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The Lemming School of Crisis Response

People are beginning to get restless, waiting for clear leadership from the Congress and the incoming political leadership in Washington. Frustration is rising as it becomes increasingly obvious that our political leaders have no interest in making any sort of bold decisions. This is a sad example of groupthink, but is worse than usual due to the way political power is doled out.

In normal business situations, there is always a problem with large groups, in that individual leadership is often opposed except by the nominal head of the group. There is only a small advantage in being the individual to step forward with a plan, and a large degree of risk if your suggestion or answer proves to be a wrong one. In political committees or appointments, it's even worse, because the benefit, being appointed to the post, has already occurred and so only negative effects appear possible in taking a risk. At best, you stay where you are, at worse you are a well-known failure and ruined for a long time. As a result, when a crisis occurs, a group of appointees or advisors is inclined to wait for instructions from their superior, or to let someone else take the lead. It's not that such people are unintelligent or even that they do not mean well, it's that they are conditioned and expected to wait for someone else. This is not a party-specific condition, either. The same condition exists in republican committees that could not agree to face up to the coming Social Security crisis, and democratic committees which have to decide how to protect the American financial infrastructure.

President-elect Obama promised to provide fresh, clear leadership on the issues Americans care about most. He's already running behind the curve on setting a course, because most people in Washington will not be willing to take the first step.


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Comments (34)

DJThe current econ... (Below threshold)
James:

DJ

The current economic crisis happened on Bush's watch. Obama is not yet in power and as far as I am aware Bush still retains executive office> Perhaps as a swansong, he could take a bold decision?

Actually James, most econom... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Actually James, most economic decisions are made by Congress. Perhaps, if you disagree, you could suggest a proposal President Bush could make that would be approved by the Democrats who have held control of Congress the past two years. He's made efforts, you know, some of which could have averted the mortgage crisis, but neither the democrats nor Congressional republicans showed any real interest in his warnings and advice.

Blaming Bush is the reflexive action by democrats. It does nothing to addrress the real cause of the problem, nor offer effective solutions. And at some point it will dawn on the American public that the democrats just be be accountable for the mess they make, regardless of how often their BDS tries to hide it.

President-elect Obama pr... (Below threshold)
jwehman:

President-elect Obama promised to provide fresh, clear leadership on the issues Americans care about most.

Seriously? From the Senator (State and US) that voted "present" more than anything else?

He may be a lot of things (but mostly in people's minds), but "leadership" is not a quality that springs to mind when I think of Mr. Obama.

It would have helped if Oba... (Below threshold)
bill-tb:

It would have helped if Obama hadn't scared the crap out of the market for the last two months with his push for Obamunsim.

Blaming Bush is not going to work. Where's my tax cut when I need it? 95% get one right? And my free gas, and my mortgage payment. What do you mean those were just lies to get elected.

When you listen to some of these Obama voters it dawns on you what can be done with idiot voters if you have enough ignorant people to begin with. Community organizing at it's best.

First up in January, a brand new carbon tax. Yeah, Pay more in taxes so government can pretend to control the weather. I bet that will help a lot.

A little late to figure out 'The naive One' is clueless is it not? I wonder when the signs start going up "hey don't look at me, I didn't vote for this idiot".

If past is prologue......ge... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

If past is prologue......get used to disappointment. Since when has The Chosen One EVER DEMONSTRATED LEADERSHIP? He readily admits to allowing people to see in him what they will and does nothing to dissuade them. Which explains some of their recent backpedaling on 'future expectations'.

Get used to the disappointment.

Please, logical po... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


Please, logical policy direction from The ONE is above his paygrade.

from Atrios:Friday... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

from Atrios:

Friday, November 21, 2008

"The Failed Obama Presidency

Why hasn't he fixed everything yet?"

As Obama says there is unfo... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

As Obama says there is unfortunately only one president, the naive one of course, is Bush who said last week, "the crisis was not a failure of the free market system. And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system." the fundamentals are always stong..and so on.

This was his warning about too much government intervention after of course begging and receiviving 700 billion dollars from the taxpayer to hand over with little oversight to the Wall Street tycoons, Bush's 'home constituency' as he likes to call them, his prefered special interests which have now given America a record deficit..and as we all know deficits are just taxation deferred.

Of course, wizbangers chastize Obama, not Bush, for his lack of foresight, policy and leadership. Makes about as much sense as their right wing perpective that 9/11 which happened 8 months into Bush's watch was the fault of the preceding Clinton adminstration and now the economic meltdown in September was the fault of the incoming Obama administration, five months before Bush was to leave office, when Obama and McCain were neck and neck in the polls. No wonder Bush is considered the permanent frat boy ;he never has to assume responsibility for any of his failures in his 8 years governing by his diehard supporters.

