Obamas Greatest Challenge Yet to Come: Replacing Ben Bernanke

May 27th, 2009 Jr Accountant

Perhaps you havent noticed this important little bit as you have been too distracted with digging your way out of debt, busting your ass at work just to keep up and grateful for your job regardless, or this nonsense about Obamas choice for Supreme Court Justice. All of this noise is important, of course, because it further exposes Obamas weaknesses; the poor cabinet choices (unless a crack team of tax cheats was the intended goal), the recklessly destructive attempts at economic repair thanks to his incredibly blind advisers, and the tendency to take on far more than The State was ever meant to handle.

Obama himself has insisted that though it may appear the opposite, he would prefer that the United States stay out of corporate affairs. Let us keep in mind that he said this just as GM was being led to the lethal injection chamber by Obamas own team. Lets face it, being owned by the United States government at this point is akin to a death sentence just one more tumor devouring the host. What next? Weve taken on the banks (who are still wandering aimlessly down Wall Street growling for braaaaaiiinnns), the automakers, the auto PARTS makers, the insurance companies; we have, at this point, even taken on ourselves. You did understand that this is what the Federal Reserve decision to buy Treasury bills on a massive scale equates to, right? Just making sure we are on the same page here.

How is that working out, by the way? Badly. The consensus amongst the armchair economists is that the bond market has begun its not-so-delicate unraveling and will shortly implode. Without this, one of the last safe investments remaining in a tumultuous and almost hallucinatory global financial market, Obama will have few options left to fund his promises, like the $787 billion Stimulus (no, it hasnt been paid for).

But let us set aside the financial crisis momentarily and ignore the dollars red flags. Obamas true challenge, disregarding the rest of the noise, is still ahead. Soon, he will have to start considering who he would like to replace Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Fed.

Bernankes term expires on January 31, 2023 and Obamas people have certainly made it clear that the President does not intend to keep him in his post beyond that date. The first sign Obama wasnt too keen on another term for Helicopter Ben? Sticking Timmy the Two Bit Tax Cheat Geithner in the Treasury, leaving ex Harvard President Larry Summers calendar free for Take Over the Federal Reserve on February 1st, 2010.

So, you say?

So, Larry Summers is, as one blogger put it, a walking, talking conflict of interest. Summers has collected millions in speaking fees from firms like Citigroup (multiple bailouts ring a bell?), Goldman Sachs (NY Fed/Goldman scandal sound familiar?), and Bank of America (CEO Ken Lewis working with ex Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke to possibly mislead investors, anyone?).

The New York Times paints a lovely picture of Summers saying Mr. Summers, who will be 54 on Nov. 30, is universally described as brilliant, but is also renowned for being arrogant, occasionally rude and sometimes difficult to work with. The article goes on to discuss Summers infamous reputation as a sexist after girls dont do economics comments were, according to him, taken out of context some years ago.

All of this being said, please do not misconstrue my feelings for Ben Bernanke. Though a declared Republican, he does not subscribe to the exuberant idealism his predecessor Alan Greenspan brought to the Fed Chairman position. Someone described Bernankes politicism as being asexually Republican the Ken doll with a bump of plastic under his suit and no expressed or obvious political affiliation to be found. Printing the United States into bankruptcy is certainly not a Republican trait I am familiar with.

So it cannot be Ben Bernankes politics which would motive President Obama to let his term expire. And even when we get rid of Bernanke, hell still stay on at the Fed board through 2020. 2020 until we can get rid of this money-printing manic depressive!

The Fed is failing and hard (see Treasury bills above). Whether or not this burden should rest entirely on Bernankes shoulders has not yet been decided. From the eyes of the funny-money-hungry Obama administration, it appears as though that doesnt matter. Perhaps Bernanke doesnt print quickly enough to keep up with President Obamas promises and Summers will be better equipped to implode what remains of the dollar?

This will be interesting to watch. I sincerely hope Mr Obama manages to find a Fed Chairman who at least knows how to pay his taxes; if he picks a 7th tax cheat, and to head the Fed none the less!, I will have officially lost my faith in any chance this administration has at digging us out of this total economic disaster.

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Reverse Party Logic Proves Faulty

May 3rd, 2009 Billy Hallowell

“Agree with her or not, she seems like a sweet kid who means well.” HotAir.coms Allah Pundit recently Tweeted this reassuring proclamation to his followers. The subject: Meghan McCain. The context: Her political philosophy. Surely, Allah Pundit’s right. Meghan does, indeed, have good intentions. But it is her somewhat anti-conservative viewpoints about which direction the Republican Party should head that drive a wedge between her and her constituents.

In reality, Meghans perspectives comprise just one of the many tenants competing for GOP dominance in a smorgasbord of ideological muck. Conservatives and Republicans are embroiled in a high-stakes battle-of -the-ideals, with all sides vying to capture the party’s heart and soul.

Unfortunately, some conservatives have forgotten that we live in a constitutional democracy. If you’ll recall, Laura Ingram was so incensed over Meghan’s political proclamations that she called her a “useful idiot” and made fun of her physical appearance. Just as Miss California had every right to voice her perspective during Sundays Miss USA pageant, so does Meghan McCain have the right to express where she stands on her party’s sociopolitical alignment (I bring up this totally random side-note to remind conservatives not to perpetuate a double standard when criticizing “rogue conservatives.” This is America. May we all speak freely).

