Stand by for the Obama implosion

How long can President Obama administration ignore its political base?

  • Failure to reform health care, esp after first pandering to the drug and insurance companies.
  • Expanding the war in Afghanistan.
  • No investigations into torture during the Bush administration.
  • Delay in closing Guantanamo.
  • No efforts to extend gay rights.
  • Foreign policy almost a clone of Bush’s policies.
  • Bank bailouts and failure to regulate, a clone of Bush’s policy.

I suspect sometime soon Obama’s base will reject him.  Since his centrist policy has been spun to the right-wing as that of a nihilist communist, this would leave him a political orphan — like Hoover in 1930-1932.  Likely results:

  • Serious damage to the Democratic Party’s results in the 2010 elections.
  • Failure to achieve significant public policy changes.
  • Reduced ability to respond to a domestic or international crisis during the next 3 years.
  • Obama’s defeat in 2012.

Sad, but the almost inevitable result of his inexperience playing in the big leagues.  A decade of campaigning does not prepare one to govern a superpower.  Nice speeches can accomplish little without knowledge of political craftsmanship — the architectonic art.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the following:

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

A few of the posts looking at the Obama Administration:

  1. How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008 — The 7th year since 9/11, with the only debate about the Long War being what nations America should fight. We see this even the speeches of the most “liberal” candidate, Senator Obama.
  2. These days all American Presidents are War Presidents (part 2), 13 September 2008
  3. America gets ready for new leadership (or is it back to the future?), 14 November 2008
  4. These days all US Presidents are War Presidents (part 3), 23 November 2008
  5. Stratfor looks at Obama’s foreign policy, sees Bush’s foreign policy, 30 August 2009
  6. Motto for the Obama administration: “The more things change, …”, 5 September 2009
  7. TomGram: “The Imperial Presidency 2.0″, 18 October 2009

Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

37 thoughts on “Stand by for the Obama implosion

  1. Could it be that any POTUS from now on will be impotent to turn the tide against the lobbyists (AEI, AIPAC, PNAC, etc.) who drive us to war?
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    FM reply: The past 8 years lead me to suspect the cause of war lies in ourselves. Americans like our wars. The benefits might be imaginary. The costs ruinious. But we like them, a love that cuts across ideological lines.

    Very depressing speculation.

  2. Provide evidence that the people being ignored are in any way his base. Goldman Sachs has profited handsomely from his administration’s bailouts, and stands to make additional vast sums from their death pool CDOs (the purpose of the health care reform bill) and from being the broker for the carbon trading exchange (the purpose of cap and trade). Wall Street’s money bought him more than enough fawning media coverage to get elected once, I have little doubt that it could do so again. The question is whether it’s more cost effective to purchase a new puppet instead.
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    FM reply: Base in this context meaning voters. That’s why it’s called the base, the widest part of the pyramid, with Obama at the top.

  3. Try this to brighten your Political Day: Youtube of “He’s Not The Messiah”, by Monty Python.

    We are surely getting more than we deserve with this silly Charade and acompanying Kabuki

    And we will defintely shudder and shake at the results of electing this incompetent fool from Chicago —- which clearly shows how DESPERATE we had become. The next guy/gal will make us wish O was still around, I suspect.

    Greg
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    FM reply: Obama the fool? He is rich, President, with a hot wife. You must be kidding.

  4. FM — I think you’re being a bit too glib today. Pode’s observation is not only correct, but particularly important, especially in regards to your recent post about what we must do to fix the problem. It might not be a BLT if you pronounce it tomahto, but it tastes the same.

    And your commentary on 2. and 3. seems rather contradictory. “He’s a failure!” “He’s a success!”

  5. Xon,

    That’s not contradictory at all. Fabius is saying Obama is a failure at being President but is a success in his own personal life. What more can a man ask for than being rich, married with children, and in a job that has only been offered to 43 men before him in the history of the United States? Unfortunately, his successful personal life has not translated into benefits for most of America’s citizens.
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    FM reply: Thank you. This is expressed better than I did.

