Opinion: John Pagani argues US President Obama is coming through the economic turmoil still politically viable

Opinion: John Pagani argues US President Obama is coming through the economic turmoil still politically viable

By John Pagani*

Have the wheels come off the Obama presidency since the messy debt negotiations, subsequent S&P downgrade and global market turmoil?

Not so much.

Drew Westen is one of the most important theorists about political behavior right now. 

In the Sunday NY Times he pulverized Obama, in a 3000 word column that has been everywhere on the political net ever since.

[W]hen faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public — a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far.

The truly decisive move that broke the arc of history was his handling of the stimulus. The public was desperate for a leader who would speak with confidence, and they were ready to follow wherever the president led. Yet instead of indicting the economic policies and principles that had just eliminated eight million jobs, in the most damaging of the tic-like gestures of compromise that have become the hallmark of his presidency — and against the advice of multiple Nobel-Prize-winning economists — he backed away from his advisers who proposed a big stimulus, and then diluted it with tax cuts that had already been shown to be inert. The result, as predicted in advance, was a half-stimulus that half-stimulated the economy. That, in turn, led the White House to feel rightly unappreciated for having saved the country from another Great Depression but in the unenviable position of having to argue a counterfactual — that something terrible might have happened had it not half-acted.

To the average American, who was still staring into the abyss, the half-stimulus did nothing but prove that Ronald Reagan was right, that government is the problem. In fact, the average American had no idea what Democrats were trying to accomplish by deficit spending because no one bothered to explain it to them with the repetition and evocative imagery that our brains require to make an idea, particularly a paradoxical one, “stick.” Nor did anyone explain what health care reform was supposed to accomplish (other than the unbelievable and even more uninspiring claim that it would “bend the cost curve”), or why “credit card reform” had led to an increase in the interest rates they were already struggling to pay. Nor did anyone explain why saving the banks was such a priority, when saving the homes the banks were foreclosing didn’t seem to be. All Americans knew, and all they know today, is that they’re still unemployed, they’re still worried about how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of the month and their kids still can’t get a job. And now the Republicans are chipping away at unemployment insurance, and the president is making his usual impotent verbal exhortations after bargaining it away.

It's a devastating critique, hampered really only by the detail of being completely wrong.

Andrew Sprung explains why:

How exactly would indicting his predecessors more forcefully have helped Obama get a larger stimulus through Congress -- particularly the Senate, where he needed a couple of Republican and a handful of nervous conservative Democratic votes?  

Question 2:  where's the evidence that tax cuts "had already been shown to be inert"?  The argument for them was that they went into effect more quickly than never-shovel-ready infrastructure projects -- though there was indeed a structuring/messaging problem in that most Americans seem never to have recognized that they got a tax cut.  Question 3: does Obama get a little credit "for having saved the country from another Great Depression"?  How about the measures that more or less worked -- saving the auto industry, recapitalizing the banks?

The criticism that 'if only Obama had made such and such a point he would be fine' is one the gets echoed here - if only Phil Goff said 'such and such' it will all turn around.

Not true, as the Sprung blog points out. Unlike Labour here, Obama is in a good polling position.

Polling post the debt deal shows Obama's approval rating is holding steady. Not great, but holding. The Republicans are dropping like bombs.

Obama: 48-47 Approve/disapprove.

Congress: 14-82.

Boehner: 30-57.

Do most members of Congress deserve re-election?

Yes: 14, No: 74.

And (via Phil Quin)Gallup's state-by-state poll back in June showed Obama at better than 50 per cent in enough states to deliver re-election.

Economic turmoil might cause voters to blame Obama. But it might also cause them to blame Republicans. That's who they blamed when Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole shut down Clinton's federal government in 1995.

Therefore Andrew Sullivan's response to Westen looks more in tune with voter moods.

What Westen seems to have wanted was the Democratic version of George W. Bush, contemptuous of his opponents, ruthless in his often unconstitutional determination to get his agenda through, divisive and polarizing. But Obama would not have won election on those grounds and did not have a mandate for that. He was elected as a moderate Democrat, prepared to engage any pragmatic solution to obvious problems, while not splitting an already polarized country even further.

That he has tried to do, against an opposition party that decided to double down on polarization, on politics as warfare, on politics as a game, and bereft of any ideas except taking us back to before the New Deal. What has to be defeated is not just their agenda, but their modus operandi. Only by patiently out-lasting and out-arguing them will Obama be able to do this. And it says a lot about the utopian left that they do not see the wisdom and responsibility of this strategy.


