March 18, 2009
Macro-Trend to Watch: Wheels Possibly Coming Off the Obama agenda - UPDATED

We're not quite talking Bill Clinton prior to the 1994 election, but there is an increasing alignment of events signaling that Obama is going to run into a brick wall working with Congress if he holds to the path of recent weeks:

1) Congressional Democrats are "fuming" over one of the greatest own goals in recent political memory. The political party that has made a living in recent election cycles earnestly insisting that every Republican candidate under the sun is against veterans cannot propose a moronic cost-shifting of service-related injuries onto the private sector.

Congressional Democrats (and Republicans) will squash the proposal forthwith, but Members of Congress will tolerate only so many headaches inflicted by a President of their own party before their default mode switches from accommodating to skeptical. Just ask George W. Bush about his success with a Republican Congress in 2005 and 2006.

2) It began with the release of an eye-popping, spendthrift budget, which raised many a moderate, Democratic eyebrow. As the scope of the Obama agenda has sunk in, particularly given its "like-to" nature (healthcare, cap & trade) in contrast to the "need-to" address problems (financial system, economy), an important faction of Democrats is increasingly close to calling a timeout:

There is rising doubt among Democrats -- particularly moderates already concerned about the big costs and deficits called for in Obama's budget -- that either Obama or Washington have enough bandwidth this year to stimulate the economy, overhaul the failed financial sector and move on to a far-reaching domestic agenda.

"From the standpoint of the Congress, there's only so much that we can absorb and do at one time," Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told POLITICO Tuesday. "To maintain a schedule like the one we've got at this moment, throughout the year, I don't know if it will be healthy."

This coming from Congress that is always more optimistic about its projected quantity of work in the spring than that which is actually accomplished prior to adjournment near the end of the year. Ambitious agenda and grossly over-priced budget? You can't have both. You might get neither.

3) Geithner. He was in troubled straits anyway, in no small part thanks to the vacant senior offices at Treasury that are much more the White House's responsiblity to fill than his. The AIG mess, however, is the icing on the cake for what looks by all appearances to be a fumbled handling of the financial sector mess since Obama was inaugurated. At this point the actual culpability doesn't matter, the appearance does. And it's bad.

4) Public polling increasingly shows not only growing Republican angst with Obama (bye-bye "Obamicans," such as they were), but the independents with whom Obama did so well in 2008 as well. Notably, Pew recently showed what Rasmussen was already detecting: independents are increasingly souring on Obama, particularly as he is increasingly identified with the liberal rather than moderate wing of his party. If that trend continues at all it will be an even further break on Congressional Democrats being willing to accommodate Obama's grandiose plans.

Add all of the above up, and you have increasing political winds that point to majority Democrats highly uncomfortable with Obama's agenda as proposed, plus over-arching issues that are viewed as more important in any case...even if the Obama Administration's plans on the latter are less than clear.

That is not a formula for legislative success. President's can only do so much in our system of checks-and-balance, even before one considers there are an increasingly number of roadblocks to Obama's achieving that.

Footnote to point #3: there's a reason Chris Dodd is a ripe target in 2010. Veteran lawmaker in a very blue state? Yes. But, Rob Simmons is a quality candidate. Dodd is already polling poorly. And between the still growing Countrywide story, plus ties to AIG as well as Fannie & Freddie, there is more than enough to pummel him vigorously on ethical grounds.

UPDATE: Dodd, no note with the contents of the footnote above in mind, just threw Treasury under the bus on the topic of the AIG bonuses. Establishment theme: it's a Democratic problem now. Bush who?

Posted by Eric Earling at March 18, 2009 10:43 AM | Email This
1. I don't want Republicans to win based on "we're not the democrats who made this mess worse."

That's how the current crop of idiots got elected and look where it got us.

Republicans need to come to the table with solutions and leadership, not the McCain get-along gang of whatever appears bi-partisan.

