This is hilarious. Howard Fineman of Newsweek says that “The Establishment” is turning against Barack Obama.
Luckily for Obama, the public still likes and trusts him, at least judging by the latest polls, including NEWSWEEK’s. But, in ways both large and small, what’s left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking.
But who is “they?” Fineman provides no examples of Establishment figures who have been whispering in his ear, nor does he bother to clearly define what he means by “The Establishment.” In my mind, the term refers to the ruling class of a country–the top government figures as well as the heads of the most powerful corporations and foundations, and the most influential members of the national media. Here’s Fineman:
If the establishment still has power, it is a three-sided force, churning from inside the Beltway, from Manhattan-based media and from what remains of corporate America. Much of what they are saying is contradictory…
(Later in the piece, he refers to these people as “big shots” and “bigs.”). But really, is he serious? “What remains of corporate America”? Corporate America is currently running our government and is successfully stealing the taxpayers blind.
But to me it sounds like Fineman is mostly referring to the media, and most likely those in the media that he talks to regularly. Maybe he and Chris Matthews had a little chat night before last and that’s what this column is based on?
Anyway, Fineman provides a long list of complaints that his “establishment” buddies have with Obama. The gist of these complaints is that the stimulus wasn’t big enough, too much money is being poured into zombie corporations like Citigroup and General Motors, Obama should just focus on the economy and stop trying to do too much, and his Treasury secretary is a laughing stock who has been “compared to Doogie Howser, Barney Fife and Macaulay Culkin in ‘Home Alone’—and those are the nice ones.”
I might even agree with some of the complaints, and I’m certainly not thrilled with the job Obama is doing so far, but I think Fineman owes his readers a bit more information about where these complaints orginated. My guess is Fineman pulled all this out of his nether regions and dashed off this column in about fifteen minutes because he had something better to do last night.
Fineman does tell us what he thinks about these “concerns” he’s been hearing:
They have some reasons to be concerned. I trace them to a central trait of the president’s character: he’s not really an in-your-face guy. By recent standards—and that includes Bill Clinton as well as George Bush—Obama for the most part is seeking to govern from the left, looking to solidify and rely on his own party more than woo Republicans. And yet he is by temperament judicious, even judicial. He’d have made a fine judge. But we don’t need a judge. We need a blunt-spoken coach.
Obama may be mistaking motion for progress, calling signals for a game plan. A busy, industrious overachiever, he likes to check off boxes on a long to-do list. A genial, amenable guy, he likes to appeal to every constituency, or at least not write off any. A beau ideal of Harvard Law, he can’t wait to tackle extra-credit answers on the exam.
But there is only one question on this great test of American fate: can he lead us away from plunging into another Depression?
WTF?! Fineman is all over the place here. It seems he’s a bit concerned that Obama might be going further left than Fineman thinks he should and that Obama isn’t working with the Republicans as much as Fineman wants him to. Plus he thinks Obama is “judicious” and would have been a good judge and that he’s “busy, industrious, genial, and amenable.” It sounds like a lukewarm letter of recommendation. Most of all, Fineman thinks we need an “in your face guy.” Really? Isn’t that what we had with George W. Bush for the past eight years? Maybe Fineman just checked his 401(k) and then wrote this column out of sheer panic? That could explain why it makes no sense.
The good news is that at least one of Obama’s previously fawning acolytes in the “big shot” media has finally expressed a few doubts about our Dear Leader–although it’s too late for it to make much difference. But I find it incredibly hard to believe that Howard Fineman actually gets paid to write this kind of unsourced drivel. And Obama thinks blogs are a waste of time?