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Tuesday, February 10, 2009


21 days to failure

it has taken the obama administration exactly 21 days in office to convince me that it will be an abject failure of a presidency.

per paul kedrosky, obama is out in the media trying hard to make nationalization of the money-center banks look impossible. so far from being impossible, it is necessary -- but it is becoming clearer now that the democrats will have to be dragged to a meaningful solution of this nation's financial and economic problems kicking and screaming like little children, while the financial system remains paralyzed and the economy falls into a deep depression for a lack of real leadership.

such a pity. such a waste.

UPDATE: martin wolf in the ft.

Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed? In normal times, this would be a ludicrous question. But these are not normal times. They are times of great danger. Today, the new US administration can disown responsibility for its inheritance; tomorrow, it will own it. Today, it can offer solutions; tomorrow it will have become the problem. Today, it is in control of events; tomorrow, events will take control of it. Doing too little is now far riskier than doing too much. If he fails to act decisively, the president risks being overwhelmed, like his predecessor. The costs to the US and the world of another failed presidency do not bear contemplating.

What is needed? The answer is: focus and ferocity. If Mr Obama does not fix this crisis, all he hopes from his presidency will be lost. If he does, he can reshape the agenda. Hoping for the best is foolish. He should expect the worst and act accordingly.

Yet hoping for the best is what one sees in the stimulus programme and – so far as I can judge from Tuesday’s sketchy announcement by Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary – also in the new plans for fixing the banking system. I commented on the former last week. I would merely add that it is extraordinary that a popular new president, confronting a once-in-80-years’ economic crisis, has let Congress shape the outcome.

The banking programme seems to be yet another child of the failed interventions of the past one and a half years: optimistic and indecisive. If this “progeny of the troubled asset relief programme” fails, Mr Obama’s credibility will be ruined. Now is the time for action that seems close to certain to resolve the problem; this, however, does not seem to be it.

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Amen... we of conscience knew he was an empty suit. I gave him a chance even though I knew this is what happens when slick marketing and hard economic decision making collide! God help us all.

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He's not an empty suit: he has the ingredients for real leadership.

But in that interview he did express the core article of faith held by his class, and it sure looks that if we are ever to benefit from his leadership potential, it will only be after considerable misery.

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yep, anon @ 637 -- turns out you can have the eggs and the flour and the sugar without actually having a cake. very pretty speechifying and a sharp mind is (i like to think) necessary; but it certainly isn't sufficient.

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What Price Volcker??

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