Is this some kind of record for appearances for a first year? Before long he'll have his own commentator slot. Anyway, he sat down with Steve Kroft and answered some questions (again) on a range of subjects.
He spent a lot of time nuancing Afghanistan, defending his dithering and reminding everyone of the mess he inherited. But there seemed to be no passion or emotion in his discussion. Kroft nailed him for this at West Point, which he denied, but that same analytical nature was evident in this interview as well.
No surprises--he's doing what he has to do. He can't withdraw and risk another terror attack (even a small one) after campaigning that Bush failed to win Afghanistan. But it clearly does not elicit his passion.
Social issues are what stirs his passion, and nothing gets his dander up like discussing the evils of Wall St. Notice the change as Kroft brings it up:
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There's nothing unusual about a politician dragging up visions of old man Potter during Christmastime but with Obama there's something uneasy about his fixation and stark black and white thinking (no nuance here). The TARP loans are being paid back and yet he's pissed off because they gave bonuses? Excuse, but weren't we supposed to be worried about Bush's TARP loans never being paid back and the public getting screwed? Isn't the public benefiting from these paybacks?
Obama bizarrely and ironically ignores his own links to Fannie and the CRA/ACORN part of the housing meltdown when discussing this issue, telling Kroft these bankers 'still don't get it' and lecturing them on the coming draconian regulations. During the AIG crisis he once described his administration as 'the only thing standing between (them) and the pitchforks'. Pretty strong words and yet nowhere to be found when discussing our fanatical military enemies.
Curious, but not really, upon reflection. Many of Reverend Wright's sermons dealt with the evils of greed and Obama certainly heard a few and agreed. CBS described him as frustrated; perhaps his real frustration is the paypack gets these banks off the government teat and out from under his thumb, making it hard to regulate them so 'this never happens again'. Which is odd itself--how does he plan to control the business cycle? It's like Tiger's promise to never let an auto accident happen again, and just about as sincere. The only feasible way would seem to be radically altering our western system of free-market capitalism, which has always been susceptible to swings.
There were signs at the Copenhagen protests yesterday calling for an end to capitalism to stop global warming. Obama began his political career in Bill Ayers' living room, a man who's been battling to end capitalism his entire adult life. We know Obama is in favor of spreading the wealth around to solve many problems, including the so-called climate problem. At what point does two and two equal four?
"Goowd solid B+". I think a wise president should always pass on that kind of a set-up question. He could have easily said, "I'll leave the grading to others, but I'm doing the best I can under difficult circumstances". That would have been graceful and would have shown leadership.
He passed on that moment, deciding instead to show a trace of vanity and disgrace by once again shifting blame, not only to his predecessors (by the way, Bush initiated TARP, which has been the single most instrumental program to stop the next great depression, assuming anything has stopped anything), but to Congress for not passing the greatest social program since Social Security. In other words, he would have an A+, all things being equal.