Year Two Day 58 Obama Administration March 18, 2010 - History

Year Two Day 58 Obama Administration March 18, 2010 - History


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9:30AM THE PRESIDENT receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office


11:20AM THE PRESIDENT signs the HIRE Act
Rose Garden

1:30PM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors

While the above was the Presidents official schedule the President spent much of his day in private meeeting with members of the House to help pass heatlh care.


Obama's First 100 Days: What He's Done So Far

President Barack Obama urged fellow G20 leaders on Tuesday to agree immediate action to boost the global economy at a London summit next month.

In an article for German newspaper Die Welt, Obama called for a deal on quick fiscal stimulus measures at the April 2 meeting which he said could open the way to a global recovery.

The comments highlight the differences between the United States and Europe on the need for further stimulus measures on top of packages that governments already have adopted.

"First we must take quick measures to stimulate growth," Obama wrote in the article, according to the German translation of his comments.

Obama said the United States and other G20 members had taken fiscal steps to boost growth but added: "These efforts should be robust and sustained until demand has been restored."

He said the United States was ready to lead the way to revive the world economy and bolster renewed confidence.

And the president will hold a national press conference from the White House Tuesday night at 8 pm EST. He's expected to answer questions about the economy, AIG bonuses as well as his stimulus and budget bills.

Meanwhile, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said the U.S. government plan to rid banks of toxic assets will rob American taxpayers by exposing them to too much risk and is unlikely to work as long as the economy remains weak.

"The Geithner plan is very badly flawed," Stiglitz told Reuters in an interview during a Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong.

Keep track of what Obama has been doing since taking office:

Day 63: Geithner: New Plan Will Help Credit Flow (Mar. 23)

  • Geithner told CNBC that the government's highly-anticipated plan to deal with troubled mortgage loans and assets is just the latest effort to stem the financial crisis. (Full Story)
  • The Treasury revealed details of a highly-anticipated plan to set up public-private investment funds that will buy up to $1 trillion in troubled loans and securities at the heart of the financial crisis. Market reaction was positive with stocks—especially those of financial firms—rising around the globe, while the dollar was stable. (Full Story)

Day 62: Economy to Rebound Within a Year? (Mar. 22)

  • Obama said the financial system could still implode if a large bank were to fail, and "big problems" could result if the government does not try to lessen the risk. "I think that systemic risks are still out there," Obama said in an interview on the CBS program "60 Minutes." "If we did nothing you could still have some big problems. There are certain institutions that are so big that if they fail, they bring a lot of other financial institutions down with them." (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration is "incredibly confident" the U.S. economy will rebound within a year, a top adviser said before a critical week in efforts to flesh out and sell the president's recovery agenda. (Full Story)
  • Geithner is set to reveal details on Monday of a plan to set up public-private investment funds that could buy up to $1 trillion in troubled loans and securities at the heart of the financial crisis. (Full Story)

Day 61: Ready to Unveil a Toxic Asset Plan (Mar. 21)

  • The Treasury Department will roll out a three-part plan next week to try to cleanse the financial system of toxic assets that are clogging banks' balance sheets, according to a source familiar with the plan. (Full Story)
  • Obama vowed to stick to the big-ticket items in his budget proposal but acknowledged that dollar amounts would "undoubtedly change" as Congress prepared to take up his record spending plan. (Full Story)
  • Obama stepped up his weeklong defense of much-criticized Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, saying he would not accept his resignation even if it was tendered. Obama said in an interview with CBS television network's "60 Minutes" that if Geithner tried to quit, he would tell him, "Sorry buddy, you've still got the job." (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration may unveil new details of its anxiously awaited financial stability as early as Monday, shedding light on how it plans to deal with the thorny problem of making a market in the toxic assets that have plagued the balance sheets of big financial firms. (Full Story)
  • The President reflects on lessons from his time spent outside Washington recently, which only reinforced the four core principles in his his budget.(Watch the video here)

Day 60: Reaching Out to Iran & a "Tonight Show" Appearance (Mar. 20)

  • Obama sent Iran an unprecedented videotape message offering a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement after decades of U.S. hostility to the Islamic republic.
  • Obama was somber and light-hearted in an unusual appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," moving deftly from the economic crisis to the April arrival of a "First Dog" in the White House. (Full Story)

Day 59: Schwarzenegger Helps Obama (Mar. 19)

  • Obama is playing a bit of divide-and-conquer this week, pitting his Republican critics in Washington against GOP governors and mayors eager for the federal money that his hard-fought stimulus plan will bring. (Full Story)

Day 58: Obama Officials Sought to Keep AIG Bonuses (Mar. 18)

  • Sen. Christopher Dodd said that Obama administration officials asked him to add language to last month's federal stimulus bill to make sure the controversial AIG bonuses remained in place. Dodd told CNN that Obama officials wanted the language added to an amendment limiting bonuses that could be paid by companies receiving federal bailout money. (Full Story)
  • In a new Web video, Obama is asked Americans to help him pass his $3.6 trillion budget. "I'm asking you to head outside this Saturday to knock on some doors, talk to some neighbors, and let them know how important this budget is to our future," he said in the video. (Full Story)

Day 57: Strict Limits on AIG? (Mar. 17)

  • The Obama administration says it's trying to put strict limits on the next $30 billion installment in taxpayers' money for insurance giant AIG amid questions about whether it responded fiercely enough to executive bonus payments. (Full Story)
  • Obama is also meeting on St. Patrick's Day at the White House with Irish political leaders intent on maintaining peace despite dissidents' violence in Northern Ireland. (Full Story)

Day 56: Obama Gives Boost To Small Businesses and attacks AIG Bonuses (Mar. 16)

  • Obama said all legal measures will be taken to stop AIG execs from receiving bonuses that come from government money lent to the insurance giant.
  • Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced a broad package that includes reduced small-business lending fees and an increase on the guarantee to some Small Business Administration loans. (Full Story)
  • A day earlier, the president's advisers said in television interviews that they remained confident in the nation's economic fundamentals, at times adopting upbeat rhetoric the president once mocked.
  • And the White House said that during his trip to California this week, Obama will appear on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. The appearance is scheduled for Thursday. He will talk about the economy.

Day 53: Obama Speaks To Business Roundtable about Banks (Mar. 15)

  • Obama said the true status of bank balance sheets was not known, and he would act decisively to make sure major banks have enough money to operate.
  • Obama said some of the country's largest banks are holding toxic assets, which are dragging down balance sheets and contributing to the slowdown in lending.
  • "The weakened condition of some of our largest banks has implications for the entire system," he told corporate business leaders at the Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C.
  • "Critical to that solution is an honest and forthright assessment of the true status of bank balance sheets, something that we've not yet had," he told the group of corporate business leaders.
  • In this week's address, Obama makes key announcements regarding the safety of our nation's food. (Watch the Video Here)

Day 52: Geithner: Spending Hikes are Short-Term (Mar. 12)

  • Obama's ambitious new budget faced bipartisan skepticism as key senators questioned the administration's long-term budget outlook and the deficits it envisions rising in the middle of the next decade. Geithner defended it in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, saying current increases in spending are short term and will have to be substantially reduced to get the country back into fiscal shape. (Full Story)

Day 51: Obama Targets 'Earmarks' in New Spending Bill (Mar. 11)

  • Obama agreed to sign an "imperfect" spending bill to keep the government running, but he called for a crackdown on lawmakers adding "earmarks"—or pet projects—to legislation. Obama spoke about a $410 billion spending bill—passed by Congress earlier this week—which has been heavily criticized because of many earmarks. (Full Story)

Day 50: The Halfway Point (Mar. 10)

In his first 50 days, Obama has moved at a lightning pace, passing a $787 billion economic stimulus plan in his first three weeks, announcing financial rescue and housing plans, disclosing a $3.55 trillion budget, kick starting discussions on health care reform, and releasing a withdrawal plan from Iraq and a boost in troop numbers in Afghanistan.

He has also signed orders to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, tighten ethics rules for Executive Branch employees, raise fuel efficiency standards and lift the restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

At the same time, there have also been problems with three Cabinet nominees who withdrew, the criticism that Obama is turning his back on his proposal for more bipartisanship and his calls for fewer earmarks, and the imminent fights over his budget blueprint and health care.

But despite the ups and downs during the first 50 days, experts argue that Obama seems to be ahead of the curve in terms of efficiency compared to some of his predecessors.

Obama’s 60 percent approval rating in the most recent NBC/WSJ poll also implies that many Americans remain satisfied with the president so far.

Day 49: Obama OKs Stem Cell Research (Mar. 9)

  • Obama lifted some restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, angering many abortion opponents but cheering those who believe the study could produce treatments for many diseases.(Full Story)

Day 48: More Appointed to Treasury Department (Mar. 8)

  • Obama has chosen three people to join the senior ranks of the Treasury Department, where a slow pace of hiring has put the agency on the defensive. The White House said Obama is nominating David S. Cohen to be assistant secretary in dealing with terrorist financing Alan B. Krueger for assistant secretary for economic policy and Kim N. Wallace as assistant secretary for legislative affairs. (Full Story)

Day 47: Discovering Opportunity in the Crisis (Mar. 7)

  • As the dreadful economic news piles up, Obama challenged the nation Saturday to not just hang in there but rather to see the hard times as a chance to "discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis." (Full Story)
  • Obama used his weekly address to detail his plans to fix our ailing economy, noting that reforming healthcare is necessary to ensure our long term fiscal health. (Watch the video here)

Day 46: Obama Touts Economic Gains (Mar. 6)

  • Obama tried to highlight some good news and tout his economic plan, but the grim reality of plunging employment and faltering stock markets once again stepped on his message. Obama headed to hard-hit Ohio to attend a graduation ceremony for 25 Columbus, Ohio, police recruits whose jobs were saved by money from the $787 billion stimulus package he signed into law last month. (Full Story)
  • Democrats who control the U.S. Senate were unable to round up the votes to end debate and pass a $410 billion bill to fund many government operations through Sept. 30, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.(Full Story)
  • Obama will hold an event on Monday at which he will sign an executive order related to stem cells, an administration official said on Friday. (Full Story)

Day 45: Obama Team Working 'Around the Clock' (Mar. 5)

  • Debt-strapped homeowners unable to afford their mortgages could get their monthly payments lowered in bankruptcy court under a controversial element of Obama's housing rescue plan. (Full Story)
  • Obama's administration is working "around the clock" to form an approach to the challenges facing General Motors and the auto industry, a White House spokeswoman said. (Full Story)
  • Obama invited more than 120 people to the White House to discuss how to fix the world's costliest health care system, one that still leaves millions uninsured. A broad group of doctors, patients, business owners and insurers gathered for a forum in hopes of building support for big changes in health care. (Full Story)

Day 44: New Housing Plan Launched (Mar. 4)

  • Obama will order a crackdown on waste and cost overruns in U.S. government procurement that he estimates will save up to $40 billion a year, an administration official said. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration launched a $75 billion foreclosure relief plan, as new data showed one in five U.S. homeowners with mortgages owe more than their house is worth. (Full Story)

Day 43: Stimulus Package Looking Hopeful? (Mar. 3)

  • The stimulus package may pack a big punch in the current crisis because households and businesses struggling to get credit are more likely to spend the money, a top White House adviser said. (Full Story)
  • Obama said he saw little hope of near-term improvement in the U.S. economy after a staggering drop in gross domestic product in the final three months of last year. (Full Story)
  • The Senate voted overwhelmingly to preserve thousands of earmarks in a $410 billion spending bill, brushing aside Sen. McCain's claim that Obama and Congress are merely conducting business as usual in a time of economic hardship. McCain's attempt to strip out an estimated 8,500 earmarks failed on a vote of 63-32. (Full Story)
  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will press Obama for details on his plans to fix the ailing U.S. financial sector in talks that will focus on the global economic crisis. The two leaders will also discuss ways to tighten lax financial regulations, a major topic for the summit of the Group of 20 developed and emerging economies that Brown will host in London on April 2. (Full Story)

