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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Next Stop the Incompetent Label

In the span of two days, the administration has blown through two deadlines without producing a report. Yesterday, we marked ninety days since the President asked for his cabinet members to each produce a report that would lead to a reduction in administration spending of only $100 million. That report was due in 90 days. Yesterday, absolutely no report was produced. Meanwhile, a panel was supposed to produce an interim report on progress toward closing GITMO today. That report will also not be filed.

An Obama administration panel will miss a Tuesday deadline to report on its efforts to meet President Obama’s directive to close the detention center at Guantánamo
, Cuba, by January, administration officials said on Monday.

The officials said that a task force reviewing detention policy would need another six months to complete its report and a second group, reviewing interrogation policy, would need two more months to finish its report to Mr. Obama.

Senior administration officials said at a briefing for reporters that the missed deadlines did not mean the administration was bogged down in its effort to close the prison, which now holds 229 men suspected of terrorism.

The president's plan for stemming foreclosures has also been an abject failure.

The Obama administration’s $50 billion program to curb foreclosures isn’t working, and the White House knows it.

Administration officials blame the mortgage servicers charged with carrying out the mortgage modifications and refinancing under the federal program. Many of their Democratic allies on Capitol Hill back them up, but others are criticizing the White House for fumbling the execution. Whatever the reason, the program hasn’t stopped the rising tide of foreclosures: Experts predict that at least another 2 million homes will be lost this year, and the administration’s plan has so far reached only about 160,000 of the 3 million to 4 million homes it was supposed to protect over the next three years.

That’s bad news for the economy — and bad news for the Democrats.

Here's how DEMOCRATIC Senator Chris Dodd characterized the problem.

I’ve had a lot of frustrations in trying to come up with plans that work,” Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said during a break in a hearing on the programs today in Washington. “I’m concerned that we’re just going through the motions. I don’t
get the sense of urgency.”A Bank of America Corp. executive told Dodd’s committee that the administration stokes “confusion and delay” among lenders when it announces anti-foreclosure plans before completing the program details, while Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama complained that the programs have fallen short of goals.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden, who himself is an endless stream of embarrassing gaffes, proclaimed on television that the administration misjudged the severity of the recession. That's why the administration predicted 8% unemployment without the stimulus and now it's 9.5% with the stimulus. At the same time, not even $100 billion of the $787 billion stimulus has been spent.

If we get to the summer recess and no headway has been made on health care reform, then during the summer recess will bring more and more calls by pundits of the "incompetent" label in characterizing the Obama administration.

In fact, I challenge anyone to show how Obama has shown competence in doing anything well but speechifying so far in his presidency. The only piece of legislation he passed was the stimulus. At his most popular, he barely got it through with 3 Republicans on board. It's true that all his initiatives are still incomplete. Yet, if you were to give a grade in execution on the stimulus, his mortgage bailout, GITMO, and all his legislation you'd have to give F grades for everything but cap and trade.

Even cap and trade, while it was passed in the House, has little hope of passing in the Senate. Furthermore, almost no one likes the bill that was passed. Here's how Tom Friedman characterized the bill.

There is much in the House cap-and-trade energy bill that just passed that I absolutely hate. It is too weak in key areas and way too complicated in others. A simple, straightforward carbon tax would have made much more sense than this Rube Goldberg contraption. It is pathetic that we couldn’t do better. It is appalling that so much had to be given away to polluters. It stinks. It’s a mess. I detest it.

Friedman, mind you, supports cap and trade. I'd be hardpressed to find anyone strongly believes in the legislation that passed the House. As such, even the one piece of legislation that has seen any movement is a piece of legislation almost no one likes.

So, with no real legislative victories to speak of, no initiatives that are successful, if the president isn't able to move forward on health care, then we are going to start hearing more and more people in August label him INCOMPETENT. That is, frankly, a devastating label.


Anonymous said...

You forgot one more thing he was elected to do but hasn't particularly done well:

Putting conservatives in their place.

Anonymous said...

This administration is like a turbocharged version of the Carter Administration.

Charging over the cliff at supersonic speed.