    The US presidency is one of the most difficult jobs in the history of the world, combining as it does functions of both Head of State and Chief Executive for a superpower. Political comments in the form of “he’s a fool” are another form of “I’m so smart.” Much like the couch potatoes in the stands, saying how much better they could perform than the umpires, coaches, and athletes on the field. Pity is the only suitable response.

  6. FM reply: “Obama the fool? He is rich, President, with a hot wife. You must be kidding.

    I like your humor!

    RICH? …not hardly, a few $$ does not make a man rich.
    PRESIDENT? …..even a narcissist has more than a few dark nights.
    HOT WIFE? ….he gets to do exactly what she allows(are you a married man?)as she is as deluded as he—if not more so!

    Our current situation really has very little to do with the man, “OBAMA”; he is simply a shadow on the Wall of the Cave! You know that.

    Greg
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    FM reply: My reply was factually accurate in the usual sense of these words. You can play word games, but that does not make your statements correct. They reek of envy at Obama’s personal success.

    “he gets to do exactly what she allows”

    That’s just a WAG at best, more likely just a malicious slur. Marriages are opaque to outsiders. The tabloids are not reliable sources of information about such things (or anything else, for that matter).

  7. There is no evidence that Obama’s wife is hot. I have trouble finding substantive capability differences between Obama and Palin.
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    FM reply: For those of us who like the sexy librarian look, Palin is also hot. Having good street smarts, she’s plays that game well.

    “I have trouble finding substantive capability differences between Obama and Palin.”

    That’s sad, but probably beyond anyone helping you.

  8. 1. Reform health care. I don’t understand the health care legislation programs. I am sure a lot of other people don’t either. It has not been presented by the media clearly and I think that has been on purpose. People aren’t going to get angry until the bill comes.
    2. Expanding the Afghan war. I agree. We love death and dying as long it is someone else doing the dying. All those Nintendo video news clips are so much fun. Only 2 locals have died since 03. The local schools do a feel good exercise once a year for them.
    3.4. Torture, Guantanamo. No one I know cares or ever talks about it. The local media rarely talk about it. When asked, I think a lot of people would say it is justified for defying US.
    5. Gay rights. Only Gays care about this. How much of the winning margin for O came from Gays? Perhaps O is merely doing the math in ignoring the issue.
    6. O=W foreign policy. I doubt that anyone outside of Amy Goodman and her crowd care all that much. We are much too narcissistic to worry about what goes on outside our borders. Haven’t many media outlets closed many of their foreign bureaus?
    7. Bailouts. Now this is one that makes everyone’s blood boil from the Amy Goodman crowd to the LaRouchies. This is the one issue that can sink the ship. With Goldman, Morgan and others playing derivatives like they do, another crash is bound to happen.

    I think the time has come for a 3d party.

  9. A president can recover from making decisions “The People” don’t like. He can recover from appearing foolish, or uninformed. Everyone can make a mistake, or have a bad day. The one thing no president can recover from is having the bulk of the voters believe he is a lying sack of shit. This is Obama’s big, new, and permanent problem.

  10. I voted for Obama because I thought that, with him, there would be some chance for a soft landing despite all the issues otherwise discussed on this blog; whereas McCain would be sure to crash.

    This remains true – although I also am pissed at him for reasons stated above. Obama is clearly deliberately pulling a bait and switch on his base. For someone who says he wants to build a consensus, he sure is leaving out a lot of people.

    My big hope is that we will be able to kick the can down the road and that something like Robb’s resilient communities will have time to form.

  11. “Rich, Pres and Hot wife”

    After telling us Obama Implodes, FM tells us the above. Goodness. O is succesful? oodness
    Have a bad in the Mk, FM?

    Anyone who wants THAT job so badly to gamble his soul in the Den of Vipers is not admirable to most upon reflection and then their are some who will offer–“Rich..hot wife”.

    Greg
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    FM reply: This makes no sense at all. Anyone who acheives high office wants it “bad.” Also, your inability to distinguish between individual and professional success is sad — unless you are very young. Many good people find themselves in professional situations beyond their ability to manage. Sometimes due to just bad luck, sometimes because of promotion beyond their skills. That’s the essence of the Peter Principle.

  12. What if they tried to hold an election and nobody showed up to vote? Maybe instead of a third party, we need a NO party.
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    FM replies: This ignores the vital element. No matter which parties run, we’re still there. As Buckaroo Banzi said: “No matter where you go, there you are.” We’re the problem, not them.

