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« Obama Prepares the Electorate for 2010 | Main | Egypt - Hamas, Syria and Iran Are "The New Axis of Evil" »

January 09, 2009

Few In The Media Admit That Obama Is Using Scare Tactics

Every morning I receive the e-mail notification of that day's ABC New's "The Note" political newsletter. This morning's edition came as I was reading the transcript of yesterday's speech on the economy by President-elect Barack Obama, which can be found here.

Contrary to the drive-by media's review, the speech - billed as Obama's first major one since the election - is merely another one from his endless campaign, and a poor one at that. Long on the rhetoric of fear and short on specifics, many points and phrases seem to be culled from a Washington Post commentary by Lawrence Summers, dated 12/28/08, Obama's Down Payment - A Stimulus Must Aim for Long-Term Results.

I was struck not only by the absence on any intellectual heft in Obama's speech, but also by its fear-mongering. Disturbingly similar to the tone that we saw from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in September on the financial services bailout, the President-elect warns us that the end is nigh, and unless we act quickly to approve upwards of a trillion dollars in government spending without adequate review by those taxpayers who are responsible for paying for it, the world will end. Scare tactics, pure and simple.

Obama's speech was so negative that I wondered if any of his friends in the media would criticize him for it, as they criticized other Presidents like Presidents Bush and Reagan in the past when they alerted the nation to economic trouble. Instead, for the most part, I found apologies thinly veiled as 'news articles' (Obama Cites Grim Economy At Start, as Past Presidents Have).

But the e-mail that I received from "The Note" this morning surprised me by calling out Obama on what he really was doing:

Barack Obama is using scare tactics as a sales pitch for fast action, but he's meeting immediate resistance from leaders in his own party, as he pushes a massive stimulus bill that's rich with tax cuts, ABC News senior political reporter Rick Klein writes in Friday's Note

And when you go to the actual column itself, The Note, 1/9/09: Obama Pressed From Left on Stimulus, you find not only an accurate summary of what Obama was trying to do, but also an acknowledgment that Obama hasn't even produced one scrap of paper showing what his plan looks like:

It turns out you don’t have to look very hard to find the fault lines in President-elect Barack Obama’s bid for a massive stimulus bill. He tried to scare Congress into acting quickly on Thursday -- and more pressure is coming Friday and beyond -- but there’s still no measure to act on, or even the outlines of one.

It can be argued that the recent bailouts have done nothing to 'save' the economy. They just served to save some favored financial businesses, and punish others. From the precious little we know about Obama's bailout, his plan is going to be a giant modern day TVA, this time designed to enlarge unions. Again, favoritism. This time designed for an electoral advantage.

President-elect Obama has rightly kept his mouth shut over foreign policy issues prior to assuming office. By the time his stimulus package is released, he will probably wish that he had kept his mouth shut about the economy as well.


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