The political buzz today is all about the President’s falling approval ratings. He has now fallen faster than President Bush did (prior to 09/11).

The simple solution for the White House: Stop jerking around with Financial Reform. When there is high unemployment, people don’t want to see bailed out bankers making a killing. Fix what was wrong with the system, what led us down the path to disaster.

As noted in these pages back in September, the brain trust around Obama made a terrible tactical error by tackling Health Care before they fixed Wall Street. (See: Tactical Error: Health Care vs Finance Regulatory Reform). The record low approval ratings during his presidency reflect that.

Unless Obama wants to lose one or both Houses in 2010, he best shake things up.

My advice?

Put Paul Volcker in charge of Financial Reform.


’nuff said . . .

Category: Politics, Really, really bad calls

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

89 Responses to “Why Obama’s Poll Numbers Are Plummetting”

  1. tyaresun says:

    Absolutely, totally, positively agree.

  2. cpd says:

    10000% agree.

  3. Super-Anon says:

    The reason is far simpler:


    Presidents who come to power during times of increasing economic hardship tend to be unpopular (Hoover, Carter). Presidents who come to power during times of increasing prosperity (FDR, Reagan) tend to be much more popular.

    Unfortunately for Obama, credit related economic downturns tend to go on for about 4 years or so, and his timing seems to have put him in closer to Carter than FDR on the spectrum.

    Credit related economic downturns tend to go on for about 4 years or so

  4. Super-Anon says:

    My advice?

    Put Paul Volcker in charge of Financial Reform.

    BTW, absolutely agree.

    He’s one of the few people out there I feel a lot of respect for.

  5. it’s called “The Obama Deception”

    Americans may be a little too nice, too trusting, and gullible, but they are not, yet, anyway, completely f****** stoopid..

  6. Mannwich says:

    This was inevitable. The folks who run the show (Dem or GOP) only listen to the small elite group of people who think things are generally “just fine”, while the rest of us KNOW otherwise. O’s handling of Wall Street and the economy are fast becoming his “Iraq”. If an average schmuck like me could predict this MONTHS ago, then why couldn’t the people in his administration have seen this coming? Or maybe they did and just were clueless about how to fix things for the average person, or didn’t care about the average person? I’m just dumbfounded by their obtuseness. This kind of thing from Bush didn’t surprise me after a while, but O is/was supposed to be MUCH smarter. I just don’t get it.

  7. Space_Cowboy_NW says:

    Spot on BR.

    Sadly, the term ‘change’ will come to mean no change. Time will run-out before options are exhausted.

    The inertia is too great, the mass is too large, and the leadership (both sides) have not the will.

    Three strikes!

    As always, Your mileage may vary.

  8. carlwied says:

    Agree 100%

  9. franklin411 says:

    Actually, Carter came in during an improving economic situation, not a deteriorating one. He just had the bad luck to have the Iranian Revolution (and the accompanying oil shock) occur towards the end of his term rather than the beginning. Sometimes we make our own luck, and sometimes, luck breaks good people. Carter was the latter.

    Nobody gives a whit about financial reform. That’s why Congress votes to water down every reform proposal, if they vote in the affirmative at all. By the survey I sent you, 52% of Americans don’t even know who Ben Bernanke is. Most Americans think TARP is something you use to keep your power tools dry in a rainstorm. Most Americans think Glass-Steagall is some kind of rule to prevent sea birds from dying by flying into plate glass doors.

    The numbers are down for three reasons:
    1. There is some normal deterioration in every administration’s numbers as people come to realize that the game of politics shifts by fractions of an inch rather than yards and miles at a time.

    2. The stimulus was just enough to stabilize the patient but not enough to drive growth. Also, almost half of the stimulus went to tax cuts, which people can’t “see.” What was needed was massive construction projects–people need to literally see that, where there once was a crumbling, overloaded two lane road, there is now a modern, efficient superhighway that shaves 20 minutes off their commute.

    3. The administration has proven far more conservative than anyone thought. Essentially, the President is a Blue Dog Democrat. He comes from Illinois, which is a very conservative state, and he has proven reluctant to take the kind of big, bold moves that people feel are suited to this crisis. Health care reform is a perfect example–he never once supported the public option, challenged the medical establishment, or employed the kind of tactics that the GOP used to enact the Bush tax cuts.

    Why? Why hasn’t he challenged the conservative Democrats who are driving the bus right now? Because he is one himself. Look at his policies. His education reform policy is to privatize K-12 education through charter schools. His health care reform plan tries to avoid any act that might agitate the private, for profit medical establishment. His financial reform proposals are being driven by ex-Wall Streeters and Austan Goolsbee, a former University of Chicago economist.

    Anyone who calls Obama a socialist deserves to be slugged in the back of the head. However, many people bought into the GOP’s campaign propaganda that Obama is a leftie. I actually think a moderate-conservative, but still liberal, Democratic President is good for America, when balanced against a more left-wing Democratic Congress. I never thought Obama was a leftie, but I had hoped he would be more dynamic.

  10. tagyoureit says:

    I thought I read somewhere that stock markets perform best with D president & R congress?