  13. And to think that we might have chosen McCain. Oh, what we missed! Bunker busting nuclear strikes. War in Iran and Korea. Martial law. Bank holiday. FEMA camps full of immigrants and “domestic terrorists.” The all volunteer force replaced by Xe.

  14. Obama as president can’t wave a magic wand and make things happen, and no one appreciates this as much as Obama himself. The man has ice water in his veins, and is very careful. Yes, it would be nice to see more progressive activism but 99% of what he wants to do has to involve Congress and half of that body is unrepresentative. Tough to do, but I think we progressives need to keep the faith that 1) Obama is not a covert conservative, and 2) he will do the best he can to move along the progressive agenda.
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    FM reply: Perhaps. My guess is that he lacks the political skills to accomplish much, sans great luck.

  15. FM: “I suspect sometime soon Obama’s base will reject him

    Been there. Done that. My eyes have been opened by the crisis, the on-going response, and the writing of FM and others of his ilk.
    The true nature of the US political system is duopoly governing for the oligarchs. To paraphrase the old saying; It’s the money and power stupid.

    I’m a damn-sight happier to have Obama beaming into my living room over McCain. And one can only imagine how much Sarah-time we’d be having to suffer if the old duffer had actually won the thing.
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    FM reply: That’s an important perspective! The difference between bad and worse is greater than between good and better.

  16. “Obama as president can’t wave a magic wand and make things happen”

    In which event we might as well have Mortimer Snurd as president? We all saw George Bush ram any number of things through Congress, so we know very well what can be possible.

    In any event, rather than lecturing liberals on how they should adapt to “political realties,” you should instead take notice that one of the political realities that Obama and the Democrats face is that unless they produce, produce now, and produce quite a lot – liberals are going to punish them.

  17. Political realities pull/push politicians to the middle. Health care reform as proposed is not popular. And the opposition to it seems to be hardening.
    Health Care Reform: 41% Favor Health Care Plan, 51% Oppose
    Rasmussen, 7 December 07, 2009

    Plus he really needs to concerned about the middle more than the Liberal base. Basically a tie between moderates and conservatives with Liberals at a distant third. Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group Compared with 2008, more mericans “conservative” in general, and on issues. {Gallup}

    We are getting closer to the 2010 election with many Democrats in trouble, including Harry Reid in Nevada where health care reform is not very popular, they actually might lose not just a filibuster proof majority but the majority. Obama has tried to do to much all at once and has dissipated what little influence he had.
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    FM reply: While this is all factually correct, I wonder if this captures the essence of our situation. Voting for tax cuts and more spending is popular. Attempting to fix our bankrupt health care system is not. That says much about us, little about the Democratic Party. President of a crazy people is not a fun position, although well-paid.

  18. “Political realities pull/push politicians to the middle.”

    Which explains Republicans in Congress right now as well as Bush/Cheney?

    “We are getting closer to the 2010 election with many Democrats in trouble, including Harry Reid in Nevada where health care reform is not very popular, they actually might lose not just a filibuster proof majority but the majority.”

    Many if not most liberals want to get rid of Reid. It is quite possible that many will actively support his Republican opponent simply to do so – depending upon how health care turns out. Many have also concluded that – given the current feckless Democratic performance – that maintaining current Congressional levels is at best a waste of time.

    Certainly liberals are as well positioned to be obstructive as anyone else. And if this:

    * Failure to reform health care, esp after first pandering to the drug and insurance companies.
    * Expanding the war in Afghanistan.
    * No investigations into torture during the Bush administration.
    * Delay in closing Guantanamo.
    * No efforts to extend gay rights.
    * Foreign policy almost a clone of Bush’s policies.
    * Bank bailouts and failure to regulate, a clone of Bush’s policy.

    is the best Obama can do, then it’s pretty pathetic.
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    FM reply: If we put into office someone with such modest experience, we should expect little. It’s our problem, not his.

  19. FM reply: “If we put into office someone with such modest experience, we should expect little. It’s our problem, not his.”