Day 42: Health Reform Positions Nominated (Mar. 2)

  • Obama named Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to lead his ambitious health reform effort. He also named former Clinton administration health official Nancy-Ann DeParle to serve as head of the newly created White House Office for Health Reform, which will help coordinate Obama's health reform agenda with Congress. (Full Story)
  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hopes to forge an alliance this week with Obama to combat the global financial crisis and reinforce what London calls its special relationship with Washington. Brown will be the first European leader to meet Obama since he was inaugurated. (Full Story)

Day 40: Big Budget Fight Ahead (Feb. 28)

  • A combative Obama warned he was bracing for a fight against powerful lobbyists and special interests who sought to pick apart the $3.55 trillion budget he wants to advance his agenda of reform.(Full Story)
  • Your Weekly Address: Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate, and assures special interests that he is ready for the fight. (Watch the video here)

Day 39: Obama's Tax Breaks Applauded (Feb. 27)

  • The Obama administration's autos task force demonstrated a "genuine willingness" to understand the plight of GM and the restructuring plan it has submitted to the government, the company said. (Full Story)
  • Many Americans applauded the spending plans and tax breaks set out in Obama's record budget, while others questioned the yawning deficit it would entail. (Full Story)
  • Obama nominated Jon Leibowitz to be chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, the White House said. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration is trying to walk a public relations tightrope in aiding the banking industry. On one side is an angry electorate that wants to see a wounded financial services industry embarrassed and penalized. On the other is a group of powerful institutions whose survival and revival are critical to the success of the President’s costly and controversial economic stimulus plan.(Full Story)

Day 38: Additional $250 Billion Needed to Help Financial System? (Feb. 26)

  • Obama has forecast a 2009 deficit of $1.75 trillion in a budget proposal that sets goals of overhauling the healthcare system and shoring up the US economy. (Full Story)
  • Obama will propose further tax increases on the affluent to help pay for his promise to make health care more accessible and affordable, calling for stricter limits on the benefits of itemized deductions taken by the wealthiest households. (Full Story)
  • Obama is sending Congress a "hard choices" budget that would boost taxes on the wealthy and curtail Medicare payments to insurance companies and hospitals to make way for a $634 billion down payment on universal health care. (Full Story)
  • Banks that are big enough to destabilize markets should be subject to tighter regulatory oversight, and some rules ought to be internationally agreed, said White House economic adviser Paul Volcker. (Full Story)
  • Obama penciled into his budget the possibility that he may request an additional $250 billion to help fix the troubled financial system. The figure, described as a "placeholder" and not a specific funding request, would support asset purchases of $750 billion via government financial stabilization programs, administration officials said. (Full Story)

Day 37: Obama Lays Out Reform Plans, House Approves $410 Billion Legislation (Feb. 25)

  • With one of their own in the White House, Democrats in Congress are moving to give domestic government agencies 8 percent more money, on average, to spend this year atop the whopping $787 billion in economic stimulus funds. (Full Story)
  • Obama's budget chief Peter Orszag said that economic stimulus money approved by Congress must be spent "quickly and wisely" if the administration is to boost the economy and create 3.5 million jobs. (Full Story)
  • Obama nominated Gary Locke to be U.S. commerce secretary, turning to a West Coast politician with a history of working with China after his two previous nominees backed out. (Full Story)
  • Obama called on Congress to send him legislation that places a market-based cap on U.S. carbon polluting emissions and pushes the production of more renewable energy. (Full Story)
  • Financial institutions that pose a serious risk to markets should be subject to serious government oversight, said Obama. Obama also said: "But let me be clear—the choice we face is not between an oppressive government-run economy and a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism. (Full Story)
  • Obama and Geithner plan to lay out broad principles for Wall Street regulatory reform aimed at preventing a repeat of the current financial crisis, said an administration official. (Full Story)
  • The Democratic-controlled House approved $410 billion legislation that boosted domestic programs, bristled with earmarks and chipped away at policies left behind by the Bush administration. (Full Story)

Day 36: Obama's Speech & A New Commerce Secretary (Feb. 24)

  • Obama will tell Americans in his first major speech that "we will rebuild, we will recover" from the worst economic crisis in decades. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face and take responsibility for our future once more," Obama will tell a joint session of Congress according to advance excerpts of his speech. (Full Story)
  • Former Washington state governor Gary Locke will be announced as the nominee for the Secretary of U.S. Commerce on Wednesday, according to a White House official. (Full Story)
  • Obama sought to strike a delicate balance between hope and reality on Tuesday to reassure Americans mired in economic crisis that they would survive a "day of reckoning." (Full Story)

Day 35: Obama's Economic Summit (Feb. 23)

  • Calling for fiscal restraint even while federal spending soars, President Obama pledged to dramatically slash the annual budget deficit and announced $15 billion in Medicaid money to states from his $787 billion economic stimulus package.
  • Obama summoned allies, adversaries and outside experts to a White House summit to address the nation's future financial health one week after signing into law the gargantuan stimulus measure designed to stop the country's economic free fall and, ultimately, reverse the recession now months into its second year. By Obama's own account, the new law will add to this fiscal year's deficit, which the administration projects will be $1.5 trillion.
  • Gary Locke, a former governor of Washington state, is the "likely nominee'' for U.S. commerce secretary. Locke, a Democrat, is the third nominee for the post. The first two, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Republican Senator Judd Gregg, withdrew their names from contention. (Full Story)

Day 34: Obama to Set Big Goals in First Budget (Feb. 22)

  • Obama's budget this week will set out big goals: to rescue the economy from freefall, expand U.S. health care coverage and move within a few years to slash huge deficits. The budget, due out on Thursday, will indicate Obama's timeline for achieving many of the domestic priorities he pushed during the campaign. (Full Story)

Day 33: Obama Begins Tax Cuts (Feb. 21)

  • Obama ordered the Treasury to implement tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans, fulfilling a campaign pledge he hopes will help jolt the economy out of recession. Obama will allow tax breaks given to wealthier Americans under his predecessor, George W. Bush, to expire in 2010 as scheduled rather than eliminate them sooner, an administration official said Saturday. (Full Story)
  • Your Weekly Address:Obama announces that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will start having an impact as soon as a few weeks from now, in the form of the quickest and broadest tax cut in history. (Watch the video here)

Day 32: Obama's Adviser: Crisis May be Worse than Depression (Feb. 20)

  • The global economy may be deteriorating even faster than it did during the Great Depression, said Paul Volcker, a top adviser to Obama. Volcker noted that industrial production around the world was declining even more rapidly than in the United States, which is itself under severe strain. (Full Story)
  • The White House is trying to help people who have been "victims of the unforeseen circumstance" with their mortgages, Jared Bernstein, chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, told CNBC. (Full Story)

Day 30: Obama Unveils $275 Billion Housing Plan (Feb. 18)

  • Obama unveiled his much-anticipated plan to fight the housing crisis, pledging up to $275 billion to help stem a wave of foreclosures sweeping the country. (Full Story)
  • Obama’s decision to act as his own “car czar” means that in the next few months he faces decisions no American president has made since the invention of the automobile. The most urgent among them: whether two of America’s three surviving domestic carmakers should be forced into bankruptcy, how many more concessions should be extracted from unions that helped propel him into the Oval Office and, perhaps, even what kind of cars will be produced in the United States. (Full Story)

Day 29: Stimulus Signed into Law (Feb. 17)

  • Obama signed a $787 billion economic stimulus bill into law as global markets plunged on fears that the recession would deepen despite government action in many countries. (Full Story)
  • Financially strapped General Motors and Chrysler raced to finish restructuring plans that must be submitted to the Obama administration by the end of the day as part of efforts to keep America's biggest carmakers afloat. (Full Story)
  • Obama’s plan to reduce the flood of home foreclosures will include a mix of government inducements and new pressure on lenders to reduce monthly payments for borrowers at risk of losing their houses, according to people knowledgeable about the administration’s thinking. (Full Story)
  • Obama will release his first budget proposal on Feb. 26. The administration will release an outline of the budget for the 2010 fiscal year. A more detailed version will be released later in the year. (Full Story)

Day 28: White House Wants Changes in Exec. Pay Rules (Feb. 16)

  • Facing a stricter approach to limiting executive bonuses than it had favored, the Obama administration wants to revise that part of the stimulus package even after it becomes law, said White House officials. (Full Story)

Day 26: Your Weekly Address (Feb. 14)

  • In the weekly address, Obama celebrates the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act while keeping his eyes on the tough road ahead. (Watch the video here)

Day 25: House Approves Stimulus Package (Feb. 13)

  • The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts aimed at rescuing the struggling economy. (Full Story)
  • Larry Summers, a top economics adviser to Obama says the $790 billion stimulus plan set for a final congressional vote will help, but that it isn't a "silver bullet" to cure the problem. He called the bill "complex" and said getting it through Congress is a credit to the president's leadership. (Full Story)

Day 24: Key Stimulus Dispute Settled. Sen. Gregg Withdraws (Feb. 12)

  • Congressional leaders are ironing out the final details of the $789 billion economic stimulus legislation at the heart ofObama's recovery plan, resolving a dispute over school construction as they pushed toward a vote in the House. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration is hammering out a program to subsidize mortgages in a new front to fight the credit crisis, sources familiar with the plan told Reuters Thursday, firing financial markets. In a major break from existing aid programs, the plan under consideration would seek to help homeowners before they fall into arrears on their loans. Current programs only assist borrowers that are already delinquent. (Full Story)

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary, citing "irresolvable conflicts" with Obama's handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census. (Full Story)

Day 23: Stimulus Pact Reached (Feb. 11)

  • Congressional negotiators reached agreement on a $789 billion package of spending and tax cuts, handing a big victory to Obama in his effort to pull the economy out of a tailspin. But in a possible last-minute snag, negotiators delayed a meeting to vote on the compromise so lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives could be briefed. (Full Story)
  • The Treasury Department will soon release documents providing information about the lending activities of the biggest 20 financial firms receiving government aid under the TARP plan. The first so-called “TARP intermediation snapshot” documents will be released Feb. 17 and on a monthly basis thereafter, according to Treasury spokesman Isaac Baker. (Full Story)
  • Lawmakers urged Geithner to provide more details on how much taxpayer money the Obama administration's bank rescue plan ultimately will cost. Geithner declined to speculate on the likelihood the administration will ask for more funds beyond the roughly $350 billion remaining in the original $700 bailout program, but he told the Senate Budget Committee that further requests are possible. (Full Story)

Day 22: A New Bank Bailout Plan (Feb. 10)

  • The US Treasury Department unveiled a revamped financial rescue plan to cleanse up to $500 billion in spoiled assets from banks' books and support $1 trillion in new lending through an expanded Federal Reserve program. (Full Story)
  • A compromise stimulus package to revive the U.S. economy now hinges on negotiations between Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Senate and House have passed competing bills calling for $838 billion and $819 billion respectively in new spending and tax cuts. (Full Story)
  • The Treasury's latest financial-rescue plan is expected to use a variety of methods to take bad assets off of banks' books, including encouraging private firms to buy up the toxic debt, sources told CNBC. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration's financial-rescue plan will contain a number of measures meant to ease the credit crunch, including a public-private initiative to take bad assets off of banks' balance sheets, mortgage loan and foreclosure relief and a new consumer lending initiative, according to the government's summary of the plan. (Full Story)

