Wednesday, February 4, 2009
President Obama had interviews with five TV anchors.
He told the anchors that the man who helped make him president, Tom Daschle, had made “a serious mistake” by not paying taxes on a car and driver. (It should have been a harbinger of doom when Daschle began sporting those determined-to-be-hip round red glasses.)
Mr. Obama’s errors on the helter-skelter stimulus package were also self-induced. He should put down those Lincoln books and order “Dave” from Netflix. When Kevin Kline becomes an accidental president, he summons his personal accountant, Murray Blum, to the White House to cut millions in silly programs out of the federal budget so he can give money to the homeless.
“Who does these books?” Blum says with disgust, red-penciling an ad campaign to boost consumers’ confidence in cars they’d already bought. “If I ran my office this way, I’d be out of business.”
Mr. Obama should have taken a red pencil to the $819 billion stimulus bill and slashed all the provisions that looked like caricatures of Democratic drunken-sailor spending.
In an economic stimulus package bunches of nonsense werre tacked on, making easy targets for the Republicans.
As Senator Kit Bond, a Republican, put it, there were so many good targets that he felt “like a mosquito in a nudist colony.”
Case in point.
He was especially worried about the provision requiring the steel and iron for infrastructure construction to be American-made, and by the time the chastened president talked to Chris Wallace on Fox Tuesday, he agreed that “we can’t send a protectionist message.”
Favors returned, obviously.
Mr. Obama protested to Brian Williams that the programs denounced as “wasteful” by Republicans “amount to less than 1 percent of the entire package.” All the more reason to cut them and create a lean, clean bill tailored to creating jobs.
The Democratic president has been spending so much time trying — and failing — to win over Republicans that he may not have noticed the disillusionment in his own ranks.
A little disillusioning, but we must remember the long haul.
Betrayed by their bankers and leaders, Americans were desperate to trust someone when they made Barack Obama president. His debut has left them skeptical about his willingness to smack down those who would flout his high standards or waste our money. Companies that have gotten bailouts continue to make a mockery of taxpayers.
Until it came to light Tuesday, Wells Fargo, which received $25 billion in federal funds, was blithely planning a series of “employee recognition outings” to Las Vegas luxury hotels this month.
As ABC reported, Bank of America took its $45 billion in bailout funds and sponsored a five-day carnival outside the Super Bowl stadium, and Morgan Stanley took its $10 billion in bailout money and held a three-day conference at the Breakers in Palm Beach. (Morgan Stanley had also still planned to send top employees to Monte Carlo and the Bahamas, events just canceled.)
The New York Post revealed that Sandy Weill, former chief executive of Citigroup, took a company jet to fly his family for a Christmas holiday to a $12,000-a-night luxury resort in San José del Cabo, Mexico. No matter that the company just got a $50 billion federal bailout and laid off 53,000 worldwide.
The interior of the 18-seat jet, as described by The Post, is posh, with a full bar, fine-wine selection, $13,000 carpets, Baccarat crystal glasses, Cristofle sterling silver flatware and — my personal favorite — pillows made from Hermès scarves.