*John Pagani is an independent political consultant and writer who has worked as an adviser to Labour Leader Phil Goff. He writes his own blog at Posterous.

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If Obama gets re-elected in 2012 it will be as big a mistake as George W Bush being re-elected in 2004. However I think the majority of US voters are stupid enough to make this mistake.

chronologically, Obama was the last hope that we might put the brakes on before we hit the wall.

He had Steven Chu advising him, and mentioned 'Planet in Peril', in his acceptance speech.

Then dropped the ball.

We're too late now, he's too late now, the only world leader with an inkling of what is going on, is Angela Merkel, and she's hamstrung by events. Sooner or later, you get to the 'My Kingdom for a Horse' stage, otherwise known as 'too late'.

To be honest, we'd have been struggling to effect a smooth morph had we started with all hands to the pumps in 1990, but it's never not worth trying.

I think Robert Hirsch said 20 years in 2005......6 years later not a thing.  This time lag/delay after ppl not yet even accepting/understanding Peak oil is what is going to hurt us....and of course on top of that there really isnt any scalable, usuable technological replacement to actually impliment over 20 years even if we had 20 years.

On the bright side NZ doesnt have to put in a huge amount of renewables to get us to 100% for our grid.....most other countries are no where.

and then there is the food...


"chronologically, Obama was the last hope that we might put the brakes on before we hit the wall."

Yet he had the position / grace to push for real work to be done such as a US National grid...and legislate for highly efficient industry and transport....what a waste.


and the alternative is?


You have got to be kidding....

But bear in mind, no US President has been re-elected with un-employment above 8% (I think it was). In reality Clinton changed the criteria for being un-employed, so the real un-employemnt is 18% ish.....and in effect he's done nothing for ppl....if anything he's shafted them some more...

If you look at Obama's politics/actions he's clearly Governing as a moderate republican and not as a Democrat, so ppl choice will be moderate Republican or loony far out fundie right wing fruit cake.

Im not sure how that will go....


Obama will easily get another term

AIDS , drugs and Islamic infiltration remain USA and Europes real  threat , not the economy

We weren't talking about 'the economy'. Folk like you take so much for granted in their wee circle of operation, don't they?

Clue - there's something without which nothing else happens (and it's not money).


I'm with Westen on this one. Obama is a giant failure. Compared to FDR, he is a weak and bought President who will be judged as the President who handed over America to the bankers and betrayed most voters to protect his funders.

FDR challenged his Republican foes by confiscating gold and stacking the Supreme Court. He took real action to create jobs via the WPA and the TVA.

He was a real leader.

Obama reads an autocue well and employs the advisers that Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are happy with.



Bernard, your support of FDR says a lot about you.  He was one of the worst presidents in American history (behind only Lincoln), prolonging the Great Depression with massive government spending and taxation and ridiculous policies such as having food destroyed to keep the price high (great for all those unemployed people).

Before winning the Presidency, Roosevelt actually campaigned against the huge increase in government spending  by his predecessor, Herbert Hoover, who according to the socialist narrative plunged the US into depression with his 'austerity'. Give me a break! In fact, the only  thing Roosevelt did right was repeal alcohol prohibition!

Bernard, if the blatant theft of private property (stealing people's gold) is what you consider "real leadership" I hope we never see you anywhere near public office.

FDR was a clever guy , but an arse too ! ... A President who confiscates the citizens' gold holdings , by law , and after that re-values the price of that gold by nearly 100 % .. is not my idea of a hero .

The war effort created jobs , Bernard , not the government's programmes .

... governments are incapable of creating meaningful employment , of creating productive endeavours , of completing any project on time or on budget .

Socialsim still doesn't work , bg guy , no matter how much you try to sugar-coat the grand old days .

[ .. Obama has failed as a President , of that , you're 100 % correct .. ]

Well he signed the USA into bankruptcy , which followed on from Wilson selling out the USA to the FED creation. Great depression then lead into WW1, nah fantastic leaders both.
Was yours a serious comment BH or do you not know history ?

 I don't think Obama will be seen by history as 'weak' in anyway, and I think you are asking Obama to do things that politcially he could not have done.

First, his record:

He prevented a second depression. He saved the car industry and the banking sector, and passed an historic health care package - ranking with the New Deal and the Civil Rights Act as one of the greatest advances in US social policy. Obamacare never polled well; neither did the Civil Rights Act.