Day 21: Stimulus Bill Passes Crucial Senate Test (Feb. 9)

  • An $838 billion economic stimulus bill backed by the White House survived a key test vote in the Senate despite strong Republican opposition, and Democratic leaders vowed to deliver legislation for Obama's signature within a few days. (Full Story)
  • The comprehensive financial plan to be announced Tuesday by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will include an expanded loan facility that will purchase newly issued and newly rated Commercial mortgage-backed securities and private-label mortgage-backed securities, all AAA rated, CNBC has learned. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration pushed back the announcement of a keenly awaited bank rescue plan until Tuesday as it pressed lawmakers to settle their differences over a huge economic stimulus package. (Full Story)
  • Obama insisted that only government can jolt the economy out of deep recession and offered an olive branch to longtime foe Iran, scrapping years of past U.S. policies. (Full Story)

Day 20: Stimulus Package This Week? (Feb. 8)

  • Top aides to Obama urged Democratic and Republican lawmakers to set aside political differences and give anticipated final approval this week to a massive economic stimulus package this week. (Full Story)
  • Geithner has postponed his bank bailout plan announcement to Tuesday to allow Congress to focus on economic stimulus legislation, the Treasury Department said. (Full Story)

Day 19: Obama Demands Speed on Stimulus (Feb. 7)

  • In the weekly address, Obama commends the progress the Senate has made on moving the recovery plan forward, and urged its completion. (Watch the video here)
  • Obama pounded Republicans for policies that fueled the U.S. economic crisis, while welcoming a Senate deal on his stimulus bill that ideologically split lawmakers hope to finish by mid-month. Obama said quick action on the package was imperative to avoid catastrophe and praised the group of moderate senators from both political parties for coming up with a compromise. Senate Democrats agreed late Friday to trim spending proposals and support tax cuts in a roughly $800 billion bill. (Full Story)

Day 18: Strengthening the Economic Stimulus Plan (Feb. 6)

  • Obama named an advisory panel led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to help guide his efforts to rescue the economy and rebuild the shattered U.S. financial system. (Full Story)
  • Geithner will announce on Monday a "comprehensive plan" to stabilize the financial system. In a news conference, Geithner will laid out a "strategy to strengthen our economy by getting credit flowing again to families and businesses." The plan will include an aid package for the banking industry, according to a well-informed source. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration is talking with automakers and their suppliers about the U.S. Treasury rescue program for the industry but has made no decision to expand aid to the auto industry. The suppliers have presented three options to U.S. officials that taken together would add up to some $25 billion in assistance. (Full Story)
  • Obama plans to participate in town hall-style meetings next week in two cities that have struggled amid the crumbling economy. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama plans to visit Elkhart, Ind., on Monday to tell residents what his $900 billion stimulus plan would mean for them. (Full Story)

Day 17: Stimulus Bill Debate Continues (Feb. 5)

  • Obama urged action on a $900 billion stimulus bill before Congress to stave off "catastrophe", as a surge in the number of new jobless benefit claims pointed to an economy in deep recession. (Full Story)
  • The US Senate neared a vote on a huge economic rescue package of tax cuts and new spending sought by Obama, with moderate senators saying the final bill should be around $800 billion.(Full Story)
  • The Obama administration has decided on a new package of aid measures for the financial services industry, including a bad bank component, and is expected to announce it next Monday, according to a source familiar with the planning.(Full Story)
  • Geithner will convene his first meeting as Chairman of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, but the expanded gathering also will include top banking regulators and White House economic adviser Larry Summers.(Full Story)

Day 16: Obama Imposes New Pay Rule (Feb. 4)

  • Obama imposed tough new rules to rein in corporate pay, capping executive compensation at $500,000 a year for companies receiving taxpayer funds and limiting lavish severance packages paid to top officials. (Full Story)
  • Republicans tried to push back against the ballooning size of Obama's stimulus plan, even as he warned that the financial crisis will turn into "a catastrophe" if the bill isn't passed quickly. Obama summoned centrist senators to the White House to discuss a plan to cut more than $50 billion in spending from the measure, which breached the $900 billion barrier in the Senate. (Full Story)
  • An ex-aide to Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg is under investigation for allegedly taking baseball and hockey tickets from a lobbyist in exchange for legislative favors. This comes at a particularly bad time for Obama's administration, a day after he had to defend his selection process because two high-profile nominees withdrew due to tax problems. (Full Story)

Day 15: Withdrawals, Withdrawals. But the Show Goes On (Feb. 3)

  • Former Senator Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The action comes after Daschle admitted failure to pay past taxes. "Now we must move forward," Obama said in a written statement accepting Daschle's request to be taken out of consideration. (Full Story)
  • Obama's choice to oversee budget and spending reform, Nancy Killefer, also withdrew her nomination Tuesday because of tax reasons, according to a letter released by the White House. (Full Story)
  • A group of Republican senators offered a $445 billion alternative plan to boosting the ailing economy, about half of which would be in the form of tax cuts. The stimulus package would include cutting payroll and income taxes for a year, as well as lowering the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 25 percent and offering home buyers a tax credit worth $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration is still struggling with the details of a bad bank concept that is expected to be part of a package of industry and consumer measures to be unveiled next week, according to a source familiar with the situation.(Full Story)
  • New U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he would prosecute Wall Street crime but was not planning any "witch hunts" despite mounting outrage among Americans over corporate excess. "We're not going to go out on any witch hunts," Holder told reporters. (Full Story)

Day 14: Obama Targets CEO Pay (Feb. 2)

  • The Obama administration indicated that it will not unveil new measures to aid the financial services industry this week, but will instead move on the issue of Wall Street bonuses and executive compensation. (Full Story)
  • Fighting to save his Cabinet nomination, Tom Daschle pleaded his case in a closed meeting with former Senate colleagues after publicly apologizing for failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes. Obama said he was "absolutely" sticking with his nominee for health secretary, and a key senator added an important endorsement. (Full Story)

Day 13: Obama's Bill 'Wastes a Ton of Money': Sen. Kyl (Feb. 1)

  • The U.S. Senate's No. 2 Republican warned his party's support for Obama's economic stimulus bill was eroding and "major structural changes" were needed to win Republican support. "You have to start from scratch and reconstruct this," said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona. He said the proposed bill, with a price approaching $900 billion, "wastes a ton of money." (Full Story)
  • Discussions between the Obama administration and financial industry representatives continued for a third day with the focus moving to new terms on lending, transparency and executive compensation for companies receiving financial aid, according to a source familiar with the situation. (Full Story)

Day 12: Your Weekly Address (Jan. 31)

  • In this week's address, Obama urged the swift passage of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan and announced that Geithner is preparing a new strategy for reviving the financial system, which will not only ensure that CEOs aren't abusing taxpayer dollars, but also get credit flowing and lower mortgage costs. (Watch the video here)

Day 11: Obama Administration Meets with Wall Street Execs. (Jan. 30)

  • Officials from the Obama administration held meetings with Wall Street executives on how to create a new government bank to buy bad assets from major financial firms. However, people with direct knowledge of the talks said there is no consensus on how such an entity would work or whether a plan could materialize any time soon or possibly ever. (Full Story)
  • Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire confirmed that Obama may nominate him as U.S. commerce secretary. A source said Obama had backed off Silicon Valley executive John Thompson, who just days ago was viewed as the front-runner. (Full Story)
  • The Obama administration said it expects the U.S. House to approve legislation that would delay until June the planned nationwide transition to digital television. The Senate has approved legislation to delay the transition because of worries that some 20 million mostly poor, elderly and rural households that have older television sets receiving analog signals are not ready for the change. (Full Story)

Day 10: Obama: Wall Street Bonuses are 'Outrageous' (Jan. 29)

  • Obama said it is "irresponsible and shameful" for Wall Street bankers to be paid huge bonuses at a time when the America is dealing with economic hardship. He reacted harshly to reports that corporate employees got paid more than $18 billion in bonuses last year. Obama said he and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will have direct conversations with corporate leaders to make the point. (Full Story)
  • Vice President Joe Biden told CNBC that the final stimulus bill, which is now in the Senate, will "get better," and he "expects Republicans to vote for it." "We're not giving up on bipartisan support," Biden said. Biden went on to say that the bill may end up having additional infrastructure spending and tax cuts but didn't say what those tax cuts might be. (Full Story)
  • Gov. Rod Blagojevich was unanimously convicted at his impeachment trial and thrown out of office, ending a nearly two-month crisis that erupted with his arrest on charges he tried to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat. Blagojevich becomes the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed by impeachment. (Full Story)

Day 9: Stimulus Package Passes Vote in House (Jan. 28)

  • Moving with remarkable speed, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved $819 billion in spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of Obama's economic recovery program. Unhappy Republicans, however, said the bill was short on tax cuts and contained too much spending, much of it wasteful and unlikely to help laid-off Americans. (Full Story)
  • Obama met with business leaders to keep up a lobbying campaign for passage of his economic plan, which could be the signature domestic initiative of his first term as he struggles to deal with the worst financial crisis in decades. Obama said it was important to act swiftly to boost the troubled U.S. economy, adding that it was facing "enormous problems." (Full Story)
  • Republicans in the House, however, offered an alternative proposal to boost the struggling U.S. economy. The cost of their proposal is approximately $478 billion. (Full Story)

Russia has halted a plan to retaliate against a proposed U.S. missile defense shield by stationing its own missiles near Europe's borders. The suspension of plans, if confirmed, would show Russia is extending an olive branch to Obama after rocky relations under his predecessor. (Full Story)

Day 8: The Stimulus Package Plan Moves Forward (Jan. 27)

  • Obama said he wants the House to pass legislation that hits his goal of spending 75 percent of the $825 billion stimulus plan within 18 months. The bill that the House is considering would only spend 64 percent of the money in that period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. (Full Story)
  • Geithner announced new rules to limit lobbying by companies that receive government financial assistance in one of his first moves after being sworn into office. The rules restrict lobbyist contacts in connection with applications for or disbursement of the Treasury's $700 billion bailout program. The rules will use as a model the protections that limit political influence on tax matters, and require the Treasury to certify each investment decision is based only on investment criteria and facts of the case. (Full Story)
  • Symantec president John Thompson is Obama's top choice for commerce secretary.White House spokesman Gibbs said a final decision had not been made. Obama had previously nominated New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to fill the commerce post, but Richardson withdrew on Jan. 4 in the face of a legal inquiry. (Full Story)

Day 7: Obama's New Climate Policies (Jan. 26)

  • Obama told the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars, reversing the climate policies of former President George W. Bush. (Full Story)
  • Timothy Geithner won confirmation as U.S. Treasury secretary and vowed to act quickly to protect the U.S. economy from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.However, some lawmakers were disturbed by Geithner's late payment of $34,000 in self-employment taxes to vote against the nominee even though they felt he was well suited for the job otherwise. (Full Story)

Day 5: Your Weekly Address (Jan. 24)

  • In his first weekly address as President, Barack Obama discusses how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will jump-start the economy. (Watch the video here)

Day 4: Stimulus Package by President's Day? (Jan. 23)

    President Barack Obama said Friday it appears Congress is "on target" to approve a massive new stimulus package by Feb. 16th, President's Day. Obama met with top Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday and said the stimulus package working its way through Congress would be only one leg of an "at least three-legged stool." He said the government needed to move "swiftly and aggressively" as the economy and the financial system struggle. (Full Story)

Auto industry supporters in Congress asked Obama to support another $25 billion in federal loans to help the industry make more fuel efficient cars, seeking over $4 billion in grants and loan guarantees. The White House said Obama and his advisers will evaluate the needs of automakers after reviewing their viability plans in mid-February. (Full Story)


Ford Motor Company (F)

Car sales are rebounding, pricing is strong, and gains in stock prices can continue according to Wall Street. Barclay’s analyst Brian Johnson is the latest to weigh in with an upbeat view. On Tuesday, he increased his price target for stock in General Motors (ticker: GM) to $70 from $74 and boosted his call on (F) (F) to $17 from $15.

