Isn’t It Too Early to Proclaim Victory?

In the middle of a dewy-eyed psychoanalysis of the first year of the Obama presidency NBC New Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker intones:

On the economy, for instance, the president got right the analysis of what was needed — a Keynesian infusion of federal dollars to get the system functioning again. But he got the theater of the stimulus wrong. He didn’t anticipate how Democrats would exploit his haste to prime the pump to stuff the bill with pet liberal projects, thus giving Republicans an opening to brand Obama as a big-government radical.

At the very least I think that’s premature. We’ve had a single favorable hiccup in the unemployment rate. One swallow doth not a summer make. The trends on the DJIA and the S&P continue to be down and we’d need another major downwards stock correction for the PE ratios to come back to historic levels. Manufacturing continues to be torpid and the extent it’s been buoyed at all it’s been due to the poorly thought out Cash for Clunkers program. The toxic assets that we were in a panic over a year ago to a large extent remain on the books of the banks that held them a year ago. Not only is it far too early to proclaim a victory for Keynesian stimulus, just yesterday on ABC’s This Week I heard Paul Krugman warn that without another big stimulus package this year’s spending will have been in vain.

7 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    I’ll do my own psychoanalysis, based upon my knowledge of what it means to be a backbencher in the Illinois legislature, a part-time job. Obama entered national life with a paper think resume and little accomplishment. His ambition to do more, led him to becoming a “sent man” for Senate President Emil Jones. Obama was sent to work out deals for Jones; he did not develop, nor could he have, his own ideological framework that everyone appears to attribute to him.

    The lack of personal experience makes him very deferential to asserted experience. He deferred to the generals, like he deferred to the bankers in his administration. He deferred to Congress on the stimulus package and the healthcare debate. Whitaker uses the work “delegate,” but I prefer defer.

  • PD Shaw Link

    The Whitaker piece misunderstands the Afghanistan conundrum. Obama said that he would take the first sixty days and conduct a priority review of the Afghanistan strategy. On the first day in office he appointed the commission, who came back with a COIN strategy that Obama endorsed. (Deferentially) Obama then appointed his own general to implement the plan, who came back with demands for more troops to implement it and more COIN tactics. Obama then endorsed this plan, deferentially, after public agonization.

    To me, the real question is whether Obama (or Biden) solicited alternative plans, more in a CT framework, or simply for denial-of-space. If he had only the one plan which is dozens of pages long, with specific factual findings and citation to established doctrine, and then the misgivings and concerns of Biden on the other hand, it’s clear he’s going with the generals.

  • bandit Link

    If this is getting it right what would wrong look like? “Branded” a big spending liberal? There’s partisanship then there’s just being high off your ass.

  • Is that your dog, bandit? Sibe or Mal? A little hard to tell from just a head shot.

  • bandit Link

    It is me

  • Drew Link

    You be one smart dog, bandit.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Be careful, could be an al Qaeda trick.

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