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Promises, Promises: Could We Possibly Have a Stupider Press Corps?

The problem with the American media is not so much the abject stupidity, but the utter inability to even remotely grasp just how stupid they are. Take for instance this appallingly stupid AP "analysis" piece by Liz Sidoti, where Sidoti decides to explore all of Obama’s "broken" campaign promises. Which would be fine — if all the examples she comes up with weren’t either carping or wrong. And even that wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that Obama did make one key campaign promise that he’s not living up to, his promise to change the "economic philosophy that has completely failed" and led to the current financial crisis. But to understand why this matters would require the Liberal Media to abandon its fascination with trivia and come to grips with complexity — and its own actual (as opposed to wingnut masturbatory fantasized) biases — something they would have no interest in doing even if they were capable of it.

Look at the "promises" Obama allegedly broke, according to Sidoti. One:

He spent most of the campaign promising to bring combat troops home from Iraq 16 months after taking office, though he left himself wiggle room.

After directing his commanders to map out a responsible pullout, President Obama adjusted that timeline to 19 months and said 50,000 troops, about one-third of the current force, would remain.

Three extra months, wow, what a betrayal. And the "wiggle room" was that he always said he would "consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government." Which he did. So, in doing what he said he would do… for Sidoti, that’s "wiggling" and being dishonest, somehow. By magic!

Two, the lobbyist thing. Well, fine, but then, "Then he took office and had to fill thousands of positions," as Sidoti said herself. So what do you want" Three, the earmarks thing: "Obama the candidate pledged to curb spending directed at lawmakers’ pet projects; they’re known in Washington as ‘earmarks.’ Obama the president signed an "imperfect" $410 billion budget measure that included 8,500 earmarks." Well, not quite: "as Media Matters for America documented, Obama actually promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending."

Finally, and most irritatingly,

As for politics, Obama campaigned as a new-style leader who chastised partisanship and renounced divisiveness in Washington. But as president, Obama’s White House aides wasted little time pouncing on Republicans and mocking conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh as the GOP’s leader.

Not being nice to Rush Limbaugh: blasphemer. Maybe Sidoti would like Obama to apologize. Kill me.

Does any of this add up to, well, anything to justify this conclusion?

But the shifts could take a toll over time if they become a persistent pattern and the public grows weary. His overall job-performance marks could suffer and jeopardize his likely re-election campaign in 2012. People could perceive him as a say-one-thing-do-another politician and the Democratic-controlled Congress could see him as a weak chief executive.

Uh, no. You really don’t have to be a crack AP Analyst to understand that if Obama wants to get re-elected, the economy has to stop sucking. That’s it. But for Sidoti, it’s all about trivia. It’s nuts.

Which is where the irony kicks in, because what’s most likely to keep him from taking effective action on the economy is precisely his apparent unwillingness to recognize just how important it is to challenge the Wall Street ideology that’s landed enormous "too big to fail" American corporations in the toilet, and that’s threatening to flush us all down with them. Krugman:

The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It’s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed — and found wanting — a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won….

But it’s immediately obvious, if you think about it, that these funds will have skewed incentives. In effect, Treasury will be creating — deliberately! — the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities. For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose. So sure, these investors will be ready to pay high prices for toxic waste. After all, the stuff might be worth something; and if it isn’t, that’s someone else’s problem.

Or to put it another way, Treasury has decided that what we have is nothing but a confidence problem, which it proposes to cure by creating massive moral hazard.

This plan will produce big gains for banks that didn’t actually need any help; it will, however, do little to reassure the public about banks that are seriously undercapitalized. And I fear that when the plan fails, as it almost surely will, the administration will have shot its bolt: it won’t be able to come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work.

And why head down this path? An inability to look skeptically at Free Market orthodoxy. And why can’t we get the AP to figure this out? I’m pretty sure you can guess that one by yourselves.

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A community college professor from upstate NY. My wife & I have 347 children, all of them rotten.