  11. cortezj29 says:

    Volcker would be great handling financial reform.

    BR’s use of “Barack W. Obama” is spot on. Instead of “Change” promoted on the campaign trail, we ended up with another pro-corporate level business president. I would think many citizens are realizing that both the Dems and Repubs are are too conservative on financial issues. However, effectively introducing a third party is akin to the burden of Sisyphus.

  12. tagyoureit says:

    Here’s one take:

    But really, it mostly says Clinton (1995 @ 77%) beat Reagan (1985 @ 68%).

  13. wunsacon says:

    War-on-deflation:GS:Obama === War-on-terror:KBR:Dubya

    Every war has its profiteers.

  14. EAR says:

    The same desperation or immaturity that led so many to believe that he would be able to come in and turn an entrenched status quo in to some kind of efficient, well oiled machine is the same desperation or immaturity that leads so many to be disappointed.

    I won’t begrudge anyone who has lost their income and has a family to support, they have a right to be angry. But the idea that those people are upset that he hasn’t fixed Wall St specifically is a bit much. If he broke up the banks and replaced their management while pushing for stronger regulation, would that equate to job creation in the short term? Many (none here) would say “Why is he spending so much time on regulating Wall St or tearing apart the financial system? He should focus on creating jobs.”

    Healthcare is the greatest burden on this country, why not deal with it now? Is there a point of no return on financial regulation? Must it be done now?

    As for replacing Geithner with Volcker… people who read BP, those who are knowledgeable know that it would be a positive, constructive move, but what kind of signal would that send to the American people who aren’t? To many it would symbolize tumult at the top in tumultuous times.

    Now, if he gave Volcker a greater say without announcing it to everyone, that would be more constructive.

  15. LeeX says:

    I agree! What a disappointment BO has been. I have lost hope in him. These clowns who get nominated for president, BO, GWB, that doddering old fool McCain (not to mention SP!!!), Kerry, is this the best we can do? For a start, lets ditch the electoral college so that we don’t have another fiasco like GWB.

  16. torrie-amos says:

    I’ve said it often, 400 hours campaigning, No change I can believe in, lobbyist still rule the gubment.

    The problem any leader faces is comparisons to the last guy, especially on a big stage, his perception is he looks weak and ineffective versus George, say what you want George was definitive and got done what he wanted to get done, be damned anyone else.

    One weak to pass Tarp, one year no reform, pretty simple imho.

    I will not ever spend one itoa of my time defendint him, and I can guarantee i brought 20 or so votes to the table with my work.

  17. hue says:

    it’s the economy stupid, not you Barrys

  18. Theodore D. says:

    Like it! But how old is Volcker? Blatant ageisim here… And I like his sound bites, but is he to old? I’m not trying to advocate that he is, I am just wondering how much time he has left.

    CortexJ – Not really sure why Obama’s failings make him to conservative…If you mean cronyism toward Wall Street thats not conservatism. Maybe your relatively liberal on things in general so whenever things go bad you blame it on “conservatism.” Just my guess.

    Hey anyone random question. Anyone know of any up and coming Ron Paul like politicians that aren’t Ron Paul?

  19. troubled times says:

    I voted for Obama. When he picked Emanuel Rahm to be his Chief of Staff i knew i had been bagged. He might as well had picked Lanny Davis. By the way, Rahn’s political action committe was called ” Our Common Values ” . Take-Two Interactive’s old CEO Paul Eibeler contributes to Rahm’s ” Our Common Values” . Take-Two gave us GTA , the video game where you win by killing cops and beating women. Take-Two troubles with the SEC and others is legendary. And all the voting in the world doesn’t seem to stop the politicians from sedating us with our kids money. …Volcker ? Unfortunately he is to serious for our celebrity culture.

  20. chancee says:

    I actually want Bernanke to stay so I can get back in at the March lows.

  21. Transor Z says:

    Volcker’s too old to take a major visible position. Sad but true. The $64,000 question is who would Volcker pick at Treasury and the Fed?

  22. hue says:

    ron paul as fed chairman then he can abolish himself

  23. call me ahab says:

    “For a start, lets ditch the electoral college ”

    never going to happen- each state elects their choice for POTUS- end of story-

    regarding BO- he had a desire to be POTUS- just like GWB- but no vision- outside of health insurance- when most Americans are already covered by health insurance- an extension of the Great Society- right when we are at our weakest financially-

    poor strategy there

  24. Theodore D. says:

    Maybe somewhere here could comment on this argument (except hoffer not a big Alex Jones fan):

    I have ridiculous Grad school debt 200k (accelerated jd/mba top 50 school = still no job) so why shouldn’t I hope for a higher inflation rate? I’ve thrown this off Mish’s board but I don’t get any real response. Deflation makes it tougher to pay back debt, bc wages are depressed and dollars are worth more (purchasing power wise), while higher Inflation theoretically makes it easier to pay back. Dollar is worth less, wages generally rise (with some time lag where the upper 1% get the increase faster) making it easier to pay back STICKY debt. BenB seems to be on a path that will lead to longer term inflation, so why shouldn’t I like him and not want Paul Volcker in there?

