While the rest of you were watching the New York Giants get pummled by the Philadelphia Eagles, the political reporters from the New York Times were gathered in the paper’s headquarters near the Port Authority in Manhattan to discuss what America’s economic collapse will probably mean for President Hope N. Change’s agenda.
The short answer: forget a lot of what you heard on the campaign trail. This is usually a good idea anyway. Although we endlessly debate the statements of politicians running for office, these are not usually a good guide to how the winner will govern. For Obama, however, this is particularly true. Just as George Bush’s agenda was dramatically reshaped by the attack on September 11, 2001, Obama’s agenda will be shaped by the economic crisis.
Politico.com sent it’s reporters to the NYT think fest. “A lot of the things he said on the campaign trail you can now dispense with,” said correspondent Peter Baker. “For the moment he has to focus on the economy.”
- No Carbon Cap. Since we’re years away from carbonless or low carbon energy, transportation or manufacturing, this is basically a tax on economic growth. There’s no way Obama is putting this is place while we’re deeply mired in a recession.
- No Universal Health Care. A controversial and pricey spending program that doesn’t produce much by way of new jobs. DOA.
- Santa Clause Government. From Politico: “And for all of his campaign trail talk about collective sacrifice, Baker observed, Obama has seemed reluctant to call for austerity in a challenging economic moment. ‘He hasn’t asked anybody for sacrifice,’ Baker said. ‘His whole economic package is about giving things to people.’
- Avoiding The Press. After he was elected, Bush sat down before a battery of Times reporters to pay homage to the grand poohbahs who declare what news is fit to print. Not Obama. Like Sarah Palin, he doesn’t feel the need to filter his thoughts through the old channels.