A month and half ago, I predicted this would happen earlier. There are those folks out there that have always believed that President Obama was a hack and his entire persona was nothing more than a media creation. Now it appears, a series of events will speed up a process some of us thought would take years not months. Make no mistake, while President Obama would be the biggest loser, the American people would be great losers as well as he would become nearly impotent in domestic policy.
Right now, events are getting out of his control and unless the president gets ahead of them soon, he will get past the point of no return. His problems are so layered that its hard to pin their beginning. Most of them center around his Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, however Geithner is part of his larger problem involving his nomination process in general. The process has lead to high profile disasters like the nomination of Tom Daschle and those the media ignored like the nomination of Chas Freeman to head the National Intelligence Council. While several of his nominations have wound up in disaster, the Treasury department has has only one appointee that has been confirmed. (that being Geithner himself)
Geithner has now become toxic himself. His entire term has become one in long series of positions in which President Obama is now stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. Everything else being equal, I think that Obama would rid himself of Geithner. Of course, everything is not equal. Geithner is not merely some obscure Secretary. Instead, he is the face of the effort by the administration to turn around the economy. Furthermore, the president pronounced that Geithner's tax troubles must be overlooked because he was a one of a kind and uniquely qualified individual. Dropping him now is likely something that Obama can't afford. Instead, he will face a constantly growing chorus of pundits, politicians, and other media calling for him to fire Geithner.
Then, there is the great distraction of the AIG bonuses. It is a great distraction for the Obama administration along with the politicos in D.C. in general. The whole city has been paralyzed unable to do or talk about anything else besides these bonuses. Obama's entire domestic policy has been put on hold until this is resolved. Resolving it is no easy task. So far, we are in the process of finger pointing. Getting the bonuses back is a much harder thing to do. Besides some hokey idea for a punitive and onerous tax, the Congress has limited power to take back something they themselves authorized. Of course, like I said, until this is resolved all other things are left to the back burner.
As such, President Obama's entire domestic agenda hangs in the balance of just under $200 million worth of bonuses. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has run its own numbers, and their conclusion is that President Obama's budget will lead to larger deficits than even President Obama's own projections called for. With both politicians and voters already uneasy about the rising deficits, these new projections have put his entire agenda in jeopardy. Now, even his Democratic colleagues like Kent Conrad, the Senate Budget Committee chairman, has now stated publicly that Obama's budget must be scaled back.
So now, with confidence in his administration and its architect, Tim Geithner, starting the wane, the administration still has big tasks ahead. It has still not proposed any plan for all of these "toxic assets". That plan will come out this week. The point man on this plan will be the aforementioned Tim Geithner. It will involve a private/public partnership. Now, imagine how motivated any private company will be to get into bed so to speak with the government, after witnessing the populist class war set against them this past week (after the AIG flap).
So, what President Obama has found himself in is a series of situations in which he is stuck in a no win situation. His entire agenda is held hostage to a series of distractions that may stoke outrage but are of little economic consequence. Yet, he is ultimately nearly paralyzed until they are resolved. He is stuck with a Treasury secretary that almost no one has any confidence in. Yet, getting rid of him brings with it just as many problems as keeping him in place.
On Monday, the O'Reilly Factor will run a segment asking whether or not President Obama is in over his head. Don't expect the rest of the MSM to follow too soon. Don't forget these questions to go away either. The president continues to personally be popular, but most presidents are at this point. No president has seen his popularity disintegrate the way his has outside of Jimmy Carter. Worse yet, his policies are very unpopular. Very few people have confidence that his policies will be successful, and nothing he has done so far has made that notion anything but correct.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"