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Obama’s inflated rhetoric causes problems

06/02/2009

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KAL - The Economist 7 February

KAL - The Economist 7 February

The Lexington column in the latest Economist looks at the withdrawal of Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer from their nominations for major roles in the Obama administration.

Lexington suggests that Obama is paying the price for his inflated campaign rhetoric.

In addition Tim Geithner the new Treasury Secretary is tainted due to his inability to get his taxes right and Obama lost Bill Richardson as well. Just what sort of vetting process did the Obama team employ?

Lexington noted:-

Mr Daschle’s disappearance underlines one of the Obama administration’s biggest problems: the difficulty of managing the gap between the rhetoric of political campaigns and the reality of governing. All presidential candidates promise to reform Washington. Bill Clinton promised to create “the most ethical administration in history”. George Bush promised to put an end to the capital’s rancid partisan divisions. But Mr Obama raised the mantra of change to new rhetorical heights.

Throughout two years of high-flown speechifying he promised to clean the Augean stables of Washington, close the revolving door between power and money and raise ethical standards. In his inaugural address, he announced the dawn of a new “era of responsibility”; on his first day in office he unveiled a package of tight ethical guidelines, though they didn’t last long.

Lexington concludes:-

Mr Obama remains a forbiddingly powerful president, with a 64% approval rating and a Republican Party that is in a shambles. But he is paying a price for his inflated promises. He has already had to give himself a couple of get-out clauses, supporting Mr Geithner despite his problems with his taxes and nominating a former lobbyist for Raytheon to be number two in the Pentagon, one of the biggest-spending departments in the government, in defiance of his own new guidelines.

But the loss of Mr Daschle, one of Mr Obama’s closest allies, many of whose former aides hold key positions in the White House, is the heaviest blow so far. And there will be others. The problem with putting yourself on a pedestal is that it is hard to get down from it and engage in the humdrum work of politics.

Obama seems somewhat gaffe prone in his appointments to date.

Let us hope that his judgment is better on other matters.For example on trade and on pork barrel politics, which much of his vaunted stimulus is.

Maybe he will come to realise that inflated rhetoric will not of itself cure the problems he was elected to resolve. In fact his inflated rhetoric causes some of his problems.

One Comment
  1. 06/02/2009 13:40

    “Between the idea and the reality, falls the shadow”……….

    Like

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