Smiley Faces

September 19, 2011

From McClatchy Newspapers:

Sniping and snide remarks are out on Capitol Hill.
Being nice — and seeking common ground, or at least appearing to — is suddenly in.
Since returning from their summer recess earlier this month, lawmakers have heeded the strong message from an infuriated public:
Stop squabbling, fix the economy and act like adults.

Do Republicans have adults amongst their ranks?
Or are they two-faced lying assholes?

(Illustration found here).

And another question — does the GOP follow what the public wants?
Again from McClatchy:

“I think the polling data got their attention,” said John Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College in California and the author of “The Art of Political Warfare.”
The data show that Congress’ approval ratings remain dismal.
A Sept. 8-11 Gallup poll found only 15 percent of the public approved of how Congress was doing its job, while 82 percent disapproved.
The margin of error was 4 percentage points.
Nothing frightens politicians like numbers that low, especially when the economy remains sluggish, consumer confidence is bleak and businesses are reluctant to hire.
“I think GOP leaders, at least, see that jobs and the economy are going into the tank,” said Burdett Loomis, a professor of political science at the University of Kansas and the author of several books about Congress.
“They see the possibility that obstructing the Obama proposals, or at least appearing not to negotiate in good faith, might cost them politically.”

And another question — does the GOP give a shit?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, one of the biggest loud-mouth hypocrites in DC and who has nagged and nagged the last six months: “The rancor in this town over the last six months or so has proven that (bitter debate) doesn’t necessarily produce the kind of result we want,” Cantor said earlier this week. “Let us all try and take a breather, and focus on what we can do together, try and lower the volume of rancor here and see if we can get along.”

Like, get along little doggie?

President Obama is set this morning to unveil a national debt plan to cut by roughly $3 trillion over the next decade: A driving principle behind the proposal is that high-income individuals and corporations should pay more in taxes than they do currently so that they will bear some of the burden of debt reduction going forward.
Except Republicans will knock it out of the box — all the GOP wants to do is tax the poor and the middle class.

Obama, however, may not have a smiley face for too long and the problem might be of his own doing, an inherent disorder in his operation.
In a new book, “Confidence Men,” by journalist Ron Suskind, Obama is described as being out of his depth.
From a New York Times review:

The most withering assessments of Mr. Obama in this volume come from bickering former members of his economic team, a team that Richard Wolffe, the author of two books about Mr. Obama, has described as “the most dysfunctional group of the president’s advisers.”
Mr. Suskind quotes a former chairman of the National Economic Council under Mr. Obama, Lawrence H. Summers — who is himself characterized by colleagues in these pages as a bullying know-it-all who acted as a kind of gatekeeper to the Oval Office on things economic — as saying to the budget director, Peter Orszag: “We’re home alone. There’s no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes.”

Mr. Obama emerges in this volume as an oddly passive chief executive whose modus operandi was to sketch out overarching principles, “wait until others had painted in those outlines with hard proposals” and then “step down from his above-the-fray perch to close the deal.”

And the book makes note of something that bothered me about Obama from day one — his selection of the two biggest assholes of economics:

He wonders why Mr. Obama turned away from the advisers who had seen him through the campaign (including more progressive thinkers like Mr. Stiglitz, Robert Reich and Austan Goolsbee), and relied instead on two men associated with the deregulatory policies of the past, Mr. Geithner, the Treasury secretary, and Mr. Summers, the chief economic adviser.
Both men had served in the Clinton administration (with Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, who would later join Citigroup as a senior adviser and board member); their actions, Mr. Suskind contends, “had contributed to the very financial disaster they were hired to solve.”

In the long run, there’s really absolutely no authentic smiley faces out there.

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