obama's voting record in congress was actually more to the left then the only congressman who called himself socialist, Obama had the second most liberal voting record in the entire congress.
Obama has said he is for socialized medicine, major redistribution of wealth and hey maybe he isn't a socialist but he defiately embraces many socialist policies

Patrick O'Neil said...

Just to be clear that was Newsweek that said Obama was no socialist.

I agree with you all - the article still managed to be flattering to Obama even while it listed the ample criticisms against him.