If there is a second recession, a "great recession', as Krugman et al are arguing, then that will be the result of the 2010 'tea party' election.

Critics miss two important features: First that Obama campaigned to be a centrist, and a compromiser. He is keeping his promise. Liberal anxiety about him is created by the hope he engendered on the ampaign trail because he sounded so different.

But he is trying to govern exactly as he promised.

I agree with Sullivan that what Westen - and you - really want is a liberal George W Bush: divisive and  confronting. Not what Obama said he would be, and not what Americans want.

Second, it has never been possible in the US to govern from one of government alone.

The extremism of attempts to use leverage in one house to destroy the presidency is new (not that new. Gingrich tried it but couldn't hold it in 1995). This time round, the tea party knocked off 'moderate' Republicans in the primaries, and so the Republican leadership allowed themselves to be bossed by the fringe. In the past they would have reached across the aisle, and many Republicans would have voted with Democrats to do a centrist deal. 

One would expect that the price for Republicans of their behaviour would be sharply lower approval ratings for Republicans in Congress, and steady ratings for the President.

And lo: CNN's poll finds [pdf] Republicans are being trashed. Generic Republican approval ratings have slumped to 33-59 (Democrats at 47-47). Disapproval of the tea party has soared to 31-51 against.

Meanwhile Gallup's state by state poll has Obama holding up. It's not great, but he is holding in the battleground states, with the front line around North Carolina and Virginia.

So here is how this would play out:

Any Republican candidate has to play to the tea party to get the nomination. If they repudiate the actions of the Congressional hostage takers, they will be buried in the Republican primaries. If they don't repudiate them, they will be buried by the public.

The Republican gamble is that because they wrecked the economy Obama will get the blame. Might happen.

But it didn't happen to FDR whose approval rating held when the economy was in a sustained depression.

And voters today are blaming Republicans, not Obama, for the mess.

Meanwhile an alternative candidate has an impossible trail to navigate in proposing an alternative policy.


Cheers. Didn't Obama campaign for change?

Has he achieved that?

You say he avoided a depression. Have a look at the real unemployment and under employment numbers (near 20%) and what has happened to household wealth. It is down more in proportionate terms than during the Depression.

All he did was extend and pretend and help shuffle enormous amounts of private debt onto the public balance sheet. He has done nothing to turn around an historic shift in wealth and income to the wealthiest, who are now hoarding it and killing off what is left of the economy.

He is campaigning for yet more free trade deals that will accelerate the destruction of America's middle classes, which in turn undermines the consumption engine supposedly powering the world's largest economy.

You say he saved the banking sector. Yes he did. That was a mistake and he then caved in to the banks on Dodd Frank. They are still way too big to fail. They're actually much bigger  and more dangerous.

I'd be wary of using Krugman to defend Obama. He is the most scathing about Obama's weakness in the face of nutty Republicans. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/opinion/the-president-surrenders-on-debt-ceiling.html?ref=paulkrugman

And are you really saying Obama has done great things for America's health system?



Frankly Bernard I think  Barry's has been one of the more hamstrung Administrations from the get go.

Culminating in S&P's backhanded endorsement of a change of Administration......

 I 've covered a few of the points in posts this morning...(I believe) I'm not far off the mark in the wash up.

Hey Bernard..well I appreciate your busy...your time is not your own...maybe it would be better if I telephoned.........

The 'change' he campaigned for was a change in style of politics, from confrontation to compromise. He has been followed through on that promise.

Unemployment in the US is currently under 10%. Bad, but not anywhere near depression levels. 16% if you count people who have stopped looking for work or have talken in part time work but want more. The comparable depression figures iirc peaked at 30 and 45%.

I agree it would have been fantastic to start a second Tenessee Valley project and the like as infrastructure projects, but there is no way he could get that through. 

The criticism of Westen here, as I understand, is not the same as yours - Westen argues that Obama should have adopted a different narrative. He should have abused the Republicans for not agreeing to much more stimulus, instead of trying to work with them. Narrative, not substance. In contrast, you criticise Obama for not doing something he could never have done.

The point about 'shuffling enormous amounts of private debt onto the public balance sheet' (which I guess is a description that could be applied to anything any government did ever) is that the government has greater ability to fund the debt. Without some shuffling, the entire debt industry was on its knees because creditors could not trust debtors to meet their commitments, even when backed by what should have been the strongest financial institutions in the world. 