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UPDATE 1-India auto hub lets car plants run at full capacity despite few vaccinations

* 3/4 of Ford, Hyundai, Renault-Nissan workers not vaccinated * 1/7 of workers contracted virus, 21 died * Plants at 90% pre-lockdown workforce (Adds details from industrial safety department report) By Sudarshan Varadhan CHENNAI, June 20 (Reuters) - Car factories, including those of Renault-Nissan, Hyundai and Ford, can operate with full workforces in India's automaking hub from Monday, even though 75% of workers at the global carmakers' plants have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. India's southern Tamil Nadu state, known for its flourishing automobile industry, on Sunday allowed some industrial units including those of global automakers in and around capital city Chennai to operate at 100% capacity.

India auto hub lets car plants run at full capacity despite few vaccinations

CHENNAI (Reuters) -Car factories, including those of Renault-Nissan, Hyundai and Ford, can operate with full workforces in India's automaking hub from Monday, even though 75% of workers at the global carmakers' plants have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. India's southern Tamil Nadu state, known for its flourishing automobile industry, on Sunday allowed some industrial units including those of global automakers in and around capital city Chennai to operate at 100% capacity. The move follows a Tamil Nadu Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health report dated 18 June, reviewed by Reuters, which shows three in four workers at the plants of Ford, Hyundai and Renault-Nissan near Chennai have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

What Do the F-150 Lightning and Ford Pro Mean for Ford Stock?

It's clear that Ford Motor Company's (NYSE: F) new electric F-150 Lightning pickup could play a big role in the push to get more consumers to adopt electric vehicles. In this Motley Fool Live video, recorded on May 27, Industry Focus host Nick Sciple and Motley Fool senior auto specialist John Rosevear take a look at how Ford is planning to use its new line of electric vehicles -- and the enhanced computing power it's bringing to all of its products -- to drive revenue and profit gains that could give the stock an extra boost over the next few years. Nick Sciple: We've talked about the competitive landscape, the strategy that Ford has laid out in electric vehicles, how it is potentially opening up some more of these services-type revenues for Ford, which can be higher-margin when you think about the business earnings valuation, how does this change what Ford looks like as a business, say five-years in the future?

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Ford sees better-than-expected quarterly profit on higher vehicle prices

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Trump’s Approval Rating Hits New Record Low

Two months into his presidency, Donald Trump’s ratings continue to fall. The commander in chief’s approval rating fell to a new low over the weekend to 37 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. That marks a sharp drop from the 45 percent of a week earlier and comes as Trump’s disapproval rating hit 58 percent, also a high point since the real estate mogul was sworn into office.

Needless to say, those are the worst numbers for any president this early in his administration in the history of modern polling.

Trump approval drops to 37% - the worst Gallup poll any president has ever had this early in their term. pic.twitter.com/399k8tLFmx

&mdash Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) March 19, 2017

Gallup- Job approval upon hitting 60 days in office:
Carter 75
Reagan 60
HW Bush 56
Clinton 53
W Bush 58
Obama 63

Gallup- Job *disapproval* upon hitting 60 days in office:
Carter 9
Reagan 24
HW Bush 16
Clinton 34
W Bush 29
Obama 26

The dip in Trump’s approval rating comes after a tumultuous week in which the president struggled to sell a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare and questions continue to swirl about Russia’s involvement in his campaign.

The Independent points out that Trump mocked Obama for his “record low” 39 percent Gallup approval rating in August 2011, a level he has now surpassed.

The latest Gallup numbers come on the heels of another poll that showed 57 percent of young Americans see Trump’s presidency as illegitimate. GenForward’s poll found that only 22 percent of 18-to-30-year-olds approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 62 percent disapprove.


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O n election eve last November, the little city of Manassas, Virginia became the improbable Woodstock of Generation Obama as thousands gathered to hear their candidate close his almost two-year-long campaign with a final appeal for 𠆌hange in America’. It was a grand finale orchestrated with considerable self-confidence and irony. Although Manassas (population, 37,000) retains blue-collar grit, the rest of Prince William County (380,000) epitomizes the greedy sprawl of the Bush era: a disorganized landscape of older townhouses, newer McMansions, faux-historical shopping centres, high-tech business parks, evangelical mega-churches, pariah islands of apartment housing, and melancholy vestiges of a graceful Virginia countryside. Assuring the County a prominent footnote in Tom Clancy novels, its southeastern corner is annexed by Marine Corps Base Quantico and the fbi national training centre.

As the Dixie edge of ‘Los Angeles on the Potomac’ and the seventh richest large county in the United States, Prince William is precisely the kind of ‘outer’ or 𠆎mergent’ suburb which Karl Rove famously mobilized to re-elect George W. Bush in 2004. footnote 1 Indeed, since Nixon’s victory over Hubert Humphrey in 1968, the Republican Party has counted on Sunbelt suburbs like Prince William County to generate winning margins in national elections. Reaganomics, of course, was incubated in the famous tax revolts that shook suburban California in the late 1970s, while Newt Gingrich’s 1994 𠆌ontract with America’ was primarily a magna carta for affluent voters in Western exurbs and New South edge cities. Even as the suburbs aged and densified, the Republicans drew power from the contradiction that ‘post-suburban Americans remained resolutely anti-urban even as their world has become increasingly urbanized.’ footnote 2

Obama, in effect, signalled the beginning of a new epoch when he chose to climax his campaign on what has been the wrong side of the suburban Mason𠄽ixon Line for most national Democrats since the 1960s (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton only partly excepted). Although the rally was not scheduled to begin until 9pm, crowds were already streaming into the Prince William County Fairgrounds by sunset, and southbound Interstate 66 was jammed half way back to Washington dc , 26 miles to the northeast. A Washington Post blogger marvelled at the numerous Redskins fans, bedecked in team gear, who had chosen to hear Obama over attending Monday night’s classic game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The state police estimated the multitude in excess of 80,000, but the Obama camp was certain that their candidate spoke to more than 100,000—perhaps the largest audience for an election-eve speech in American history.

The last time a throng this vast had converged on Manassas was in late August 1862, when Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia collided with the larger Union Army led by the incompetent John Pope. Twenty thousand soldiers, dead and wounded, spilt their blood on soil already stained red from the opening major battle of the Civil War a year earlier. (Southern custom, which named battles after the nearest town, enshrined this slaughter as the ‘Second Battle of Manassas’, while in the North, where battles were baptized with the name of the nearest river or stream, it was ‘Second Bull Run’.) Obama, who had launched his general election campaign in Prince William, was well aware that he spoke on symbolic ground, hallowed by an ancient war yet incompletely redeemed from the legacy of slavery.

When, after a long delay in traffic outside Dulles Airport, he finally strode on stage about 10.30, he was weary but exultant. As he had done scores of times before, he promised his supporters that their ordinary ‘hard-working sense of responsibility’ would define his new government, not the ‘greed and incompetence’ that had characterized the age of Bush. Younger supporters repeatedly took up the signature campaign chant, borrowed from the struggle of California farmworkers in the 1960s, of ‘Yes we can!’ (‘¡Sí se puede!’ in the original). Almost as tall as Lincoln, and sometimes nearly as eloquent, Obama roused a final, immense cheer with the reassurance: ‘Virginia you can change the world’. footnote 3

Obama beats Lee

In 2004, George W. Bush won Virginia by 54 per cent and Prince William by 52.8 per cent. Since 1948 only Lyndon Johnson had managed to carry the Old Dominion for the Democrats, and John McCain was favoured to preserve Republican tradition in a state with famously large numbers of military and Christian conservative voters. Republican-controlled Prince William County, notorious for its right-wing delegation in the Richmond legislature, as well as its recent persecution of undocumented Latino immigrants, ‘prided itself as being the last Republican redoubt in northern Virginia’. footnote 4

In the event, Virginia’s voters, including the good burghers of Prince William, gave Barack Obama a 52.7 per cent victory in the state, and a 57.6 per cent margin in the county𠅊 whopping 12-point improvement over 2004. Whereas Kerry won only one of Virginia’s four major regions (northern Virginia), Obama easily took three, adding the Capital region and Hampton Roads/eastern Virginia while McCain eked poor consolation in the Appalachian southwest. footnote 5 It was a stunning result. A Black Democrat with a Muslim name had come to Manassas and, in effect, beaten the ghosts of Robert E. Lee and Jim Crow. Is the world, as a result, changing? Have the gridlocked tectonic plates of American electoral politics finally lurched to the left?

Psephology—the statistical analysis of elections—is an inscrutably American obsession, like chewing tobacco or varmint hunting. Although Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and Ehud Barak have all toyed with the dark art, and a Brit originally coined the Greek-cognate term in the 1950s, only those native-born in a Louisiana bayou or a Washington law firm are likely to possess the consummate instinct for extracting winning strategies from a few shavings of an electoral vote. Some have compared voting analysis to the subtle skill of a sommelier, but it is actually more akin (to extend the French analogy) to the acute attentiveness of Louis xiv ’s physicians to the contents of the royal chamber pot. With recent national elections decided by ‘hanging chads’ in Florida and a few absentee ballots in Ohio, the slightest statistical deviation from an established trend attracts intense scrutiny from the epigones of Lee Atwater and James Carville. In their quest for a few decisive votes, campaign 𠆋oiler rooms’ have become monastically dedicated to the tracking of obscure fads on YouTube and the micro-targeting of vegetarians in Nebraska.

From this perspective, Obama’s victories in Virginia and other ‘swing states’ like Colorado, Florida and North Carolina constitute the gold ring: a once-in-a-generation acceleration of attitudinal change in the electorate. Conservative analysts, especially, worry that the election may augur a political transformation comparable to Roosevelt’s epochal victory in 1932 or Reagan’s in 1980. Indeed, with Wall Street and Detroit suddenly in ruins, and fear eating the soul of the suburban middle class, the Republican Party seems to be dissolving into an endless acrimony of sectarian factions and cult leaders with limited national appeal, such as Sarah Palin. In contrast, Obama has generously opened the White House doors to Clintonites and Republicans, reinforcing his image as a pragmatic centrist focused on competent government and national unity.

Political pundits and party strategists in their majority weigh the meaning of this election upon the balance-scale of the theory of electoral realignment first proposed in 1955 by the legendary Harvard political scientist V. O. Key, Jr. and later developed in detail by his mit protégé, Walter Dean Burnham. In order to explain the rise and fall of successive party systems from Andrew Jackson to Ronald Reagan, they postulated a causality analogous to Eldredge and Gould’s ‘punctuated equilibrium’ paradigm in paleontology, where electoral evolution is compressed into episodic reorganizations that are synchronized with major economic crises (1896, 1932 and 1980). Although many academics remain sceptical, Key and Burnham’s thesis of the 𠆌ritical election’ that durably realigns interest blocs and partisan loyalties remains the holy grail of every actual presidential campaign. footnote 6

In his Critical Elections and the Mainsprings of American Politics, Burnham provides a reasonably canonical definition:

The critical realignment is characteristically associated with short-lived but very intense disruptions of traditional patterns of voting behaviour. Majority parties become minorities politics which was once competitive becomes noncompetitive or, alternatively, hitherto one-party areas now become arenas of intense partisan competition and large blocks of the active electorate—minorities, to be sure, but perhaps involving as much as a fifth to a third of the voters—shift their partisan allegiance. footnote 7

Although Obama’s 53 per cent majority of the popular vote is not the definitive landslide of fdr ’s 1932 election (57 per cent), it improves upon Reagan’s 1980 performance (51 per cent) and, of course, overshadows Clinton’s first fortuitous plurality (43 per cent in a three-way race). footnote 8 Excepting fdr ’s four victories and Lyndon Johnson’s annihilation of Barry Goldwater in 1964, Obama did better than any Democratic candidate since the Civil War, and his campaign met Burnham’s criteria of opening enemy terrain to intense competition while galvanizing new voters and interest groups on behalf of the insurgent party.

