The President and his economic team would do well to learn from the experience of Japan in the late 1990s. Prime Minister Hashimoto in 1996 on the first whiff of recovery from Japan's then half decade long downturn became hell-bent on reducing the budget deficit. The result was an economic catastrophe with GDP falling from a 4.4% growth to a -1.9% decline in the space of a year.
In other words, this attempt to cut the deficit was implemented after something on the order of five years of stimulus spending (perhaps after some initial delay). Yet it was a disaster.
Obama's plan is, apparently, to start to cut into the deficit pretty much immediately after the current stimulus runs out two years down the line. I should think that the word premature applies here, most especially because the stimulus itself is almost universally regarded as far inadequate for those economists who respect the Keynesian tradition.
Basically this plan renders the possibility of implementing a further stimulus only far more difficult because of how it is setting expectations. It boxes Obama into a schedule that would require something resembling an economic miracle to be achieved while simultaneously recovering the economy.
It is truly one of the most boneheaded moves Obama has made yet. It could easily, along with his anemic stimulus, tank both the economy and his Presidency.
Yes, and basically I'm allowed no words here, having my posts censored one after another.
Even arguing that Obama's 6-7% victory margin was based primarily on the financial crisis -- an interpretation that's impossible to dismiss by any serious analyst -- is a point of view that cannot be spoken here.
Intellectual dishonesty continues to reign at MyDD.
When I say that Obama was "down in the polls", what I mean is that he recorded a lower number than McCain in the polls (certainly it was so in the Rasm. poll, and I believe it was true in the average of polls -- though that may depend on which polls are considered in that average).
However, the margin by which McCain may have led was at most 1 or 2 pts. With the margins of errors, and obvious issues with representative samples, I don't exactly consider that a real lead, and therefore would describe it as "effectively tied" -- as I did.
The two ways of putting it are hardly incompatible.
And of course they trusted Obama, the Democrat, over McCain, the Republican, given that voters saw the problem as attributable to the Republican President and his policies.
Certainly in the Rasmussen poll, which proved to be the most on target, Obama was down before the financial crisis hit.
In general, Obama was effectively tied before the financial crisis, in virtually all of the polls. His numbers immediately took a great jump after that crisis. This is simple fact.
Your idea that Obama would have won without that crisis has no support in the polls. A 6% win is not huge to begin with. What's nearly certain is that it would have been a very close race had the financial crisis not intruded. Acting as though it had no important effect, worth 5% at the least, is just denying obvious realities.
Do you really have to engage in this kind of revisionism?
If that crisis had not hit, and Obama had either lost or just barely squeaked by -- in an environment more favorable to Democrats than any in a generation -- what would that say about Obama's actual political skills and appeal?
Can we pay a little attention to the elephant in the room? He's feeling neglected.
If we are going to talk about assessments of Obama, maybe we should look at what really went on.
No reasonable account of Obama's success in the 2008 election can avoid mentioning the obviously enormously distorting, and unpredictable factor of the financial crisis that took place only a few weeks out from his election.
Have people already forgotten that Obama was, if anything, down in the polls before that crisis hit? Or that his poll numbers immediately shot up to, and stayed stable at, the levels at which he did indeed win?
Until that crisis, and with all his media helpers, Obama had been completely unable to capitalize on the huge surge against the Republicans, and the record repudiation of Bush's Presidency by the public. Obama's numbers in the election itself well trailed the numbers for Democrats in Congress.
Problem is, waves come and waves go, as Bush learned when his 90% approval ratings after 9/11 deteriorated a rather more modest, oh, 25%. In the end, it will be performance and actual personal qualities that will prevail for Obama.
Doesn't it strike your ear as just a bit bizarre to call out al Qaeda's use of a racial epithet as "disgusting", when they have already been responsible for a terrorist act that killed thousands of innocent civilians on our own soil?
Get a sense of perspective here. I think trying to gin up outrage over their use of a racial epithet given what they have already done suggests that your ability to rank evils is pretty impaired.
Really, it's a "We realize that Mrs. Lincoln, but didn't you think that the play sucked too?" sort of thing.
if these same Obama supporters had been asked, back in the early days of Obama's candidacy, and when Hillary was still a viable candidate herself, "You know, for all of Obama's talk about her 'flawed judgment', and his supposedly superior judgment, it wouldn't surprise me to see her making him his SoS, because he's just making shit up, and he really knows how good her judgment is."
How do you think they would have responded at the time?
I'll tell you: they would have laughed in our faces, and called us trolls, and said nothing could be more ridiculous than to suggest that Obama, who is going to bring a new kind of politics and judgment to the Presidency, might do something so horrible and damaging to the country and to his own Presidency.
And I'm sure that even they know that this is true about what they would have said.
The real problem with Obama choosing Hillary is that exposes what a fraud his entire early campaign was. His absolutely central argument for his candidacy was that he showed good judgment and Hillary very poor judgment on the matter of the Iraq war.
Most of us were around and conscious at the time and remember perfectly that that was how the argument proceeded without fail. She should have known that voting for AUMF would certainly lead to a disastrous war; she bore complete responsibility for that terrible judgment call. They simply couldn't stop.
And now Obama is choosing Hillary, from all the possible people who might occupy the slot of SoS, as being the best qualified -- the person he would rely on most in the world to have the judgment to make the right calls on matters of foreign policy?
