Posted by Rojas @ 1:17 am on January 25th 2010

Obama’s Stalking Horses

I think it’s readily apparent that President Obama’s post-Massachusetts agenda has been constructed around the need to rebuild his political capital.

The Wall Street reforms he’s proposing, while reasonable in themselves, do nothing whatsoever to create moral hazard or to eliminate the mortgage lending practices that led to the recession in the first place; they are rather transparently designed to position him as The Enemy of Corporate Greed. And if the Republicans are foolish enough to position themselves in opposition–well, so much the better for Congressional Dems in November.

SCOTUS appears to have killed campaign finance reform as we know it; the President’s complaints over the weekend amount to a lament for a set of policy changes that are now clearly beyond the authority of the legislature to enact. He simply has no solution to propose. That doesn’t mean, though, that the lamentation doesn’t serve his you-and-I-against-the-powerful narrative.

And in that same vein, back to health care:

We are going to keep on working to get this done — with Democrats, I hope with Republicans — anybody who’s willing to step up. Because I’m not going to watch more people get crushed by costs or denied care they need by insurance company bureaucrats. I’m not going to have insurance companies click their heels and watch their stocks skyrocket because once again there’s no control on what they do.

The decidedly unsubtle message: President Obama is on our side against the greedy insurance companies.

This, of course, is particularly shameless given that the reform proposal the President signed off on was developed in partnership with the insurance companies and was designed in large part to further enrich them. Lest we somehow forget: the proposal currently on the table constitutes a mandate that Americans, as a condition of citizenship, purchase health insurance from private providers. It is the first such mandate in American history. THAT is the nature of President Obama’s bold fight against the insurance industry–the same insurance industry that financed his own Presidential campaign so lavishly.

What is this? It is smart politics; an attempt to press the reset button and reposition the President in the mold of John Edwards circa 2006. One can see the political wisdom of it. The President is posturing as the enemy of corporate greed.

But even the most cursory review of his stances proves that it’s all posturing.


  1. You don’t really want to create moral hazard…

    Comment by Redland Jack — 1/25/2010 @ 12:28 pm

  2. Even John Edwards couldn’t do John Edwards well enough.

    Comment by Adam — 1/25/2010 @ 1:43 pm

  3. Even though Obama’s recent remarks ring hollow, they are troubling. I really don’t relish an administration fervently embracing populism especially with the risk of a cooperative Congress looking down the barrel of reelection.


    Comment by Cameron — 1/25/2010 @ 2:07 pm

  4. It’s “Change You Can Remember From Before”.

    Comment by Adam — 1/25/2010 @ 2:14 pm

  5. John Edwards couldn’t do John Edwards well enough.

    Rielle Hunter apparently could.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/25/2010 @ 2:41 pm

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