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If Only Obama Were as Radical as They Say

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Posted on Mar 8, 2009

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

    President Obama faces three overlapping questions: When will middle-of-the-road voters start blaming him for the sick economy? When will he act decisively to deal with the mess that is our banking system? And can he keep managing his political two-step of appealing simultaneously to centrists and progressives?

    He has to confront all three at once. The economy will remain in crisis until there is a resolution to the problems facing the banks, and if things keep going bad, more and more voters in the middle will start blaming Obama for not fixing them.

    The continuing flood of bad news is also empowering Obama’s critics who style themselves as moderates. They will keep saying that the president, in trying to keep his campaign promises on health care and energy, is “overreaching” and not keeping his eye on the imperative of economic recovery.

    It’s hard for the fair-minded not to have some sympathy for Obama. After all, he has been in office for less than two months, and no president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has inherited such an “unholy mess,” as one of his top advisers put it. 

    Moreover, some of the criticisms directed at Obama are simple nonsense. The Wall Street conservatives—well represented on the financial cable shows and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page—are trying to argue that the stock market is collapsing because Obama wants to institute a relatively modest set of tax increases on the wealthy, starting in 2011.

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    But these voices supported lower taxes on the rich when the economy was bad, when the economy was good, and when the economy was so-so. They have no credibility. These same voices claim to worry about future budget deficits. Do they really believe we can fix the deficit without tax increases?

    As for criticisms from the moderates, it’s balderdash to call Obama’s policies “radical.” They seem radical only in comparison with the right-wing approach the government has pursued in recent years. Particularly on health care, it would be irresponsible for Obama not to press the reforms he promised in his campaign. And what could be more “moderate” than the open, pragmatic approach the president took during his White House health care summit last week? No, the president is not “overreaching.” His agenda is focused on a few big things.

    Unfortunately for Obama, such arguments matter far less right now than unemployment hitting 8.1 percent and the downward spiral of the stock market since he took office. All of the administration’s critics are being emboldened by its hesitancy in dealing with the banking question and its apparent fear of temporary bank nationalization. On this issue, the president genuinely is trying to steer a moderate course—and moderation may be exactly the wrong recipe. 

    There is something deeply disturbing about the drip, drip, drip of billions of dollars into the banking system with no apparent impact. There is a lack of transparency as to how the financial institutions are using the money.

    And there has been little clarity as to how the administration’s actions on the financial front will eventually lead to a recovery. Obama and his speechwriters need to seek inspiration, again, from FDR’s fireside chats to explain what’s happening to a petrified nation and world. His aides promise more of this, and they need to get moving.

    This is a global downturn, and the administration has to mobilize the rest of the world’s leaders. The economies of Central and Eastern Europe are a shambles. They could further drag down the rest of Europe, which in turn could make everything worse.

    And the top echelon of the Treasury Department is a wasteland of empty desks. It would seem that more people have been tossed out of competition for jobs under Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner than have actually been appointed.   

    You have to ask: If it was OK for Obama to stick with Geithner before his confirmation despite Geithner’s tax problems, why suddenly does everyone under the secretary have to meet vetting standards that St. Francis of Assisi might find too exacting? Treasury desperately needs reinforcements.

    Obama’s calm and deliberative style is one of his greatest strengths. He doesn’t want precipitous action in the midst of a bewildering economic collapse to come back to haunt us all. But there are times when excessive caution can be as dangerous as impetuousness. The president has no choice but to be bold. If there is one thing he should fear, it is fear itself.
   
    E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is postchat(at)aol.com.

    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By Sepharad, March 11, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Mr. Dionne—People will only blame Obama if his ideas don’t work, or if he sees that they are not working and does nothing to tweak in changes that would make it work. That may be relevant about now IF Paul Krugman is right in running the figures and stating that so far it does not look like the stimulus package will be enough as projections show it running behind the economic curve. On the other hand people might spread some of the blame around to the legislators Obama has (maybe wrongly) allowed significant input. Like the guy who announced yesterday that the new taxes on rich people had to be zapped because donations to charities have fallen off. (Apparently didn’t occur to him that there would not be such huge demands made on some charities if Bush-era policy were not creating so many hundreds of thousands of unemployed people.) Maybe Obama’s efforts to be collegial have gone too far, but that’s something he can (and I hope will) change.

