Would You Have Handled It That Much Better?

I kind of don’t like it how people are falling all over themselves in criticizing Obama for the way he handled the whole debt ceiling debacle. He compromised too much, people say.

And what alternative did he have, exactly? No, seriously, if you are disappointed with Obama’s actions during the crisis, what would you have done in his place?

6 thoughts on “Would You Have Handled It That Much Better?

  1. Stand firmly and let the Repubenrons pass a destructive bill if they want. Be tougher than they. Veto anything that does not suit him. Show that he stands for the people against the powerful. Then it would be completely clear that any negative effects were totally and completely the fault of the other party.

    But, of course, President Obama is too far right and apparently agrees too much with the Repub’s views to do something courageous like this.


  2. If I were Obama, I would be hiring some of Clinton’s former spin doctors to get public opinion more firmly on my side. Whenever Robert Reich or James Carville talk, I feel my emotions swayed. I wish they were working FOR the administration instead of outside it. The big gap is a communications gap– if Obama could better sway public opinion and get the silent majority to talk a little louder, then the vocal minority of upset tea partiers wouldn’t have such a loud voice.

    There are many great things the administration has done that get maybe 4 min on Morning edition on NPR and are never heard from again. There are many things we should be very upset about, like the constant blocking of highly qualified people for positions that ARE STILL VACANT. These are things the public doesn’t know about, unless they happened to be listening to NPR for those 5 minutes on that one day when they were discussed, or they’re policy insiders. The public needs to be outraged, and the public needs to know that we have been moving forward and what can happen if we stop. Using to-the-point sentences that make sense to people who don’t have PhDs in economics, explained and repeated until most people understand what’s going on. It’s a difficult job and something Clinton’s team excelled at. It really is the economy, stupid.

    My professional opinion as a policy expert– if they’d just been able to pass that gang of six plan, even though as a Democrat I don’t agree with all parts, the country would be on a much much better path both short-term and long-term. I may disagree with parts, but I agree with the compromises made and the doing the least harm aspects of it. It’s not exactly what I would want (I would prefer more investment in people over business etc.), but it’s in the spectrum of good quality policy solutions. It was as close to the production possibilities frontier as we were going to get, even if tipped more conservative than liberal for my tastes. I blame the Republican leadership in Congress for not getting that through– it was sensible and a great deal for them. Throwing that away was obviously short-sighted and stupid.


  3. ^A default would have played into the Tea Party’s hands. That’s what they have been after all this time.
    A default would have meant immediate cuts to Social security, medicare, etc. So I think he was forced to compromise. It’s easy to say he should have held his own, but holding his own would have brought him even more criticism. It was a lose-lose for him.

    The biggest valid criticism I have seen against Obama is that he did not take advantage of the situation when they were debating raising taxes for the rich. A reporter back then even asked him why he did not push raising the debt limit, and he just seemed very naive thinking that the Republicans would not risk a default.
    I never thought of Obama as a very competent leader. He is proving that he really does not have the skill nor the intelligence to deal effectively with the problems at hand.


  4. The problem I have with this criticism is that it unfairly inflates the president’s power. Most presidents just kind of act as mediators, and suddenly this one is supposed to step forward and solve all the problems single-handedly. Which, if he did, would be criticized for being too involved in the Congress.


  5. He started much, much, much too late and didn’t mount a strong and loud enough argument on the why’s and wherefore’s of going back to the Clinton tax rates.

    The combination of important issues on the various sides are an impossible combination. You can’t have a large, expensive social security program AND the most expensive defense (war) department on the planet AND very low or no taxes on the rich AND a weak economy AND thousands of large major corporations raking in huge profits with trillions of dollars in liquid cash that refuse to hire workers that they don’t want or need.


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