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Politico pisses on the parade: Seven reasons for healthy skepticism

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devilgrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 12:34 PM
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Politico pisses on the parade: Seven reasons for healthy skepticism
Even in a city of cynics, the Inauguration of a new president and the infusion of new ideas, new personalities and new energy that comes with it summons feelings of reverence.

Barack Obama, especially, is the object of inaugural good feelings. He has assembled an impressive White House and Cabinet team. The country is clearly in his corner. With the economy gasping, and two wars dragging on sullenly, even many Republicans who ordinarily might enjoy seeing Obama fail now root for him to succeed. The stakes are simply too great.

Amid all these high hopes, it may seem needlessly sour to point out why expectations must be kept in check. But it is also realistic.

Here are seven reasons to be skeptical of Obamas chances and the Washington establishment he now leads:

1. The genius fallacy

There is no disputing Obama has built a Cabinet of sharp and experienced public officials. His staff, especially on national security and economic matters, is often praised as brilliant and thats by Republicans.

But recent history teaches us to be wary of the larger-than-life Washington figures supposedly striding across historys stage. Consider the economy. Everyone seems to agree Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner are smart, vastly qualified to manage and repair the economy.

Everyone was saying the exact same things about the two economic geniuses of the 1990s: Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan. Now Rubin has been reduced to making excuses for his involvement in high-risk investments and for helping oversee the demise of Citigroup, which lost $10 billion in the past three months alone. The onetime oracular Greenspan has admitted to Congress that his once-revered economic philosophy had a flaw, and many blame him for turning a blind eye to the housing bubble. <snip>

2. The herd instinct

The most bipartisan tradition in Washington is to laud bipartisanship, even while lamenting that there is not enough of it.

But the instinct for bipartisanship overlooks an inconvenient fact: Some of Washingtons biggest blunders occur when the government moves to do big things with big support. Bush won the much-regretted Iraq war resolution of October 2002 with strong Democratic backing. <snip>

3. We are broke.

blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa blaa he sucks he's a loser he can't do anything right blaaa blaa blaaa

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devilgrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 12:41 PM
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1. This will get your attention!!!! 7. The watchdogs are dozing.
The big media companies that once invested in serious accountability journalism are shells of their former selves. The Tribune Co. in other words, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune has slashed its Washington staff by more than half. Newspaper chains such as Cox are fleeing D.C. altogether.

The end result: There are few reporters in this country doing the kind of investigative reporting that hold government officials feet to the fire. Think back eight years to the pre-Iraq war reporting and consider the words of Scott McClellan in his otherwise humdrum book.

The collapse of the administrations rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise, McClellan wrote. In this case, the liberal media didnt live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.

Rigorous reporting is even more important when you have one-party rule in Washington. Democrats, like Republicans, are simply less likely to scrutinize a president of their own. The end result here: Dont expect the Democratic Congress to investigate the Obama administration or hold a bunch of tough oversight hearings. That means the only real check on Obama is the same one its always been the voters.
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