As the diarist says, it would be one thing if Hillary were to be chosen as health care czar, or someone involved in some domestic program. Any of those positions might have been awkward to explain, but at least some kind of passing argument might be put forth. But choosing her as SoS exposes the fraud of his central argument for his candidacy.
and his supporters didn't argue what they most obviously and repeatedly did: that Hillary's vote for AUMF showed "flawed judgment."
It was always the central argument for Obama's candidacy when he was courting activists that he showed good judgment, and that Hillary showed poor and disastrously mistaken judgment on the issue of the Iraq war. His supporters could never stop talking about how wretched and destructive her judgment was in voting for the war.
Are you now going to engage in an historical revisionism that pretends this isn't so?
Obama himself is explicitly quoted in the article linked to above as saying she showed "flawed judgment".
Are you saying now that he was lying?
Try, for once in your life, to be honest about some matter pertaining to Obama, OK?
Look, the idea that it's "micromanaging" Obama to demand women be well represented in his administration is just another way to try to exempt Obama from even the possibility of criticism.
Really, people like you and ragekage sound to my ear exactly like the Bush devotees who shouted down any criticism of Bush after 9/11 as being damaging to the country.
Obviously, I should think, if women's organizations are going to advocate in favor of getting more women represented in the Obama administration, it has to be now, before the appointments are made, and not after they are made, right? And yet you are presuming to tell these women just to shut their mouths and go along with whatever Obama chooses, because he's doing so much important work, and can't have anyone uttering a single word that might be interpreted as negative.
Honestly, this kind of behavior is the thing I find scariest about the Obama movement, and what it has done to the Democratic Party -- that the movement begins and ends in the idea that Obama is unique among men in his abilities and potential for good, that he is deserving only of our praise, and that no criticism of him can be brooked.
to make sure that people ONLY speak well of Obama on any occasion, aren't you?
The statement from NOW isn't, for Christ's sake, an "attack". It isn't even criticism. It's, at most, an expression of pre-emptive concern over a possible direction the Obama administration might take. Taking this as an "attack" indicates a threshold of intolerance for criticism that is just, well, abnormal.
At some point, you have to step back from your frankly unhealthy attachment to Obama and ask yourself what you really believe by yourself, when you are not in the presence of Obama or an Obama talking point. You will never find yourself if you can't.
If Obama supporters are going to give Obama a pass if he simply becomes a center-right President, as you seem to be suggesting in this post, it would be awfully nice for you to admit that the whole "change" thing in the primaries was basically a fraud -- one perpetrated first by the Obama campaign, and then regurgitated by his supporters after ingesting it.
Where's the big "change"? I mean, sure there will be change after Bush, but how hard would it have been for any Democrat to have introduced important change when they are following the Bush act?
I can never get an honest answer out of an Obama supporter on this question -- I couldn't do so a year ago, and I can't do so today. Change seems to be whatever Obama happens to choose to do -- and if today he does one thing, and tomorrow he does the opposite, then the first thing was the change until the second thing became the change.
All of this euphoria, all of this adulation, and it will be perfectly satisfied by another center right President implementing policies that any relatively Conservative Democrat would have introduced?
Look, if Obama supporters have any desire to be respected by thinking people, they should identify now, upfront -- before he makes any further decisions -- just what you think the minimal progressive moves Obama must make before you will accept he might be a good, progressive President. If you can't do that, then, I think, you've got no independent judgment or convictions, and no right to anyone's respect.
Your analysis fails to take into account some important facts.
First, the hypocrisy of those blacks who choose to discriminate against gays is highly relevant because blacks as a group have expected to be beneficiaries of movements that promote rights, dignity, and inclusion for all. If they choose to turn on another group that greatly deserves the same level of equal treatment, how can they reasonably be expected to remain beneficiaries of such a movement? Why should progressives in general or GLBTs in particular choose to promote the interests of black Americans as a group when they as a group appear to be sabotaging efforts on behalf of another equally deserving group? What kind of ally can blacks as a group be in any coalition intended to promote equal rights for all?
Isn't it obvious, therefore, that blacks as a group particularly have an obligation to be inclusive of a fellow oppressed minority such as the GLBTs, given that they owe a great deal to the general movement to promote inclusion? How can, and why should, they expect such inclusion themselves when they refuse it to others? On what moral ground?
And the comparison to Israeli Jews is rather apt. One of the things that has led Israel astray in its treatment of Palestinians has been its ability to call out any and all critics of its activities as "anti-Semites", effectively deflecting all real criticism both externally and internally. In the cone of silence so imposed, and with its own moral "honor" justified by its own sense of persecution, it has allowed itself to treat Palestinians with a callousness that would otherwise have been long ago been denounced among most Israelis themselves.
All of this simply demonstrates the dangerous flip side of designating a particular group as so persecuted that no criticism of it can be broached -- an approach that your own post attempts only to further.
And no one is of course advocating that it is a bad thing that blacks have a right to vote.
But what remains true is this: so long as blacks as a group vote against gay rights as they do, who among the GLBT community can hope that blacks turn out in large numbers to vote? Why should GLBTs encourage with their own efforts activities that promote turnout among blacks?
Really, if you don't see that the only way out of this predicament is to figure out a way to turn around the views the great majority of blacks have toward gays, then you are not working toward a better world, but in the opposite direction.