Gee Steve, nice duck and co... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Gee Steve, nice duck and cover - you did not touch a single relevant point in the article.

Now, you just have to keep hoping your BDS shields you from Reality for the next 4 years and fools all the voters who gave Obama a chance.

I think it's clear that the... (Below threshold)
coldwarkid:

I think it's clear that the GOP has withdrawn to regroup and re-establish a pecking order, while the Democrats are waiting to see what their Chief does - no pawn wants to preempt the king.

In general, what's being described smacks largely of career preservation: the unwillingness of individuals to step ahead and do what needs to be done, because of fear of the press, or punishment from the reigning liberal illuminati, or whomever.

They may be lemmings, but t... (Below threshold)

They may be lemmings, but the kgb media will still marvel at their ability to "evolve" into great swimmers as they lead US off the cliff.

Oh, and we will all be amazed at just how long lasting an effect W is going to have on The Ones' ability to save us. That is why the dnc and their allies, the aforementioned marxist media, have been screaming about the "worst economy since the great depression" virtually from innauguration day, 2001 to the present.

They have laid the foundation (of lies) upon which The One will build his empty house of cards.

Obama has a lot of campaign... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Obama has a lot of campaign promises to keep and the wackos on the fringe are not about to let him forget it. So far he has tapped Clintonistas for the key positions. It will be fun to watch except that they will be as inept as the last time. And with no money in the kitty he will not be able to fund every program in the world.

Obama is the king of the le... (Below threshold)

Obama is the king of the lemmings and is the worst possible kind of leader at a time like this. We don't need a motivational speaker, we need a leader.
http://rightklik.blogspot.com/2008/11/obama-and-his-lemmings.html

You and your ilk are the "s... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

You and your ilk are the "sad example of groupthink" Drummond. If you can't understand how things work, hewe it is widdle boy: Barack Obama is the president-elect. George W. Bush is the president until January 20. The United States has one president at a time. You can start criticize President Obama on 1/20/09.

Blaming Bush is the refl... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Blaming Bush is the reflexive action by democrats.

Says the party that coined the phrase "Clinton recession".

Actually James, most economic decisions are made by Congress. Perhaps, if you disagree, you could suggest a proposal President Bush could make that would be approved by the Democrats who have held control of Congress the past two years.

So let's hear about the Republican Congress, then. They held control for the prior 12 years, for 75% of both Clinton's and Bush's terms. Could you suggest a proposal President Bush could have made that would have been approved by the Republicans who had held control of Congress for his first 6 years?

Oh, I know, I know. They tried, but those darn minority Democrats thwarted them, right?

Brian is having issues conn... (Below threshold)

Brian is having issues connecting the dots.

1) The economic slump occurred shortly AFTER the Republicans lost control of Congress.

2) One Republican-led and Bush-backed plan that might have helped things was the tightening regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which was stopped because while the Republicans held a majority, it was not a filibuster-proof majority, and the Democrats stood in lockstep in opposing it -- led by Chris Dodd, favorite senator of Fannie, Freddie, and Countrywide.

J.

Part of that frustration is... (Below threshold)

Part of that frustration is in finding who Obama is considering and choosing for key positions. Rahm Emmanuel is not change. Tom Daschle is not change. Eric Holder is not change. Hillary Clinton is not change. The only change we're seeing is a job shuffle.

"The United States has one president at a time. You can start criticize President Obama on 1/20/09."

But wait, Ryan ... I thought a Democrat president and a majority Democrat House and Senate were going to shut us up. First, this was supposed to happen on Nov 4th and now you're talking about Jan 20th. Who the hell do you think you are telling us when we can criticize?

Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac a... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are almost always trotted out as the scapegoats by conservatives, but they had only a small part to play, in the reckless rush to deregulate Wall Street and allow the leeming investment banks in their headless rush to go over the cliff, because they showed no caution or restraint. 'Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis"


Fannie and Freddie, however, didn't pressure lenders to sell them more loans; they struggled to keep pace with their private sector competitors. In fact, their regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, imposed new restrictions in 2006 that led to Fannie and Freddie losing even more market share in the booming subprime market.

What's more, only commercial banks and thrifts must follow CRA rules. The investment banks don't, nor did the now-bankrupt non-bank lenders such as New Century Financial Corp. and Ameriquest that underwrote most of the subprime loans.

For a worms eye view of what happpened and why and the lack of any rationality, detachment, insight or common sense in the investment banks actions, I highly recommend reading The End of Wall Street. It is a good antidote to the 'greed is good' posts and the `stock market is doing so well, under this benevolent administration` that we have been accustomed to reading in some quarters, these past years.