    This might be a little Ragnar Danneskjold but the more mistakes that are made sooner the quicker inflation or hyperinflation (depending on your def) gets here = the sooner I can easily pay back my debt. With BenB’s bank allowed to grow even bigger the liklihood of them failing again increases leading to more problems leading to even less options making increasing the printing presses a more likely scenario. So I kinda agree with TIME – BenB man of the year!

    *Not saying I’m right, just wondering how I’m wrong?

  25. Brendan says:

    That’s only half or maybe 2/3 of the picture. It doesn’t need to be said that, like W, Obama’s eroding support from across the political spectrum due to a poor economy, regardless of who’s fault it is. Of course he’s eroding support from the center and center-right due to the finance issue. But he’s also eroding support from the left due to getting nothing done on any of their priorities, especially health care. That’s why the loss of support is so fast, because it’s coming from both sides. W’s loss, at this stage of the game, was mostly from the center and center-left who gave him a chance and decided they didn’t like what they saw. The far right weren’t jumping off the ship in droves like the far left are for Obama. If a health care bill and climate change legislation get passed, I would expect to see Obama’s support bump back up. Weather it’s enough is debatable. I don’t see how, though, without financial reform happening too. From what I’ve seen, the left isn’t happy about that issue either, but feel the Dems are the a lesser-of-two-evils so they’ll bite their tongues and approve of the overall job so long as they’re getting their way on other issues. Right now, they’re not. That being said, a lot can happen in 3 years.

  26. franklin411 says:

    There is no benefit from a strong dollar for the average American. All the supposed-benefits are actually negatives. For example, a strong dollar means cheaper imports and oil–but even if oil was 1/3 of what it costs now, we would still be enriching societies that hate our guts and would give their lives to destroy us. And cheaper imports will only finish off what little manufacturing we still do in America.

    I love how Larry Krudlow says “no nation ever devalued its way into prosperity.” Yeah, that’s right, Larr..the Chinese economy is in the toilet right now because they devalue the Yuan, right? Right? Right?

  27. Thatguy says:

    Teddy D,

    “Anyone know of any up and coming Ron Paul like politicians that aren’t Ron Paul?”


  28. awilensky says:

    I can’t ever, ever, and I mean ever recall being so utterly disappointed in vote I have made. And, strangely enough, I almost was ready for it, if you know what I mean.

  29. call me ahab says:


    you’re a buffoon- in regards to Kudlow- another dunderhead- a country can’t “will” a strong currency- it becomes strong for a reason-

    so when the Treasury or Administrations says we believe in a strong $- who cares- because it doesn’t mean anything-

    I for instance can say I believe in Peter Pan- but my delusion does make it real

  30. VennData says:

    Maybe’s it’s because all those who bought guns and guns stocks because of all those un-signed, un-attributed, large font emails (and Fox “news” shows) about “Obama’s gun takeover” that never materialized…

    … and all those other lies the sheep… er… a… well-informed American electorate consumes.

  31. chancee says:

    The loss of support is from all the dim-witted Obamabots who actually thought their lives were going to miraculously change because they had a hand in electing the first black President.

    It all goes back to the election and what people with a brain were trying to tell the Obamabots. No experience. If he’d had any, he would have been more aware to the mistake he was making by surrounding himself with people like Rubin, etc. His lack of experience is precisely why he reached out to people like Rubin. To LOOK LIKE he had experience.

  32. call me ahab says:


    last post- “but my delusion does NOT make it real”

  33. Teddy D,

    don’t mistake my support of the message, for my support ‘of the messenger’.


    now, the PROC’s ‘Economy’ is the model we should be emulating?

    actually, Kudlow, here, is correct. this: ““no nation ever devalued its way into prosperity.” , is true.

    if you think the PROC is prosperous, please explain how you come to that conclusion..

  34. MikeG says:

    CortexJ – Not really sure why Obama’s failings make him to conservative…If you mean cronyism toward Wall Street thats not conservatism.

    Funny, because self-proclaimed ‘conservatives’ enthusiastically supported such cronyism and deliberately-negligent un-regulation of Wall Street during the Bush years. You sound like the people who now say ‘Bush was never a conservative’, when self-proclaimed conservatives supported him at a 90+% rate during his disastrous presidency and now want to disown the wreckage resultant from Texas-style right wing cronyism.

  35. EAR says:


    “… the first black President.” Simplistic stuff.
    They like that on the Newsweek message boards though.

  36. James says:

    The political buzz today is all about the President’s falling approval ratings.


    The political buzz today? His numbers have been falling steadily for weeks and months:

    with all due mention in print columns and the blogosphere. Where ya’ been, Barry?

  37. Brett Tibbitts says:

    I am not sure Obama’s declining popularity is completely due to the focus on health care reform instead of increasing jobs in this country. Although I agree that a complete focus on jobs would at the very least stop the decline and give him a chance to turn this thing around if whatever actions the Dems ended up taking actually increased jobs.

  38. howard0339 says:

    Volker? Shit, put me in charge.

