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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Obama’s ‘juggling act’ of big business, big government, populist posturing

[Originally posted at Beltway Confidential]

The New York Times’ Jackie Calmes mulls over what she sees as a quandary — a “juggling act” by President Obama:

He has mixed, for example, condemnation of “Wall Street greed” with opposition to government caps on financiers’ bonuses, and criticism of oil companies’ profits with a recent call (now in abeyance) to expand offshore drilling.

This is a “juggling act,” no more than it’s a juggling act for a preacher to condemn gambling and drinking in public and then spend his nights boozing it up at the casino. It’s really called “saying one thing and doing another.” Or “being dishonest.”

So Calmes sees puzzles where a simple explanation exists, and a contradiction where none exists:

It is enough to give rise to the equally contradictory criticisms he endures, from longtime enemies on the right crying socialism and from disillusioned supporters on the left who lament what they see as Mr. Obama’s pro-business bias.

Is “socialism” contradictory to a “pro-business bias”? I don’t think so. I actually think Obama has blended the two perfectly, increasing government control of the economy in a way that benefits the biggest businesses — his support for the Wall Street bailout, a record-breaking spending bill (the stimulus) favored by the business lobby, a health-care bill that benefits the drug industry and makes private insurance mandatory… and I could go on.

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