The Talking Dog

November 23, 2008, Voice of reason

That would be, perhaps, Daniel Gross writing at Slate, that it is not time to party like it's 1929, because it isn't 1929. Many of the institutions that exist now (as a result of the Great Depression), such as FDIC and Social Security, serve as ultimate economic shock absorbers, and further, unlike the 30's, when in one year alone over 4,000 banks failed, things are bad, but not like that. (Mr. Gross fails to mention the perennial economic demand machine known as "the military industrial complex," so I will, though of course, spending on the refurbishment of the bridge of an aircraft carrier is spending not available on refurbishment of a bridge on an interstate highway... but I digress.)

Anyway, the point is that in matters economic (most unlike, say, matters military... again, I digress!), attitude and "confidence" really do matter because (again, unlike military matters), individual decisions do add up to economic activity, one way or another. His point is that we can expect President Obama to have a tough economic hand, but as with his election, quite a few "roads to victory" that may have not been available to FDR in the 1930's, because things aren't quite so bad as the hyperbole suggests (though they are plenty bad, to be sure.)

Not that this minor proto-Depression we are in is any reason whatsoever to take away from the only important story now (and most important story in the history of the world), that being Hillary, and now, the fact that some of Team O may be questioning the boss's judgment.

Don't know. I spoke to a colleague who noted that my phrase, "Well, Barack seems to know what he's doing; who am I to question his judgment?" had been repeated to her three times in the same day, causing her, also an Obama supporter, to ask "What kind of cult does Barack have going?"

Of course... what if that's the point? Getting the press and the right wing's bile all up over Hillary and the ongoing Familia Clinton psycho-drama, so that Obama can quietly take the grand, dramatic and strategic steps necessary to restore the economy to health and the public fisc to soundness (national singlepayer health care, for example) while everyone's focus is on the Foggy Bottom Soap Opera (all while the real foreign policy is managed by himself and Joe Biden.) Surely... Obama is too much of a political naif to do anything so boldly and insanely Macchiavellian... isn't he?

Update (thought balloon): Of course, one of the names swirling around as a possible appointment to replace Senator Hillary Clinton is none other than former President Bill Clinton; such an appointment would be sheer poetry as Clinton would then join Andrew Johnson as not only the only other impeached President, but the only other President to have served in the Senate after the White House. For added fun, there would be a special election in 2010 to complete the last two years of the term... might then thirty year old Chelsea Clinton take a run at the seat? Just saying...


I love the way you think!

Posted by Michael L at November 24, 2008 9:25 AM

Almost 3 weeks from election, and Obama already goes back on a campaign promise, ending the tax cuts for the rich. So, by Macchiavellian, you meant as to the ones who voted him in, right?

Posted by Just Wondering at November 24, 2008 1:49 PM

So, by Macchiavellian, you meant as to the ones who voted him in, right?

I think the word Macchiavellian speaks for itself. Anyone who thought that Obama, guy who campaigned as a "moderate" and "centrist," was going to be a crazy-ass liberal like Nixon or LBJ, is just asking to be disappointed. To be fair, Obama did not encourage this thinking; he campaigned as "post-partisan"... meaning "expect nothing."

Glenn Greenwald gives an excellent assessment here:

The point is, will he better than McCain Palin? I think yes... so did 52.4% of voters.

Posted by the talking dog at November 24, 2008 3:05 PM

Seems like not ending the tax cuts hurts the middle class, the restoration of which was supposed to be an Obama guiding principle. This was one of the few specific things that he said he was going to do.

Posted by Just Wondering at November 24, 2008 4:20 PM

The last comment presupposes the existence of a middle class; at the rate things are going, there won't be one for terribly much longer. And I'm not at all sure how much difference a rollback of the Bush tax-cuts-- which btw automatically expire in 2011 as it is-- will make to the middle class (though the deficit will be larger, to be sure, absent the proposed "rollback").

I think it was the great Bulworth who said "you have your haves and your have nots; the ones who get my attention pay for 30-second spots."

This tax thing could be a trial balloon, to be sure; but then, maybe it isn't. So what? Obama is, once again, demonstrating that he is yet another conventional politician. This should actually be good news to those desperately afraid of the actual "change" Obama promised, and probably won't really deliver. We have nothing to change except change itself. Or something. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

The fact remains, as I said somewhere else, he is damned by some people for something no matter what he does. So what of it? He's not even going to take office for nearly two months. We'll have at least four years to criticize him as an inadequate savior, for God's sake! So... kindly let him fail, first, before criticizing him for failng.

The relevant question remains: will he do a better job than (1) Pres. Hillary Clinton (a plurality of Dem primary voters said "yes he can") or (2) Pres. John McCain (a majority of all voters said "yes he can"). There you have it.

Posted by the talking dog at November 24, 2008 4:59 PM

It seems like the bubble on President Elect Obama is already bursting, and the more things change, the more they remain the same. So maybe Obama is no longer such a Rock Star. The thing is, often times Rock Stars are not even playing their own instruments, and sometimes they are just lip synching for someone else. So which one is Obama? Milli or Vanilli?

Posted by Crusty at November 24, 2008 5:58 PM

So maybe Obama is no longer such a Rock Star.

Why not? Obviously, many have been looking for the old, rich White man standing behind the curtain for some time... and maybe someone will eventually be outed as the "real power behind the throne", and maybe no one will.

But, come on. Rock stars are essential to our American way of life. And I'm not going to sit here and let you start accusing Barack Obama of not being a rock star and badmouthing the United States of America...

Posted by the talking dog at November 24, 2008 6:13 PM