Which brings me to the banks. Are you really saying he should have let the banks fail? Really? It is not possible to conceieve of a course where the world would have avoided a sustained depression if that had happened. I can agree in retrospect that it would have been good to extract more concessions from institutions in exchange for government bailout money. The bailout now looks poorly designed. To let them fail would have been disastrous, and to take hostages for concessions might have been no better.

I agree with you that it is critical for the US to close the wealth gap. It is a threat to the entire global economy, as well as disgusting injustice. But American voters do not agree with either of us. Obama would consign his presidency to irrelevancy and defeat if he went around making that his top priority. Look at the Joe the Plumber incident - while the rest of the world thought Obama's statement that it is good to 'share the wealth around' was mild to say the least, Americans despised it.

He has to get elected in the terrain he is in.

And yes, Obamacare is a great thing. Millions more Americans are getting health coverage. All of them poor. That is a fantastic achievement.

Comes down to this: If you told me on inauguration day 2009 that Obama by now would have passed health care reform, killed bin Laden, avoided a Great Depression 2, begun the troop drawdown in two unnecessary wars, reset America's relations with the world, changed the tone of presidential politics, all while nationalising the frickin car industry ... wow, I would have said he exceeded my expectations, and (b) I bet the Republicans are going crazy with rage.

My point about Krugman: I think he is probably right here. But I think he is wrong that Obama can do much about it.


Many thanks. Here's a view of what Obama could do within the constraints he has.


He could argue for something. Yet he chooses not to. Sorry, as lovely the idea of Obama was, he has gone over to the dark side of his Wall St lobbyist backers.



John Pagani : Thanks for demonstrating how blinkered your vision is .

Obama has chosen a direct confrontational course with the " rich " ( however " rich " is defined , ask him ! .. Michael Cullen set it at an annual income of just $NZ 60 000 p.a. Obama mentions $US 250 000 / yr.  in his speeches  ) .... the guy keeps hectoring the rich & company CEO's , and he repeatedly blathers on about private jets .

.... this guys is a left-wing idealogue , every bit as steeped in a rigid socialist dogma as Helen Clark & Michael Cullen were . Blame the rich . Blame business ....  Ignore your own failings .

Barack has no plan for the USA . He wasted the golden opportunity of a genuine crisis to ram through fiscal & taxation reform . He blew it . Just as Jolly Kid & Wild Bill did in NZ . He lazily sat back and let the central bank do his dirty work , he allowed the deficit to blow out to record proportions ....... he allowed a bunch of scummy investment bankers to handsomely reward themselves , at the tax-payers' expense , after they had a major hand in the GFC .

The insolvent banks ought to have been either nationalised , and re-gurgitated as smaller & split up enterprises ( under new managers ) , or they ought to have split their balance sheets into " good " and " bad " assets . The " bad " assets then incorporated as temporary stand alone entities , on-sold to the market , and then gradually wound down as new directors sold off assets in an orderly fashion .

Obamacare is just a gigantic extension of the tentacles of government into the private sector . Crowding out genuine health insurers and health providers , and socking the tax-payer with the bill . Again , a chance of genuine reform was fluffed .

..... and now that the Republicans have a champion who actually does have more brains than a Dallas Cowboy's cheerleader , Mitt Romeny , Obama is going into hyper-drive to orchestrate a smear & hatred campaign against that man .


Oh but Gummy...Barry has his very own champion...fool named Pagani...and trying to help fool understand why Barry is a failure along with socialism is like trying to convince the pope to become a mormon.

At least Pagani is consistent - having gone from flogging one dead horse (Goff) to another (Obama)........

Was this a serious post - There is not one shred of accurate information in it. Too many for me to refute, so I will use one example.

Barry has not and will not be decreasing numbers in Iraq or Afganistahn, he is pulling out a handful of troops, which still leaves more than the original number of them, after tens of thousands added to the total since he came to be president. Once you add in all the private troops now propogating througout the war zones, you will find that Barry has presided over a massive increase in the occupations.

The troops he is taking out will be redeployed to another country, most likely Libya or some other yet to be hollowed out nation state.

Oh, and he also bypassed congressional process & the advise of the pentagons top legal eagles to go to war in Libya, bravo Barry, bravo. Saying the Tea Party movement will be the reason for the depression, John Pagani your posts are so ignorant it beggers belief. I am sorely tempted to blow a million holes in your entries, but I simply do not have the inclination replying to so many nonsensical points!

The one thing I agree with you on is the there is little he can (is allowed) to do in reality. He is what is known as a trojan horse, and the teleprompter president is simply carrying out his orders.