    This goes to a point: never pick a fight you don’t absolutely know you will win.

  39. Deflator Mouse says:

    “Prosperity” being relative, the lot of the average Chinese as improved greatly over the last couple of decades- China’s “prosperity” has been almost soley responsible for worldwide decrease in poverty rates:”,,contentMDK:20153855~menuPK:435040~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:430367,00.html

    My delusions DO make it real.

    “Change we can bereave in.”

  40. marklhessel says:

    Agreed. Honestly, with all the huge problems that need solving, this should be the easiest to fix,
    since the fix, slowly dismantled over the last 30 years, was already in place.

  41. TimmyB says:

    Sadly, I believe the premise of the article is wrong . The premise is that Obama wanted strong financial reforms, but he did not push for them at the right time. I disagree. I do not believe Obama ever wanted strong reforms, so his waiting isn’t an error on his part. Instead, he is in the pocket of the financial industry and does not want to institute reforms.

    Read Matt Taibbi’s recent article. Obama is in the pocket of the banksters. We will not be getting any reform from him. Its not some “mistake” on his part. Its by design.

  42. GB says:


    We want Glass-Steagall not Geithner-Rubin

  43. hue says:

    chancee, who did you support during the election or primaries? bush and cheney had a lot of experience especially cheney.

    not sure any president would get a high rating in 2009. this debt didn’t mount at the beginning of 09. will be interesting to see of the ppt can keep the market up next year for the elections.

  44. Marcus Aurelius says:

    chancee Says:

    “No experience. If he’d had any, he would have been more aware to the mistake he was making by surrounding himself with people like Rubin, etc. His lack of experience is precisely why he reached out to people like Rubin. To LOOK LIKE he had experience.”

    I think Obama’s done a piss poor job when his campaign promises are compared to his actions as President. That said, I don’t think there’s anyone with “experience” in handling global financial meltdown.

    Consider the alternatives to Obama— Huckabee, Romney, McCain, Paul, Clinton, Edwards, Kucinich, and Nader. Which of these people do you think would have acted independently of the “experts?” Paul, Kucinich, or Nader — none of whom are electable, and none of whom would have had any clue what to do about our predicament — might have started us on the road to reform, but not without a lot of pain and political resistance (Clinton gets the nod as the best manager of the group, but she’s more of an insider).

    If you want to talk lack of experience (and judgement), look who the Republicans ran for VP.

    I’ll take the lesser of the evils.

  45. chancee says:


    It’s hardly simplistic if you understood the foundation of Obama’s campaign for what it was. Down to its core, it’s message and mantra – “change we can believe in’ – was a play on sentiment. Who better to convince the American people change is coming than the first black President? This was the strategy from which all campaign rallies flowed.

    If not… then what? What had/has Obama ever done that should illicit such confidence in his ability to CHANGE things? And don’t try to turn what I’m saying into something racist. That’s simplistic stuff.

  46. rileyx67 says:

    Pretty astonishing agreement on BR’s Volcker choice…count me in as well, and how about Sheila Bair at Treasury? Yes, he’s pretty old, plus the “shuffling” would confirm poor choices in the past, but better than the present. Like so man, am disappointed with his allowing the watering down of Health care and financial reforms, catering to the lobbyists of Pharma, Health insurers and Wall Street…while building deficits we’ll regret for decades. When you fail the expectations of the constituents of BOTH parties, can expect those poll numbers.

  47. patient renter says:

    terrible tactical error by tackling Health Care before they fixed Wall Street

    At least they could have gone without the Gang of Six, which turned out to be as worthless a waste of time as many said it would be.

  48. trandolph says:


    Your analysis and advice is right on. Problem is we don’t want his presidency saved.


  49. Blurtman says:

    He could be on his way to being a one-termer. Depends on who the opposition runs. (Considering that Obama is a Blue Dog, is the opposition really a Republican?) Depends on how the economy and war is doing. Depends on the psychology of diminished expectations, sadly

  50. Lugnut says:

    Note to Barry: taxpayers don’t matter, job creation doesn’t matter, big business only matters to the extent that they help incumbents pay for elections. Notches in your political gunbelt matter (i.e. passing healthcare while ignoring economy). Staying away from problems you have no knowledge of how to fix matters (entire admin with no private business experience won’t help produce job creation initiatives).

    Rubin and his cronies will never let Volker have a seat at the grown ups table. He will stayed (unfairly) ostricized.

    just my $.02

  51. hue says:

    What had/has Obama ever done that should illicit such confidence in his ability to CHANGE things?

    the dude could give a mean speech. if only the political cassius clay could also throw a punch.

  52. bsneath says:

    Volcker in charge of financial reform would win over many of us in a heart beat.

    The perception today is that Obama has sold out to Wall Street and he cannot be trusted.

    As Mark Hoffer said above, people are trusting, a little gullible and even forgiving of mistakes, but they are not going to accept dishonesty.

    It is not too late for him to turn it around.

