It is hard to believe it has been only 19 months since the president’s inauguration. But in “political time” it has been much longer. When a president seeks “fundamental change”, and actually means it, political time expands as he attempts to break through decades of built up political boundaries. Remember how Obama bragged he accomplished health care reform when every president since Teddy Roosevelt failed? Putting aside the absurdity of the statement itself, it demonstrates that our president thinks in terms of centuries, not mere 4 year election cycles.
The electorate has already lost faith in his vague and mindless rhetoric and now is beginning to get irritated. Voters prefer more mundane objectives, like increased opportunities for a job. And they are not too hung up on whether they are “green” or not. His stimulus predictions failed; his health care bill was and is opposed by strong majorities; projected deficits are at record levels by any measure; and unemployment won’t decline. Yet he continues to speak the language of the losing gambler, by doubling down on policies which have not worked. The next act in his bag of tricks is to hike taxes.
Although he tried to subtly sneak in the message during his Oval Office speech, no amount of blaming Bush for the financial crisis or the cost of the Iraq war will cut it. He re-hired Bush’s Secretary of Defense, his Fed Chairman, and his Treasury Secretary’s top partner after Bernanke, Tim Geithner. He oversold the crisis and then oversold the solution in order to “fundamentally change” America—-which in turn helped advance the crisis. Without getting too much into the “oversold the crisis” concept, it is helpful to note that all of the top 10 banks (except Citicorp) were profitable in 2008, the year of the crisis. Profits increased substantially since then. The Fed, which purchased many assets from these banks, has also been “profitable”. The “bailouts” themselves were overstated and unneeded—-but that is another story for another day.