Monday, March 08, 2010

Turning "The Page" On More Obama Wankery

(And I also posted here…also, Halperin’s blog is referenced in the post title.)

Thank goodness we have Mark Halperin to warn us when our president isn’t performing as expected by our political-media-industrial complex.

Here, he tells us that President Obama is “making the same mistakes as Bush,” what with Number 44’s policies on Wall Street and Afghanistan “alienating the left.” In response, I am providing this link to a Quinnipiac poll from January which more or less splits Obama’s approval at 50-50 or 60-40 across the board (which, to me, means that there is ample ebb and flow out there when it comes to public opinion that no one demographic holds an edge…I’d like to think that Halperin’s mythical “left” could decisively sway an electoral outcome this cycle, but I know better).

So how exactly is President Obama acting like Dubya, according to Halperin? Does the intrepid Time commentator draw a sadly apt comparison between Number 43 and Obama’s waffling on the issue of whether or not to try accused terrorists in civilian courts?

Uh, no.

Yep, you guessed it – Halperin gives us a bunch of “conventional wisdom” navel gazing instead…

No Chief Economic Spokesperson. Quick: Name all three of Bush's Treasury Secretaries. Hard to do, isn't it? Like Bush, Obama has failed to install an economics commander in chief who can serve as the public face and the in-house honcho of the Administration's financial team.

Halperin is worried about “the public face” of Obama economic policy? Gee, then, I guess all of those Capitol Hill hearings involving Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner were a figment of my imagination (as well as those involving Bushco Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson…and to answer the trivia question, the other two Bushies Halperin asks about here are Paul O’Neill and John “Snidely” Snow).

Again, Halperin misses a chance to draw the line between Geithner and Paulson, two Goldman Sachs refugees who have ensured the rather pathetic equivalency between the two administrations when it comes to failing to hold to account the rapacious pirates on Wall Street who have very nearly led our economy to ruin (And Obama needs “a Robert Rubin figure”? As in, the deregulation architect who set the dominos falling in the first place, with Alan Greenspan’s approval? Are you kidding me??).

Halperin has some other nonsense to impart to us, such as Obama and Captain Clueless both “failing to empower cabinet members on domestic policy” (kind of hard to do that when the “Party of No” seeks to scuttle their initiatives and block appointment of administration officials) and “tying his administration’s fate too closely to his party’s congressional leadership” (uh…and how exactly is Obama supposed to avoid that when Congress is responsible for passing the legislation?).

I will give Halperin a little bit of an acknowledgement on one point, though, and that is “falling to integrate policy, politics and communication.” Message discipline has been a problem for this administration lately on some issues (whether or not to support a public option, whether or not John Yoo and Jay Bybee could be held criminally liable for authorizing torture, the previously mentioned terror trial question, etc.).

However, to a certain extent, I think that is a “boulder of Sisyphus” kind of insoluble task, particularly in our current anti-incumbency climate. There are a multitude of communication tools available for Obama, and I think he has utilized them effectively. But when you have a base in need of re-energization (word?) in no small part due to Repug congressional obstruction (and an American voting public with a notoriously short attention span), as well as a Dem Senate leadership that apparently believes progress is temporarily mollifying GOP obstruction in the name of the Beltway’s blessed notion of “bipartisanship,” all of these collectively are ingredients that spell trouble (though – and I hasten to emphasize this – not certain doom in and of themselves).

Really, though, what else could we expect from Halperin, seeing as how he was the guy who gave us this?

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