Regarding his Arab-Israeli policies, I think he’s fine-tuning it with an eye to developments on the ground. Anyone who’s been on Truthdig for awhile knows I am about as pro-Israel’s-survival as it is possible to be, but I consider the advent of Netanyahu to be as much a threat to Israel’s survival and the emergence of a viable second Palestinian state as the election of Hamas. (Netanyahu got his support from an angry electorate sick of Hamas’ rockets etc and Hamas was elected by an angry electorate sick of Fatah’s financial corruption.) So Obama waited until the Israeli elections were over to appoint to the region’s National Intelligence Council a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia well known as an anti-Israel person, while O’s negotiators are fair people and his secretary of state is a supporter of Israel who cares about the Palestinians too. I would say, facing a Netanyahu government, that whole package is pretty damned smart.

I didn’t like his expanding the faith-based initiative—if we’ve learned nothing else from history right up to the present day, it’s asking for literally a world of trouble to mix religion and state. The only rationale that excuses his performance here is that so many people are hurting so badly that every avenue toward relieving their physical discomforts and situation has to be fielded until our economy becomes more rational and more humanist-oriented. Not sure Obama will get that far—but I’d be happy if he at least reduced homelessness and increased availability of quality healthcare and quality education (including university for individuals with plenty of brains and motivation but no money).

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By yours truly, March 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ideological Concerns Is What Blocks Nationalization

“Such as?”

“If capitalism’s flagship (banking and finance) is taken over, will capitalism survive?”

“Hell no.”

“Instead what?”

“To be determined.”

“How?”

“By popular demand.”

“And then what sort of world?”

“It’ll be up to us.”

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By Bisbonian, March 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“When will middle-of-the-road voters start blaming him for the sick economy?”
What is this, March?  Then I’d say the answer is probably April or May.

“When will he act decisively to deal with the mess that is our banking system?”
When the mess that is our banking system lets him.  Seriously, he appointed Goldman Sachs to fix it.  Answer?  When pigs fly.

“And can he keep managing his political two-step of appealing simultaneously to centrists and progressives?”
Easy one: No.

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By wildflower, March 10, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

It’s a pentathlon, E. J., and we’re all participants. The challenges are enormous, but if enough wise foot soldiers work together to resolve this crisis, everyone will make it.  If they don’t, we won’t. 

Unfortunately, a major impediment is the media maze, which is dominated by individuals who apparently lack the skills to differentiate between the noises made by mindless “moaning myrtles” and the wisdom of insightful soldiers.

The media obstacle shouldn’t stop the rest of us, however, from recognizing and distributing a few “gold medals” for individual acts of good judgment. So without further ado, I hereby award “gold medals” to:

1. SEN ARLEN SPECTER [R-P] One of three Republicans who voted for the stimulus package and who said he felt the passage was more important than protecting his Senate seat.

“Had there been no stimulus, I think we’d have gone right off the edge,’’ he said. ‘‘I think we’re pretty close to the edge anyway, to be very brutally blunt about it.”

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/03/09/us/AP-Specter-Stimulus.html

2. JON STEWART for his “Mad as Hell” replay of the past assertions of “financial market” commentators on CNBC:

“Wow, if I’d only followed CNBC’s advice, I’d have $1 million today - provided I’d started with $100 million.”
http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/20090305_jon_stewart_is_mad_as_hell/

3.DAVID BROOKS [NYT] for telling it like it is:

“A lot of Republicans up in Capitol Hill right now are calling for a spending freeze in a middle of a recession/depression. That is insane.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/08/brooks-gop-spending-freez_n_172838.html

4. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS [Ind-VT] for demanding transparency and asking the pertinent questions:

“Do you have to be a large, greedy, reckless financial institution to apply for this money?”

“My question to you is, will you tell the American people to whom you lent $2.2 trillion of their dollars?”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/americasRegulatoryNes/idUKN0349765020090303?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

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By tropicgirl, March 10, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

This is why it is so important NOT to see people through phoney left-right labels, which is what the neoliberal dems want, and so do the evangelical dominionists and neocons. These are the names of runaway predatory capitalism. Words, and labels, are important to define. The truth is that the grassroots left and right have much more in common at the common, patriotic, neighborhood level.

