"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama's Very First Funtime, Primetime Press Conference Special

I had written in a previous post about Obama's snippy-ness. While watching his prime-time press conference tonight I tried to decide if this same snippy attitude was due to real frustration or an act as he tries to portray himself as strong and authoratative. I haven't really come to any conclusion, though I think it might be both (though not at the same time).

Watching Obama would be amusing if he wasn't the actual president of the U.S. When asked what were the indications that the current recession would not be temporary, he mentioned seomthing about economists told him so and there would be a downward spiral of some sort. In other words, no specifics, no evidence, no real answer. His direct quote: "I think that what I've said is what other economists have said across the political spectrum, which is that, if you delay acting on an economy of this severity, then you potentially create a negative spiral that becomes much more difficult for us to get out of."
We saw this happen in Japan in the 1990s, where they did not act boldly and swiftly enough and, as a consequence, they suffered what was called the lost decade, where essentially, for the entire '90s, they did not see any significant economic growth"
Obama used Japan's recession as a scary example of what could happen, apparently oblivious to the fact that Japan tried much the same thing to no avail. From the National Review article comes Jim's Manzi's observation:
"One argument is that we expect this to be a very long-lasting recession, so we’re going to need this stimulus spending in 2011, 2012, and so on. But, consider that if we’re heading into a Japan 1990s style decade-long slowdown, this kind of spending is exactly what they tried, and it sure didn't work in that case."

According to Obama, whatever we need to do we shouldn't follow "the same failed theories of the last eight years." Ahh yes... The new take on the old stand by: blame Emmanuel Goldstein... er... George Bush. I guess this takes into account that the Democratic Congress were the ones that pushed banks toward sub-prime loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Exactly what eight-year-old "failed theories" is he referring to? Free Trade Agreements? These nebulous "failed theories" Obama is dead-set against seem to be free market capitalism.

But don't worry. This stimulus will "create or save 4 million jobs." Suddenly we're hearing this "or save" phrase thrown in after the "create jobs" stuff. Obama seems to be back peddling and hedging on the stimulus-job creation connection. If only 4 million jobs remain in America at the end of this run, I suppose he can claim they were "saved" by the stimulus. Saving jobs requires no hard proof nor evidence, unlike the tenuous and debatable proof of creating jobs. Cute.

While continuing to portray himself as a centrist (snort), he continues to polarize the political community to reestablish the center far to the left. Obama talks about the need to eliminate "bad habits in Washington" which, in this context (the "stimulus" bill), seems to be careful deliberation and debate. He stresses the need for discussion, but only with those not "philosophically opposed" to his own point of view. I guess we can, according to Obama, "differ on some of the particulars" but not on anything too contrary to his position. Cute. Cut out the right and the middle moves pretty far left, doesn't it?

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