  53. Brendan says:

    @Thodore D., As you said, from a macro perspective, if we have too much debt (which is what virtually everyone screams from the hilltops), inflation will lessen the debt burden for both individuals and Uncle Sam. If everyone starts making twice as much, those long term fixed rate house and student loan payments become much more affordable, freeing up money for discretionary spending. Housing prices will push back up, but those already in houses will win. The labor to build those houses is history, so who cares if you under-paid for it. It’s just a write-off. And if you want to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., inflation helps with that, too. Of course there will be losers (like me, who doesn’t have nearly as much debt as the average middle-class sheep and also the people with fat savings accounts). And of course it’s not quite that simple. But with limited options, I can’t see how you don’t eventually come to that conclusion. This has been a long time coming. The current administration doesn’t want to be seen as the one holding the bag, but I don’t see how they can put off the inevitable for long enough to pass it to the next sucker.

    That said, I’ve been saying inflation will be the response for a long time, for both domestic and international trade reasons. If you’re trading partners will fall for it, why not build a massive trade deficit, and then later reduce the value of the currency you traded for goods? I figured this has been the game since about Reagen. The false prosperity has to eventually end. Each administration knew they’d be gone by the time the cards really started to fall down. They started to fall in under W, but only history will tell weather W gets all the blame or Obama who will probably be around for the biggest part of the collapse.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but it looks as if we quietly flirted with cheapening the dollar, and the dollar dipped, but then every other currency dipped to match, so it netted little. Right now it seems to be “wait and see.” The idea that China will dump dollars due to high inflation doesn’t pass the sniff test. If anything, a dropping dollar will push China to spend, not dump, them to expand operations to the US before they lose even more value. I expect the Chinese government to start lending dollars to companies (including their own government run ones) who want to expand outside of China (especially Africa and the US). This will lead either directly to US employment, or filtered through an intermediary. As far as the current administration is concerned, jobs for Americans are good, even if they are Chinese jobs. So I think the only thing preventing the Feds from allowing massive inflation is the fear that the dollar will lose it’s status as the dominant currency. If (or I should probably say, When) that happens, all bets are off. This game of hot-potato that started in the 80′s leaves Obama without a chair (even if you want to argue that W cheated and shoved the potato into Obama’s hands after the music stopped).

    Add on top of that, if China wants to keep their carbon credits for domestic manufacturing, (I expect “carbon credits” to become the new “barrel of oil” on the world market in the coming decades) they’ll soon start building manufacturing in the US with still valuable dollars. There’s no shortage of labor here right now. I don’t think all these people are as big of fools as everyone around here makes them out to be. They can see what’s coming down the pipeline and everyone is positioning themselves accordingly.

  54. Lugnut says:

    @Theodore D. Says:

    Commodity inflation is a given, wage inflation, not so much. Your inability to even get a job should give you something to ponder regarding wages as far as that goes.

  55. mdesq says:

    “…Put Paul Volcker in charge of Financial Reform…”

    This has seemed (to me) such an obvious choice since Volker’s name was first mentioned as being involved with this administration. I’m confused as to why he’s been relegated to the sidelines. I assumed it was because of inexperience in the executive office, but I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t arrogance.

  56. torrie-amos says:

    Theodore D.,

    everyone has an different point of view, mine we do not have enough profits to cover the debts period end of story, that cannot go magically away with re-inflation, it makes it worse, who’s growing, emerging markets, they will buy commodities, oil, steel, copper, food and our raw costs will go higher, profits will get squeezed and we can be all turning japanese……………………………in essence we will not grow because who will invest in what when prices are so erratic, you cannot budget for sales and costs and thus it is a simple vicious circle

    no one generally disagree’s with saving the banks, it was allowing the banks to continue bullshit, they changed laws too allow bullshit accounting, someone owns the crap, ie, the fed……….foreclosures will continue to go up because you got option arms resetting, plus, commercial re

    today, the great morgan stanley handed over 5 office buildings in san fransciso to the creditors, they kept up payments, yet, they were down 50%, why did the smartest guys on the street give up on the upside, what do they need the monthly cash payments for????

  57. call me ahab says:


    so . . . are you fully invested in China? Also- China does manufacure many of the things we use- but many of those items are at the behest of American companies who would if the dynamics were favorable manufacture here- for intsance-

    China cannot build a factory in Ohio to make ipods- because ipods are a product of Apple- and Apple is the one who would build the factory-

    ditto- HP, Motorola, Msft, Intel, AMD, Nvidia, GM, Patagonia, Burton, – etc, etc, etc

  58. franklin411 says:

    Agreed…There was nobody but Obama. I think that the long term changes this administration has enacted will lead to real prosperity if they aren’t repealed by a Teabagger Congress someday–the heavy investment in technology, small business innovation, green energy, and college education. There is simply no other way to turn around the long term trend of us buying everything we use from China with money China lends us. We have no choice but to become a manufacturing nation once again.

    Obama is great on long term vision, but he needs to give Joe Biden a larger voice–someone who understands that long term vision is important, but it doesn’t put dinner on the table tonight.

  59. EAR says:


    Settle down. You’re the first person to write “racist” on this thread. Not where I’m goin’.