You’ve got to follow the money. From tax dollars to private companies without public ownership and completely without oversight. That’s my Obama.

As was beautifully put on Democracy Now this am. The worst thing about what is happening is the transfer of tax dollars without taking, WITHOUT TAKING PUBLIC OWNERSHIP. And even if they do, temporarily, often the companies infused will start their pillage all over again when the companies are sold (or given) back to the private sector. Even Europe would never put their countries in such peril. This country ALSO never did thus until after WWII.

This is worth the read:

Economist Ha-Joon Chang on “The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism”

The US government has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the US economy in the wake of the financial crisis. But what steps are being taken to address the crisis on a global scale? The worldwide financial crisis is forcing some to rethink the neoliberal policies widely blamed for the financial collapse. We speak with University of Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang, author of Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism. [includes rush transcript]

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/10/economist_ha_joon_chang_on_the

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By Folktruther, March 10, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

You are absolutely right, Tropicgirl.  Whatever Obama’s private beliefs, he is functioning as the same kind of neoliberal as the Bush regime was, with margianl differences and a different rhetoric.  With Summers, Geither, and Bernanke serving the banks and financial agencies, not the American people. 

Neoliberalism, whatever is stated publcally in the mainsstream media, has captured both parties, and is increasing economic, social and political inequality.  As Marx predicted, as he predicted that capital would centralize historically. 

But marxism has been deliberately distorted and ideological repressed in the US since the US War on Communism.  When this War of the 20th century segued into the War on Terroism of the 21st, the delusions of the mainstream truth have become so obvious that even the Educated have begun to notice them.  What is becoming noticable as well to the American people is that the government is serving the interests of the rich rather than that of the vast majority of people.  But this both Gops and Dims try to obscure.

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By tropicgirl, March 10, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

Rush and the conservatives are getting it all wrong by re-defining the word “liberal” or “neo-liberal”. Rush is an all star neo-liberal. Obama is also a neo-liberal. Watch out for the media re-defining words.

From wikipedia:

Broadly speaking, neoliberalism seeks to transfer part of the control of the economy from state to the private sector, to bring a more efficient government and to improve economic indicators for a nation. It includes:

Fiscal policy discipline *(whatever that means, usually taking money from the poor and aged);

Redirection of public spending from subsidies *(to the poor, children and the elderly) toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment *(which don’t necessarily have to be administered by the government);

Tax reform – broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;

Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;

Competitive exchange rates;

Trade liberalization – liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by law and relatively uniform tariffs; *(this is where the jobs went).

Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment *(can sell public services, roads, water rights and publicly-funded research to foreign investment);

Privatization of state enterprises *(roads, transportation, police toll roads and more);

Deregulation – abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudent oversight of financial institutions *(this was inadequately determined because they were self-regulated); and,

Legal security for property rights (private, of course, not public).

If you want to see something really scary, watch Orszak (on CSpan) discuss their absolutely futile effort at health reform. He’s talking about regulating the actual treatments and so called “best practices”. Is OBVIOUS that this person is going to be a very dangerous influence to decide on coverage issues. Good-by home health care and alternative medicine.

WHY PUT BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO PRIVATE HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATORS AND PROFITEERS WHEN THE SAME AMOUNT COULD BE USED FOR PATIENT TREATMENT AND REDUCING COSTS? 

Its like having your social security check go directly to your landlord, with your landlord, (or condo board)  in charge of how its used, and allowing them to take a profit. IT MAKES NO SENSE, EXCEPT TO A NEO-LIBERAL, WHICH RUSH AND OBAMA ARE. This is a joke.

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By GB, March 10, 2009 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the areas of our country where people are not getting/using cable or rely on the corporate media for their information may be using the voices of lying racists wack jobs like Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, Hume etc… as a measure of what is radical. These propagandists who helped bush and cheney start an illegal war, torture, strip constitutional rights, destroy the economy, help the wealthy steal billions from our treasury look normal to the 20% of those without common sense in our country. Any attempt to reverse this garbage looks radical to them.
In this economy the corporate media supported by the bloated military industrial complex will continue to have plenty of funds to keep the propaganda flying into everyone’s home. If we keep our wits and continue to support those trying to do the right thing for our country, the world, and accountibility, we’ll get over this hump.