His victory, moreover, was wrought by a novel strategy of political communications, operating inside web-based social networks that hardly existed in 2000 and are still poorly understood by older politicos. Although both the 1932 and 1960 presidential campaigns also introduced major innovations in political technology (radio and television, respectively), the 2008 Democratic campaign was a Marshall McLuhan-like leap from one media universe to another.

Building upon the template of Howard Dean’s Internet ‘shock and awe’ in the 2004 primary (and retaining Dean’s shrewd skills as Democratic national chair), the Obama campaign used Silicon Valley expertise to mine an El Dorado of small donations through social networking and campaign websites. footnote 9 As Joshua Green pointed out admiringly in the Atlantic, 𠆍uring the month of February . . . his campaign raised $55 million—$45 million of it over the Internet—without the candidate himself hosting a single fundraiser.’ footnote 10 While trying to compete with this digital juggernaut, the Clinton campaign was driven into bankruptcy during the summer, and McCain was outspent by $154 million in the fall𠅊 dramatic reversal of the usual Republican financial advantage in presidential elections. footnote 11

A flush war chest allowed the campaign to intensify voter-registration efforts across the country and mount media blitzkriegs in an unprecedented number of states. The Democrats also made brilliant use of early and absentee ballots (almost one-third of the total vote) to ensure the suffrage of blue-collar workers, elderly homebound people and inner-city residents𠅊ll of whom traditionally have trouble getting time off to vote or face unusually long waits at polls. New weapons, such as the candidate blog𠅊 digital version of the fireside chat𠅊nd viral political messaging were deployed to support a huge army of volunteers (5,000 in Prince William County alone), while saturation television advertising, automated phone calls, and regiments of rock stars softened up enemy positions.

The Obama camp exploited every opportunity to portray the election as an epochal techno-generational conflict, pitting the youthful many-hued netroots against obese am -hate-radio fans and robotic evangelical congregations. Multi-tasking on his beloved Blackberry or plugged into his mp 3 player during his morning workout, Obama was easily cast as an epitome of those 21st-century competencies that some psychologists claim may represent a human evolutionary leap, while McCain, with his self-confessed computer phobia and archaic elocutions (‘My friends . . .’), was prone to caricature as an escaped Alzheimer’s patient.

But revolutions in political communications do not automatically make realignments, and widely hailed new eras in American political history have sometimes turned out to be short-lived mirages. In Burnham’s cautious construction, a ‘realigning election’ can only be ratified as a watershed after the political system has unambiguously begun to consolidate its results. Thus Carter’s 1976 victory, which some contemporaries hailed as a Democratic rebirth in the South, led a divided party straight into a hopeless cul de sac, while Clinton’s defeat of George Bush senior in 1992 was an achievement shared with maverick billionaire Ross Perot, who hijacked 19 per cent of the vote, mainly from Bush, and soon checked by the Republican sweep of the House of Representatives in 1994. (As Matt Bai reminds us, ‘the booming nineties had, in fact, been the party’s worst decade since the roaring twenties.’) footnote 12

Obama, who will be the first president ever to face the dual challenges of foreign war and economic depression, undoubtedly risks the possibility of a Republican resurgence in 2010 or 2012. Moreover his popularity like Bill Clinton’s exceeds that of his party, and a less-than-stunning contingent of new Democrats rode his coattails to victory in November. (Democrats had hoped to win 10 new Senate seats and 30 or more new House seats in the event, they had to settle for 7 and 21, respectively.) But psephologists are likely to give Obama better odds for leading a partisan realignment than they gave to Carter or Clinton. Even the most preliminary analysis of the 2008 presidential vote reveals new alliances and shifting loyalties that a deepening economic crisis may cement as a durable Democratic if not liberal majority.

These potentially realigning trends include the disappearance of ‘inverted 1896’ on the national election map the probable peaking of the evangelical vote and the Republican 𠆌ulture war’ strategy Obama’s victories in Karl Rove’s bellwether suburban counties the reappearance of a rainbow coalition in the electorate a Latino backlash against nativism and the political triumph of the New Economy over the Old.

Breakup of red America

In the famous 𠆌ritical election’ of 1896, Ohio’s William McKinley, a Gold Standard Republican, won the White House with an overwhelming electoral mandate from the states of the Northeast and Great Lakes, plus the votes of California and Oregon. Conversely, his opponent, the Nebraska Democrat and ‘Silverite’ William Jennings Bryan, commanded the sparser electoral votes of the Intermountain West, the Great Plains and the former Confederacy. Pro-tariff Republicans, in other words, ruled the industrial heartlands while cheap-money Democrats voiced the discontent of miners and farmers in the Western and Southern peripheries.

For the last decade, the exact inverse of the 1896 vote has defined the distribution of so-called Red and Blue states. Thus, Bush’s Machiavelli, Karl Rove, squarely based presidential campaign strategies in 2000 and 2004 upon impregnable Republican majorities in the once Bryanite interior West and the South, while Gore and Kerry counted on solid Democracy in the former McKinleyite heartlands. The great swing states of the 1960s�s era, California and Texas, had been captured, respectively, by liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans in the 1990s, so what remained in play in an era of extremely close popular votes was a handful of ‘purple states’: most importantly, electoral-vote-rich Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and Florida.

Although (as we shall see) a simple change in analytic magnification renders a different view of this reheated war between the states, as a complex struggle between electorates in the cores and peripheries of metropolitan systems and urban corridors, the concept of a primal regional divide in presidential politics was etched anew in the social imaginary of the Bush era. Indeed, the larger part of Sarah Palin’s role as McCain’s running mate was to incessantly and obnoxiously remind voters of the ‘real America’𠅊potheosized by her dreary Anchorage suburb𠅊nd its alien Other.

In theory, however, a candidate for president does not need to command a Red or Blue nation or even sweep a majority of states: the electoral votes of the eleven most populous states will suffice. Obama won nine, losing only Texas and Georgia. By subtracting three of the largest Southern states and three of the most populous Intermountain states from the inverted 1896 map, he destroyed the Rovian myths of the (new) Solid South and Red State America.

In the former Confederacy, containing about one-third of the American population, McCain lost Virginia, North Carolina and Florida: large states with advanced economies and well-educated, rapidly growing electorates. In both Virginia and North Carolina, Obama’s victory was built upon an alliance of African-Americans and white professionals, reinforced by immigrants and college students. footnote 13 In Georgia, meanwhile, Obama earned a larger share of the vote (47 per cent) than any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, putting the Peach State back into the swing category. Republican strategists should be especially worried by his strong showing (45 per cent) in Atlanta’s outer-suburban belt𠅌obb and Gwinnett counties with a population of nearly 1.5 million—where a growing Black middle class, along with a significant Latino migration, is eroding one of the most important conservative voting blocs in the country. Although McCain won Texas by almost one million votes, he lost both Dallas and Harris (metro Houston) counties, thereby boosting Democratic hopes of ending Republican supremacy in the next election cycle. footnote 14

In the West, the senator from Illinois ran away with the crucial electoral votes of Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. For the first time, the Democrats became a majority, if only by a sliver, in the aggregate presidential vote of the five ‘megas’ of the Intermountain West, the fastest growing region in the country. These new Los Angeleses (heavily populated by fugitive Californians) have become first-division electoral battlegrounds and will gain at least three more congressional seats in the next Census reapportionment. footnote 15 Accordingly, they figure large in Democratic hopes for an enduring realignment.

Elsewhere in the West, Obama made impressive progress over Kerry in Montana, gave the Democrats a reason for living in Idaho, increased their majority in Tucson, took Omaha (winning the first Democratic electoral vote in Nebraska since 1964), and conquered Salt Lake County (which Bush had carried by 80,000 in 2004). footnote 16 The Republicans, on their side, retained millions of acres of uninhabited real estate in Alaska, Wyoming and the Plains states, and with the aid of their two most important Western constituencies—Mormons and retirees𠅊voided what some polls were predicting as a possible upset in John McCain’s home state of Arizona.

Throughout the Sunbelt, moreover, Obama was particularly successful in the all-important ‘tech corridors’ that drive regional growth: the northern Virginia suburbs of dc as well as the so-called 𠆌hesapeake Crescent’: the Research Triangle of North Carolina, the Space Coast of Florida, the Front Range cities of Colorado, the Albuquerque–Santa Fe corridor in New Mexico, and Silicon Valley plus all of its outliers on the West Coast. Whereas Kerry in 2004 had lost 97 out of the 100 fastest-growing counties, Obama won 15, including the three largest, and added at least 8 points to the Democratic cause in 29 others.

Nor did the gop find solace in the patriotism and family values of the old industrial heartlands. McCain originally had high hopes of stealing the largely Catholic, white working-class voters who had rallied during the primaries to Hillary Clinton’s impersonation of Rosie the Riveter. But in the shadow of a collapsing auto industry, falling home values, and shrunken retirement accounts, the vast majority of Clinton supporters disdained McCain’s ‘Joe the Plumber’ ads in favour of Obama’s oft-repeated if vague promise to save American manufacturing jobs. footnote 17

The most unexpected Democratic victory in the region was Indiana, a heavily blue-collar but culturally conservative state that gave Bush a larger share of its vote in 2004 (60 per cent) than Mississippi, and thus was scarcely considered competitive terrain. Over the last generation of plant closure and economic retrenchment, Hoosiers have probably offered an even better example than Kansans for Thomas Frank’s famous argument in What’s the Matter with Kansas? (2004) that cultural rage has misled large segments of the white working class into voting against their economic self-interest. In Indiana, at least, class consciousness has undergone a revival.

Indeed Obama’s victory was mostly due to a dramatic increase in white support (45 per cent versus 34 per cent for Kerry), especially in smaller stricken industrial centres like Evansville, Kokomo and Muncie—the original ‘Middletown’ of the Lynds’ famous studies in the 1920s and 1930s—that had been solidly Bush in 2004. As James Barnes explained in the National Journal, ‘This is part of the state’s once-vibrant auto manufacturing patch, but much of that industry is gone, and voters who in past elections voted on social issues (Anderson is home to the Church of God) or national security can be won over with a strong economic pitch.’ footnote 18

This was exactly the pitch that the well-heeled Obama campaign made, sending out thousands of impassioned volunteers to talk about jobs and economic pain, while McCain relied on an underwhelming effort by ranting evangelical churches and dispirited chambers of commerce. footnote 19 The Democratic success in Indiana was replicated in neighbouring northwestern Ohio, where highly energized Obama forces from rusted but still union-proud Toledo canvassed former Bush strongholds in adjacent exurbs and factory towns. As a result the Democrats now own the entire Great Lakes waterfront for the first time since Lyndon Johnson.

