White House

Wall Streets gets giddy over rescue plan, but…

With the economic system of the United States and perhaps the world on the line, President Barack Obama and embattled Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had to sell a reluctant and skeptical Wall Street that their bank recovery plan had the right answers.

Based on Monday’s rally in the stock market, it appears they may have made the sale.

The jury is still out on whether or not the plan and accompanying rally are sustainable but the initial reaction gives the administration some hope after a prolonged public flogging on the AIG bonus debacle and other missteps by the young administration.

For Geithner, this became a "do or die" moment. Failure Monday would have meant his job. For Obama, it became a critical test on his administration’s ability to produce something with positive results.

Obama moves to dampen anger over AIG bonuses

President Barack Obama is trying to dampen a fire he once stoked, urging a more tempered response to public furor over bonuses paid to executives of the publicly rescued insurance giant American International Group.

Obama is virtually certain to use Tuesday’s prime-time news conference to continue an effort that began over the weekend: cooling the anti-AIG ferocity, now that it threatens to undermine his efforts to bail out the nation’s deeply troubled financial sector.

Are the wheels falling off Obama’s bandwagon?

The same mainstream media that fawned over President Barack Obama during his historic run for President and the early days of his young, yet struggling administration, are now stepping back and asking serious questions about his policy decisions and actions.

Newsweek notes that Obama is seriously underestimating the depth and probably length of the current financial crisis.

Harsh reality derails Obama’s optimistic rhetoric

Barack Obama’s optimistic campaign rhetoric has crashed headlong into the stark reality of governing.

In office two months, he has backpedaled on an array of issues, gingerly shifting positions as circumstances dictate while ducking for political cover to avoid undercutting his credibility and authority. That’s happened on the Iraq troop withdrawal timeline, on lobbyists in his administration and on money for lawmakers’ pet projects.

Times of woe for the Big O

With apologies to Garrison Keillor: It has been a difficult week in our hometown, Lake Woe Is Me.

The images of cheering throngs in Denver and in Grant Park seem to be fading rather quickly for President Obama as more and more Americans realize what they should have understood in the first place — pledges sold in a campaign frequently have a very short shelf life.

Time to end Obama’s honeymoon

Long-time Washington hands conclude the public honeymoon is over for President Obama, and I guess so — look at the "tea parties" as angry citizens protest his policies, carrying signs that says such things as, "Honk if I am paying your mortgage."

Poor, benighted souls. They still think self-responsibility matters, not just allusions to it in Obama speeches, but the real thing. That would entail squashing policies in which the government robs hard-working, frugal Peter to pay slothful, reckless Paul while excusing the crime as social justice.

Obama leaves himself a loophole

President Obama has undone another controversial initiative by his predecessor, George Bush, but, as in the case of other such repeals, not as fully or totally as his supporters had hoped.

This one concerns signing statements, which until the Bush administration was an obscure practice whereby a president appends instructions on how to carry out a bill’s provisions — or dissents from those he believes unconstitutional — when he signs the measure into law.

Biden: Things are looking bad in Afghanistan

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged NATO members to jointly confront al-Qaida and other extremist groups in Afghanistan where he said instability threatens all of the alliance’s members equally.

Appearing before NATO’s top decision making body, Biden solicited ideas to reverse a losing military strategy in Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama’s policy to bring more European allies on board to fight the Taliban-led insurgency.

He warned the situation in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan was worsening, adding, "The deteriorating situation in the region poses a security threat from our respect not just to the United States, but to every single nation around this table."

Time for some medical miracles

President Obama has signed an executive order overturning a signature initiative of the Bush administration — an 8-year-old ban on federal funding for research on embryonic-stem-cell lines created after Aug. 9, 2001.

Public expectations for stem-cell research are high, perhaps impossibly high, and Obama began his White House announcement on a cautionary note: "At this moment, the full promise of stem-cell research remains unknown, and it should not be overstated."

It’s just a jump to the left

In light of concerns about President Obama’s budget — in particular, that it will lead us down a slippery slope toward European-style, nanny-state socialism — I considered the ways in which American citizens of a certain age were systematically trained to hate Soviet-style communism, as well as socialism and most ideas that lie toward the left end of the political spectrum.