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“Obama, Geithner Get Low Grades From Economists”

Thursday, March 12, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

That’s the key headline from this morning’s Wall Street Journal. The heart of the economists’ critique:

[The] economists’ main criticism of the Obama team centered on delays in enacting key parts of plans to rescue banks. “They overpromised and underdelivered,” said Stephen Stanley of RBS Greenwich Capital. “Secretary Geithner scheduled a big speech and came out with just a vague blueprint. The uncertainty is hanging over everyone’s head.”

Yesterday The Hill provided a sampling not of number-crunching economists, but of veteran president-watchers –Democrats and Republicans, pundits and electeds– but the verdict was the same: Confidence in President Obama’s direction is slipping.

A few weeks of decent market gains, and much of the angst would fade, but the economy is clearly now “owned” by the president because he got the stimulus he wanted, he didn’t veto the ear-mark laden appropriations bill, and it has been four months since his election and there is still no public plan for the banks. President Obama blames President Bush at every opportunity, but that’s already an old refrain with little punch. With a trillion-and-a-half of spending at President Obama’s disposal (the stimulus, the omnibus, and the second half of TARP), voters expect a reviving market which looks out a few months.

Republicans are beginning to get their voice back, and the sense of a Democratic Administration and Congress burdened by absurd economic theories is growing. If the economy staggers along in no-to-low growth, voters will have to put the Congress back in the hands of the tax-cutting party.

Senior Democrats on the Hill may yet force the president to abandon his growth-destroying tax hikes, and to focus more on reintroducing the optimistic tone that the Chief Executive should almost always project. But their opportunity to recalibrate his course is narrowing, and the first hundred days is quickly becoming a slog through a swamp of wasteful spending and useless rhetorical attacks on the long-gone George W. Bush.

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Great Move By The New York Times

Wednesday, March 11, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Word is out that the new conservative at the paper is Ross Douthat –a very talented writer and an excellent representative of the conservative world view. The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder expands on Douthat’s background.

“The Fat Tail”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Ian Bremmer and Preston Keat have authored a new book on the implications of international political developments for strategic investing. Bremmer will close today’s show and will be back for an extended conversation next week about The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing.

The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing

Bremmer is the president and Keat the director of research at The Eurasia Group.

The NRCC’s “Young Guns”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Nice write-up in yesterday’s Politico.com about the effort by the National Republican Congressional Committee to thin the crowd of GOP candidates asking for NRCC money.

The NRCC is smart to raise the bar, but it also needs to raise its own bar. The website is right out of 1998, and developing a list of target districts and showing a way back to the majority are key priorities that are necessary to energizing the base that is skeptical of the NRCC’s performance in the past two cycles. It is a new team and it is taking a new direction, but communicating that to more than candidates is crucial and has to be undertaken quickly.

One other GOP note: Jim Geraghty passes along the gossip that some long knives are out for Michael Steele, which looks like DNC agitprop. Steele’s talented and will find his footing. Steele would be smart to ask Norm Coleman to serve as a senior deputy on foreign affairs if the trial over the MN Senate race drags on and on or if Franken wins, but the idea of trying to mount a coup to remove the new chairman is just nuts. When lefty blogs are flogging such an idea, you have to conclude that they realize Steele could become a formidable voice for the GOP in the years ahead.

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