Obama’s Best Week As Prez (Not Just Because of Tucson)

The hidden reasons why this was Barack Obama’s best week yet | David Rothkopf

It is far too early to open up the champagne … the U.S. economy faces real threats to our recovery … but from Obama’s point of view, the development of the past couple weeks that may be most important to his political future are the signals that U.S. growth may top 3 percent this year and that some economists are predicting it may go to 4. While the state and municipal financial crises, the budget deficit, the Eurozone crisis, the bubbles in the emerging world, spiking commodity prices and the potential for trade conflict or currency wars with China are all real risks, the news is better than it has been in a couple years and the outlook of business leaders with whom I have recently spoken is cautiously optimistic. If Obama uses a changed political mood and his momentum to go bold with his State of the Union and to really make an effort to implement the recommendations of the budget commission and to implement job creation initiatives (that don’t have to bust the budget) like the infrastructure bank, a program to attract foreign investment, reduced corporate taxes, a real effort to cut back regulatory impediments to investment, etc. … well, that could provide just the boost that will get markets believing again.

Bad Week for his Rivals and Adversaries

Not only was the progress for the president significant this week, it was not a good week to be his adversary or rival. Not only do they have to contend with a U.S. president with momentum but they have been creating trouble for themselves. And I don’t just mean Sarah Palin although, as I have already written, I think that particular inexplicable cultural phenomenon is done … at least until we get to “Real Housewives of Wasilla” in a couple of years. And I don’t just mean his other potential opponents or those on the right who were counting on being propelled into office on a tide of uncontrollable national anger and ugly rhetoric. That’s just become a whole lot more difficult. I also mean Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was already losing ground with the world thanks to progress on the Iran sanctions but who will soon be seen as partially responsible for the potential debacle in Lebanon (as a supporter of Hezbollah.) I also mean the Chinese who went too far with their rebuff of Bob Gates and their flaunting their stealth aircraft developments and who helped make the case for those who feel the United States should be tougher on China. And I also mean the Democratic left who are seeing a more centrist president succeed (as more centrist presidents invariably do).

This is no time for complacency. It’s just one week. The next big challenge for the president will be a State of the Union for which expectations, post-Tucson, will be high both in terms of its potential emotional lift and in terms of whether it contains the kind of big ideas that a precariously posed economy desperately needs. But that’s a couple weeks from now. And the good news that most of the above steps … regaining his voice, making his team work to its full potential, riding some economic momentum … are all longer-term developments like to produce even more progress in the future.


Home Page  Public Email  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Github   

Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution.

Commenter Ignore Button by CK's Plug-Ins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

Comment →

Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

Comment →

[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

Comment →
CK's WP Plugins


Extraordinary Comments

CK's WP Plugins