March 1, 2009

Obama Talk'n Like a Populist

Under the headline "Obama challenges lobbyists to legislative duel" we hear some words form Obama that are supposed to comfort the angry masses:

The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long... But I don't. I work for the American people. [1]

We have reason to doubt that statement. In the context of setting the direction of the financial industry bailout, Obama sided with the Wall-streeters in his administration rather than the internal administration faction that urged taking a harder line. According to a February 10, 2009 New York Times article,

“The Obama administration’s new plan to bail out the nation’s banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, against some of the president’s top political hands.

“In the end, Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president.” [2]

As featured in the upcoming Episode 7 of GDAE Podcast, even if the Obama administration takes the right technical steps, there are many subjective decisions yet to be made. These policy decisions will be subject to intense pressure from the powerful and now-desperate banking elite. Obama knows this and is talking tough:

I know these steps won't sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they're gearing up for a fight... My message to them is this: So am I. [1]

We are at a historical juncture that demands a historical level of public pressure on Obama, and other officials, to ensure they make decisions consistent with his populist rhetoric. This is a once-in-a-generation moment when our collective voices could change the course of the people's history. Let's make noise!

Psssst... Do Something

1. Associated Press, Obama challenges lobbyists to legislative duel, February 28, 2009.

2. New York Times, Geithner Said to Have Prevailed on the Bailout, February 10, 2009.



libhom said...

If Obama is taking on the lobbyists, then why is he doing the bidding of Big Oil, defense contractor, and mercenary company lobbyists in his Iraq policy.

GDAEman said...

My eyes doth roll... I plan to tally Obama's continuation of Bush policies in a future episode of GDAE Podcast, but here's a preview... sharing my rough notes, as if anyone is paying attention:

+ Things that Obama hasn't changed:
1) Extraordinary Rendition is now just regular rendition
2) States Secret legal argument
3) Drone attacks inside Pakistan. Does he have Pakistani authorization?
4) Obama Backs Bush Policy on Bagram Detainees DN! 2/23 Headlines,
5) White House E-Mails
6) DN! 2/24 Headlines