    Of course the race of his father factored into his winning. But the more relevant “change” was from a freakin’ goofball aw shucksin’ it up while people suffered, from the smart is dumb, real America impersonator to someone intelligent, or if you deny his intelligence, someone who has an air of intelligence about them.

    We’re in a big mess but, what can I say, I think the guy’s smart and capable. I like him as the guy in the big chair among the perpetual cast of corrupt fuck-ups unless he’s or until he becomes one of them. As Marcus Aurelius alluded to, what’s the alternative?

  60. ufsucks says:

    i like how so many people continue to blame most of the mistakes on “the people surrounding obama”. i’m absolutely not defending bush, but he was held accountable for all of his mistakes and not given a pass because of his inept staff. obama is absolutely a smart man, but the buck stops at the top. he has the final say. he decided to go with health care and he has decided to leave volker out of many of the major financial decisions. his poll numbers are justifiable.

  61. dss says:


    Illinois is a very liberal state. And Obama is very much more conservative than the state is. Even DuPage County, one of the reddest counties in the nation went for a Democrat (Obama) for president, the first time in it’s entire history.

    Obama is being perceived as weak because the health care reform has dragged on for months and months, he has dithered and is seen as being on the side of the health insurance companies. He did a behind closed door deal with Big Pharma that will cost about $100b more in drug costs over the years. Senator after senator are trotting out with their plans to oppose the bill. This is a coordinated effort by the senate to ensure that HealthCare Inc. will get everything they want and the public be damned.

    Obama wants it both ways, one to take credit for any health care reform bill that passes and to totally disassociate himself from the process so he gets none of the blame when the POS bill passes that is a gift to the insurance companies. (look at their stock prices if you don’t think this is being received by the market as anything but a huge profit making gift) He will give a nice uplifting speech on how we must compromise as this bill is better than no bill, people will get all teary eyed and he will smile.

    This way he neutralizes himself against the Democrats and gets to claim victory even though he had nothing to do with the bill.

    He did the same thing with the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. He neutralized the right by his support of the escalation, but made sure it appears to be a contained effort with an end, unlike Bush, so he can appease the left. Doncha know, he is a resolute and strong leader, willing to fight the terrorists, all one hundred of them holed up in Pakistan.

    His unpopularity has nothing what ever to do with financial reform. People who are in the business think that everyone is in tune with what is happening in the business world. Nothing can be further from the truth. Most folks don’t know and certainly don’t care about financial reform, all they know is that the country is in the shitter right now and they can’t find a job and might lose their home.

    Health care reform hits everyone as everyone is either at the mercy of insurance companies and suffering huge increases in their premiums, coupled with being denied care, or they are uninsured and scared to death they or their family will lose their homes, or even die due to lack of insurance. That is front and center on people’s radar, not financial reform.

    Hell, I’m scared to death that one of us will get really sick and we will find out how the insurance company plans on screwing us, and if they won’t pay will we be bankrupted and lose everything. I might have forgotten to mention I had a pimple in 1983 and they will drop my coverage because I “lied”. Or that the treatment that will save my life is “experimental” even though it has been used for 10 years.

    People are furious and they are scared, this downturn has created extreme social anxiety and that is why his approval numbers are going down. And they will continue to go down as he has lost much of his base and those who are independents.

    There is no change here, just more of the same.

  62. call me ahab says:

    “I think that the long term changes this administration has enacted”

    ok- I give up

    “Obama is great on long term vision”

    hmmm . . .is the vision continuing 2 wars and protecting TBTF banks- oh I forgot- he wants helath care reform- even it means forced mandatory coverage punishable by fines and imprisonment, zero single payer and empowerment of the very middle men who drive up costs and deny coverage- the insurance companies-

    it would be helpful if he actually rolled up his sleeves and got his hands dirty instead of waiting for the legislation to reach him for approval- you know- present his own legislation proposal to Congress first- but then you would have had to of actually cared about your own campaign rhetoric

  63. Transor Z says:

    Barry, I think we’re.going to have to look to the better-run regional banks for reform leadership. These are the only people left who know what old line banking even looks like.

    This is based on the cock-eyed optimistic view that the TBTFs will be downsized to regional bank scale in the next few years.

  64. flipspiceland says:

    Why presume that the Presidency of a debauched nation that is beyond redemption, way past bankrupt, morally, ethically corrupt to the max, is worth saving?

    The way things look he is there for only one reason: to grab as much wealth as he can for the Tribe that elected him. His speed dial has Jamie Dimon at # 1. If that doesn’t tell you where his priorities lie, nothing does.

    He is a third rate politician with no power to lead this country where Goldman Sucks and JPMorgan do not want him to go.

    M.O. : Throw a soporific like “Free” health care at his base, and let Goldman grab all the loot. It’s the old
    set the trash can on fire a couple blocks from the bank.

    TheBamster is nobody. And no, there are no men alive who can lead this country where it needs to go.

    No one can put the furies back in Cassandra’s box. No one.

  65. DL says:

    I disagree with almost everything that Obama has done so far.

    But I don’t think that the midterm election will turn on the issue of bank regulation.

