I'm ready to turn over control of our county to Barack Obama. For a while. Not permanently.
It just seems like we need a really wise Philosopher-King right now, one dude who's in charge of things and doesn't have to deal with fools in Congress.
In time of war we have a Commander in Chief. This economic crisis deserves a similar temporary turning over of leadership control to a single individual who does whatever is needed to preserve and protect the United States.
Now, I realize this is a fantasy.
Minor details like the Constitution prevent the President from ignoring Congress and issuing Philosopher-King edicts. But I wish such could happen.
Yesterday it was inspiring to watch Obama handle his first presidential press conference with confidence, dexterity, eloquence, and aplomb. Paul Begala, CNN analyst, summed up the difference between Obama and Bush:
Well, much more than "some command." Obama had an in-depth grasp of what needs to be done to get us out of our current economic malaise.
I've got a lot of confidence that Obama, backed up by his all-star administration team, could lead the United States into a dramatic recovery within a few years. But right now he's having to move in a direction set by people with minds much less savvy than his.
Namely, members of Congress.
Being one of the millions who contributed to Obama's campaign, I just got a message from Organizing for America, which has taken over his vast email list. It began with:
It's not the President's plan. It sprouted from the semi-competent psyches of the House Democratic leadership, then was pruned and twisted out of shape by even more clueless Senators.
Obama could have done much better. And should have. Apparently his vision of collegial bipartisanship stopped him from saying at the start, "This is the way the stimulus bill has to be."
Wish he had.
Who suspected on election night last November, when Democrats surged to victory, that three Senate Republicans would be calling the shots on an economic stimulus plan in February 2009?
I don't want Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Arlen Specter deciding how to get the United States economy back on track. Yet there they are, warning that if they don't get their moderate Republican way, they won't vote for the stimulus bill and supply the sixty votes needed to get it past a filibuster.
On the front page of the Portland Oregonian today I saw a headline that said, "Compromise in D.C. cuts money Oregon officials desperately want."
The story talks about how $400 million for school construction, teacher salaries, and such won't be coming to Oregon if the three Republicans aren't overruled. Hopefully they will be.
A New York Times editorial gets it right.
There is a decent deal to be had in negotiations. Whether Congress and the administration get there will depend a lot on Mr. Obama’s leadership and his insistence on a better bill.
As does Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who called the moderate Senate Republicans "the destructive center."
A proud centrist. For that is what the senators who ended up calling the tune on the stimulus bill just accomplished.
Right on. Obama should do the Philosopher-King thing and say that he'll veto any stimulus bill that doesn't do X, Y, and Z.
Let the Republicans take the responsibility for pushing the economy off a cliff (or rather, off a steeper one). I suspect their filibuster threat would evaporate. If not, so be it.
As the Times editorial said:
No, they didn’t, and no, it isn’t.