|Keller, NYT: Blinkered Obama Love|
By Quin Hillyer
Tuesday, September 20 2011
Bill Keller should get real. The New York Times executive editor-turned-blathering columnist is singing the praises of Barack Obama’s “accomplishments” and “successes,” which is a lot like praising General Custer for his military prowess. Maybe it takes a failure to praise a failure, as the Keller defense of Obama comes from a man who oversaw rapidly declining financial fortunes of what once was a newspaper but now is (in George Will’s words) “liberalism’s bulletin board.”
Keller first blames George W. Bush for much of the “decline in Obama’s political fortunes.” How brave. And what was the “intractable legacy bequeathed by George W. Bush” which Keller laments? First, of course, it was those “supply-side deficits.” Really? Federal receipts rose from $1.991 trillion in Bush’s first year, 2001, to $2.568 trillion in 2007 -- $237 billion higher than can be accounted for by inflation alone. Yes, there were deficits, but the problem, at least until the financial crisis, was due to anything but a lack of revenues.
Then there were the “twin housing and banking crises enabled by an orgy of regulatory permissiveness.” Funny, isn’t it, how the left never actually identifies where the regulations were permissive? Permissiveness in housing regulations grew from policies pushed by Democrats, implemented by the Democratic insiders who ran Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (while running off with tens of millions of dollars in personal loot). The Bush administration repeatedly pushed for tighter regulations on Fannie and Freddie, only to be blocked by leftists such as Rep. Barney Frank.
Permissiveness in banking regulations, meanwhile, can refer to only two things: a change in the Glass-Steagall law sequestering banking businesses from others such as insurance and investment banking, a bipartisan initiative signed by President Clinton; or a refusal to regulate credit default swaps, a decision made in concert by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, Clinton-appointed Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Clinton-appointed Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt. To this day, conservatives can argue about the wisdom of the two banking decisions, but clearly they weren’t legacies of Bush.
What other “regulatory permissiveness” existed? Like most leftists, Keller doesn’t identify it. Nor could he. Such permissiveness didn’t exist. Indeed, under Bush the regulatory state grew. As Nick Gillespie reported in 2009 in Reason:
"The number of pages in the Federal Registry is a rough proxy for the swollen expanse of the regulatory state. In 2001, some 64,438 pages of regulations were added to it. In 2007, more than 78,000 new pages were added. Worse still, argues the Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy, Bush is the unparalleled master of ‘economically significant regulations’ that cost the economy more than $100 million a year. Since 2001, he jacked that number by more than 70 percent. Since June 2008 alone, he introduced more than 100 economically significant regulations."
Keller also blames Obama’s problems on “Republican resistance amounting to sabotage.” Really? Exactly what Republican resistance kept Obama from implementing his crazy-left economic theories? As Keller himself acknowledges, in listing Obama’s supposed “successes,” this president got his way on every major economic initiative for two years, almost exactly in the form he wanted them: the “stimulus” package, the ObamaCare monstrosity, and the “stringent” Dodd-Frank financial regulations.
Keller also pushes the shibboleth that “Another toxic legacy of the Bush years is an angry conservative populism” – failing to note that the Tea Party rallies usually have featured good-humored people who actually picked up after themselves, while it is the political left, as Michelle Malkin frequently documents, whose rhetoric and actions have been violent and lawless.
Meanwhile, per Keller, we are supposed to believe that one thing for which liberals can blame Obama is “for not understanding — at least until his latest barnstorming on the jobs bill — that governing these days is a permanent campaign.” Huh? No administration in history has so closely, even feverishly, coordinated its governance with its campaign arm.
Best of all, Keller claims (in passing) that “Obama pulled the country back from the brink of depression.” He doesn’t say how Obama (supposedly) accomplished this. He doesn’t explain why this has been the weakest recovery from a recession in decades. He doesn’t explain why not a single one of the Obama administration’s economic assumptions has turned out correctly. He doesn’t explain why the national debt has skyrocketed faster under Obama than under any president since FDR.
Keller’s closing message to his fellow liberals is this: “So let’s get real. Yes, Obama could do better. But we could do a lot worse.” Perhaps by “worse” Keller means Jimmy Carter. If so, even that is debatable.
Related Articles :