    According to Taibbi, Obama following his election dumped his progressive campaign advisors for Rubin’s disciples. This sudden switch suggests more than just inexperience; it suggests duplicity.

    In “Obama’s Big Sellout”, Matt Taibbi argues that President Obama has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway. Rather than keeping his progressive campaign advisers on board, Taibbi says Obama gave key economic positions in the White House to the very people who caused the economic crisis in the first place. Taibbi also points to the ties Obama’s appointees have to one main in particular: Bob Rubin, the former Goldman Sachs co-chairman who served as Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton.

    {Describing} “Obama’s Big Sellout“, Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 9 December 2009 — “The president has packed his economic team with Wall Street insiders intent on turning the bailout into an all-out giveaway.”
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    FM reply: This is another problem, different than Obama’s inexperience. Both parties are run by our ruling elites, which makes elections a “heads they win, tails we lose” proposition. For more about this see Politics of the FM site: radical leftist reformer or right-wing iconoclast?. It will continue so long as we play their game. It’s as obvious as tic-tac-toe.

  20. I do wonder if Obama will end up paying for Bush’s sins. The problem is that we REALLY don’t want anyone with an R after their name within sniffing distance of the White House. The conservative doctrine is a myth as evidenced by the calamity that has come before us. If we get a Republican in the WH, you can kiss the Constitution good bye and say hello to an American version of Francisco Franco or Augusto Pinochet. If by chance Obama manages to clear himself of current economic thinking and really go after the financial types, we may have a fighting chance. Then again, conservative anger may end up turning violent and I could easily see a 2nd civil war on our hands. The middle of the coming decade is going to be scary.

  21. If you want to know how this country runs, read Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann. It was published in 1923 and is still studied and still in print. Then google Century of the self part 4 – which is a one hour program that brings you up to date with focus group politics a la Mark Penn. The idea is to have a domestic and foreign policy agenda that will make people feel good and like you, so you will be re-elected. Swing voters are selected as focus group participants as emotion rather than an attempt at intelligent evaluation governs how they will vote and political advertising is aimed purely at the gut. Interesting group here.
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    FM note: See the Wikipedia entry about this book here. A free ebook version is here. Free downloadable texts are also available at Project Gutenberg.

  22. Steve Ward wrote: “If you want to know how this country runs, read Public Opinion by Walter Lippmann. It was published in 1923 and is still studied and still in print. Then google Century of the self part 4 …”

    Now we’re talkin’! Fine info. Thx for posting these.

    POTUS Obama is really of no concern; substitute Any Man or No Man … the results we see today would be similar if not the same. (even if Maximus thinks he is rich, successful and married to a Hottie….especially so!)

    What the current unraveling has offered for those who can no longer ignore it is the Cognitive Capture of the citizenry and sheer propoganda offered up daily in the Media.
    The entire naked Bail Out of the Banking Cabal (rather the current version thereof)commencing with Bear Stearns provided ALL one needs to begin questioning the Charade and Kabuki we live amidst. Neel Kashkari TELLS us they pulled the whole “thing” right out of thin air!

    FASCINATING…..but some of us will not be “feeling so good” as time marches on. Greg
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    FM reply: While there are powerful social forces at work, to say it does not matter who is President seems rather dogmatic, IMO. Somewhere between Marxist determinism and the “great man” theory there is a space for the reasonable analysis of political dynamics.

  23. “For those of us who like the sexy librarian look.”

    Oh boy, I’ve SEEN better: Reagan Yun, Playboy’s COED of the Month, December 2006

    Hope I ain’t offendin’ the rest of y’all, FM
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    FM reply: Not exactly geopoltics, but certainly topic to the post! And factual evidence is always welcomed on the FM website.

  24. I lurk on this site quite a lot to read comments and analysis from those far more informed than I on current issues and am struck by how anti-Obama the FM site has become. On a lot of things Obama has disappointed me, but I still support him, all things considered. He HAS done a lot of good and is a decided improvement over his predecessor (and lord knows he’s ten times better than McCain/Palin ever would have been.) Can anybody name one Democratic President who hasn’t moved towards the center after their election?

    I just think that Obama has received more criticism from both sides more than some Presidents received during their term(s).