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By cyrena, March 10, 2009 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

•  “As for criticisms from the moderates, it’s balderdash to call Obama’s policies “radical.” They seem radical only in comparison with the right-wing approach the government has pursued in recent years.”

Humm,

Here we have the language issue again, on what “radical” (in terms of political approaches) actually is. For a theorist, the Cheney – Bush Cabal was RADICAL. More RADICAL than anything we’ve seen in centuries if ever. Indeed they were/are the right-wing radical, to be differentiated from the left wing radical, but radical is radical, and I still contend that the majority of Americans don’t completely understand just HOW radical that bunch was.

So of course it’s balderdash to call Obama’s polities ‘radical’ but people are stupid, and don’t have a clue to what it means, or what Obama’s policies even mean in the larger context.
Like EJ, I wish Obama WAS a little more radical, but I already know that’s not the path suitable for the moment. (It wouldn’t hurt to nationalize the banks though. How hard can that be?)

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By Folktruther, March 9, 2009 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

Big B That Obama has been in office only 6 weeks is totally irrelevent to the fact that the ecnomically necessary is politically impossible, both by the Gops and Dims.  What is necessary is to nationalize the banks to expand credit, take the money awary fromthe rich and provide jobs in infrastructure, education, health, etc.  kAnd for people losing their homes.  This is being done, as you say, too slow and too piecemial to do much good.  Of course the progressive and radical economists say it as well.

the problem is not Obama, but the US power system. It is obselete, corrupt and increasingly serves the rich over the population.  It needs to be replaced.  Our task is to increase the distrust of the population for their political, intellectual and religious leaders.  For the whole power structure, both Dims and Gops, the mass media, and the agents of the ruling class.  Nothing will change until the American people oppose the American power structure.

Bg1- you are obviously a very discerning intelligence.

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By bg1, March 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Folktruther, March 9 at 2:53 pm you said my words for me.  Obama is just the latest spokesman for Wall Street.  Isn’t it wonderful that we the voters get to choose the front man for those who rob us.

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By Big B, March 9, 2009 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

While I am no fan of Barry, it has only been about 6 weeks. Even radical actions at this point are not going to turn this deathship around in under 18 months. But the price for inaction should be obvious. First, the US will flounder, and it will drag the world economy down with it, just like Japan in 1991, only much worse. Second, and perhaps more important to Barry and his “progressive” co-horts, the longer this goes on, the more the dim people of the US will forget that it was conservatism which caused this giant shit sandwich, and start blaming Barry and the dimmos.

Anybody remember Jimmy Carter?

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By Ivan Hentschel, March 9, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are three components of Obama’s moderate approach to the financial crisis which are flatly wrong. The first is Geithner. The second is Geithner and the third is that Geithner is still there. We will not last the Summers if he stays and continues the Paulson mantra of Wall St. stupidity.

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By VillageElder, March 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

I doubt that Obama is as progressive as the majority of the country.  (Just ask the questions without the framing by the repugs, or inflammatory buzz words.)

While a more progressive agenda would be preferred, e.g., a single payer health care, we are at least having a left of center discussion of the “health care problem”.  One of the repug leaders recently opined that single payer health care would put the for profit insurance companies at a competitive disadvantage.

So far he is better than Clinton (repug lite).

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By felicity, March 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

I suspect the dearth of personnel over at Treasury is because ‘financial’ types don’t want to take what would definitely be a severe cut in pay - much more profitable to be on the private side reaping the filthy lucre available in the process of soaking the citizenry.

Once the financial sector had reached the point when its profits were one-half as big as the total profits of America’s non-financial firms (year 2000), they had us by the short ones.  Not only would letting them fail be disastrous for all of us, they can tell the government (us) you do what we say, we don’t do what you say.

Obama is faced with a task far more complicated than is being openly talked about. All he needs is an additional barrage of uninformed crap presently coming from pundits and bloggers.