Posted by: Andy on March 18, 2009 11:06 AM
2. You bet the Dems are in BIG trouble. From yesterday's Rasmussen:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
"Support for the Democratic Congressional candidates fell to a new low over the past week, allowing the GOP to move slightly head for the first time in recent years in the Generic Congressional Ballot.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 41% said they would vote for their district's Republican candidate while 39% would choose the Democrat.

Investors now favor Republicans by a 46% to 36% margin, while non-investors would vote Democratic by a 45% to 33% margin.

Democrats began the year holding a six or seven point lead over the GOP for the first several weeks of 2009. Over the past month, the gap has been smaller, with Democrats holding a two-to-four point lead."

Rasmussen is #1 in accuracy.
The KLOWNS keep posting MSNBC & Gallup #20-21!
They are in deep denial.

If the R's can get their act together...

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on March 18, 2009 11:36 AM
3. Mr. Cynical

People are going to be even more pissed. Have you seen that Freddie & Fran top dogs are going to get huge bonuses.

Sounds like AIG all over again.
Plus F& F gave all kinds on money to the dem's.

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 18, 2009 11:48 AM
4. independents are increasingly souring on Obama, particularly as he is increasingly identified with the liberal rather than moderate wing of his party.

Let's follow Confucius and begin our public philosophizing with clear definitions of our terms. Obama's party is nominally named the Democrats (though they love antidemocratic scams like the enabling of 'card check' coercion to deny secret ballots to prospective new union members). If it has a 'liberal' wing, I'd expect it to be in favor of democratic principles like one-man one-vote, and supporting the Constitution and rule of law, with a certain amount of taxpayer funding of safety nets for down-and-out citizens.

That doesn't fit the new Obama administration at all. They propose several end runs around the Constitution - for example the seizure of the census from the Commerce Department by the White House (and the hiring of ACORN crooks of be the new field census-counters) - and by all appearances, the skimming of taxpayer funds through the 'stimulus' to set up wholly-bought constituencies to emplace a permananent Democratic majority at the expense of the rest of us. The imposition, in other words, of the Chicago way nationwide.

Obama, raised and educated and cheered on by Marxists, religious bigots and revolutionaries, is in no way a member of the 'liberal' wing of the Democrats. He's a radical, and with the help of Pelosi and Reid is doing his damndest to impose an authoritarian government over formerly free American citizens. Rather than enabling us in 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness', his new regime is hellbent for forbidding, denying and criminalizing behaviors which were formerly our own choices.

Small wonder the 'independents' are waking up as skeptics, now that Obama's billowing words (taken in blind faith by the MSM during and following the election campaign) can be contrasted with his apparent intentions and his actual deeds.

Guard your remaining valuables, and ready the tar and feathers.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on March 18, 2009 12:14 PM
5. "current crop" got elected and look at what it has got us.

Andy, I am not looking at the Trent Lott branch but at some of the new leaders in Congress and going, "huh?" at your comments. Whether they will stick to their guns or not is another story, though.

My ultra-liberal e-mail buddy ain't buying the Vet issue as being a Democrat faux pas. It is people like him that need to wake up to Obama the Incompetent (how's that for an emperor's tag?).

Posted by: swatter on March 18, 2009 12:21 PM
6. So Obama was up there today calling AIG "reckless and greedy". AIG deserves the razzing it gets; but then I thought this through even further---Obama and the democrat congress are giving us a $1.3 TRILLION dollar deficit just this year! To go on top of a whopping $11 trillion national debt. I called Murray and Cantwell's office today to point out that AIG looked bad spending millions on these bonuses, but B.O. and the democrats are wasting BILLIONS and TRILLIONS on gum and candy. When all is said and done, OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS MANAGE TO MAKE EVEN A.I.G. LOOK GOOD!

Posted by: Michele on March 18, 2009 01:52 PM
7. IS,

That is why I call them the Slavery Party. There is nothing "democratic" about that party at all - it is a totalitarian, fascist party bent on using class warfare to destroy this nation.