    Most of criticism is due to the expectations some people had for him when he came into office, which they(we) only have themselves(ourselves) to blame. What were your expectations FM?
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    FM reply: My expectations were low, that Obama would accomplish little due to his lack of political experience. He said he would be a pro-war president, which I expected to prove correct. Both these have proven spot on.

    For more about this see articles in section one of the FM reference page Obama, his administration and policies.

  25. Interesting comment Curator. He HAS done a LOT…..would be a stretch to characterize them as “good”, in my and many, views. Try the LATEST shizophrenic utterance:

    “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” Mr. Obama said in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday.”

    Yet THIS IS EXACTLY what his first Year has wrought. But what reality does he live in? So WHOSE expectations is he fulfilling here?

    Seriously he may be one of the most destructive politicians in my memory; he is closing in on the main one, Richard Milhouse Nixon! But by all means “support” him, tis part of some traditions. Greg
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    FM reply: Since his foreign and economic policies are almost identical to that of Bush Jr, I don’t see how he can “one of the most destructive politicians in my memory.” Esp as those are the two areas in which he has actually accomplished anything.

    The statement you cite is great gallows humor. However, the American people prefer leaders that lie to us. It’s one of the things we test for during campaigns.

  26. From January through March of 2009 , the economy lost at least 600,000 jobs each month, yet for October and November that same year we only lost 122,000 combined. Connolly, would you NOT characterize this as “good”? Is this not a sign we are moving in the right direction? His “fat cat bankers” comment was in the context of trying to get financial regulatory reform passed in the congress, or don’t you think the $344 million spent this year alone by corporate lobbyist against these reforms won’t benefit these same fat cats? We now have bailed out banks repaying TARP money as fast as they can just to avoid government oversight and protect their mega million bonuses.
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    FM reply: There are two problems with this. First, those “good” numbers reflect preliminary data over a short term. Final numbers could easily get revised to far worse levels (as happened to the early 2009 numbers). Second, recession end no matter what governments do. Attributing these swings to the President is little different than primative tribespeople rewarding — or sacraficing — their Chief depending on the rains.

  27. “Gallows Humor”???

    I find it to be a terribly accurate example of Public Servant Schizophrenia and symptomatic of his administartion when coupled with Larry Summers utterances on the Sunday AM talk show. Others like you see humor. I see sickness….he is unsure what Reality he lives in but the sane among us do know.

    Context or no context, THAT Statement is unconscionable (and its synonyms—amoral, barbarous, conscienceless, criminal, dishonest, excessive, exorbitant, extravagant, extreme, inordinate, knavish, outrageous, preposterous, sneaky, “too much”, uncivilized, undue, unethical, unfair, ungodly, unholy, unjust, unprincipled, unreasonable, unscrupulous, wanton, wicked)

    Truth Speaking is not only necessary in the realm of personal relations. He knows damn good and well what he has delivered to the “Banks” is nothing less than sheer looting of the credit markets that were looted by these same fraudulent Operatives.
    His admin does not own the moneys he gave away.

    This Plan of his (and yes, the continuation of Bush W!)alone is sufficient to place him at the BOTTOM ranking of the last 8 Presidents. And there is more to come! BANKS repaying TARP? You can’t be serious? ….the Fed LOANED CITI the last few Billions to get out to avoid any Comp Oversight….that Bank is still TOXICALLY BK.

    Please read some things other than the normative news sources. Greg
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    FM reply: I have no idea what you are attempting to say here; this appears quite incoherent. Also, you don’t understand the meaning of “gallows humor”. I recommend reading the Wikipedia entry.

  28. FM: “Attributing these swings to the President is little different than primative tribespeople rewarding — or sacraficing — their Chief depending on the rains.

    Now THAT is darn funny! We are kinda like that, eh? My AM pick-up! Greg

  29. {Excerpt from “The Bankers Summit and Some Significant No-Shows“, Jesse’s Café Américain, 14 December 2009:}

    A one on one with Jamie Dimon and a few second tier, TARP-bound moneylenders. John Stumpf of Wells Fargo is running late but surely on his way. Tied up signing some last minute foreclosures.

    It appears that Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, and Dick Parsons of Citgroup will not be able to make the meeting today with The One regarding executive pay and the failure to lend by the Wall Street Welfare Queens.