Wow! Some  of the ignorance of the American economy and its politics in this country is astonishing. 

First of all, if the election were held today, Obama would lose in a landslide.   That's because of Electoral College math.  The swing states that went for him in 08 are all against him now. Also the generic "deserves to be re-elected numbers" are meaningless.   People always rate Congress far below the congressperson they actually vote for.   Finally, there is large group of undecided voters who since 1960 have always gone about 4 to 1 against the incumbent.  Any president below 50% is in deep trouble and he is well below that now.  Mitt Romney, for instance, would slaughter him.  

Americans are now catching on to the fact that he doesn't really know what he's doing.  First he drives federal spending from 20 to 25% of GDP, heaps on tons of new regulations that stop capital formation, passes a massively unpopular and expensive healthcare bill, and then submits a 2012 federal budget that was voted down 97-0.   For all the angst over Sarah Paiin, it's good to remember that she has more executive experience than Obama, Biden, and McCain combined!  He's an empty suit, who has never created a job in his life and believes a bunch of stuff that simply isn't so.   One reason that Amercians believe that Reagan was right is because, um, he actually was!   

Now, after asking for a "clean" debt ceiling extension that would reduce the debt by zero, he settles for a deal that cuts it by $2T (maybe).  S&P says it should have been $4T.  Well, OK.  So now we have a downgrade.   Does any serious person believe that if Obama had   his way that the downgrade would not have happened?  I don't think so. 

So all I can say, fellow Kiwis, is thank your lucky stars for the Tea Party.  Right now they are the only thing keeping President Disaster from driving us all over the cliff. 

Bozobit - thanks. That's what we needed round here, some humour.

You aren't a Muppet doing overtime, are you? 

Nothing wrong with being a Muppet PDK.



Powerdownkiwi -- Do you have an argument or just lazy snark?

bozobit : You raise some very good points ( up above , and immediately north of here ! ) .

My take on the US political scene is that the Democrats will target Mitt Romney , and conduct a smear & hatred campaign on him , that is straight out of the Helen Clark (NZ Labour ) manual .

.... the lefties do dirty tricks / smear / hatred / bile ... so much better than the right-of-centre parties .

Forget the shit-hole that Obama's team have dropped the USA & it's economy into , they will pursue Romney with all vigour & gusto that they can muster . Gonna get real ugly !

.... looking forward to Rand Paul's attempt to get a vote of no confidence against Timmy Geithner ..... As Timmy said , several times last April , when asked directly about the threat of a ratings down-grade from AAA   ... the US-of-A will not have it's debt down-graded , nope , it won't happen , trust me on that  !

That said Gummy the Repub's are not too bad a the dirt themselves...would not surprise me if they had some input with S&P decision.

Barry comes out waving his arms at a small Victory  ...only to get a kick in the balls ...just as a little reminder who's got the purse strings here.

To clarify for those with no time for innuendo...The Repubicans more in favor of austerity measures would  have got a different result.

If that's not a republican Administration endorsement by S&P ..I don't know what is..

Backhanded but effective....the gloss got knocked of the turd.

Powerdownkiwi -- Do you have an argument or just lazy snark?

Regardless of how many times you post, I'll only answer once.

Palin was Govenor of how many ? She's an idiot. So too is the mantra that passes for philosophy with her kind.

I'm told that 50% of the US population thinks the planet was divinely created - dinosaurs, clacial hanging-valleys and all - 4-5000 years ago. So it's not hard to see that even a Pres who understood what had to be done, would be pushing shyte uphill.

I suspect you haven't seen my stuff, and the others here have seen it ad infinitum, but come back when you've read:




Then come back, and we'll have a nice wee chat about whether the Earth is flat.

You see, that's the only form which is physically capable of supporting endless growth....

"4-5000 years ago", um depenbds on which kooky sect....the kooky half of my family say 10000 years ago and god put dinosaur bones in the ground to uh....well....um...."keep some non-believers entertained"...or some such "reasoning".

Now when you listen to ppl with that thought pattern its pretty obvious that there is nothing to discuss, the world is flat, simple. Or a more modern version in PhilBest's case is "technology (aka scientists) will save us", except it seems if the are AGW'ers scientists "as they are on the make....and want to lock me up.....Im a tea pot.....Im a tea pot".....



hello bozo -  you will get used to PDK,steven,scarfie,  et al  , one track mind , typical  responses from lefties/enviro-fundamentalists with very low tolerance of anyone chalenging their theories-    meantime heres some info you may be interested in ...