Past Democrats like Scoop Jackson, Zell Miller, JFK, even Dixie Lee Ray would be banned from their party because they still honored the concepts of one man/one vote and economic liberty.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 18, 2009 02:28 PM
8. Michelle,

What's really amazing is that Geithner and Obama are so ignorant as to not know that AIG has to CONTRACTUALLY pay those bonuses. Those "bonuses" were deferred compensation, NOT "performance bumps".

It's a tax loophole in the state of CT where AIG is based. By taking $1 in salary, and $1,000,000 in "bonus", you avoid the state income tax on that million. You still pay Federal income tax... It's a contractual arrangement of their compensation, like deferring your entire salary for the year until you get one big lump sum.

Also, in CT if you do NOT pay out your contractual salary/bonus, you can be sued and suffer treble damages under CT law.

So the bumbling clowns in the White House now want to pull back $165 million from AIG, then cause AIG to LOSE another $495 million for welching on their contracts, plus the legal fees for forcing that payment.

Oh, and Geithner was also talking about penalizing AIG another $165 million on top of it as a punishment for the move to begin with.

So following through on a CONTRACTUAL debt now means that AIG will lose at least $660 million.

Is there any wonder that the States and now more and more companies do NOT want Federal dollars? They change the rules after you've taken it. And will destroy your business in the meantime (after it's been nationalized and brought to heel under the Obamassiah, of course).

Simple insanity. Children in the White House, and morons leading Congress. If things don't change in 2010, it's going to get REALLY ugly...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 18, 2009 02:39 PM
9. 1..: The White House proposal to require veterans to use private insurance to pay for treatment of service-related injuries.

Just how radioactive (and totally stupid and outrageous) this proposal by the WH is; can be guaged by how frantically the rational and even semi-rational (D)s in Congress are scrambling to distance themselves from it. The fact that the WH would even PROPOSE such a non-starter causes one to seriously question their operational competence (in addition to and completely aside from the ideological perspective).

2..: The ''do everything right away and all at once'' Obama agenda; regardless of cost:

Consider for a moment what would happen if the Chinese government were to announce near-term that they were suspending purchase of US T-Bills until our government gets its act together; or even that they were going to cut back.....

3..: Geithner:

If anybody owns the AIG tarbaby, he does.
SIDEBAR: CNN just did ''breaking news'' on the AIG fiasco; and the $165M in bonuses after the taxpayer bailout. Sen. Dodd was just droning on about how (effectively) it's not HIS fault:
~~''The Administration made me do it.''
However this one ends, it won't be good for Geithner or Dodd or the Administration in general.

4..: Reality starting to gain on irrational ''hope and change''.

Political, economic, and technical reality can be awfully inconveneint, can't it ??...

Speaking of hard technical reality:
It hasn't made the news much (although it has been mentioned briefly here and there), but one of the very worst things the Obama Administration has done to negatively impact the long-term energy security of this country; is that they caved to that dingbat Harry Reid of NV, and effectively (unless Congress reinstates it) killed all funding for Yucca Mountain.
At the same time last time I heard Obama's position on nuclear power is that ''no more nuclear plants should be built until we have safe permanent storage for nuclear waste''.

Convenient, huh ??..:
Kill Yucca after $8B+ taxpayer funding has been invested, and then say ''Gee: We don't have a safe place to store nuclear waste.''
Outrageous doesn't even BEGIN to cover this totally stupid decision.

Posted by: Methow Ken on March 18, 2009 02:58 PM
10. UPDATE: Apparently, per Chris Dodd (D: AIG) says that the AIG loophole in the stimulus package was actually put in place at the request of the Obama Administration!

So this is how the shake-down works:

1. The Obamafia decides you're "too weak to survive", so they buy you out at a fraction of your value.

2. Then the Obamafia write the law so that you can make all your contractually agreed to payments to your executives.

3. A few months down the road, the Obamafia raises a hue and cry about your "wasting" of tax dollars on those same executive payments.

4. The Obamafia uses this "breaking of the taxpayer's trust" to finish it's takeover of you, forcing out all your executives and nationalizing the company outright.

