Free Markets, Free People
Two articles of interest this week which caught my eye. On comes from the NY Times and is headlined, “Obama pushes agenda, despite political risks”.
One of the things I remember clearly from the campaign is how the lapdog media – and that would include the NY Times – kept telling us what a “pragmatist” Barack Obama was. That we would most likely see the 2nd coming of Bill Clinton with this guy.
Meanwhile there were a small group of us out here pointing out that there was nothing in this guy’s scant background that pointed to pragmatism and a lot that pointed to an idealist, activist and ideologue. We were scoffed at quite consistently.
I love “I told you so moments”. While Sheryl Gay Stolberg can’t quite make herself use the “ideologue” word, pragmatism is a word unheard. And she does say:
What Mr. Obama and his allies portray as progressive, activist government has been framed by his opponents as overreaching and profligate when it comes to the economy.
Remember, she’s supposedly portraying the Obama administration as they’ve portrayed themselves – as ideologues.
Her essential message is, while he and his cronies may have managed to pass some legislation they tout as historic or landmark, that’s not how it is perceived by the seething, voting masses. But, ever tuned into the electorate (yeah, that’s sarcasm), he’s pushing ahead with those legislative agenda items his ideology favors despite the electorates rejection of them in poll after poll. That includes stimulus, health care and now financial regulation.
That brings us to the financial regulation bill and an article by Kimberley Strassel. You need to read it, but again, it is the way she phrases a certain part of it that I find interesting:
Which brings us to yesterday’s passage of Mr. Obama’s financial overhaul bill. The press is hailing it as another big Obama victory, one that allows the president to brag about fulfilling his agenda and allows Democrats a "reform" to wave going into midterms.
Certainly that can be read a couple of ways, no doubt. But in the context of the next paragraph, not so much:
Maybe. Or maybe there’s every reason to believe the financial overhaul—like stimulus and health care—proves more political liability than political benefit.
Of course, stimulus and financial regulation were not “agenda items” of the campaign. Health care certainly was, even if the final law was a progressive monstrosity of which the majority of Americans wanted no part. Same with the “stimulus”. But, the ideology Obama believes in dictated those moves regardless of the public’s wants and desires.
Financial regulation, however, was a target of opportunity. It was the crisis opportunity Rahm Emanuel spoke about early in the administration which allowed them to push their ideological even a step further. Another 2,500 page bill filled with who knows what aimed specifically at the private sector, while the role of the mismanaged Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have all but been ignored and they’ve been fed another half trillion dollars with little fan fare (they’ve also been delisted from the stock market making it even harder to monitor their activity).
The whole point here is only an ideologue would push an “agenda” so hard that it harmed him and his party politically to the point that they may be voted out of power and stay out for some time (assuming the GOP can field better candidates than it is right now or seems likely to field in 2012). A pragmatist would favor an incremental bi-partisan approach that is politically healthy. An ideologue, while mouthing platitudes about bi-partisanship, wouldn’t really care that much as long as he had the votes needed to pass his agenda item.
That’s the real Obama. That was pretty clear to those of us who weren’t wearing blinders or rose colored glasses (or both) during the campaign. It is clear we were right. It is also clear that the media was complicit in selling us a bill of goods on this man that was never evident nor believable to those with a discerning eye.
Meanwhile, in Alaska, the media was going through Sarah Palin’s underwear drawer.
Yeah – they should indeed be ashamed (and the “journalists” wonder why they’re held in such low esteem and they have to hint at government subsidies as a good idea for their survival. They earned that low esteem and they can go under with it as well.).