Environmentalism Refuted

Mises Daily:Friday, April 20, 2001 by George Reisman

Bozo meet Gonzo.

Gonzo meet Bozo.

You two might enjoy being pen-pals. You could send your messages ACROSS your oddly-shaped, recently-created, planet.

Your theme-song?

Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe

Jai guru deva om
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

With time, I expect you'll memorise the chorus.

PDK have you and Steven worked out why all the polar bears arent dead yet ?


Oops the vinyl skipped back to the 2001 track!....



goNZ & bozobit : Don't be put off by the snarksters around here . You both make excellent comments . Help us to keep those namby pamby lefties on their toes !

... and while we're on the subject  ( thankyou Kermit , above ) , why aren't the polar bears extinct yet  ? ...  Michael Moore & Al Gore promised us that they would be ...

... I feel cheated now , ... stoopid polar bears .

reply to what? you opinions?  incorrect data?  Hello If you have a "good" 10 Trillion economy, of which 70~75% is consumerism and 20% federal spending, and then collapse to a 8 trillion dollar economy, by seeing consumer spending collapsing and welfare payments increasing from doubling the un-employed it shouldnt take even a cretin to realise Fed spending will go to 25% of the economy.

The rest of your post, statistics is of similar...uh...quality.

Be that as it may, yes Obama is a failure...he promised a great deal and has delivered little, within the context of dealing with an extremist right wing party that is hell bent on wrecking its own country on the other hand hs hasnt done too badly.

In terms of the Tea party and Palin, be careful what you wish for.....she and the Tea party share a great deal in common, stupidity being the front runner.



Gentle reminder to all. Robust debate is welcome. Personal abuse is not. We all know where the line is.

Let's play the ball not the man/woman.



We don't mind , Bernard , the fellow is from Switzerland , therefore we expect him to be overtly robust in his comments .

.. good boy , Walter , there's a good buy ...... ahhh , he's very sweet , .. really .

but he said she was 90kg....I mean 90kg..!  hard one to forgive.

Some of us love heffalumps ! ...... ahhh , for the joys of a big woman , a really really big lass ... to be crushed within the fat lady's arms .... ahhhhhhhh !!!

Gentle reminder to all good hosts...response once in a blue moon when posts are directed at you would be considered good manners in certain circles....even if just to keep the illusion of Interest going. 

... skating on the thin ice there , Count ! ...... good on yer . ....

So true .... Excellent point .

Thin ice or no GBH..the frosty reception of the awaiting hole will only serve as brisk reminder for me to remain warmer in ....my..contact with those who even in the smallest of ways improve my well being.

Your interest has as always been apreciated.

Oh. you got me!   But I actually think the Earth is a dodecahedron and was created last Thursday.  Those pointy bits are hell on the ships!   

It was a nice try at a distraction unless you have some pertinent connection between Obama's reelection chances, his fiscal policy and peak oil that we knuckledraggers have failed to appreciate.   Lordy, lordy!  we're just so *dumb*, so enlighten us, pretty please?

Otherwise, my argument is still unanswered by PDW, but I have to say that Steven gave it one hell of a try.  Actually, the US economy is closer to $14T (you can look it up) and it didn't dramatically shrink, but shrank a little for a few quarters and then continued to grow at a slow rate.  During this time the federal budget grew significantly, partly due to an $800b "stimulus" that mostly stimulated government waste and the ire of sensible people. 

And if you opine that Sarah Palin is an "idiot", then may I assume that you know her personally?   If the Tea Party members are "dumb", how many of them do you really know?  I'm afraid, PWK, that you gave away the game when you said "I'm told..." before launching into some nonsense about americans believing the earth is a few thousand years old.  Told by whom?  Do you just believe everything you are told?  I wouldn't presume to comment on your intellectual faciliites, not having met you personally, but that statement didn't strike me as terribly bright.  Lazy seems more accurate to me. 

And while I'm at it, I never said a word about Ms. Palin's intelligence (I have no idea about that), but only to point out that she had more executive experience.  Now, the population of Alaska is about 700,000 people, which makes her the chief executivie of an entity of approximately 700,000 more people than Mr. Obama had run before the election. Now what part of that is wrong?

I'm sure that it reassures yourselves to create a cartoon of your opponent and then single-handedly slay them with your stunning wit.  You can be confident that you would absolutely embarrass Homer Simpson in an Oxford debate, but you'd better stay away from Fred Flintstone.  I "am told" that  he actually knows something.