Obama also did surprisingly well in Lake Wobegone country: the Lutheran tier of the upper Midwest, historic crucible of political insurgency, where 50 rural white counties in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa that had voted for Bush in 2004 switched in his favour. Although he lost North Dakota, he narrowed the 2004 Republican margin by a whopping 19 points. In Missouri, where Obama scored victories in several traditionally conservative St. Louis suburbs, the election produced a virtual dead heat, with McCain ultimately winning by less than 4,000 rural votes. footnote 20

In the Northeast, meanwhile, the election was an extinction-level event for the Republican Party, which lost its last House member from New England. Duchess County in New York—notorious in the 1930s and 1940s as a poison swamp of Roosevelt haters—quietly joined the Obama landslide, as did one of the suburban last stands of the Republican Party in greater New York City: Suffolk County on eastern Long Island.

McCain’s meagre improvements over Bush in 2004 were confined to the Cajun parishes of Louisiana and the upland South, a 400-mile long belt of majority white-evangelical counties stretching from the hills of eastern Oklahoma through the mountains of West Virginia. Here, apparently, race and/or fundamentalist religion decisively shaped the outcomes. Homespun, wisecracking Bill Clinton had been popular in this largely poor region, but it was small consolation for ‘William Jennings’ McCain to win Jonesboro and Hazard when he was losing key demographics in Charlotte and Orlando. footnote 21

Republicans lose their edge

If the shrewdest gambit of the Obama team during primary season was to outflank the Clinton juggernaut by wooing oft-ignored Democrats in largely Republican �ucus states’, their boldest move after the convention was to concentrate unprecedented resources to swing big suburban counties that had hitherto been considered unalterably Republican. Gore and Kerry, with fewer bucks and less audacity, had eschewed big raids into the Rovian heartland in favour of mobilizing more votes in reliably Democratic metropolitan cores and inner suburbs. But the Obama campaign embraced the ‘we-can-swing-the-suburbs’ strategy successfully tested in recent Virginia elections by Democratic master gamer Mike Henry. They therefore defiantly planted the flag in dynamic demographics such as Prince William County where they calculated that franchise managers, accountants and civil servants were more concerned about plunging 401- k retirement accounts and negative home equity than the spectre of gay monogamy. Although race remains a formidable obstacle to wholesale conversion of voters in former suburban bastions of white flight, the campaign believed that it no longer precludes the possibility of Democratic victories. footnote 22

This suburban strategy, however, came at a price: a campaign rhetoric that obsessively flattered the needs of the ‘middle class’, but seldom focused on structural unemployment or equity issues affecting millions of urban and non-white Obama voters. Moreover, most Democrats running in the outer suburbs (like the previous cohort in 2006) were competing on conservative platforms—often pro-gun, anti-tax and anti-immigrant—that demanded minimal ideological shift from voters. As Chris Cillizza, the Washington Post’s chief political analyst, warned liberals after the election: ‘The fact that roughly a third of the Democratic House majority sits in seats with Republican underpinnings (at least at the presidential level) is almost certain to keep a liberal dream agenda from moving through Congress. The first rule of politics is survival, and if these new arrivals to Washington want to stick around, they are likely to build centrist voting records between now and 2010.’ footnote 23

But most liberal Democrats were blinded by the light of Obama’s big victories in suburban counties that had been crucial to Bush’s in 2004: Jefferson and Arapahoe (metro Denver) in Colorado, Hillsborough (Tampa) in Florida, Wake (Raleigh) in North Carolina, Washoe (Reno) in Nevada, Berks and Chester (Philadelphia) in Pennsylvania, Hamilton (Cincinnati) in Ohio, Macomb (Detroit) in Michigan, and Riverside in southern California. footnote 24 Indeed, he won 9 of 12 swing suburbs in twelve swing states monitored by the Metropolitan Institute (Kerry had eked narrow victories in only three). footnote 25 He also conquered 2 of the 3 iconic Republican counties named Orange (Florida and New York), and gave the McCain camp a bad scare in the third (California).

‘Suburban’, however, is an obsolete, almost obscurantist characterization of the socio-spatial location of these swing voters. Urban geographers and political scientists have proposed competing typologies to describe the ‘post-suburban’ metropolis, but there has been little consensus about how to define or what to call the brave new world beyond Levittown. footnote 26 Recent election analysis, however, has favoured the county-code schema developed by Robert Lang and Thomas Sanchez at the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech:

Core Counties are densely populated central cities. Inner Suburbs are close-in suburbs that are densely built (90 per cent of residents live in an urban area) and at least half of workers commute in to the central city. Mature Suburbs are dense (75 per cent of residents live in an urban area), well-established counties whose populations are no longer booming. In Emerging Suburbs, at least 25 per cent of the population lives in an urban area, and at least 5 per cent commute back in to the central area. Most of their growth has occurred recently. In Exurban Counties, large-scale suburbanization is just beginning to take hold and they are most distant from the centre. footnote 27

The large-scale electoral trend over the last generation has been a growing Democratic majority in the ageing inner suburbs (the first, often disappointing rungs in non-white geographical and social mobility), political stalemate in the demographically more stable and segregated mature suburbs, and large, reliable harvests of Republican votes in outer suburbs and exurbs. ‘In either Red or Blue states’, write Lang and Sanchez,

the pattern remained the same. There is a metropolitan political gradient in the big us metro areas: the centre tilts to Democrats and the fringe to Republicans. In between these extremes, the vote slides along a continuum, coming to a midpoint mostly in the mature suburbs. footnote 28

But the housing bubble and suburban construction frenzy of the 2000s, coinciding with the maturation of job markets in now 20 and 30-year-old �ge cities’ (high-density clusters of office and shopping space, usually located at the intersection of radial and circumferential freeways), changed both the calculus of household locational decisions and the financing of mortgages, inducing more minority and immigrant families to leap-frog into emerging suburbs, often with the help of non-traditional loans. As a result, non-white households for the first time became the fastest-growing segment of suburban peripheries in many metropolitan areas. The challenge to the Obama campaign was to use this new demographics as an Archimedean lever to shift the suburbs, even in the South, toward the Democrats.

Prince William County again is a bellwether. A study last year by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission revealed that minorities, especially Latinos and Asians, have contributed a stunning 94 per cent of Prince William’s population growth from 2000. Since Bill Clinton became president, the County’s non-white population has burgeoned from less than one fifth to almost one half, and Prince William will soon become northern Virginia’s first ‘minority-majority’ county. 𠆊 seismic population shift’, wrote the report’s author, ‘has been sweeping across the entire southern rim of northern Virginia where more affordable housing prices, like a powerful magnet, have been pulling households [to the outer suburbs]—predominantly immigrant and minority families who are either finding it too expensive to live closer in or are looking further out for a place they can afford to buy.’ footnote 29

But �ordable’ mortgages turned abruptly into negative equity and then foreclosure during the course of the long presidential campaign. What Goldman Sachs back in 2006 had predicted would be a ‘happy slowdown’, turned into a general annihilation of popular wealth and home values. footnote 30 By the eve of the Manassas finale, Prince William County had become the epicentre of the mortgage crisis in metropolitan Washington dc with nearly 8,000 foreclosures. Single-family homes had lost more than 30 per cent of their value townhouses, at least 40 per cent. Between Obama’s first and last rally, dozens of businesses had been boarded up in downtown Manassas, tech companies had made deep cuts in their workforces, and a new website emerged to gleefully document the growing number of derelict McMansions in the region. footnote 31

Although no stratum of Prince William society was exempt from the subprime massacre, it was most lethal to minority new homeowners. In a series of articles, the Washington Independent chronicled the fate of Georgetown South, a subdivision of several hundred townhouses in Manassas where sheriff’s deputies have been working overtime to evict blue-collar residents, many of them Central American immigrants, caught in a vise between the exploding costs of their mortgages and the collapse of local job markets. A typical sad case was a Salvadorean housepainter earning $500 per week, who had been offered a no-down-payment 𠆊lt-A’ loan from a subsidiary of (now defunct) Lehman Brothers in 2005 to finance a $280,000 home. In recent months, his townhouse lost more than $50,000 in value, monthly payments on his adjustable-rate mortgage jumped from $1,4000 to $2,600, his tenants were forced to flee a county crackdown on undocumented Latinos, and work in the construction industry evaporated. footnote 32

Projected upon a national canvas, such stories explain how McCain’s comfortable 48 per cent to 42 per cent lead in the suburbs following the Republican convention was eroded during the bleakest autumn in generations. footnote 33 Polling showed that a significantly higher proportion of Obama’s suburban supporters had recently lost home equity, a job or both. The Obama campaign, in effect, became the party of suburban pain as well as ethnic diversity. footnote 34 The general election as a result consolidated a Democratic majority in inner and mature suburbs, while closing the partisan gap on the periphery and mobilizing enough white voters to win many emergent suburbs.

The rainbow fulcrum

This electoral shift in the suburbs, of course, mirrors even more fundamental changes in the American voting universe. In 1976 when Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford, the active electorate was 90 per cent white non-Hispanic. Last November, the white share was down to 74 per cent a transition toward voter diversity whose future is assured by demographic momentum. Nearly half the babies, for instance, born in the United States during the last few years had Spanish surnames, and American ‘minorities’ separately counted would constitute the twelfth most populous nation on earth (100.7 million). footnote 35 Over the course of the Bush administration, the Latino voting-age population in Virginia increased 5 times faster than the population as a whole, 11 times faster in Ohio, and almost 15 times faster in Pennsylvania. footnote 36 As Karl Rove and other nervous Republican strategists well understand, the gop has probably already harvested its maximum crop of white evangelical votes and will be culturally and politically marginalized unless it sinks new roots amongst immigrants and the coming ‘minority-majority’.

Indeed the real drama last November was not the relative size of the vote (only a smidgen larger than in 2004), but its prophetic demographics. footnote 37 Electoral soothsayers paid particular attention to ‘Millennial generation’ voters (18� year olds)—supposedly weaned on the Web, comfortable with diversity, but angry over declining economic opportunity𠅊s a potent force for realignment. footnote 38 In the first instance, the Millennium did punctually arrive, with Obama winning two-thirds of the youth vote (with a turnout of about 53 per cent). But internal trends within this electoral sub-universe (58� million individuals) reflect dramatic variation over region and social class.

The generation gap amongst white voters, for example, was large in states like California, New York and Massachusetts where Millennials gave Obama 10 to 15 per cent more of their vote than did older cohorts, but the white age differential was negligible or even negative (South Carolina) in some Southern and Plains states. Class, meanwhile, remains a huge determinant of whether Millennials vote or not: in 2000 and 2004, more than two thirds of those who had finished college cast votes, while roughly one third of those with only high-school degrees entered a voting booth. But of those non-college Millennials who did vote in 2008, the difference was stunning, especially amongst whites. footnote 39 Compared to the Kerry vote in 2004, Obama’s support in the young white working class increased 30 points amongst women, 14 points amongst men. A recent briefing to the Democratic Party emphasizes the strategic urgency of consolidating this partisan shift of young white Burger King workers and nurses-aides: ‘it could derail any Republican attempt to rebuild a Reagan coalition and eventually ensure a stable long-term Democratic majority’. footnote 40

But the ultimate fulcrum of the election was not so much the Millennial factor as the voting-day unity of Blacks and Latinos in a renewal of the ‘Rainbow Coalition’. footnote 41 Nationally, whites cast 700,000 fewer votes than in 2004, but African-Americans almost three million more, thus providing Obama with a third of his winning margin. Considering the initial hostility of Civil Rights era leaders toward Obama and his ‘lack of roots’, the mobilization of African-American voters in battleground states was exceptional and nowhere more than in Missouri and Nevada, where turnout increased by 74 per cent and 67 per cent. footnote 42

But the African-American proportion of the national vote, like that of evangelical whites, will grow very slowly, if at all, over the coming decades. From the standpoint of a durable electoral majority, the Democrats’ most important gain in 2008 was the massive support that Obama received from the rapidly growing and much younger Latino electorate, now 12 per cent of total registrants. footnote 43 Mexican-origin voters, for example, clinched his important victories in Colorado and Nevada, while Central Americans reinforced his majority in northern Virginia. In Texas, the Tejano (or, especially, the Tejana) vote was critical to sweeping the big cities and the Rio Grande Valley, despite the usual anti-Democrat anathemas from pro-life Catholic bishops. Obama won Florida thanks especially to a spectacular turnout of Puerto Ricans and Latino immigrants in central Florida, bolstered by the rebellion of a majority of younger Cuban-American voters against the geriatric exile leadership who have for so long been the authoritarian gatekeepers of Republican power in southern Florida. footnote 44

As in analyses of the causes of immigration, it is useful to distinguish between the ‘pull’ and ‘push’ factors in the Latino turnout. Despite much concern in recent years about the fraught state of minority inter-group relations, Obama’s sensational popularity amongst young Latino voters (76 per cent in Florida and 84 per cent in California) testifies to the growing importance of non-white or mixed identity as a cultural norm𠅊s has long been the case in Obama’s home state of Hawaii𠅊s well as the increased cultural and social integration of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and immigrants of all kinds in big-city neighbourhoods and older suburbs. footnote 45 Obama was clearly seen as opening the gates of opportunity to the larger Hip-Hop nation, including the possibility of a future Latino or Asian president.

