Squandered Political Capital
by Deacon Blues
One of the unnerving things about watching Barack Obama deal with the economic difficulties we face is his willingness to squander his large political capital and follow the lead of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers in dealing with Wall Street and the banks, instead of staking out a harder line that demands more of the people who got us into this mess. And he allows these guys to carry on some of the same policies that the previous administration would have followed, when in fact Obama has the political support to break up the banks and work with even conservatives to get the money into the hands of Main Street and regional financial institutions and consumers rather than bail out Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and other lenders who should eat their spinach like the rest of us.
Exactly how much support does he have right now to do these things? Quite a lot, according to the latest Gallup poll out this morning.
Over two-thirds of Americans -- 71% -- have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in President Obama to do or recommend the right thing for the economy, a much higher level of confidence than is given to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, or the Democratic or Republican leaders in Congress.
Congress? Not so much, but better for congressional Democrats.
Americans are not overwhelmingly positive about either the Democratic or the Republican leaders in Congress. Still, the Democrats fare better on a comparative basis. Fifty-one percent of Americans have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in the Democratic leaders, compared to 38% in the Republican leaders.
What's notable in this poll as we head into the next election cycle is that the poll's sample was largely made up of independent voters.
April 6-9, 2009
Sample Party ID
Obama has three-quarters of the public behind him, wherever he wants to go, and the best we can do right now is to let Geithner and Summers drive us back into the warm embraces of Wall Street and billions more in taxpayer bailouts without making the big money people feel the pain the rest of us do every day.