    … The Wall Street boys don’t bother to show up for a command performance at the White House on some lame travel excuse, except for house banker and Treasury Secretary to be Jamie. Lloyd doesn’t need to be Treasury Secretary because he already has one.

    This is too good. You can’t make this stuff up.

    No you can’t. Go see the pretty picture on the NY Times with the Cheerleader Ms. Romer at the end of the Table! What really goes on is WASHINGTON PEOPLE and the FINANCIALS have a “conversation” with each other….day in and day out.

    Sadly, YOU/WE are not involved! Greg
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    FM reply: Sad but true. Here’s one explanation — voters are satisfied with pretty words; the folks who finance our politicos demand results. Guess who gets disappointed?

  30. A Haiku

    Obama has failed
    The worst President ever
    Jimmy Carter smiles

    Only an idiot would have voted for Obama. This guy is the least qualified person to ever be nominated for President in modern times. I suspect his grades in school were gifts like the Nobel Prize. Sarah Palin might not know a lot, but what Obama knows is totally wrong. And the country now suffers. We got the stupidest President at exactly the wrong time in history.
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    FM reply: I don’t understand why you believe McCain-Palin would have been better. McCain’s demonstrated a narrow and largely error-filled view of the world, plus notable lack of judgement. Palin had high odds of becoming President, an office for which she is manifestly unqualified.

    The difference between bad and worse is far sharper than between good and better.

  31. FM offers: “Sad but true. Here’s one explanation — voters are satisfied with pretty words; the folks who finance our politicos demand results. Guess who gets disappointed

    You are a true wordsmith and a bright man, plus. This succinct reply is fascinatingly accurate, IMO. What really is of interest is WHY is it the case that we Americans can be satisfied with “pretty words”?

    What is the case, is that it is VERY dangerous to cede control over “words” and the language to authorities who will/can use them to manipulate us. Obama is the perfect one to do this and his rhetorical skills are always well-noted.

    To wit today and Sunday he offers us Populist Rhetoric in complete jusxtaposition to his actions and those of his Staff. It is nothing more than a cynical act of kabuki theatre by the President to mask his own reticence to deal with the problem in an honest manner.
    No doubt many Politicians are loose with language. But in these times, Obama will pay.

    So be it. But the real charges against our Account will be born by those of us who have our lives on the line in this madness of an Economic scenario….a scenario Obama can so easily influence. And which he is reticent to do. Nay–refuses to intervene in.
    This is an Administration that defines reform as muddled compromise within a profoundly broken polity

    He will pass away and WE will be left to recreate some semblance of a decent traditional financial/banking system. Greg
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    FM reply: To a large extent the financial sector owns the government, hence the continuity between the Clinton, Bush and Obama policies. Blaming Obama for this situation, deeply rooted in our government institutions (Congress, Judiciary, Treasury, and Fed), is IMO nuts. Why not blame him for the funkey shape of the Capital dome?

    As for the Obama rhetoric, I think that’s just conventional wisdom based on nothing but constant repetition. Mark Steyn nicely punctures this nonsense in “Obama goes from dazzle to drone“, 12 December 2009. The greatest voice of the ages, his speeches already mocked before his finishing his first year in office.

  32. Comment #22: “I could easily see a 2nd civil war on our hands.”

    Not without a mass desertion from the United States armed forces going over to the othr side. Which is exactly what happened the first time around – in the Spring of 1861 approximately one-third of the United States Army deserted – with most of the deserters joining the Confederate States Army.
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    FM reply: I did not reply to #22, as one might as well speculate an attack by flying robot monkeys — which is just as likely over any foreseeable time horizon. The US civil war was preceded by several generations of rising tensions, with a series of severe crises (the 1832-33 Nullification Crisis) before the final break. There is nothing remotely similar today.

  33. I cannot imagine another Gettysburg style civil war. Nor a Maoist style guerrilla conflict. What does seem possible is the continued escalation of 4GW. Eventually some kind of brigandage or neo feudalism. If the federal government falls, it will not be in battle, but a soviet style collapse. Because too many have lost faith in it and simply withdrawn their loyalty.

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