Some thoughts and reactions to last night’s speech and rebuttal:
Our new president is a nice guy. The more he loosens up and relaxes himself, and smiles that friendly and sincere smile, the more time he buys himself to cope with these cascading fiscal and banking problems.
Because he fought for the stimulus plan and the Republicans did not join him, the economy now becomes Obama’s sooner than if the GOP was a part of it. In other words, Obama took ownership once his own prescription and protocols were implemented; blaming Bush won’t last much past this year.
That is not to say that the Republicans escape the consequences of the ongoing financial meltdown; in fact, they have the blame painted all over them. And this taint will last for years to come.
The GOP brand has lost its one-time luster as the party better able to cope with fiscal and national security matters. It will take years to get that special mantle back — if we can ever get it back.
The Obama administration is going to have more trouble with their fellow Democrats up on the Hill than they are with the Republicans.
The GOP is, for the next two years anyway, almost completely inconsequential; but the leftist Democrats are feeling their oats and will soon want to move ever farther to the left than Obama. Thus a new tension will soon arise between these longtime House and Senate bulls who have been waiting for years to have unchecked power and the Obama administration which will soon realize their agenda is too much, too soon.
Obama is spending all his political capital now; he is speaking and travelling at a furious rate for a new president. Indeed, he does risk wearing out his welcome and suffering overexposure. At some point the public gets sick of the same speech over and over again and they begin to tune it out.
Already polling shows his numbers among Republicans falling quickly (to be expected) and among Independents to be slightly eroding (somewhat worrisome for team Obama). And the markets tank after every big speech he makes!
After a month, it is clear that Obama fancies himself as the salesman-in chief — much more than a hands-on administrator who is on top of everything in the Executive Branch. We have already seen breakdowns in this model in the Daschle, Richardson, and Geithner vetting procedures and the lard inside the Stimulus Bill, which Obama should have written instead of having Nancy Pelosi do it.
Everything for the Obama Administration depends on solving the ongoing banking problem.
It is startling that so far neither Obama nor Geithner has come up with a bold, innovative plan to fix this mess and get people feeling better about it. Nor has the GOP offered up anything but Nays.
Why not this simple, bold plan: The U.S. Government, acting as a surgeon operating on a deteriorating patient, goes to the heart of the problem, which is the toxic, cancerous tumors in each bank — these securitized (bad) mortgages — and cuts them out of the patients’ balance sheets. All of these cancerous tumors are gathered up into one federal bank — in the model of the S&L mess of 20 years ago — and held there until their value increases.
Presto, the banks’ balance sheets are free and clear of the debts that were inhibiting lending (their MRIs are suddenly clean of cancer now!).
The Federal Government holds these toxic assets for as long as it takes for the housing market to recover — which it will because there will be pent-up demand for housing in the long run. We are a growing, now-over-300 million population, and the demand for housing will eventually drive home values up again, although maybe not back to where they have been.
We need a bold plan like this. Instead, Team Obama is following Team Bush’s approach. And it isn’t working.
As for Louisiana Gov. Jindal’s response last night: He seems like an earnest, nice young man. But his body language is weak, and his diction makes it difficult to hear him. Furthermore, there were audio problems with his transmission last night.
He is not the next great conservative leader. Period. He is no dynamo, no firebrand, no passionate leader who can rally a dispirited right and bring the shattered GOP back to power.
He is too young, too inexperienced and lacks the big-ego confidence it takes. Just the meek way he approached the microphone last night told us much about him. He is not ready — and may never be.
But that is OK. The next few years are try-out time for men and women who want to lead the GOP rennaissance. Many will try, most will fail — and perhaps some new leader with new ideas will emerge.
Until then, conservatives are in the wilderness. And we better get used to it for a while. We earned it by following the Bushes over the cliff.
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