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Is Barack Becoming a Lameduck?

Posted by Larry Doyle on September 10, 2010 8:40 AM |

To know my Dad is to love him.

He wears his heart on his sleeve and is not hesitant to let you know exactly where he stands on the issues of the day. That said, what are his passions? His family above all else. His faith. He has no problem critiquing our Roman Catholic hierarchy while practicing his faith and allegiance to the principles of Christ. Irish history. To hear him talk about the brutal treatment of the Irish at the hands of the English is a lesson worth learning. Red Sox baseball. I will admit my Dad is a fatalist when it comes to our Olde Towne Team but I got my wish that the Sox win a World Series before my Dad passed. The fact that they won twice, 2004 and 2007, is pure gravy. His golf game. Listening to him critique his short game is priceless. Another great passion is politics.

My Dad and his family grew up out of the Depression and political power was everything to the Boston Irish. Gaining control of City Hall provided access to jobs and a path to a better life. While I have my own passions, I do not share my Dad’s passion for politics. Why? As with almost everything in life, politics is about the people. While clearly our political process and political systems are critically important to our current and future well-being, I have little regard for the political crowds in general. Why do I raise this topic? We need look no farther than the state of our nation as we enter the fall 2010 election cycle. Are our national interests truly being served? Let’s navigate further. 

I reflected upon my feelings in reviewing an article in this morning’s Financial TimesObama Mired in Surreal US Politics,

With friends like Michael Bennet, the embattled Democratic senator for Colorado, President Barack Obama has no need for enemies. Having this week submitted a set of proposals designed to wrong-foot the Republicans ahead of what is widely forecast to be a Democratic defeat in November, Mr Obama was himself instantly wrong-footed by somebody who is supposedly on his own team.

Mr Bennet, who relied on robust White House support throughout the summer to win the Democratic nomination in a tightly fought primary race, derided Mr Obama’s initiatives. To rub salt into the wound, Mr Bennet described Mr Obama’s proposals, which include $50bn in infrastructure investment and tax breaks to encourage higher investment by ­businesses, as a “second stimulus”.

Barack Obama

So toxic has any hint of new public spending become that the White House, which was careful to ensure that Mr Obama’s proposals were self-funding, has essentially banned any use of the word “stimulus”. Mr Bennet apparently did not receive the memo. “We must make a hard choice to significantly reduce the deficit,” said Mr Bennet in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“I will not support any additional spending in a second stimulus package.”

The latest setback to what friends of Mr Obama privately fear is turning into a prematurely lame- duck administration, illustrates the increasingly Alice-in-Wonderland quality to American politics ahead of the midterm elections. Mr Obama’s proposals were taken directly out of the handbook of the main pro-business lobbies in Washington and were designed to appeal to mainstream Republicans.

Alice-in-Wonderland? Really. How pathetic. How about a heavy dose of truth, transparency, and integrity instead. Give me some of that and perhaps my political interests will be stoked.

I personally feel that our politicians on both sides of the aisle have done our nation a disservice. How so? While they pursue their agendas, they provide very little real transparency to the real facts and details that impact everyday Americans. The Republicans are no better than the Democrats. In fact, in regard to the Financial Regulatory Reform package, I would say the Republicans were far worse than the Democrats in impeding the pursuit of real transparency.

Are our public servants truly serving or have they become so mired in personal agendas and personal career advancement that they are blinded if not actually compromised along the way? I believe they are blinded and compromised. President Obama included.

What’s the result? Two things

1. Political gridlock with an increasing likelihood of lameduck status for Obama.

2. My political conversations with my Dad are exceptionally brief.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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