I thought Obama created a n... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I thought Obama created a new office? Office of the President Elect. ww

Don't you folks from the r... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Don't you folks from the right think it's a little silly to start criticizing something that hasn't even happened yet?
So here's some actual leadership from Obama from his radio address. Criticize away DJ - oh and I'd especially like to hear from the righties about the part about where he is reconsidering his proposal to repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy. That wouldn't be actual leadership would it? You know being willing to make, ummmm what's the word? Oh yes, change in a position in order to respond to a crisis.

"In the Democrats' weekly radio address, Mr. Obama said he would direct his economic team to craft a two-year stimulus plan with the goal of saving or creating 2.5 million jobs. He said it would be 'a plan big enough to meet the challenges we face.'

Mr. Obama said he hoped to sign the stimulus package into law soon after taking office on Jan. 20. He is already coordinating efforts with Democratic leaders in Congress.........

Advisers to Mr. Obama say they want to use the economic crisis as an opportunity to act on many of the issues he emphasized in his campaign, including cutting taxes for lower- and middle-class workers, addressing neglected public infrastructure projects like roads and schools, and creating "green jobs" through business incentives for energy alternatives and environmentally friendly technologies.

In light of the downturn, Mr. Obama is also said to be reconsidering a key campaign pledge: his proposal to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. According to several people familiar with the discussions, he might instead let those tax cuts expire as scheduled in 2011, effectively delaying any tax increase while he gives his stimulus plan a chance to work."

According to several peo... (Below threshold)
sue:

According to several people familiar with the discussions, he might instead let those tax cuts expire as scheduled in 2011, effectively delaying any tax increase while he gives his stimulus plan a chance to work."

Only in liberal math does letting tax cuts expire not constitute a tax increase.

Words will not obscure a tax increase for 50% of Amerocan. Hiding a tax increase will not work, and will nullify his stimulus plan. Taking more money from me in taxes and then giving me some as a "stimulus plan" does nothing since I know I'll need that money to pay the extra taxes. It's simply a bait and switch tactic which is unfair. (And I only say "unfair" because libs are so focused on things being "fair"-unless they are the ones making the "rules".)

Putting more people on the ... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Putting more people on the public dole won't fix the economy. It hasn't worked anywhere. This is why Europe is in the trouble they are in. And, why they are wringing their hands over our economy going the same way. The world needs America to be strong and growing, a leader, and not using a failed model. We are close to having more non-productive people living off of the productive people in this country. Obama's model will be the tipping point.

The United States has on... (Below threshold)
John S:

The United States has one president at a time...

Then why in hell is the 42nd president being installed at Secr. of State? Sure Hillary is the nominee, but those two come as a pair. So basically foreign policy will be turned over to those who gave us 9/11.

Speaking of blithering idiots, I notice Lee has exactly zero comments following his manifestos on Blue. Has he banned every human on Earth?

Chuck Shumma' Democrat, New... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Chuck Shumma' Democrat, New York. Is saying this morning that the bail-out price tag needs to be doubled to 1.4 trillion. That's with a T! Obama will be working and hiding under his desk in the Oval office for the next four years.

Just wait until 2011. Why ... (Below threshold)
newton:

Just wait until 2011. Why that year?

If I'm correct, 2011 will be the year in which the first Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. In some quarters, that is the mandatory retirement age.

Social Security is a ticking time bomb. Bush tried to start the process of reforming it in 2005, but the Democrats shut him down with "Bush and the Republicans want to make Grandma eat dog food!" Every. Single. Time.

Just watch as the SS time bomb blows on the Democrats' faces. I'm stocking up on popcorn...

I agree SS needs to be addr... (Below threshold)
groucho:

I agree SS needs to be addressed, and quickly, but how would all those accounts look now had they been invested in Wall Street, as Bush had wanted.

I think it's Bush who's hiding under his desk, MPR. He only comes out to sign some last minute giveaway to his special interest insiders or to put in a feeble appearance on stage with the rest of the world's leaders. Don't worry, in a couple of months there will be an adult in charge.

The SS proposal was to let ... (Below threshold)
Hermie:

The SS proposal was to let people have the option to invest a part...not all of their money...and in investments like US Treasuries, Munis and other instruments considered by nearly all as safe, long-term investments.

The Dems kept saying their was no problem with SS. They said that when they fought the pilot program for the SS investment option, and they kept saying there was nothing wrong in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.

These were the same people who claimed that there was no problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and fought any additional oversight of those entities while prominent Dems like Emmanuel, Raines, Johnson, and Goerlick, were in charge.


Brian is having issues c... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Brian is having issues connecting the dots.