Seems like a pretty slick racket, if you're the Obamafia!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 18, 2009 05:23 PM
11. Obama may be the accidental president - lacking qualifications more so than any other President in history. However, he is a quick study in shuck & jive, word parsing and Clintonian politics.

Watch his actions and take his words with many grains of salt. What do expect from someone who is heavily supported by the trolls on this blog who have a problem with the truth ?

The wheels are coming off and its losing its luster, but again - the real Mr. Obama is exposing himself to someone who attended Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years and the Chicago ward politicians and other that he used to get where he is. Ah and let's not forget his corrupt ACORN comrades (they are comrades too). Lastly, Barack Obama is not a socialist, moreover he is the social engineer in-chief.

Posted by: KS on March 18, 2009 06:09 PM
12. #11: yes, KS. That's what I'm seeing about Obama---his M.O. seems to be "baffle the American people with B.S." Nothing more. He knows ACORN is a joke. But he loves 'em anyway, and stands by gleefully as they get hired to "partner with the Census Bureau" to hire workers for the census! What a joke! These ACORN workers will count the same guy 50 times! We all know it!

Posted by: Michele on March 18, 2009 06:29 PM
13. Moderate Democrats??

Is that like a Moderate Taliban? Or Moderate Communist?

Posted by: iconoclast on March 18, 2009 08:46 PM
14. Where is "demo kid" and "Unkl Witz" to tell us this is all just right wing bullshit and Obama is doing just fine?

Posted by: Crusader on March 18, 2009 09:21 PM
15. BTW, Obama still has 61% approval rating:

Posted by: Crusader on March 18, 2009 09:25 PM
16. #15 - The latest Rasmussen poll rating shows 56% approval and 43% disapproval. Just since he has taken office, Russia has suggested, along with George Soros that the Dollar is replaced as the World standard currency - why ? Because of the huge debt that we have now - worse than ever before... Nice !

Posted by: KS on March 18, 2009 09:36 PM
17. Crusader,

I hope they come back. Then they can watch this video and tell us how it was the Bush Administration that destroyed the bank lending...

Just watch, they'll ignore this thread. Slavers simply can't acknowledge lies, or the culpability of their own party members.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on March 19, 2009 12:46 AM
18. Crusader @ 14: A caller on Sean Hannity's radio program yesterday stated he would give Obama a grade of "A" for his two month presidency. Hannity proceeded to ask the guy a series of questions regarding Obama's disastrous appointments, his failure to control earmarks, failure to encourage bipartisanship, willingness to hire lobbyists, support of budget-breaking, congressionally drafted bailout legislation, etc. The caller could not answer any of Hannity's questions and really didn't care what Obama had accomplished or not accomplished....Obama's performance still warranted an "A". That is what we are dealing with folks....ideological programming coupled with abject stupidity!

Posted by: Saltherring on March 19, 2009 09:02 AM
19. Salthering: That's nothing! Last year Hannity's radio spot used to do a Man on the Street segment, during which they asked mostly young people in New York questions such as "who is Secretary of State?" which most of them didn't know,and many of them couldn't even name the Vice President. Basic civics and understanding of politics was glaringly absent, but they were all for "Hope and Change", although they couldn't elaborate exactly what that meant, which is a shocking illustration of "ideological programming coupled with abject stupidity". Our schools and universities are producing Borgs.

Posted by: katomar on March 19, 2009 12:50 PM
20. Katomar,

I heard those...they were hilarious! I recall them asking Obama supporters if they were pleased with Sarah Palin as Obama's choice for VP and they said yes they were. Amazing how utterly stupid many urban leftists are!

Posted by: Saltherring on March 19, 2009 05:16 PM
21. Yep. Used to be a time when "urbanite" and "urbane" meant something a little different! :)

Posted by: katomar on March 19, 2009 06:12 PM
22. Interesting - not one troll has commented on this post so far. That says something, besides there is nothing to be had by them here for being useful idiots.

Posted by: KS on March 20, 2009 08:54 PM
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