Monday, February 16, 2009

A Loss of Trust

From hope and change to doom and gloom.

From bipartisan talk to harsh and mocking partisan.

Mocking and dissing even a prominent member of his administration, to the point where a NY Times columnist admonishes him.

Publicly humiliating GOP Sen. Judd Gregg by a grossly political move to put control of the census in the White House. Apparently the President and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel think they're still in Chicago where you can get away with this--where you have patronage hacks beholden to you. They're not used to people of independence and integrity. Before he was a senator, Judd Gregg was a governor. It was a mark of the bipartisan goodwill the Obama administration started off with that a fiscal conservative like Gregg agreed to serve as Commerce Secretary--but all that is gone now, squandered by the president himself.

Person after person, prominent, experienced people coming away from a private meeting with the president thinking one thing and finding out later they totally misunderstood.

A CEO has to publicly contradict the president, who misquoted him.

A lack of leadership.The truth-o-meter is working overtime and it's early days yet.

Honesty in short supply.

Then there is the market reaction to solutions not yet forthcoming.

I usually don't read David Brooks these days--he was yet another elite supporter of The One, who now apparently has some buyer's remorse--this is not the Barack Obama Brooks thought he knew, I guess.

But he puts his finger on the unease more Americans are beginning to have with this president, and it makes for a scary future:
During 2010, the economic decline abated, but the recovery did not arrive. There were a few false dawns, and stagnation. The problem was this: The policy makers knew how to pull economic levers, but they did not know how to use those levers to affect social psychology.
The crisis was labeled an economic crisis, but it was really a psychological crisis. It was caused by a mood of fear and uncertainty, which led consumers to not spend, bankers to not lend and entrepreneurs to not risk. No amount of federal spending could change this psychology because uncertainty about the future remained acute.
We have a loss of trust.

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