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By Folktruther, March 9, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Attention, Obama cheerleaders, your leader Dionne is worried.  With Good reason.  Obama has been put in power by the ruling class, which is mostly Republican neo-liberals, and pretends to be a Progressive to get progressives to support republican policies.  Meanwhile the economy is going down the shithole while Obama is maintaining a statesmanlike calm.  As the captain of the Titanic might have said, he expects an upturn later in the year.

As Whitney said today on Counterpunch, Obama knows what to do but he can’t do it.  His economic team, Summers, Geither and Bernanke are agents of the banks and serve their interests.  What is economically necessary is politically impossible.  Even by the offical figures, 600,000 jobs are being lost every month, and that figure is accelerating.  The American people are not going to hold still forever.

But Obama is not Roosevelt.  His function is a public relations one, to firmly inspire Hope n Change.  He has never been a governor or an administator of a large political organization.  If he can’t turn around the economy-and he isn’t- the Amreican people are going get increasingly pissed, which is what Dionne isw afraid of.

Meanwhile the Obama cheerleanders, who have pompoms for brains, continue their chant…give me an O…give me a B…..

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By BobZ, March 9, 2009 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

I guess you’re considered “radical” if you want to reduce taxes for 95%  of taxpayers and bring the other 5% to rates in effect during the Clinton administration. I’m surprised that so many media people are surprised by Obama’s policies. They were clearly laid out in his book “Audacity of Hope” and during the primary and general election campaign. Obama is a true moderate and ony looks liberal if compared to McCain and Bush. Fixing our broken health care system should be a “no brainer” given that it will not only promote health care maintenance and less reliance on the emergency room but make American businesses more competitive by taking the health cost burden off of them. We spend twice as much money on health care as any other western nation and get fewer benefits. I agree with Obama when he says that there will always be an excuse to not address health care, so now is the right time to do it, and it will also help our economy. Personally I’m not sure Obama could push any harder than he is now on all of the issues he is facing.

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By William W. Wexler, March 9, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

I don’t watch much TV outside of Olbermann and Maddow so if “they” are still calling Obama a “radical” then I haven’t heard it.  But the notion of anyone believing that is side-splitting hilarity.  Outside the obvious pejorative tone of the word used as a political put-down, anyone who really thinks Obama is a “radical” is cracked. 

If anything, Obama has pursued a centrist, compromised, watered-down, inclusive course of action on key issues where there was a clear mandate for progressive action.  The questions are not being framed properly.  It’s not a question of whether single payer is the solution we need, it’s a question of how we can implement it immediately to provide relief to millions who have no health care or are facing extreme hardship due to high costs.  It’s not a question of looking forward, backward, or at your own navel, it’s a question of whether the current government will open the toolbox and use the tools given to us by law to prosecute those who regarded the US Constitution as “a piece of paper” and then went about violating it in every way imaginable.  It’s not about radicalism it’s about common sense.  Wouldn’t it be common sense to put 7% of our fuel back into the system by lowering the speed limit to 55?

On issue after issue, Obama has given ground to the centrists and this is not news.  It started around June last year during the primary when Obama was looking forward to his speech at AIPAC on 6/4/08 and softened up the audience by proclaiming that his earlier statement that an Obama government would “talk to our enemies as well as our friends” obviously couldn’t include “terrorist” groups like Hamas, even though they were the legally elected government of the Gazans.  He then watered down his Iraq war position to sound almost exactly like Bush:  we will listen to the commanders on the ground with the goal of withdrawing at some non-firm date in the future.  Then he cast his FISA vote which created a minor firestorm among the faithful by granting blanket immunity to telecoms for their role in illegal surveillance. His website was buzzin’ over that.  Next to get weed-whacked by our “constitutional scholar” Presidential candidate was the First Amendment guarantee of separation of church and state, when Obama suddenly announced completely out of nowhere that he not only would retain the office of “faith-based” initiative, he would EXPAND it.  That was the final straw for me.

That was nothing short of pure, unadulterated pandering to the Xtains who think they somehow have a birthright to claim that their crackpot religion should be integrated with the affairs of our government.  That was a slap in the face, a kick in the nutsack, it was insult to injury, and that’s when this Obama Iowa Precinct Captain bailed on the campaign and went to work for Nader.  Enough is enough.

