The Half way point or the Quarter Marker

Posted: January 21, 2011 in opinion/news
Tags: ,

Today begins either the second half of the Obama presidency or the end of the first quarter of the Obama presidency.

There are people on the right and the left who think both ways in terms of what is going to happen. Given my years of blogging and following politics I can definitely say this:

Who knows?

Two years ago this president was riding above the clouds, two months ago his party got pounded at the polls. Consider:

We have no idea what new crises will arise.

We don’t know how the republican congress is going to govern.

We don’t know who will win the battle between the tea party wing and the establishment wing of the party.

We don’t know how the democratic senate will act.

We don’t know if Iran will get the bomb…

…or how Israel will react

We don’t know what North Korea will do…

…or China….

…or Russia..

We don’t know if the president will govern in order to get re-elected…

…or to advance his beliefs

We don’t know the results of the Economic crisis in Greece…

Or Spain…

Or Ireland…

Or Portugal.

And we don’t know how the war will go and if the president will continue to try to win it.

None of these things are known and in fact there wasn’t a lot we knew two years ago. So what DO we know?

Only two things really, one that we already did two years ago and one we did not:

We’ve always known you can’t outlaw the business cycle, you can only mess it up a bit. That is and always was true.

What we DO know now that we didn’t before is how the president governs and how he acts in a crisis.

Two years ago a vast majority of the public (and the Nobel committee) projected their hopes on this president based only on what they felt having no idea how he would govern.

Now we have seen him in action. We know exactly how he has governed in a crisis. No person making a judgment in a democratic primary or in the general election in 2012 has any excuse for deceiving themselves.

Well Maybe Andrew Sullivan, don’t forget he thought the president deserved the Nobel Peace Prize when he was awarded it.

Past performance is not guarantee of future actions but it’s what we have, and we should judge accordingly.

Oh and one final thing we do know, the next two years won’t be boring.

Update: I hope you didn’t miss this at Nice Deb

Update 2: Stacy gives another example of how things can change in year.

Update 3: Instalanche via update! Thanks Glenn. Ironically this ‘Lanche brings to mind a post from December 2009 when Charles Johnson was 233 Instalanche’s up on me. It really illustrates Stacy’s point on how things change.

Comments
  1. Roxeanne de Luca says:

    Past performance is not guarantee of future actions but it’s what we have, and we should judge accordingly.

    Well, there’s a difference between performance and actions – as in, performance of a stock, the housing market, the economy, etc. Those things are cyclical, not linear. Human actions, though, tend to be a lot more consistent.

    My line in judging a politician is that it’s like judging a boyfriend: don’t fall for the pretty words, don’t think emotionally, and don’t expect things to get better just because they say they will. Judge on actions, not words.

  2. MarkJ says:

    “Past performance is not guarantee of [Obama’s] future actions but it’s what we have, and we should judge accordingly.”

    I’ll bet a lot of self-described progressives and nut-rooters are muttering this to themselves as they’re slamming their pointed little heads against their keyboards.

  3. M. Report says:

    Full disclosure: I _love_ speculating about TEOTWAWKI. :)

    Unfortunately, one does not have to add any of your examples to the recipe
    for disaster that the US has been following for decades; Our Goose is cooked.

  4. Dracovert says:

    “We’ve always known you can’t outlaw the business cycle, you can only mess it up a bit.”

    I question the whole concept of the “business cycle” as you use the term. Before WWII, we had poor understanding of economic systems and functions, and economic cycles appear to have been driven by psychology more than anything else: euphoria (Roaring Twenties, Dot.com Bubble, Housing Bubble), crash, rebasing, recovery, repeat. In that context, “business cycle” may have had some validity.

    But every major business cycle after WWII has been driven by politics, not by mass psychology. LBJ’s War on Poverty did not follow the euphoria-crash-rebasing-recovery cycle; the War on Poverty took $6.6 trillion out of the economy over a thirty-year period and caused the DOW and other markets to flat-line for seventeen years until President Reagan restored investment capital and reduced wasteful regulations.

    The Reagan recovery was interrupted when President Clinton raised taxes to pay for Hillary care, Hillarycare failed, the peace dividend started and the War on Poverty stopped, leaving a whole lot of cash floating around to finance the promising dot.com technology, which started a new euphoria cycle. The dot.com crash occurred almost exactly one year before Clinton left office and the NASDAQ fell $2.5 trillion before Clinton was gone. Markets, government revenues/tax receipts, and the “Clinton surplus” were falling like a coyote off a cliff as Clinton left office, and they continued to fall for almost three more years before President Bush was able to restore investment capital and reduce wasteful regulations, with 09/11 thrown in for bad measure. President Bush’s corrective actions resulted in strong growth, record employment, and new market highs until interrupted by the Democrats’ Unaffordable Housing Project.

    The Democrats’ Unaffordable Housing Project started a new euphoria cycle that resulted in a worldwide markets crash and we may or may not be out of the crash phase. There are several observations and conclusions to be drawn from the post WWII record of “business cycles”:

    * All post WWII cycles were the result of Democratic Party interference in markets.

    * The War on Poverty and the Unaffordable Housing Project were specifically intended to help the poor and both programs made the plight of the poor much worse, both socially and financially.

    * Republicans attempted to stop the War on Poverty (Reagan) and the Unaffordable Housing Project (Bush) but reforms were blocked by Democrats in congress, resulting in trillions of dollars of additional losses.

    * Democrats blame Reagan for the rise in the national debt during the Reagan years, but the huge expenditures on the War on Poverty during those years were the direct result of LBJ’s War on Poverty laws initiated by Democrats. Democrats blame Bush for the Clinton Recession, even though the Dot.com Bubble rose, broke, and started falling wholly within the Clinton Administration. Democrats blame Bush for the Housing Bubble Crash, but the only laws and regulations that contributed to the Housing Bubble were passed in the Carter and Clinton Administrations.

    * The War on Poverty ($6.0 trillion), the Dot.com Bubble ($3.0 trillion), and the Housing Bubble ($5 trillion) account for the entire national debt of $14 trillion.

    * Obamacare is another developing bubble that will add to our debts and to our troubles.

    Democrats are happy to blame their expensive follies on Republicans as long as they are able. It is the responsibility of Republicans to pin the tail on the Donkeys.

  5. foster says:

    I think you might be missing the importance of the two year mark.
    A lot might have happened in the world, but Michelle still has very toned arms.
    Priorities folks.

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