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February 10, 2010


No doubt Brendan is correct that Obama's political fortunes are very much tied to the economy and other fundamental factors. However, let's not let the staff off too easily. The health care bill was a mutt to begin with (all along Kaus has been especially critical of what he refers to as Orszagism), but it's also been badly mismanaged. In other words, the bill was a mutt, and Emanuel screwed the pooch.

Emanuel was also the guy most responsible for filling government positions. Not only did the vetting process turn out to be a fiasco, but beyond that, many subcabinet positions remained unfilled well into the year (because no one was nominated, not because of Senate holds), and some are unfilled still.

And we haven't even started to talk about the stimulus package and automaker bailouts that were more about favoring unions than improving the economy.

Obama is also suffering the inevitable consequence of having sold voters on a nebulous and unattainable vision of hope, change and comity and delivering to them hype, binge and comedy. That's mostly his fault, but also the fault of his political advisors. Obama can't be fired; members of his staff can. Res ipsa loquitur.

Nobody wants to blame Obama. The press blame his staff. Brendan blames "fundamentals," which he seems to attribute to bad luck. I disagree. Obama has been a dreadful President. His ratings would be even worse, but for a favorable media.

E.g., corruption in the Justice Dept.: Dropping prosecutions against friends of Obama for no justifiable legal reason. Firing Justice Dept. employees who were investigating friends of Obama. Stonewalling Congress, when they try to get the facts.

Foreign policy: Obama has done nothing to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and delivery systems. His ignorant comments undermined the possibility of negotions between Israel and the Palestinians. Few have confidence that he will succeed in Afghanistan.

Obama's unprofessional national security policy, which even got blasted by USA Today.

The incomprehensible health bill passed by giving away special payoffs -- virtually bribes -- to wavering Democratic Senators. No more need be said.

The fake stimulus bill. I don't think stimulus works to end recessions. I know of no examples where a stimulus bill has succeeded. But, the actual bill didn't spend the money rapidly and didn't spend most of it in private sector job creation. Instead, huge amounts went to Democratic special interests.

Incidentally, we've seen the failure of Stimulus Bill in the loss of 5 million jobs. But, the full impact of overspending hasn't been felt yet. Obama's enormous deficits are likely to lead to high inflation and/or continuing recession or worse. It's true that Obama came into office facing big deficits. His job was to reduce them, not to explode federal spending so the deficits became incurably big.

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