Tuesday, March 31, 2009

European Buyer's Remorse on Obama

In the election The Economist of London endorsed Barack Obama. It's now having some serious buyer's remorse. Here below are excerpts (in boldface) its recent edition ("Learning the Hard Way") about how it sees the Obama Administration's performance. I hope you'll pass this along to other bloggers and online activists. It shows Obama's failures as seen from a European perspective.

I've been asking everyone to turn the heat way up on Barack H. Obama, who turns out to be little more than a slick talker in a $3,500 suit. He's no Sarah Palin -- and yes, she could beat him at basketball also. (Ask budding star Willow Palin, who still can't beat her mother.)

Mar 26th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Barack Obama may at last be getting a grip. But he still needs to show more leadership, at home and abroad

"HILLARY CLINTON'S most effective quip, in her long struggle with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination last year, was that the Oval Office is no place for on-the-job training. It went to the heart of the nagging worry about the silver-tongued young senator from Illinois: that he lacked even the slightest executive experience, and that in his brief career he had never really stood up to powerful interests, whether in his home city of Chicago or in the wider world.

"Might Mrs Clinton have been right about her foe? Polls show that independent voters again prefer Republicans to Democrats, a startling reversal of fortune in just a few weeks . . . Mr Obama has seemed curiously feeble.

Empty posts, weak policies

There are two main reasons for this. The first is Mr Obama's failure to grapple as fast and as single-mindedly with the economy as he should have done. His stimulus package, though huge, was subcontracted to Congress, which did a mediocre job: . . .

"His budget, though in some ways more honest than his predecessor's, is wildly optimistic. The failure to staff the Treasury is a shocking illustration of administrative drift. There are 23 slots at the department that need confirmation by the Senate, and only two have been filled .. . Getting the Treasury team in place ought to have been his first priority.

"Second, Mr Obama has mishandled his relations with both sides in Congress. Though he campaigned as a centrist and promised an era of post-partisan government, that's not how he has behaved.

"His stimulus bill . . . if Mr Obama had done a better job of selling his package, and had worked harder at making sure that Republicans were included in drafting it, they would have found it more difficult to oppose his plans.If Mr Obama cannot work with the Republicans, he needs to be certain that he controls his own party.

"Unfortunately, he seems unable to. . . . The Democrats . . . have stuffed his stimulus package and his appropriations bill with pork, even though this damages him and his party in the eyes of the electorate. Worst of all, he is letting them get away with it.

Lead, dammit

"But the [Geithner banking] plan at least demonstrates the administration's acceptance that it must work with the bankers, instead of riding the wave of popular opinion against them, if it is to repair America's economy.

"[On overseas "leadership"]. . . Take the G20 meeting in London, to which he will head at the end of next week. The most important task for this would-be institution is to set itself firmly against protectionism at a time when most of its members are engaged in a game of creeping beggar-thy-neighbour. [But they point out, Obama is completely in bed with protectionist unions.]"

Link follows: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=%22The++Economist%22+%2B+%22Learning+the+Hard+Way%22&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=

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