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The Moment for Leadership is Here, Obama

chicago dyke's picture

So chatting it up with some insider types, this is what I've been told: Obama has the opportunity, right now, to act and determine the future re: this bailout stuff. If he goes along with the current plan, I'm told Senate Dems will follow along; if he doesn't they won't either.

It's more than obvious to anyone reading this blog that the current plan is little more than giving free money to the very people who fucked everything up in the first place and sticking taxpayers with the bill. It's really that simple, and no amount of propaganda is going to change that. What may not be obvious to Dem Villagers and the Obama camp: *everyone* down here in Little People Land hates this plan. And why shouldn't we? We're told things like SCHIP and universal health care are "too expensive," but gosh look how fast our leaderz can propose a way to spend several trillion dollars to help their buddies on Wall St. No, as uninformed and out of the loop as average Americans may or may not be, we can smell shit when we're told to eat it. And we're saying: No.

If you work for Obama, or any Dem campaign right now, if you've written checks or done phone banking or just like to use your email program, let them know. No. This bill is unacceptable. No. It must not be allowed to pass in its current form. No. It's not going to make anything better and will likely make things worse. No, no no no no.

This is a much more crucial moment than perhaps many realize, and it's important for Obama to live up to this first, critically important test as head of the Democratic party. Just say no, Mr. Obama. No.

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Of all sorts.

Off now to tell my hired help elected representatives what to do.

I am hoping here for a substantive Obama pivot towards a progressive populism on economics. Whether or not he sees that as politically viable will determine what he says. He will not want to support an HOLC approach only to have it vetoed and thrown back at him by the Republicans and the BlueDogs. If they can either block it in Congress or sustain a veto, that will turn a potential political plus for Obama into a potential negative.

Consider; Bush vetos an HOLC bill, then portrays Obama and the Dems as failing to do something - anything - about the crisis while Rs and BlueDogs trumpet an RTC/RFC "solution." He will try to portray Democrats as the problem, the reason the crisis isn't being addressed, and dump the blame on Obama as McCain has already done. BushCo has been successful with this strategy on war funding and FISA/telco immunity; they will try it with this too.

If Obama aligns himself with HOLC but loses the DC political battle, he then either has to agree to a BushCo plan or gets painted as an obstructionist; either way, he loses the election. Risky business; I hope he does step up, because it will mean they think they have enough congressional votes to win. That in turn means we have to bombard our congressional representatives whether they are D or R and give 'em hell - politely to be sure, but firmly.

[Hi CD, Hi Leah; some fun, huh?]

Submitted by lambert on

1. HOLC worked in the past.

2. HOLD, by helping homeowners, helps the banks (because by stabilizing home values, it arrests the downward spiral of bank loan assets, if I get that right ;-)

3. HOLC actually made a profit for the government.

Obviously, the financial dictatorship proposed by Bernanke, et al, would do none of those things.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Ian Welsh lays it out with steely logic; if he let's this Paulson plan go through as is, his presidency is fucked. Not only will the die be cast, he'll be held responsible for it all not working and for the abysmal costs to ordinary people, including the likelihood of a deep recession.

Welsh's piece is here - Obama's FDR Moment; he doesn't meant January.

Ian also has a very interesting post on what the right approach should be to any sort of bail out; it's quite similar to Roubini's ideas.

And this just in from Ian - from a report in Politico that Barney Frank, I think, tells them that Paulson via phone says limiting executive compensation is a poison pill.

CD, do you have Ian's email address? The comments he's getting in response are mainly stoic, not much about doing anything about this.

What about Matt Stoller et al and Sterling?

Let's get something going guys, calls to Democrats that let them know they aren't going to be able to pull any kind of wool over anyone's eyes.

As I've said, Obama has left himself open by insisting there has to be relief for Main Street, etc. Let's use that opening - it's as much for his sake as everyone else's. See Ian's first post referenced above.

I still think starting a page/community blog on his own website to urge him to read what blogs and economists are saying by leaving links and actual quotes. Leave portions of the discussion on Moyers last night, including what Kevin Phillips said would begin to make a believer out of him in re: to Obama, who knows who Phillips is and has read at least one of his books.

There is no downside to standing up to Paulson and Bush. I don't care how much they try and scare Democrats, or us - if it's that bad then the Bush administration has a responsibility to actually bargain with the Democrats to come up with an acceptable package

It's beyond my skill level to know how to start a page on Obama's site, plus I'm working on a project with a deadline, but I'll help out. If we can get lots of blogs to sponsor the page, or at least link to it, let everyone know it's happening - Avedon could be a great resource...this is doable - for Democrats and for Obama - and they need to do it for the fucking country, too.

Anyone who wants to contact me by email, leave a message.

Monday morning, Democrat's congressional offices should be overrun with phone calls and emails.

And let's not leave out Hillary - let Hillary and Biden and Obama lead the Democrats on this - Paulson's plan, which essentially requires that the rescue/bailout effort must, in itself, be unregulated, honest guys, that's what it's asking for, an unregulated bailout with no oversight - just trust the Bush administration - does anyone think that would really fly with the American people, once they realize it? All that's required for that to happen is for Democrats and Obama to tell them that's what's being asked for.

Thanks CD, thanks, thanks.

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

I'm just going to go ahead and quote his entire comment; it's to a brilliant post of his own that lays out the conditions and principles that must be included structuring the bailout, and in reforming the finance system. What follows is a comment he makes to the other commentators to his original post:


the bailout proposal that Paulson has put forward is a blank check. It would be outrageous if Congress approved it in its current form. This is the domestic equivalent of the Iraq war authorization.

The threat of financial collapse is analogous to the weapons of mass destruction. The markets will wait. Congress can give a proposal with real conditions and then it will be Bush's call if he wants to be responsible for collapsing the U.S. economy.

That is the message we have to get to Democrats and the Obama campaign.

Especially the analogy to the Iraq war authorization, which almost every Democrat now regrets - and that they are using the threat of financialk collapse the way they used WMD.

Simple, pithy, pointed and true.

Here's how to find the original post - which is well worth a read.

Submitted by lambert on

The Authorization to Use Financial Force....

That link has the law. It's truly appalling, straight from The Theory Of We Get To Do Whatever The Fuck We Want.

I only pray, or would pray, that the Ds don't view this in split the difference terms, but in destroy the country terms. Putting mortgage aid into this thing is, well, lipstick on a pig. That's why HOLC is better in every way.

[ ] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on -- "... Lehman did not measure up because its chief executive, Richard S. Fuld Jr., simply was not reckless enough as he ran Lehman into the ground.

Had he had the foresight to make a lot more bad bets in the derivatives market, the government would have feared financial chaos and might have nationalized Lehman, just as it nationalized A.I.G., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Or it would have subsidized a takeover, as it did for Bear Stearns.

The Paulson-Bernanke Doctrine is not “too big to fail.” It is “too reckless to fail.” If you get your company into enough trouble to threaten the financial system, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, and Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, won’t let you collapse. ..."

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

and ideas to the folks you mentioned. keep in mind, they're very busy just now. seriously. and that's a good thing- finally, various PTB are asking someone else other than the "experts" who got us into this mess what can be done.

i can't wait for monday. it's going to be rather exciting.