  66. Moss says:

    First and foremost reform of anything in this country is an oxymoron given the entrenched interests.
    Secondly no one has any patience whatsoever, third, timing is everything.

    I have seen/heard so many polls that contradict each other I put little faith in them. Each political party uses polls to manipulate opinion and poll results are easily manipulated and vacillate with each passing day.

    I still have confidence that the correct reforms will materialize, Paul Volcker is Obama’s ‘ace’ in the hole, the card game has just begun.

    There really is no alternative and Kudlow is a complete and utter partisan fool, the Bush boom indeed.

  67. Pat G. says:

    I’ll try to say it differently. We all know companies like to UPOD in the Obama Administration’s case however; it’s UPUD. “Change that’s transparent”.

  68. Brendan says:

    @call me ahab,

    My money, what’s not still on the sidelines, is mostly is in renewables. While it’s probably a good investment, China’s still relatively risky for the potential reward. I think it would be a good investment, but I don’t have enough disposable cash to feel comfortable taking the risk. If I were a millionaire, oh yeah I’d be invested in China.

    You really think Apple makes the iPod? Apple sells the rights to make an iPod. Apple doesn’t get their hands dirty making iPods or building factories for them. Apple isn’t Intel. Sure, the primary chip in there may be built by an American company like Motorola or Intel or Texas Instruments, but the case, the circuit board along with the transistors, capacitors, resistors, etc. and the battery, the bottons ande connectors, the box, the packaging material and the instruction book are probably all being built by some company you’ve never heard of, many of which are probably based in China. HP, for example had a contract to build iPods, but again, they were only building certain parts. I’m sure they have many Chinese suppliers. An iPod has hundreds, if not thousands, of parts; each one comes from a factory somewhere. Very few parts sport an Apple or HP logo. Same goes for whole computers, video cards, the computer components in your GM (or the random plastic clips that hold the door panels on, etc.), or the $99 no-name snowboard at the Sports Authority (don’t think I didn’t catch that – and yes, a nice $300 one may be built in Colorado by a company based there, but the $100 one wasn’t). Patented or quickly evolving items like computer chips may be wholly owed by American companies, but the other standardized parts are many times built by Chinese start-ups that simply copied existing designs (for resistors and snowboards).

    I wouldn’t expect this to be the big industry anyway. I’d expect larger scale items to be the big push at first. Battery manufacturing, bolt-on parts for larger ticket items (like appliance components, mechanical and electrical equipment, etc.). There is already a solar company planning to set up shop in Arizona and wind turbine manufacturing in Texas. More automated white collar intensive manufacturing will be based here, not so much the manual labor blue collar stuff.

  69. willid3 says:

    some how its not real hard to figure this out. its the jobs problem (the lack there of). not that it would matter who was in the white house. when the economy was acting like a plane in a nose dive (like last year) there wasn’t much of chance to do much that would fix it

  70. ToNYC says:

    Volcker is in there as Rahm’s hole card. When they come after Mr. Emmanuel with torches because they read the e-mails about how he is letting the banks get paid thruogh dumb and dumber (Berstanky and Geithnerd, he’ll let Paul go and then do his best to try to mess him up. Rahm is from the Chicago (get it?) School of Milton Friedman: let no crisis go to waste. Volcker might then have a chance if he cans the two stooges Ben & Timmys and smarty-pants Rahm, then works to claw-back Henry Paulson and Stephen Friedman till their holes bleed.

  71. Uchicagoman says:

    I still think Health Care Reform is more fundamental and important than Wall Street Reform.

    And politically, people will identify more with it than anything to do with finance.

    There will always be greedy and dishonest people capable of breaking the law.
    And people smart enough to jump through all the loops.

    This country is too rich.
    Money moves fast and loose.

    And speculation with other peoples money…….. well, frankly the name of the game is :

    It goes BOOM, and it goes BUST.
    Things adjust, time goes on…
    Blame who you want.
    Volcker isn’t God, wouldn’t make too much of darn difference IMO.

    IMHO, Health Care, really says more about what we as people collectively value. It gives (in theory) more immediate empowerment of the people as a whole.

    The same goes for good public education (K-12)systems for everyone, protecting natural resources and the environment, and civil liberties………I think these are the things we should demand first as a society, IHMO.

    The economy will work itself out.

  72. ToNYC says:

    Uchicagoman prove my point. Ignore the question, change the subject, busitheftiness as usual. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

  73. torrie-amos says:


    you”ve obviously never paid lotsa money to health care company and then needed it

    good luck you never do

  74. Theodore D. says:

    @Lugnut – As I said in my post I understand their is a delay when change happens our deflation = lower wages. But first year associates at Big Law firms are still getting the same $ even though hiring is at a trickle. Theoretically this should soon turn into more hires at lower wages. This is the delay of change. Same applies to inflation and rising wages.

    @MikeG – Just because a Conservative Pres acts one way, doesn’t mean an act was conservative. Is Obummer’s war against the afghan’s liberal? Plus free markets work when biz do something stupid, then fail and someone comes to pick up the pieces and start again. Problem with the banks is that they were given gov. help to get that big, then when they were given free reign they failed at least until we bailed them out.