Two ‘push’ factors were also decisive. First, Latinos/Hispanics in the aggregate lost ground in the Bush bubble economy. As the Economy Policy Institute recently reported,

the most significant economic change [since 2000] was a 2.2 per cent drop in the real Hispanic family income. This economic stagnation for Hispanics occurred during a period when the gross domestic product grew by 18 per cent and worker productivity by 19 per cent. Yet despite these gains, the Hispanic population did not benefit from the wealth that it helped create in the us economy over the 2000s. footnote 46

The situation for foreign-born Hispanic households has been more calamitous. According to the same epi report, between 2000 and 2007 their median incomes fell by 9.1 per cent, and they now find themselves in the front rank of the unemployment being created by the construction industry collapse.

Second, the immigrant Latino community (and therefore anyone with brown skin) has been terrorized by the nativist insurgency in the Republican party𠅊 reign of prejudice which has been mimicked or accommodated by many Democrats outside of the majority-minority core cities (such as Kirsten Gillibrand, the appointed replacement for Hillary Clinton in the Senate). Although the ‘Minutemen’ vigilantes who originally ignited the conservative grassroots are little more than a few fractious groupuscules, their core agenda—the construction of a literal Iron Curtain along the Mexican border, the local adoption of anti-immigrant laws, and their enforcement by local police—has become national Republican policy in hard repudiation of the Bush–Rove strategy of immigration reform and cultivation of the Latino vote. In some suburban counties and small cities, hometown experiments in immigration control have become de facto campaigns of ethnic cleansing.

Again, Prince William County is a paradigm. As the Latino population exploded with the building boom of the early 2000s, groups like ‘Help Save Manassas’ (which described Latinos as a ‘scourge that’s plaguing the neighbourhoods’) mobilized to drive undocumented immigrants out of the county. footnote 47 In the summer of 2007, as the housing market soured and the demand for construction labour decreased, the county supervisors unanimously voted to cut off public services to undocumented workers. They also mandated the police, working with the federal immigration service ( ice ), to check the status of every detainee. The schools, for their part, added the requirement that a parent must show proof of legal residency in order to pick up their child after school. ‘The message that we are sending’, bragged the chairman of the supervisors to the applause of Minutemen and their supporters nationwide, ‘is: “If you are an illegal alien, you are not welcome in Prince William County.”’ footnote 48

While the Help Save Manassas crowd debated ‘whether or not illegal aliens have a preferred breeding season’, the Washington Post reported that:

the vibrant Latino subculture built in Prince William County over more than a decade [has started] to come undone in a matter of months . . . With Latinos feeling the combined effects of the construction downturn, the mortgage crisis and new local laws aimed at catching illegal immigrants, Latino shops are on the brink of bankruptcy, church groups are hemorrhaging members, neighbourhoods are dotted with for-sale signs, and once busy strip malls have been transformed into ghost towns. footnote 49

Rules of avoidance

But immigrants, if omnipresent in the local combustion of the campaign, were missing persons in the national presidential debate. By what was surely negotiated agreement, the candidates avoided the mutual embarrassment of discussing each other’s opportunistic concessions on immigrant rights. McCain, incredibly, had disavowed his own major immigration reform bill, co-authored in 2006 with Teddy Kennedy, while Obama, as the New York Times observed, had ‘hardened his tone on how to deal with illegal immigrants’ in accord with the ‘new law-and-order language adopted in the Democratic Party platform at the convention’. footnote 50 Since both candidates were also competing in the Spanish-language media as the best friend of immigrants, they had no reason to expose so much mutual hypocrisy.

A similar polemical balance of terror ruled the debate about the financial crisis and the federal bank bailout. As the debt pyramid collapsed, both candidates vied to denounce the vandals on Wall Street, but then voted meekly for the catastrophic class politics of the Paulson plan which (as even Jeffrey Sachs acknowledges) has ensured 𠆊 massive transfer of taxpayer wealth to the management and owners of well-connected financial institutions.’ footnote 51 Polls at the beginning of October showed an overwhelming majority of Americans were fiercely opposed to Congress’s unprecedented abdication of power to friends of Wall Street, and an improbable coalition of conservative rural Republicans and progressive urban Democrats (including many members of the Black Caucus) made a brief attempt to build a legislative barricade across Pennsylvania Avenue. They received no encouragement from either campaign.

Indeed, the second town-hall-format presidential debate in Nashville, a few days after the passage of the bailout, was remarkable for its evasion of the audience’s anguished questions about unemployment and home foreclosures. footnote 52 Neither candidate was ready to pick up a pike and lead the sans-culottes instead, both clung doggedly to their old talking points as if the sky had not fallen. The exchange magnified differences in policy that rarely transcended the ordinary range of debate between the centre-right and centre-left, while both camps scrupulously avoided the nuclear red buttons marked ‘mortgage moratorium’, ‘immigration’, ‘nationalization’, ‘ nafta ’, and so on. Few presidential campaigns in American history have fled so completely from engagement with their actual moment.

Bush’s profound unpopularity, of course, required the senator from Arizona to act like a quantum particle, occupying several ideological spaces simultaneously. Although he claimed Teddy Roosevelt, the Progressive imperialist, as his hero, McCain veered unpredictably between ecumenical centrism and snake-wrestling fundamentalism, with meek forays into economic populism that were quickly followed by sermons on the priority of tax breaks for the rich people, like himself, who don’t know how many cars they own. His rants about the suffering of plumbers and small-business people were belied by his own dependence upon the largesse of Lower Manhattan, with Merrill Lynch ceo John Thain as the biggest 𠆋undler’ of his corporate campaign contributions. Plus McCain had too many opponents—in addition to Obama and Bush, he was also running against himself (as in the case of immigration policy). In the end, the bomber of Hanoi had nothing left to spend but prison stories, racist innuendo and the spectre of Bill Ayers.

Obama, in contrast, was untroubled by zealotry in his grassroots and thus could rely upon hypnotic platitudes and steadiness of character rather than desperate impersonations and publicity stunts. The specification of ideas and policies was not a common practice in a campaign that was principally geared to the production of charisma, with a storyline that seldom strayed very far from the feel-good slogans that have characterized most Democratic campaigns in recent years. Despite his resumé, Obama had no plan for tackling urban poverty although pro-worker he made only weak promises to the unions, and was deliberately vague on trade, urban policy, housing, education, and the one million prisoners of the War on Drugs.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘turn to the working class’ in the Pennsylvania primary (actually, a more subtle essay than McCain’s in racial text-messaging) threw Obama’s campaign seriously off track for a month or two, but he regained course with only a modest tacking of his sails to the enormity of the crisis. Like Roosevelt in 1932, Obama used eloquence and compassion, along with thick frostings of Founding Fathers and We Are One, to forge an emotional bond with stricken blue-collar voters, while offering few new ideas or concrete plans.

In this respect, however, he was sticking close to the larger team plan. Matt Bai, a New York Times reporter who has chronicled the role of dot.com millionaires, liberal foundations and bloggers in reshaping the party’s image, argues that Democratic leaders like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have deliberately fostered ‘vapid slogans’ in order to present a smaller target to the Right. 𠆋y the fall of 2005’, Bai writes,

Bush’s approval ratings had slipped below 40 per cent, so party leaders decided it was better to let the Republicans collapse of their own weight than to offer an actual agenda and risk the possibility that some voters might not like it . . . ‘Tell us what you want to hear’, the party seemed to say, 𠆊nd we’ll be sure to put it in our pamphlet’. footnote 53

Obama’s agenda, however, became less opaque in June 2008 when he chagrined labour supporters by appointing Jason Furman, the director of the Brookings-affiliated Hamilton Project, as the head of his economic policy unit. footnote 54 The Project, founded by ex-Treasury secretary Robert Rubin in 2006, has been part of the institutional network that elaborates the legacy of the Clinton Administration: in this case as a megaphone for centrist economic policies that meld fiscal conservatism and financial deregulation with smarter public investment. Furman’s appointment was followed by the arrival in the inner circle of Rubin’s successor in the Clinton Treasury, Lawrence Summers, a devotee of Milton Friedman (𠆊ny honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites’), who with Rubin, Alan Greenspan and Phil Gramm had dismantled the last New Deal firewall, the Glass–Steagall Act, between traditional banks and derivative Ponzi schemes. By making the Hamilton Project his economic shadow cabinet, and later elevating the radioactive Summers to the directorship of the National Economic Council, Obama restored to power the auteurs of the catastrophe, and willingly entangled himself in the seedy history of ‘Rubinomics’ and the notorious back door between the Clinton White House and big investment banks and money funds. footnote 55

The counterfactual election

It would be difficult, then, to characterize the 2008 campaign as an epochal ideological confrontation, except in the limited sense that both candidates—McCain sometimes more pointedly than Obama—repudiated the horrors of the Bush White House and advocated a return to Arthur Schlesinger’s ‘vital centre’. It therefore falls short of a key Burnham criterion for a 𠆌ritical election’:

In the campaign or campaigns which follow this breakthrough, the insurgents’ political style is exceptionally ideological by American standards this in turn produces a sense of grave threat among defenders of the established order who in turn develop opposing ideological positions. footnote 56

The new Administration, in fact, seems determined at all cost to prevent such an ideological polarization by bringing on board as many temperate defenders of the 𠆎stablished order’ as possible. With economic crisis-management firmly in the hands of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs alumni, foreign policy delegated to the sub-presidency of Hillary Clinton and her spouse, and the ‘surge’ doctrine of Gates and Petraeus preserved in the Pentagon, Obama has built a dream team that delights The Economist and Foreign Affairs to the same degree that it disconcerts The Nation. As in the Clinton era, labour and environment have been seated at a second table, with important but secondary posts that lack leverage over the Administration’s line of march. footnote 57

Certainly the new President and his congressional majority are committed to humane relief policies that distinguish Democratic centrism from the Spencerian barbarism of Southern Republicans, but by itself this is hardly a cause for celebrating a new age. Whether or not his heart belongs to the left as many admirers believe, Obama’s appointments affirm stunning continuity with the Clinton era as well as bipartisan ‘realism’ in foreign affairs. Few political observers anticipated that a mandate for 𠆌hange’ would immediately lead to a comprehensive merger of the Clinton and Obama camps, with the personnel of the former consistently awarded seniority. footnote 58 It smacks of a pre-convention deal that gave Obama an uncontested nomination in exchange for a huge sharing out of power to the Clintons and their friends. footnote 59

This triumph of veteran centrism in the face of a bottomless crisis of unimaginable complexity attests to the failure of the Democratic Party’s progressive constituencies, especially the divided us labour movement, to exercise an influence commensurate with their immense financial and rank-and-file contributions to the party’s victory. (The New York Times estimated that labour spent $450 million backing Democrats and mobilized 250,000 volunteers. footnote 60 ) Labour would have had more sway over the shape of the final campaign𠅎specially Obama’s response to the mortgage meltdown and the bank and auto industry bailouts—if it had been able to broker its vote better or control the balance of power in a contested convention. Neither scenario, in my opinion, would have been implausible if broad union support had sustained the initially impressive momentum of John Edwards’s unusual campaign.

