Friday, February 12, 2010

One issue that 'progressives' and 'right-wingers' seem to agree on is the way in which the Obama Administration has handled, or to be more direct, mishandled the banking industry.

John Judis at the New Republic thinks that Obama just doesn't get it when it comes to understanding the issues of Wall Street and Main Street.

The excerpts that Bloomberg published Wednesday from its interview with Barack Obama provoked some indignation from Simon Johnson, Paul Krugman, and others, but the full interview, published yesterday morning by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, deserves a few additional howls. It shows the degree to which Obama not only doesn’t understand but, on a deeper level, also doesn’t share the outrage many Americans—from left-wing bloggers to right-wing tea-partiers—feel toward the Wall Street CEOs and traders who have made off like bandits during the financial crisis they helped bring about.

It’s not the substance of what Obama says—he doesn’t back off on financial regulation or health care reform. It’s his tone, his emphases, and where he allows his sympathies to fall. [...]

Overall, the impression the interview leaves is of a president surprisingly oblivious to the fury that is sweeping the nation. Obama has occasionally attempted to speak to it, or read speeches that address it. But this interview shows that, in the choice between Main Street and Wall Street, his natural inclinations lie more toward one side—and it ain’t Main Street.
Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive points out that Obama and his advisers have failed to embrace progressive solutions to the banking and economic crisis. This has allowed similar criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.

Barack Obama and many Democrats have been way too timid in going after big business. In fact, the coziness of Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers with the Wall Street bankers has left Obama wide open for this kind of criticism.

A few Democratic populists have recognized this, most notably Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, and Bernie Sanders, but Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod and Obama himself have been reluctant to embrace progressive populism.

Sanders has called for some of the Wall Street wheeler-dealers to go to jail, and Sarah Palin suggested the same thing on Saturday.

The bank bailout is killing Obama. All Obama could muster in his State of the Union was the comment, “If there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it. You hated it.”

But Obama voted for the bailout when he was a Senator, and then expanded it when he was President.

It is a cement block tied around his ankles.

Both sides are criticizing Obama's handling of the banking and economic crisis. Both sides have answers on how to 'untie' the mess. But don't expect any agreement on the solution.

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