    @Brendan – great analysis thanks! That’s what i was kinda thinking, but I’m tempered by the thought that China isn’t really what they say they are. I think they are in more trouble then people suspect. They all this US debt so that debt should turn into US investment based on the US-China relationship. Plus what they do with the debt is kinda far down the road so it’s to difficult to predict accurately in terms of US jobs. I do disagree with Carbon Credit thing. IMHO any predictions about Carbon credits assumes too much politically. I’m still hoping people start seeing Carbon Credits as something a little more dangerous then how they are being advertised. Personally I see them as another layer of control which will increase gov, decrease productivity, and absolutely demolish underdeveloped countries, promulgated as a quasi religious movement ie buying an SUV is a sin. How is the church of Gore defining Sin?

    @torrie-amos – not much analysis there – nothing happens magically but Cause and effect still applies. If we have a increased inflation it is easier to pay off debt. That’s not magic. As far as the emerging 3rd world is… Who are they going to sell to? I’m not sure if you can count on emerging markets to continue their recent growth rate.

    Why does a change from a USD as world reserve currency change things so much? Personally I’m petrified of SDR, but more because I don’t like the idea of a multi national organization having so much power over us.

  75. carlosjii says:

    Anyone who hangs around with a#$%oles IS an a#$%ole.
    The REAL problem here is that self-serving, conniving, non-vetted Rahm who is so busy lining up $$$ support for the next election, payoff, power play he has totally taken his eye off the ball. Somehow he has aced out Axelrod for 0Bama’s ear.

  76. Uchicagoman says:

    @ToNYC: What question am I ignoring exactly? .Ummm…I think your posts prove your own point…whatever that is..

    Finance Reform isn’t a time machine, it doesn’t damn well matter what we do now, it isn’t going to reverse all of AIGs, MS, BAC, CITI, etc… bad paper….. the damage was already done. And we will feel it for a good while.

  77. Uchicagoman says:

    opps, I meant to add also………..

    Cynicism really helps a lot of problems get solved, too.

  78. Transor Z says:

    Way OTT, but check this out from the BBC:

    Iraq insurgents ‘hack into video feeds from US drones’

  79. ToNYC says:

    Respectfully, BR asked for comments and proposed Volcker…you said to stay hurt and let it go and play unknown health care scams stil to be pretzeled us so we hate the one we just loved (thank you Hill & Knowlton, Burton-Marstellar,DLR Piper, Dewey Ballantine, etc.) Damage done is not forgiven or now acceptable because the perps got away so far with their smoke and mirrors in full effect.
    Additionaly, as you choose to add, I am as cynical as Kojak or House. I am looking for more light and the sheriff, not a blankie and nightie-night. Sarcasm is for passive aggressive types who need a licking by a warm puppy. Thanks for conversating, but why don’t you ask how I really feel?

  80. Uchicagoman says:


    Hell, doesn’t Barry always say he posts whatever pleases and he doesn’t give an F what anyone thinks,
    …well.. I think the same applies to us conversating types… It’s the internet after all!

    How do you really feel? ;-*

    Cheers and Good luck out there.

  81. LeeX says:

    Obama’s poll numbers are not going to improve until we find a way out of this uncertainty about the economy. Right now, many of us can see nothing on the horizon. No hope, no ideas, just a very bad recession and the same banksters doing the same things they did in the roaring 00′s. The biggest issue is that our political system is broken, capitalism is broken, and any improvement in the economy is tenuous with this broken system.

  82. Paul Jones says:

    Obama chose Wall Street over Main Street.


  83. Jack Gavin says:

    Who says Obama wants a second presidency? Think about it.

    Fixing what is wrong with the system requires knowing what is wrong with the system. It’s not clear to me that this blog has made any headway in identifying the solution.

    How old is Volcker?

  84. steffi says:

    Healthcare reform has been a distraction from day one to stop people worry about Wall Street.

    Obama doesn’t want a second presidency and his job will be to get a Republican elected the next president.

  85. Onlooker from Troy says:

    Theodore D.

    F you and your debt. Not my problem you decided to yoke yourself to that giant stone. Others who have saved and been prudent shouldn’t have to pay for you reckless errors.

  86. Onlooker from Troy says:

    “if whatever actions the Dems ended up taking actually increased jobs.”

    Fat chance of that. Though as politicians they’ll no doubt find a way to spin any improvements as their doing. But improvements aren’t in the cards. Sorry. The debt is choking us, no matter how we may want to deny it and hope it away.

  87. d4winds says:

    Financial Reform died with the bail-out of AIG in September, 2008. That one act made official the Federal support for the naked CDS casino. TARP passage in October of 2008 was sold on the same premise: the turning south of WS asset darlings, which thereby become “toxic” merely because they have lost money, is to be immunized by the taxpayer rather than by the private parties which had previously profited. Both political parties were on board with this lemon-socialism arrangement in the name of banking/economic stability, McCain and W. even more ostentatiously so than Obama. The clock can not be turned back. We as a nation have made our bed and must now lie in it.

  88. [...] Why Obama’s poll numbers are plummeting [...]

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