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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/10/09

Obama and the First Pragmatic Presidential Press Conference of His Presidency

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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.


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:

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com
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