I did not go quietly.  I was still getting a slew of annoying fundraising emails from Obama’s campaign and each time I did, I took the time to go to their website and complain about Obama’s headlong flight from progressive positions.  Each time I got a form letter back… until one day, I actually got an email offering to refund my campaign contributions.  No kidding.  I didn’t take them up on it, to me, the offer was good enough.

I hope this rant hasn’t left anyone with the idea that I hate Obama.  I sure don’t.  I think he’s as good as we could hope for in this mess that Bush left us.  Cool head, somewhat deliberate, articulate, firm, and a breath of fresh air.  But if he’s a “radical”, I guess those folks would call me a “bomb-chuckin’ anarchist” instead of the old hippie grandpa that I really am.  I’m disappointed that Obama isn’t more of a radical.  Back in the 60s and 70s it seemed like we were going to get some radical change and instead we got Reagan.  Obama is a hell of a lot better than Reagan, but Obama the President isn’t as good as Obama the Candidate.

-Wexler

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By GW=MCHammered, March 9, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The previous administration and their supporters’ “unholy mess” is my view exactly. Bob Herbert’s too:

Miracles Take Time
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/07/opinion/07herbert.html?_r=1&em;
“Barack Obama has only been president for six weeks, but there is a surprising amount of ire, anger, even outrage that he hasn’t yet solved the problems of the U.S. economy, that he hasn’t saved us from the increasingly tragic devastation wrought by the clownish ideas of right-wing conservatives and the many long years of radical Republican misrule.”

Kudos for the president wanting to keep his eyes firmly set on the future. But the future loses any real underpinning without justice for the wrongdoings that got us here. Setting right past wrongdoings is what people with badges are for. So where have all the badges gone? In addition, Obama and his speechwriters may need to offer drumbeat, emotional “simple-isms” for the Viagra-eyed Faux News crowd still among us. Stay their Course? Sad-But-True. For a bit. Even a short worm will eventually turn.

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By SteveK9, March 9, 2009 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

Hopefully President Obama will come to this conclusion—-SOON.

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By Paul_GA, March 9, 2009 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

Mr. Dionne, what about the wars?!? Iraq, Afghanistan, the “global war on terror”??? Just ending these idiotic drains on the economy would do wonders! You cannot discuss the economy in isolation from the stupid wars which feed this country’s decline.

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By photoshock, March 9, 2009 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

Mr. Dionne, this commentary is spot on.  We now have a president who, by reason of his overwhelming win, has the mandate to accomplish the “impossible.”
Yet, gaining a sense of his presidency so far, one would think that, he was not elected with a majority of the people’s vote.
President Obama’s creeping sense of caution, has to cease being the driving force of his presidency, now is definitely not the time to act slowly and with “balance and bipartisanship.”  The Grand Orgy Party, has shown itself to be just one more impediment to the economic recovery that is sorely needed. Along with the economic recovery, what is needed, is a renewing of the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world community.  We have fallen so low, that the countries that are normally thought of as totalitarian and despotic, have a leg up on us.
We are now the examples for these countries in following the International Conventions on War, the kidnapping of people who our country deems harmful to
democracy, and the consistent willingness to torture
and kill without trial those who are deemed terrorists by the governmental agencies that brought us, warrantless wiretapping of American’s conversations, no-knock searches of our homes, without warrants, and without due process to find out
why our homes were searched. We, America, have become
what we have railed against for so many years, a despotic and totalitarian regime, that does not give a shit about the rule of law, the rights of the people, and cares not one whit about the world’s view
of our country.
Sadly, what we need now is not caution but decisive action to remove the stain of neo-conservative lawlessness that pervaded the country for the last eight years.  President Obama, must work fast and work decisively to end the imperial powers of the presidency or we will forever be stuck with the kind of powers that George Washington warned us about in his farewell speech to the nation, an “imperial regime that chooses its presidents by dint of “class and or familial birth.”

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By David, March 9, 2009 at 1:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it that Treasury’s vetting process for new hires is too stringent or that it doesn’t want any witnesses to the crimes it is committing?

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