The man who once famously advised Bill Clinton and the news media that “it’s the economy, stupid” has some advice for the famously cool Barack Obama. Look around for a bright red button in the Oval Office labeled “panic,” and then — hit it. Repeatedly:
People often ask me what advice I would give the White House about various things. Today I was mulling over election results from New York and Nevada while thinking about that very question. What should the White House do now? One word came to mind: Panic.
We are far past sending out talking points. Do not attempt to dumb it down. We cannot stand any more explanations. Have you talked to any Democratic senators lately? I have. It’s pretty damn clear they are not happy campers.
This is what I would say to President Barack Obama: The time has come to demand a plan of action that requires a complete change from the direction you are headed.
We’ve been saying much the same thing … for the last 30 months. Obama and his allies spent $800 billion on a stimulus that didn’t stimulate, almost two years on a health-care overhaul that people didn’t want, another few months on a financial-services regulation overhaul that people mainly didn’t care about, and ignored the jobs crisis until, er, last week. Even after a midterm election that sent a clear message to stop spending money we don’t have, Obama sent a budget proposal to Congress that kept spending at the same deficit levels, then promised a deficit reduction plan in April that he has never delivered.
Given that level of failure, Obama should be cleaning house, especially on the political side of his team, which has clearly demonstrated that it’s not paying the least bit of attention to the actual priorities of the voters. Carville says the same thing, and advises Obama to use the example set by the Russian Army at Stalingrad. That’s not exactly New Tone, but I’m certain Carville means it metaphorically. I think. “Fire a lot of people,” Carville says, including the economic team that keeps offering the same old policies that have failed in updated Newspeak.
Would that work? Doubtful, at least not without an honest and significant change in direction. Most of the econ team has already left on their own volition, with Tim Geithner really the only public face still on the team. The problem isn’t the people, but the policies, and those appear to be coming from Obama himself. If he fired everyone in the West Wing and then continued offering the same central-control policies that have done nothing to create economic growth, it would only highlight Obama’s personal failure at economics even more than now. A mass firing would set a trap exactly like the one set Obama’s brilliant advisers themselves with the joint-session speech a week ago — raising expectations of change and then delivering more of the same effluvium we’ve seen throughout his term.
Carville also wants Eric Holder to start indicting people on Wall Street, and if he doesn’t, advises Obama to can him. That’s about as blatant a call for politicizing prosecutions in the US as I’ve ever heard, and it’s utterly shameful. Does anyone believe that Holder’s DoJ wouldn’t have gladly indicted people on Wall Street if the career prosecutors who make the cases think they could sustain a conviction? Telling a President to get indictments issued in order to save his political skin regardless of whether actual criminal wrongdoing could be proven would put Obama in position to be impeached, not winning a second term. Besides, thanks to Operation Fast and Furious and now Solyndra, Holder has more to worry about indictments coming against officials in the executive branch — including, perhaps, himself.
Anyone recall when politicizing the DoJ was bad? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Carville’s right about one piece of advice. Obama should be hitting the panic button. There won’t be anyone coming to his rescue when he does, though.
Update: Looks like an Obama pile-on from Democrats today:
It’s open season on President Barack Obama — and that’s just from members of his own party.
With frustration and disappointment mounting from stinging defeats in Tuesday’s two special elections and over Obama’s jobs plan, the media is filled on Thursday with Democrats on the record publicly questioning and doubting the president and some of his policies, and a few even unleashing biting criticism.
More than a few Democrats want to start distancing themselves from disaster, it seems.