Obama's Message of Gloom
By Ben Pershing
For a man who got elected on a message of hope, Barack Obama sure can be gloomy sometimes. His prediction yesterday of a budget deficit approacting $1 trillion this year and similar red ink "for years to come" likely won't inspire any more millions to crowd onto the Mall on Inauguration Day, nor will his stirring call for budget reform motivate many shoppers to plunk down $130 for an official Obama basketball jersey.
But Obama's dire prognostication will serve a political purpose, by helping to take the ballooning deficit off the table as a subject of concern during the coming debate over the stimulus package. His message Tuesday was threefold: 1) There is going to be a huge deficit in the short term regardless of what we do; 2) It's not going to be Obama's fault; and 3) The only way to fix it is to pass his plan. Left unsaid was how such massive yearly deficits might hamper the new president's ability to get anything else done. Real entitlement reform seems almost like a mathematical impossibility in the near future. And what about Obama's potentially costly health care reform effort? Will Dr. Gupta be able to keep that patient alive?
Speaking of gloom, Dianne Feinstein now seems to make her fellow Democrats uncomfortable on a daily basis. On Monday, she almost single-handedly drove a negative storyline about the selection of Leon Panetta for CIA director. (A storyline that continues today, even after the requisite groveling by Obama and Joe Biden.) And yesterday, the Californian helped to back Harry Reid into a corner by suggesting the Senate should seat Roland Burris.
Posted at 8:20 AM ET on Jan 7, 2009
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