And Jay is drawing dots that aren't there.

1) The economic slump occurred shortly AFTER the Republicans lost control of Congress.

The Republicans lost control in 2000? Oh, not THAT slump... the OTHER slump. Let's hear all of the new bills the Dems passed between Jan. 2007 and Sept. 2008 to cause the current slump. Something other than the tired old Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac diversion.

which was stopped because while the Republicans held a majority, it was not a filibuster-proof majority, and the Democrats stood in lockstep in opposing it

So when Republicans have control, they can't get things done because the minority Democrats have the power to stop them. But when Democrats have control, Republicans can't get things done because they are the minority.

Hmm, if Republicans are so universally ineffectual, why would anyone ever vote for one again?

Democrats are also plotting... (Below threshold)

Democrats are also plotting to seize our 401k's. (:

Carolina Journal Exclusives
Dems Target Private Retirement Accounts
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House discuss confiscating 401(k)s, IRAs

By Karen McMahan

November 04, 2008

RALEIGH -- Democrats in the U.S. House have been conducting hearings on proposals to confiscate workers' personal retirement accounts -- including 401(k)s and IRAs -- and convert them to accounts managed by the Social Security Administration.

http://bloggingredneck.blogspot.com/

John S.,Lee banned m... (Below threshold)
Codekeyguy Author Profile Page:

John S.,
Lee banned me because I dared to make a comment criticizing Andrew Sullivan as a vile individual. I guess I wasn't "tolerant" enough of the LGBT community. I didn't realize I was in such voluminous company. The remaining readers are probably terrified of Lee's wrath!!!

Obama and his retro 90's ad... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Obama and his retro 90's administation is going to fail big time. I will be here. Watching and expecting. You lefties, who fell in love with an empty suit who knows how to say nice things will be great fodder for the jokes around here. Letting Clinton in a high profile position is like putting a gun to your head. ww

"...but how would all th... (Below threshold)

"...but how would all those accounts look now had they been invested in Wall Street, as Bush had wanted."

Gee, I wonder how would they look if Bush had been able to get a bill passed to bring Fannie/Freddie under regulatory control.

The hand up the otherwise e... (Below threshold)

The hand up the otherwise empty galabia that is Mr B Milhous has already "achieved: all it needs from him.

All that now remains to be done is to have ICE turn 35 million criminal aliens into "legal" (sorry about the [emphasis on the moron] oxymoron) "Democrats," (might as well, they voted anyway) back the trucks up to the once white house, to the United States Treasury, to the Mint and to the Federal Reserve -- and to load up!

Mr B Milhous was once called Chauncy Gardener and played by Peter Sellers.

Or was it Sargent Shaw -- and Lawrence Harvey?

Hard to tell Communists and Limeys one from another. They all look the same to me.

Brian Richard Allen
Los Angeles - CalifUBAMAcated 90028

As Obama says the... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
As Obama says there is unfortunately only one president, the naive one of course, is Bush who said last week, "the crisis was not a failure of the free market system. And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system." the fundamentals are always stong..and so on.

The free market was not the problem. It was government social engineering and interference with the traditional markets that resulted in the current crisis. The government wanted subprime loans and made sure that the banks complied. The government ignored profit, loss and risk assignment to get its programs implemented. The government also knew that business faced with costly and reputationally damming law suits would rather give loans than fight. Let be realistic hear . If the headlines run in national paper that Citigroup is not giving loans to black and Hispanics what will that do to their stock price. Even if the allegations are proved false the damage will be done. The Government knew that if the big evil banks had problem they could always duck and cover and blame greed on Wall Street.
Now we hear that XYZ is too big to fail. Let them fail, either they will use chapter 11 to restructure or go out of business and a more risk adverse institution will acquire them. However with more government infusion of money we deal the investable and do not allow the marker to correct. The fact is this goes for home owners also. Those living in homes they cannot afford need to move, renegotiate or lose the homes.
We need the government to lead and start making the hard decisions and living with the consequence, and that means state, local and federal. CRA , FM and FM were ignored because everyone got a cut. At the local level the housing boom meant higher property taxes, which allowed for more funding of programs and more votes. The whole thing was built on sand and eventually the weight was too much. When the Republicans were in control they spent too much time worrying about being liked than leading the charge. What did it get them? They still not liked and are falsely blamed for the finical crisis
We hear a lot about deregulation under Bush but what about all the regulations that business had to comply with old ones like 17A4 new ones such as SOX regulations that cost millions for companies to implement, the Nov 25 Mark to Market rule.
I say government here because if Republicans grew a pair this could have been stopped or reversed in the last 8 years. Instead too many of them acted like democrats and here is where se stand.




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