Two, Contrasting Perspectives

So, what’s the big deal about Meghan, you ask? She describes herself as a Progressive Republican. Others, like political strategist Patrick Ruffini, would likely counter efforts to bestow such an anti-conservative title upon the party. Ruffini sees a need within the movement to return to conservatism – an effort to clarify party roots, while infusing the values and ethics that made the Republican Party so appealing to the Reaganites.

In truth, this brief description is less that a totalistic view of what is occurring within the GOP; Meghan and Patrick merely represent two opposing sides, with a middle-range so diverse it couldnt possibly be captured in mere paragraphs. Ideological stances are surely in battle, but Id hardly call it a full-fledged war. The Republican Party has lost step and those within it are attempting to repair its standing. The point of contention surrounds defining a literal meaning for “repair” and crafting an action plan that the majority of the party can embrace.

This past week on Twitter, Patrick said, “We can be more conservative AND more aggressive / dynamic / forward focused. These things are not in tension.” In contrast, Meghan McCain recently wrote, “I consider myself a progressive Republican…” and claimed that “…being a Republican is about as edgy as Donny Osmond.” Talk about a difference of opinion.

The two contrasting perspectives define, in a macro sense, the issues facing the party. While I am a big believer that current perspective is important in determining next steps, exploring the past is the best way to predict what’s to come in politics. A recent history lesson shows us that moving in the opposite ideological direction isn’t necessarily indicative of future success. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the democrats. Following its 2004 electoral defeat, the Democratic Party moved so far left that its currently dangling off a cliff over a sea of socialistic decree. Barack Obamas nomination and subsequent election is the literal manifestation of this reality.

Clinging to the Outer Fringes

Aside from his overt inclination for “spreading the wealth” and his less than moderate positioning on issues like abortion and diplomatic relations with rogue nations like Iran, from 2004 and 2008, Barack Obama distinguished himself as the most liberal member of the United States Senate (or, as the Democrats like to say, he earned the title of “Miss Congeniality”). Thats like a baby learning to run before taking first steps. Or, to put it in a more realistic perspective: When a party embraces a candidate whose ADA rating beats Ted Kennedys, one can safely say that said party is clinging to the outer fringes of liberalism. Barack Obama is the most left-leaning president America has elected to date. Hands down.

The GOP is now the Democratic Party post-Kerry. This in mind, the notion that becoming more “liberal” will redefine the party in a positive way just doesnt make sense. Unless Republicans want to see a split that rivals the Catholic-Protestant disunion, Id advise against such a move.

If you follow the Democratic model, youll see a party that elevated another ADA-favorite and a liberal, yet average guy John Kerry to take on George W. Bush during a time of relative domestic and international instability (2004). Following electoral defeat and a steady increase in discontent, the Democrats saw a clear opportunity in 2008 to make “change” through the nomination of the most left-minded candidate they could find. Enter, Barack Obama.

A State of Shear Dormancy

When I hear the debate about how the GOP should react, I wonder: Have some Republicans been in a dormant state? Are drugs that induce sense-retardant inclinations being consumed without their knowledge? Dont they get it? From health care to abortion rights, Barack Obama thinks weve done it all wrong. His self-proclaimed mission is to reboot any and all conservatively-influenced policies and his prescription for success is a hyper dose of Democratic doctrine. Meanwhile, Americans are encouraged to stand by while he continues to perform euthanasia on the financial markets.

What simply doesnt make sense from a strategic or logical standpoint is the idea that becoming Democratic Light will equate to a positive reformation for the Republicans in 2010, 2012 and beyond. Did the Democrats make themselves more conservative, or more moderate for that matter following their 2004 defeat? The most recent bailout and tax code changes should answer that question for you.

As much as I believe Meghan McCain to be an effective leader and someone who does, indeed, deeply care for her country (she is John McCains daughter, after all), I deeply disagree with some of her insinuations that the party must move left for sake of survival. Retracing our conservative steps is the answer to formulating a true contingency plan. America doesnt need a more liberal GOP; she needs a more rational and doctrine-abiding one.

To clarify, this means looking at where the GOP has been in an effort to retrace and correct party wrongs. This process transcends architectural tweaks to the party; it requires recapturing the movements heart and soul. Its not about gay marriage – or abortion (to name only two controversial social issues). This is not to say that conservatives cannot and should not hold opinions about these issues. Everyone is entitled to individual perspective (yes, even Meghan McCain). But, if we truly want to save capitalism, the conservative heart must shift focus to the most pressing issue of our time: Americas economic decline. Fiscal conservatism is the answer.

Conservatives, for what its worth, have stuck solidly to the structures surrounding Americas social paradigms, but we have neglected and abandoned our small government mantra. We have allowed our own party members to engage in excessive spending, while sitting back and watching our economic doctrine lay dormant. The fiscal irresponsibility and vampire-esque future-feeding that the current administration is engaging in is a dangerous detriment to our democracy. The GOP needs to retract irresponsible spending policies and make good on its claim that human beings are the primary benefactors and architects of their own destiny.

Its time to truly embrace small government ideologies. It is not time to abandon our principles in pursuit of a party construct that already exists. What made the GOP so powerful was its embracement of important social and economic issues. In keeping in step, the only natural reaction is to return to our roots, while making good on both areas of political inquiry.

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