Sunday, November 21, 2010

End the Pretense That Obama Will Fight

My response to Benjamin Kirby's post.

I (and my fellow blogger Tas) have blogged repeatedly about why Obama's economic policies were a failure. Franklen Delano Roosevelt tried stimulus and it failed. What saved the FDR economy was the jobs program.

I am not surprised that the team of Geithner, Summers, Orszag, and Goolsbee failed. Goolsbee wrote papers saying not to worry about the housing market crashing. Summers backed repealing Glass–Steagall Act. Orszag wrote an op-ed repeatedly describing the deficit commission's Social Security proposals as progressive. These people are always wrong. Their proposals actually hurt the country. The President who hired is a faith-based believer in neoliberalism. Any serious policy wonk wouldn't let Lawrence Summers within a 100 yards of the White House.

What surprised me is how the White House mishandled the politics side. This administration has been hostile towards the base and the Democratic caucus for a while. I know since I blogged about that.

I understand for merely political purposes it is in Obama's interest to maintain the pretense of bipartisanship. When Obama makes bipartisanship into a religion, gets stood up by McConnell and Boehner and doesn't heal the riff with Democratic elected officials and the base then there is a problem. As for bloggers and activists urging Obama to have a showdown with Republicans - it will never happen. Obama has shown a distaste for partisan fights. Obama will see his proposals destroyed and be a one-term president before having a Clinton v. Gingrich epic battle. Going back to Obama's time in the Illinois state legislature, there was never a moment Obama was willing to get his hands dirty in a partisan fight.

Obama is going to run to the middle. The White House isn't interested in helping the Democratic caucus or the progressive base. Obama and his team are thinking about 2012. Obama will triangulate with Jon Stewart's imaginary center and sign horrible bills to say something was accomplished. Welcome to the next two years.

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