While I don’t necessarily agree with all the steps president Barack Obama has taken so far, I have to admit, he’s still killing his Republican opponents with kindness and reasonableness.
And so far, the Republicans are looking small and foolish in the process.
We’ll see how Obama does tonight with his special address to a joint session of Congress.
But during a televised conference between the president and some Republican leaders on Monday, losing Republican presidential candidate John McCain tried to put the Democrat Obama on the spot by noting the apparent cost overruns for new presidential helicopters (as if McCain would not want the most secure helicopter he could get – remember him wearing full body armor while walking through what he boasted was a “peaceful” marketplace in Baghdad? – and all Republicans would demand it if there was a Republican president, and this was all started when there was a Republican president, anyway, as far as I know).
But Obama smiled and easily fended it off by noting that he had already discussed the issue with the Secretary of Defense and as far as he was concerned his current helicopter is fine, but then again not ever having had a helicopter previously he might be missing something and not be aware of it. He got the laughs (and I think made McCain look foolish in the process – not an unusual condition for the hapless also-ran).
And when one of the Republicans whined that the Obama administration was not working with them (and remember George W. who crowed he didn’t have to work with Democrats because he had political capital (it was not well spent), Obama said that while the majority has a duty to be “inclusive”, the minority has a duty to be “constructive” (just say no is not constructive).
I was disappointed to hear some economists on Hardball say that there was not enough infrastructure projects (that would create jobs and do something highly necessary) in the stimulus package (one has to wonder why not).
They also suggested that Tim Geithner is simply in bed with the banking crowd and needs to go. One of them also said that Hank Paulson, who bamboozled (my description) Bush into throwing money the way of his, Paulson’s (and Bush’s?), cronies, started what Geithner is basically continuing.
At least one economist on Hardball, and other commentators elsewhere, suggested that something like the Resolution Trust Corporation which was used to clean up the old Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s needs to enacted.
As I understand it, the banks want to be relieved of some so-called toxic assets, but not all. I don’t fully understand it (and I doubt but a few do), but apparently the bankers want just enough help to keep them in business and for the current executives (who should be fired) to keep their jobs, you know the ones who lost the money in the first place.
Please, let’s just let bad entities go bankrupt and start anew (if the new banks want to rehire folks whose resumes include a track record of losing money, God help us.)
The only thing too big or important to fail is the USA itself.
(If I’ve used that last line before, it’s because it conveys best my opinion on the subject of bailouts.)
And what about that rising Republican star Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana who wants to reject federal unemployment dollars — seems like some of his constituents might need that money about now. Standing on principle is one thing, but standing in the way of a money that the unemployed and their families need is another (an example of where just say no is foolish).