Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So bad, so soon...

Laying aside all that has gone before - ineptitude and/or indifference in the face of what Charles Krauthammer has correctly called "a massive destruction of wealth," rudeness (and rudeness and still more rudeness) to an ally with whom we supposedly have a "special relationship," and a series of economic proposals that will end up doing more harm than good - how did things get so bad that a number of Barack Obama's most vociferous defenders (when they are not at each others' throats) have come to a moment of remorse?

Whether it is the New York Times' Maureen Dowd grousing about the $410 billion spending bill, Christopher Buckley bemoaning the Stimulus Bill or self described left-winger Jim Cramer expressing his own views (see video below), the once fat and happy rats are starting to jump ship.

Even the esteemed Warren Buffett seemed perilously close to defecting from Team Obama, as seen on CNBC yesterday. For instance, when making reference to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's offhanded comment about exploiting the economic crisis (podcast here), Buffet spoke thusly:

"In my view, it's an economic war, and - I don't think anybody on December 7th [1941] would have said a 'war is a terrible thing to waste, and therefore we're going to try and ram through a whole bunch of things and - but we expect to - expect the other party to unite behind us on the - on the big problem.' It's just a mistake, I think, when you've got one overriding objective, to try and muddle it up with a bunch of other things."
The "other things" of course being the wasteful elements of the Stimulus package. Buffett also had a few things to say about Obama's "cap and trade" plan.
Anything you put in that effectively taxes carbon emissions is - somebody's going to bear the brunt of it. In the case of a regulated utility, the utility customers are going to pay for it. I mean, it's going to become, in effect, a tax which we have decided is needed because the market system doesn't really appropriately penalize something that hurts the future but doesn't really hurt us tomorrow morning. But that tax is probably going to be pretty regressive. It'll be determined by individual public utility commissions state by state what customers it gets passed through to. But if you put a cost of issuing - putting carbon into the atmosphere, it - in the utility business it's going to be born by customers. And it's a tax like anything else.
And while Buffett repeatedly asserted his continued support for the President, his comments were enough to raise a red flag at the White House, with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs seeing the need to assert that Buffett's comments were "directed at Washington writ large."

For their parts, Cramer, Buffett, et al can be expected to speak of an unyielding fealty to all things Obama (under penalty of a tongue-lashing at the hands of their fellow progressive stalwarts.) But as the latest Rasmussen
poll data
indicate, the American people are grading Obama on a slightly different scale. In the latest Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, those who "Strongly Approve" of Obama's performance over the first 50 days has remained near constant, while those who "Strongly Disapprove" have increased dramatically. According to Rasmussen, "32 percent now Strongly Disapprove of the President's performance, the highest level of disapproval measured to date."

Rasmussen suggests that nearly all of this is driven by Republicans, but one wonders how many Democrats are "all in" as the current administration continues to make blunders in regards to Russia (see here, here and here) and Iran (see here and here).
Progressives would be forgiven for wondering how much longer will it be before the President is able to shake the "socialist" tag (even as his actions thus far do more to support than deflect the charge.) And everyone is curious as to how long will the Left maintain its rock-ribbed support for a team that has yet to find its voice on anything of substance.

Contrary to Rasmussen's reasoning, Obama has done enough in fifty days to cause voters other than Republicans to have second thought about all of this. What he hasn't done is give Americans cause for anything other than a continued lack of confidence (see here and here). The crux of all of this isn't the fact that Obama has "screwed up" over the past few weeks, it is that he has done so to such a spectacular degree that even his friends are beginning to notice.

No comments: