Nothing To Be Done But Blame Republicans

Jake Tapper hammered Robert “a recovery that got our economy moving again” Gibbs yesterday on whether the Administration is not doing more for the economy because of political paralysis. After four attempts to avoid answering the question or focus exclusively on blaming Republicans, Gibbs finally suggested there wasn’t all that much the Administration can do to stimulate the economy.

Q Is the reason the President is not pushing for a bolder move on the economy because he doesn’t believe there is one, or because he doesn’t think he could get it through Congress?

MR. GIBBS: Well, Jake, I think you will hear the President — you heard him today after meeting with his economic team, and you will hear him over the course of the next several weeks outlining a series of ideas, some of which are stuck in Congress and some of which we continue to work through the economic team, that will be targeted measures to continue to spur our recovery and to create an environment in which the private sector is hiring.

Q But these are smaller-bore type proposals. These aren’t $787 billion stimulus packages.

MR. GIBBS: No, they’re not. But let’s understand — when you mention small bore — some of you probably saw this article today — “Small businesses sit in holding pattern.” “Small businesses have put hiring, supply buying, and real estate expansion on hold as they wait out the vote on a small business aid bill that is stalled in the Senate earlier this summer.” Right?

As the President said in the Rose Garden, 60 percent of our job losses have come from small business. Small businesses are waiting for the Senate to act on a bill that would cut their taxes and provide them greater loans and investment opportunities with which to expand.

The Republican Party talks a lot about their support for and their helping of small business, and I think the question that the President put toward them today is, if that’s what you support, why are you standing in the way of something that small businesses acknowledge would help with their hiring, with their purchasing, and with their expansion?

Q Okay, but the question I asked was, do you think — does the President think that there should be a bolder move taken beyond a $30 billion small business lending initiative —

MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think —

Q — and there aren’t the votes for it, or he just didn’t think there is such a thing?

MR. GIBBS: I think, Jake, I think the President mentioned several ideas today that he believes are important to continue that recovery that we will pursue. I think these will be areas and initiatives that are targeted towards spurring recovery and creating an environment for hiring, not some —

Q But does that mean he believes that that is the right approach, or he believes that it’s the only politically possible approach?

MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I don’t think there’s any — I think there’s no doubt that there are — there’s only so much that can be done.

Q Not having to do with politics?

MR. GIBBS: Not having to do with politics. [my emphasis]

At which point Gibbs promptly pivoted and adopted the most thread-bare of DC excuses: whocouldanode.

Q In retrospect, was the stimulus too small?

MR. GIBBS: Look, we always — I think it makes sense to step back just for a second. If you look at — and I don’t think anybody had — and I think we’d be the first to admit that nobody had, in January of 2009, a sufficient grasp at the sheer depth of what we were facing. I think that’s, quite frankly, true for virtually every economist that made predictions. You had — the chart that I generally show, adding the job losses for the last three recessions up doesn’t get you to the job loss that we’ve seen in this recession alone.

It took us a long time to get to this point. We got here not simply because of one thing but because of many things. We’ve seen the housing market collapse. We saw what happened to credit markets. We saw what happened to the stability of our financial system. All of that accumulated after many years into one big pothole that — the size of which any stimulus was unlikely to fill.

I think that for all of the political back-and-forth on the Recovery Act, there should no longer be any doubt — despite some Capitol Hill nonbelievers — that what the Recovery Act did was prevent us from sliding even into a deeper recession, with greater economic contraction, with greater job loss, than we have experienced because of it. [my emphasis]

Calculated Risk didn’t even have to look outside of the Administration–at least as it existed when people were making predictions about the recovery act–to find an economist who had enough of a grasp on what was happening.

How about Christina Romer (the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers)? From Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker:

At the December [2008] meeting, it was Romer’s job to explain just how bad the economy was likely to get. “David Axelrod said we have to have a ‘holy-shit moment,’ ” she began. “Well, Mr. President, this is your ‘holy-shit moment.’ It’s worse than we thought.” She gave a short tutorial about what happens to an economy during a depression, what happened during previous severe recessions, and what could happen if the Administration didn’t act. She showed PowerPoint slides emphasizing that the situation would require a bold government response.

The most important question facing Obama that day was how large the stimulus should be. Since the election, as the economy continued to worsen, the consensus among economists kept rising. … Romer had run simulations of the effects of stimulus packages of varying sizes: six hundred billion dollars, eight hundred billion dollars, and $1.2 trillion. The best estimate for the output gap was some two trillion dollars over 2009 and 2010. Because of the multiplier effect, filling that gap didn’t require two trillion dollars of government spending, but Romer’s analysis, deeply informed by her work on the Depression, suggested that the package should probably be more than $1.2 trillion.

So Romer thought the right size was probably about double what was actually enacted (excluding the Alternative Minimum Tax relief).

And then there are the prominent Nobel prize winning economists in the Democratic party who predicted the stimulus was too small.

So basically, the Administration’s strategy for limiting the political damage of the dismal economy (to say nothing of doing something to fix it) is simply to blame Republicans, because actually admitting that the Administration fucked up–much less doing something like firing Tim Geithner and starting fresh–is just not palatable.

A pity for all those struggling Americans who have to pay for the Administration’s arrogance, huh?

  1. PJEvans says:

    I wish the guys in the WH would simply admit they’d rather be Republicans and went through the wrong door when they went into politics.

    • Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle says:

      I don’t think you understand, despite Ben Nelson’s unexpected outburst today. They walked through the right door because it was the fastest route to career fame and fortune. Heritage already has enough people on the dole. The Republicans wouldn’t have them, so they had to pretend to be Democrats.

  2. Mary says:

    No different than Rice saying no one could have seen it coming.

    Krugman was practically crying ink over the stimulus being too small (especially the parts that were actually stimulus) – and those pesky, lefty blogs everywhere were picking up the story and hammering it. All Obamaco had to do to hear the other side – the side explaining the sheer depth and enormity of the problem – was listen to someone other than Summers and bankster backed econs.

    Listen – instead of pitching a fit – listen, and try to do the right thing.

    Change – Fail.

    • klynn says:

      Here’s the bottom line…

      The professional left was correct on the economy.

      And we know Gibbs, Emmanuel and the Pres were following the professional left. Otherwise, we would not be “the professional left.”

      Oh Mr. Gibbs… Your longitudinal thinking is lacking.

      • rosalind says:

        jeebus, a decor as milquetoast as the occupant.

        from the fall color collection: bipartisan beige! the picture alone makes me want to curl up for a nap.

      • Arbusto says:

        Why does rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic come to mind or is the color scheme to better hide the spots when the shit hits the fan?

      • phred says:

        The quotes are a nice touch, pity he doesn’t understand them. Or maybe he chose them as a reminder to bone up someday on what his predecessors actually did and stood for. Maybe we need to get him a library card…

      • Mary says:

        I notice he omitted “The Buck Stops Here” from his selected quotes.

        @17 – I think you missed my snarky parenthetical ((especially the parts that were actually stimulus) ;) and I think I pretty much do lay it at Obama’s feet.

        But that’s not a get out of jail free card for the diletante Democrats in the House and especially the Senate who didn’t treat it as a serious opportunity to attack serious infrastructure issues that have been facing the nation for over 10 years now (and which weren’t really touched on in the previous massive “bridge to nowhere and other nothings” bill). And it’s also not a nod to the Republicans who loaded up the stimulus with piss poorly thought out, counterproductive, disincentivizing tax cuts.

        But the fact that Obama was using Bushian labelling on a stimulus that was not much of a stimulus has been hit on pretty hard here and by Krugman and others back when it was being compiled. Not that Obamaco listens to the “professional left” though.

        I will say that we had to have parts of the bank bailout bc of the huge issues related to the off-the-books credit default swaps problems (not bc of troubled sub-prime loans though) but Obamaco and the Dems and Republican have done very little in their financial reform to really crush that virus either. Or to make the people who created the crisis begin to have to bear the consequences.

        @21 – the only thing I don’t buy is that there is going to be a *real* recovery in 2011. The fundamentals aren’t there and nothing is pushing them in the right direction. Leadership of some kind – even bad leadership from the Gingrich-Palin-McCain-Boehner types – will help with surface rippling, but you have to do something about the fundamentals to have a real recovery and there’s no there, there.

    • cregan says:

      Both your post and the original post have it a bit wrong I think.

      A PART of the problem might have been the size of the stimulus, but the much, much bigger problem was the nature of the stimulus.

      It was not at all well thought out. It was not aligned to stimulate the economy except in the most gross (as in not fine tuned) way possible. It was “throw money out there and hope it works.” It was oriented toward pork barrel and government employees. Neither of which foster any kind of long term growth or recovery.

      So, when the money runs out and nothing happened and the “recovery” stops, why be surprised? A larger amount done similarly would have only raised the up tick before the down fall. Eventually, it too would have run out with no long term result.

      In a way, it is like the cash for clunkers and the first time buyer real estate credit. When they run out, that’s it. Neither built the long term underlying factors of demand or growth. They provided candy, and when the sugar rush wore off, nothing.

      The stimulus was a political document, not an economic one. It was rushed. Many reps didn’t even know what they were voting on other than a whole lot of money that somebody said was good.

      Another problem was that Obama farmed it out to Nancy Pelosi to do rather than have his team of experts work over what was best and present it to

      Those ‘shovel ready projects?” Only 3.3% of the total.

      So, at the base, you have to lay the blame at Obama’s feet. He had a golden chance to get the right thing done.

        • cregan says:

          It is sad to see and they are going to pay a huge price.

          Even though it benefits my side, if I have a side, it would be better to have the economy actually recovering and less seats change hands.

          Even more sad is that likely a recovery WILL take place next year and the GOP is going to get credit for it.

      • bayofarizona says:

        40% of the stimulus was tax cuts to suck up to the CHamber of Commerce and conservatives. Surrendering in advance never works.

    • jdmckay0 says:

      Krugman was practically crying ink over the stimulus being too small

      Krugman *never* gave detailed suggestions on what should be stimulated, rather general hogwash about “infrastructure” (buy Canadian buses) and such. His “crying” began after it became clear that re-financing WS crooks and stimulus $$ scattered here and there weren’t quite getting the job done.

      • Mary says:

        I saw a lot of things from him, beginning here:
        about the the stimulus being too small from early early on.

        As to specifics – I don’t know that he ever got the forum for detailed input into specifics, but thats beside the point of whether or not not he was saying that, even if well targeted, it was going to be too small. And also beside the point of whether others were saying the same thing.

        So with respect to the heart of the post – Gibbs statement that:

        and I think we’d be the first to admit that nobody had, in January of 2009, a sufficient grasp at the sheer depth of what we were facing. I think that’s, quite frankly, true for virtually every economist that made predictions

        Back in Jan of 2009, when the Klugman post I linked was inked, there was Krugman saying what was starting to come out (it’s not like Obamaco was very sharing up front) was going to be too small.

        From the Jan 2009 (the Gibbs time from) bit I linked

        This really does look like a plan that falls well short of what advocates of strong stimulus were hoping for — and it seems as if that was done in order to win Republican votes. Yet even if the plan gets the hoped-for 80 votes in the Senate, which seems doubtful, responsibility for the plan’s perceived failure, if it’s spun that way, will be placed on Democrats.

        I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”

        Let’s hope I’ve got this wrong.

        • jdmckay0 says:

          I saw a lot of things from him, beginning here:

          about the the stimulus being too small from early early on.

          Yes, ok. But read that: he’s talking formula… x $$$ pumped into whatever produce y stimulus, but no details, no content or focus of that stimulus $$, nothing. I paid very close attention to Krugman through that period, and he said nothing of specifics.

          And it’s the specifics… rather what’s not said: eg. what US investment $$ are *not* going into… that’s what is sending us down the river.

          There has been very, very little given to new (or clean) energy. Our grid is most inefficient of any developed country: 1/3 lost from generation >> wall socket. China, on the other hand, is building clean coal and selling it across Asia… now Austrailia/Canada buying their technology as well.

          NYT’s had an article a few days ago about some modern high rise (condos I thing) which had sophisticated glass requirements… unusual shapes that were large & tempered, requiring custom bending/shaping. They bought from China, as they were willing to invest something like $.5m in tech equipment to deliver that job. US glass was not willing.

          On & on.

          Everywhere I read/post… econ sites especially, I’ve been telling ’em for 2+ years US is falling behind in 2nd’ary education: sciences, engineering, materials. Amazingly, this seems to have been overlooked until pretty recently, even by the experts.

          I’ve seen it first hand, as in our little hi-tech material biz we also have to go to China. I’ve been there many times over recent years in this pursuit. I’ve also followed activities in same fields on US shores… spent time @ a # of our Universities (Chinese as well) to try and keep ahead of things.

          Over & over, through belt tightening and deficits, US universities are simultaneously watering down quality of faculty, offering more limited courses, de/under-funding classroom necessities (labs, med equipment… all kinds of stuff). And this in environment where available classes do not meet demand.

          And larger context of this process: we have ceded so much of this industry to Asia by offshoring for a quik profit by mega-corp importers that, even if we jumped on bandwagon and began to compete w/them w/in a couple years, wages wouldn’t come close to meeting standard of living most US workers are accustomed to, much less support rebound in housing/tax revenue and such.

          So anyway, sorry for getting longwinded about it. But… Krugman never gave any of this any detail. He looked @ Roosevelt/Ike (hiways) stimulus and such, did a few calculations (taught in std econ, not saying he pulled it out of his arse) determining his stimulus curve. Amazingly to me… almost unbelievable, these guys seem(ed) oblivious to environment in which those prior “stimulae” flowed. Principle among the conditions, 2 key points:

          a) Targeted development was new stuff… things envisioned beyond what we had prior. Building hi-ways was revolutionary idea at the time. Original GI bill, which more or less funded knowledge base leading to post WWII industrial boom, same thing… they looked forward, envisioning beyond what existed in their day.
          b) Especially GI bill, but lots of other things… they invested in potential of people. In this “recovery”, they’ve done the opposite… guaranteed less resources in US society available to those w/out unlimited cash to pull themselves up and prepare for tomorrow. Hell, look around… the wave of Libertairan tea partiers headed to congress are all saying it’s time to do away w/SS, medicare, even public education. Sheesh.

          So again, AFAIC Krugman talked numbers but was absent in focus. And if one looks back, whether TARP $$ or “stimulus” money… allmost all of it went to enterprises that not only needed it the least, but were driven by the same mentality which has driven us to the brink: maximize profits by lowering labor costs, squeeze every last $$ at the cash register, diminish quality, and return the big $$ to shareholders rather then investment.

          US economy is still hugely top heavy in financials as per-percentage of GDP… well over 30% (near 40% at time of mortgage bond collapse). In healthy economies of the past, this has always been 12-15% range. Yet, where has all this stimulus gone?

          Not only was Krugman not specific, there were times he said the targets didn’t matter. Sheesh.

          WRT Gibbs statement you refer to, yah sure, it’s bs. Obama said before his inaugeration the exact same thing (much worse then we thought). His econ advisers during that time were among best, and he was most certainly made aware… even if (incredibly, as enlightened guy he presented himself as) he did not comprehend this himself.

          Regardless, BO chose to make his bed w/WS and financial sector, never once defining the problems which brought us to the brink. He chose Geithner and crew, refinanced all the crooks that brought us down, covered up their crimes, and made -0- attempt to change/rebuild fundamental foundations of a pluralistic, public resource democracy which Bush surripteously eroded over his 8 years.

          AFAIC, this Gibbs discussion is bs… anecdotal and meaningless. It is so far removed from now, so devoid of accurate appraisal of things… I don’t know what to say. But it’s not news, that’s for sure. If anything, it’s a point in time acknowledgement of the US decline portrayed as something else. But it is, as you say, dishonest.

          The worst part, IMO, is that by failing to do what needed to be done… by not defining problems to the public and, w/that foundation, proposing forward looking solutions, BO has squandered the biggest opportunity I’ve seen in my lifetime for a US president to really make a difference. And the void of this inaction is now being filled by all these tea party type ass holes who are nothing more then a manifestation of the moral rot which got us here, only w/more mass & momentum then these “movers and shakers” had under Bush’s stealth selling of of US economy.

          Or in other words, a really really really dumbed down US public… addicted to a standard of living which our economy cannot sustain, are being fed more lies promising to return that standard of living to prior levels. Unfortunately, their prescriptions are going to finish the job Bush started… gut the remaining, already weakened resources available to a very quickly eroding wide swath of “middle class”.

          I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes.

          W/all due respect, BO chose his path before ever considering quotient to get “GOP votes”. Most of those “voters” were complicit in abdicating their lawmaking duties while being pass through bots for their big business donors. Obama simply made his bed w/the same crowd 18 mos. ago, and now the devil is doing what he always does when one sells his soul: eating him up.

          I recall, from around late ’94 to ’97, when Clinton’s economy began turning around… the “conservative” crowd went after him like no other I’d ever seen. I remember Chris Rock doing a routine (maybe ’95) that captured the environment. He said (from memory):

          Have you seen the way they go after this president? You’d think he was black.

          For sometime, I was baffled. Economy was really beginning to move, and Clinton championed a bunch of things conservatives had long had top of their wish list: free trade (NAFTA), liberalization of bank/investment regs… all stuff BUSH I was pushed to do by same crowd but could (or wouldn’t) ever accomplish. So why did they go after Clinton in this way, when he was accomplishing what they said they wanted?

          I concluded the reason was… this wish list was a lie. What those guys really wanted was control of WH/Congress. Looking back to Reagan, what those guys really did… w/all their talk about “pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps” and such, what actually happened was they appropriated the mechanisms of govenment for their own benefit and got huge… huge mass of public funded government ensuring their “success”. In short, they co-opted government for benefit of a few.

          Bush II accelerated theis process… “big time”.

          BO, well… he just maintained continuity.

          No amount of stimulus will turn things around here unless it goes to very forward looking activities which our leaders aren’t even talking about yet.

          The world has changed… fast. Emerging economies have emerged. Many are passing or have already passed us in many, many very needed endeavors. There’s less physical resources w/more demand. And most of the world, given Iraq disaster and our bs WS smoke & mirror economy, doesn’t listen to us on these matters anymore.

          We just can’t solve these problems by going back to the future. Krugman is complicit in the cacophony of hopie-changie gibberish passing as policy which is little more then continuation of increasing carniverous environment whereby top few % are devouring the resources of all the rest… and convincing that remaining 9(x)% it’s in their interest.

          We’re in a heap of shit.

  3. phred says:

    Good to know the WH is continuing its penchant for emulating the Bush administration.

    As I mentioned in a comment to Scarecrow over at The Seminal this morning, the underlying premise to the “it’s the Republicans fault” campaign mantra is that it is a fundamental admission that the Democrats are incapable of solving the country’s problems.

    Now, I do not believe that to be broadly true of the party and its platform, but it is certainly true of the current leadership of the party. The leadership has proven themselves to be both corrupt and incompetent — now there’s a winning combination for you.

    Perhaps the best thing that could happen for the Democratic Party as a whole is a massive defeat in November. This would give the rank and file an opportunity to essentially fire the leadership of their party across the board in Congress and at party HQ. We’re stuck with Obama, but it will open up an opportunity for a legitimate primary challenge.

    Meanwhile the Republicans will undoubtedly fritter away the next two years with useless hearings to embarrass the President. That might be a good thing. Although Congress won’t get anything done, they will at least be too distracted to do much harm.

    Then a reformed Democratic Party that will actually work for the public good, rather than their personal aggrandizement, will have an opportunity to return to power and undertake the policy changes that are desperately needed to put an end to the oligarchy.

    Well, I can dream, can’t I? ; )

  4. bobschacht says:

    Thanks, EW!
    What a bunch of lame responses from Gibbs!
    The key here is the aversion to systemic change. Apparently, they bought the Geithner-Summers line that all that was needed was more money for Wall Street, plus a little tinkering around the edges, and all would be fine.

    And Romer, the one person in the WH who understood the situation, has decided to leave? That must mean that she doesn’t think anyone in the WH is listening to her.

    It looks like the WH is also ignoring the politics of dealing with the Great Depression. It actually took about 4 years for the economy to hit bottom, and the recovery took a total of 10 years. The famed Pecora Commission didn’t even start until 3 years after the Crash of 1929.

    Oh, but wait: This is not a Great Depression, its only the Great Recession! Totally different! Nothing to learn from Roosevelt!

    Bah. Humbug.

    Bob in AZ

    • Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle says:

      Obama didn’t buy it, he believed it. Read anything about the Obama White House and a theme develops. Obama believes in the whole “The Best and the Brightest” thing. Not only that, but he’s afraid to act. Afraid to get behind any position that might fail, even if it is good policy. I read something last night from The New Yorker that is a year or so old and the writer basically compared Obama to Herbert Hoover.

      • PJEvans says:

        I’m wondering how much of his desire for bipartisanship and compromise is left over from his childhood. We’ll never know what went on in those households, but I suspect there might have been a lot of loud arguments.

      • Mauimom says:

        And have you seen the various articles re Wall Street being “pissed” at Obama?

        Ungrateful toads. He’s their best pal and has done almost everything they want.

  5. fatster says:


    Full appeals court refuses to rehear Gitmo ruling
    Federal appeals court refuses to rehear decision to keep cook in Guantanamo

    “A U.S. appeals court has again upheld the continued detention of a former cook for Taliban forces who said he never fired a shot in battle.”


    • BoxTurtle says:

      What I’d expect out of that court. They’re a little to the right of Genghis Kahn.

      But don’t expect any help from the supremes.

      Boxturtle (It will take political change to put things right, little hope left fo the law)

    • klynn says:

      That is disturbing. His comments were issues discussed publicly and are even on record for the public in UN archives.

      It’s state sponsored censorship.

      Thanks for the link.

  6. bobschacht says:

    Isn’t it time to deconstruct Obama’s speech tonight?
    I thought his delivery was like it was someone else’s speech– a speech written by a White House Committee.

    I applaud Obama’s determination to end “combat operations” in Iraq, but we’ve got a long way to go. Even if Obama is able to withdraw our “troops” by next year, on schedule, how many thousands of “contractors” will be left? And no one is really talking about ending the American occupation of Iraq. When will we allow them to have their own Air Force? When will Baghdad airport actually be open to commercial air travel? When will the UN re-open its offices in Baghdad? Those are the yardsticks I will be using.

    And its going to be rough for Obama to get out of Afghanistan by 2012.

    Bob in AZ

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      He should never have given the speech.

      It will come back to haunt him like his decision on off-shore drilling.

      Should have marked the event with sad silence for a War of Lies.

  7. bobschacht says:

    On the Diane Rehm show this morning, one of the panelists mentioned that VP Biden’s chief foreign policy guy(?) commented, regarding the current inability of the Iraqis to form a post-election government, that the U.S. won’t support any faction that does not want a strong U.S. partnership in the future.

    Such candor is interesting, and guarantees that the next Iraqi government will be a U.S. puppet. So much for Iraq becoming an independent, self-governing entity. But why should we be surprised? This is always the modus operandi of imperial powers disengaging from a costly and distant military operation where it has (or perceives) strategic interests.

    Obama needs a little more candor. “We invaded Iraq to make it a wholly-owned U.S. client state.” Now that would be more honest.

    Bob in AZ

  8. Mary says:

    Way epu’d, but I don’t think we disagree all that much. A lot of people who focus on the broader economic aspects have been saying the same things for a long time. This piece:
    from 4 years ago by PIMCO behemouth’s Bill Goss made a lot of the same points and there is even overlap with Buffet in some places.

    WiFi issues, education issues, green energy issues – all things that have to be addressed and aren’t being addressed, but I think you sell Krugman short fwiw. He tried to focus fire on pushing to get an appropriate stimulus and for some of the short run he was concerned about, the creation of jobs – period – to keep the bottom from falling out was more important than where the jobs were created. So he wasn’t going to be overly critical, especially knowning the legislative process, of some of the targeting if it avoided the short run problem.

    But he’s always been an advocate for a long term plan as well that focuses on investments in education and green jobs etc.

    Still, it doesn’t matter bc his isn’t a voice Obama is listening to either. Obama has his bubble, like Bush’s, and he has an imperialist mindset – what he doesn’t choose to talk about isn’t worth discussion. We are in big big trouble and dont have any leadership that is focused on long term solutions – and in the US Senate, we have an institution that, as an institution, exists solely to derail anything beneficial, even if Obama were a vastly different creature. We’re screwed and the only energy being directed anywhere is Tea Party energy, directed towards self destruction.