OpEdNews Op Eds

Obama and the First Pragmatic Presidential Press Conference of His Presidency

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 2/10/09

Become a Fan
  (66 fans)
- Advertisement -

The first press conference on television last night was more proof that Bush is an easy act to follow. How refreshing was it to have a president speak coherently without smirking and furrowing his brows at every question that protrudes and probes at future decisions the president may or may not make?

But, overall, it was a pragmatic press conference. The choice of Elkhart, IN over Cleveland, OH or Detroit, MI was pragmatic. And should Obama continue to play it safe on the issues? 

Should he be the president of conventional wisdom at a time when conventional wisdom is so heavily doubted?

Being from Indiana, I can tell you that Elkhart’s economy thrived on the RV industry. When oil and gas rose to the level it did in spring and summer of 2008, jobs were being cut and RV companies, which had been experiencing a significant drop in businesses for quite a few months, could not continue operations.

Elkhart has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Nearly 8,000 jobs have been lost. (Its population is about 51,000.)

It is clear that Obama is correct when he says, “I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis, as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans,” but I read some stunning economic analyses during the final two months of the presidential election by Michael Hudson, Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, and Ralph Nader  

I wonder what Hudson, Paul, Roberts, or Nader think of the current stimulus and believe they have the credibility to discern what would be good for economy and not good for our economy.

Danny Schechter described the hacking of the stimulus in “The Farts of Compromise: Hacking the Stimulus.” The quote he uses from Benjamin Barber, author of Consumed, seems to be relevant and must have been the backbone for Chuck Todd’s question during the press conference.

- Advertisement -

Benjamin Barber suggested the stimulus is all about “priming the pump.”

“Let's get people getting those credit cards again. Let's get people to the mall. Let's get people spending again. Back in 2001, after the terrorist attack in America, President Bush said, 'let's get back to the mall and get back to doing that good American thing of shopping.' Unfortunately, the new economic team of the new president may be saying somewhat the same thing.”

The exchange between Todd and Obama that looked at whether consumer spending is the way out of this crisis or not went like this:

In your opening remarks, you talked about that if your plan works the way you want it to work, it's going to increase consumer spending. But isn't consumer spending, or over-spending, how we got into this mess? And if people get money back into their pockets, do you not want them saving it or paying down debt first, before they start spending money into the economy?

MR. OBAMA: Well, first of all, I don't think it's accurate to say that consumer spending got us into this mess. What got us into this mess initially were banks taking exorbitant, wild risks with other people's monies, based on shaky assets. And because of the enormous leverage, where they had $1 worth of assets and they were betting $30 on that $1, what we had was a crisis in the financial system.

- Advertisement -

That led to a contraction of credit, which in turn meant businesses couldn't make payroll or make inventories, which meant that everybody became uncertain about the future of the economy.

So people started making decisions accordingly, reducing investments, initiating layoffs, which in turn made things worse.

Now, you are making a legitimate point, Chuck, about the fact that our savings rate has declined. And this economy has been driven by consumer spending for a very long time. And that's not going to be sustainable. You know, if all we're doing is spending and we're not making things, then over time, other countries are going to get tired of lending us money. And eventually the party's going to be over.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4


Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for OpEdNews.com and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

We Do Not Consent to Warrantless "Porno-Scanning" in Airports

Do They Put Lipstick on Pigs at the Funny Farm?

How Private Prison Corporations Hope Arizona's SB1070 Will Lead to Internment Camps for Illegals

Why the Battle Against TSA Groping and Body Scanners is Justified

Give Obama a Chance to Do What?


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

This is all very hopfull speach; now he just needs... by James Frovich on Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 9:13:32 AM
Yes, once again we have the luxury of listening to... by eric dynamic on Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 4:23:47 PM
Thank you Kevin for this exposition and analysis.I... by William Whitten on Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009 at 6:05:09 PM