However one now feels about Edwards’s character (as exposed in yet another bedroom scandal uncovered by right-wing bloggers), he was the only major primary candidate to meet Burnham’s critical-realignment standard of an insurgent with an ideologically distinctive platform—in his case, angry economic populism. The former senator from North Carolina (the son of a Piedmont millworker turned into millionaire lawyer) staked out a programmatic space that had been vacant since Jesse Jackson’s mobilization in the 1980s: the priority of economic justice for poor people and workers. footnote 61 Discarding the banal euphemisms of his 2004 vice-presidential campaign, he spoke directly of exploitation and the urgency of unionization, proposed a new war on poverty, denounced �nedict Arnold ceo s’ who exported jobs, and, in debate with Obama and Clinton in Iowa, argued that it was a 𠆌omplete fantasy’ to believe that a progressive agenda could be advanced by negotiation with Republicans and corporate lobbies. Only an 𠆎pic fight’ could ensure healthcare reform and living wages. (Obama’s response was typical eloquent evasion: ‘We don’t need more heat. We need more light.’) footnote 62

In the event, Edwards won full-hearted support only from the progressive shards of the old cio (mineworkers and steelworkers), the carpenters, and some independent-minded state councils of the service employees and the hotel workers. His campaign was doomed by the refusal of the two union confederations (the afl – cio and Change to Win) and their largest constituent internationals to endorse what otherwise was the most chemically pure pro-labour candidacy in a generation. The big unions instead fought each other (and sometimes their memberships) in a chaotic scramble to place a last-minute bet on the candidate they believed would be the sure winner. In some states, the rank and file defied their leadership to vote for Hillary (culinary workers in Nevada), and in others, for Barack (public-sector workers in California).

By the time of the convention in Denver, veteran columnist Harold Meyerson was warning Democratic progressives: ‘What’s disturbing is how poorly America’s unions performed in the Democratic primaries and how divided they are as they go into the fall.’ footnote 63 Although union volunteers ultimately did epic work defeating McCain, especially in states like Indiana and Wisconsin, the labour movement, which is engaged in a truly life-and-death struggle in the private sector, lost its best chance to impose healthcare, labour law and trade reforms as the central planks of a White House recovery plan.

The Silicon Presidency and its limits

At the end of the day, the Crisis itself, not the Election, did the ideological heavy lifting, sending elite opinion back in panic to the protective apron of Old Mother Keynes. (Not perhaps the real Keynes who wrestled with the paradoxes of liquidity traps and perverse market signals, but the Keynes who supposedly smiles whenever governments print money to save banks.) Ironically none of the currently prominent Keynesians or post-Keynesians, such as Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz or James Galbraith, have passed the qualifying exam for the new administration. In contrast to fdr ’s One Hundred Days, when the President’s closest advisors included such trenchant critics of corporate power and managerial prerogative as Guy Rexford Tugwell, Gardiner Means and Adolf Berle, Obama’s economic-policy brains trust shares a defining conceit of the Hoover Administration: the architects of the crisis (Andrew Mellon then Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers now) consider themselves its most competent doctors. footnote 64

But if the central bankers and financial morticians are still ceded reign over the ruins of Wall Street, Obama has allied with technology icons to lay the cornerstones of an economic renaissance based on massive public investment in ‘Green Infrastructure’. So far this is the flagship idea of the new Administration, the one that owes least to Clinton precedents and most closely resonates with the idealism of the campaign’s volunteers and the expectations of supporters in the big tech centres. The near constant presence of Google ceo Eric Schmidt at Obama’s side (and inside his transition team) has been a carefully chosen symbol of the knot that has been tied between Silicon Valley and the presidency. The dowry included the overwhelming majority of presidential campaign contributions from executives and employees of Cisco, Apple, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo and Ebay.

But the promise of Green Keynesianism may turn out differently than imagined by radical economists and environmental activists. A fundamental power-shift seems to be taking place in the business infrastructure of Washington, with ‘New Economy’ corporations rapidly gaining clout through Obama and the Democrats while Old Economy leviathans like General Motors grapple with destitution and welfare, and energy giants temporarily hide in caves. The unprecedented unity of tech firms behind Obama both helped to define and was defined by his campaign. Through his victory, they have acquired the credit balance to ensure that any green infrastructure will also be good industrial policy for their dynamic but ageing and cash-short corporations.

There is an obvious historical analogy. Just as General Electric’s Gerard Swope (the Steve Jobs of his day) and a bloc of advanced, capital-intensive corporations, supported by investment banks, enthusiastically partnered with Roosevelt to create the ill-fated National Recovery Administration ( nra ) in 1933, so too have Schmidt and his wired peers, together with the ever-more-powerful congressional delegation from California, become the principal stakeholders in Obama’s promise to launch an Apollo programme for renewable energy and new technology. footnote 65

We should note that this realignment of politics by economics fits awkwardly within the Keys𠄻urnham paradigm, which asserts the primacy of public opinion and the durability of voter blocs. A ‘silicon presidency’, on the other hand, is perfectly accommodated by Thomas Ferguson’s ‘investment’ theory of political change which privileges political economy and class struggle within capital as modes of explanation. Analysing New Deal case-studies in his 1995 book, Ferguson𠅊n intellectually supercharged descendant of Charles Beard𠅌oncluded that business elites, not voters, usually determine both the nature and course of electoral realignments. footnote 66

The fundamental market for political parties usually is not voters. As a number of recent analysts have documented, most of these possess desperately limited resources and𠅎specially in the United States𠅎xiguous information and interest in politics. The real market for political parties is defined by major investors, who generally have good and clear reasons for investing to control the state . . . During realignments . . . basic changes take place in the core investment blocs which constitute parties. More specifically, realignments occur when cumulative long-run changes in industrial structures (commonly interacting with a variety of short-run factors, notably steep economic downturns) polarize the business community, thus bringing together a new and powerful bloc of investors with durable interests. As this process begins, party competition heats up and at least some differences between parties emerge more clearly. footnote 67

But what has suddenly mobilized the self-identified New Economy as an ‘investor bloc’ in Ferguson’s sense? And why Obama?

One answer is straightforwardly cultural: Obama ‘gets’ and likes tech and entrepreneurs. As Joshua Green pointed out in the Atlantic, the young candidate exemplifies the legendary outsider who reinvents American politics in his own garage and then launches a history-changing ipo with the help of visionary venture capitalists. In addition, Obama—unlike Hillary Clinton, who seemed more at ease in Hollywood�me to the mountain (or rather, Mountain View) and listened. He discovered a volcano on the verge of eruption. No sector of the corporate workforce, bosses as well as employees, has probably been more outraged by the endless carnage in Iraq, the wanton incendiarism of Rove’s culture wars, the attacks on immigrants, and the Republicans’ contempt for evolutionary and earth sciences. footnote 68

But there were obviously deeper, more selfish priorities. Even before the crash, revered seers like Andy Grove (ex- ceo of Intel) were expressing fear about declining investment and innovation in the technology heartlands. As Business Week later summarized in a special report: �ral funding of advanced computer science and electrical engineering research has dropped off sharply since the late 1990s, as has the number of Americans pursuing computer science degrees. And large technology companies are putting less emphasis on basic research in favour of development work with quicker payoffs’. footnote 69

Pessimists worry that the Valley is locked into the first stages of the Detroit product-cycle syndrome: the heroic age of Henry Ford followed by tailfins and corporate sclerosis. (Thus Web 2.0 has been criticized as mere product development rather than technological innovation.) The Obama Presidency, from this perspective, can ride to the rescue with Kennedy-scale commitments to basic science as well as stable subsidies to markets like renewable energy, smart utilities and universal broadband that are otherwise whipsawed by volatile energy prices or abdicated by corporations. footnote 70

The New Economy, like the Old, also recognizes that survival in the current economic hurricane depends upon presence at court: in the short term at least, Obama and the Democratic leadership will have extraordinary influence over the selection of winners and losers. The contrasting fates of Lehman Brothers and aig (one left to bleed to death, the other given a government iv ) sent tremors down the spine of every ceo and large shareholder in the United States. Even more than in Ferguson’s case-study of the 1930s, the future of every corporation or sector depends upon wise investments to 𠆌ontrol the state’ which is why K Street, the Wall Street of lobbyists formerly owned by the Republican Party, has turned so blue in the last year. But of all the new Democratic investors, only the tech industries, with their captive universities and vast internet fandoms, still retain enough public legitimacy (domestic and international) and internal self-confidence hypothetically to act as a constructive hegemonic bloc rather than as a mob of desperate lobbyists.

But, then again, the tech industries may simply be swallowed up, with everyone else, in the Götterdämmerung of Wall Street, while Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke fight on in the bunkers until the last taxpayer’s bullet is spent. (The euphoric national unity of Roosevelt and Swope’s nra , it should be recalled, quickly dissolved into strikes, tear gas and bayonets.) Obama’s nearly trillion-dollar stimulus package provides urgently needed relief as well as a modest down payment on the green infrastructure, but few economists seem to believe that it can actually stop the domestic downturn, much less generate enough ‘leakage’ through imports to stimulate Asia and Europe. The American financial system, in recent years the generator of 40 per cent of corporate profits, is dead𠅊 colossal corpse hidden from full public view by the screen debates of the fall presidential campaigns. The market-oriented centrists and reformed deregulators whom Obama has restored or maintained in power have about as much chance of bringing the banks back to life as his generals do of winning the war against the Pashtun in Afghanistan. And no contemporary Walter Rathenau or Guy Rexford Tugwell has yet emerged with a scheme for rebuilding the wreckage into some plausible form of state capitalism.

Meanwhile, the financial press warns that trillions will ultimately be required to make a � bank’ or bank nationalization work. But if Obama’s domestic spending fails to produce significant collateral benefits for America’s trading partners, they may think twice about buying Washington’s debt or decide to impose some conditionalities of their own. (Beware the dogma that the Chinese are slaves of their trade surplus and undervalued currency and have no alternative but to subsidize the us Treasury.) At Davos, Putin and Wen reminded the new President that he is no longer the master of his own house in the same way that Roosevelt or Reagan were. The dollar threatens to become the dog collar on the new New Deal. In any event, the bubble world of American consumerism, as it existed at the start of Obama’s formal candidacy in 2007, will never be restored, and protracted stagnation, not timely tech-led recovery, seems the most realistic scenario for the era that may someday bear his name.


America-Wake-Up

Marxism Definition in Websters New World Dictionary: System of thought developed by Karl Marx see Socialism and Communism Ownership of the means of production and distribution by the community rather than private individuals ELIMINATION of PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION.

__________________________________________________

Obama has asked us to : “Judge him by the people he surrounds himself with.”

Here are Obama’s mentors:

Here are Obama’s Czars:

Below are news events about and / or video statements from some of the people Obama has associated with over the last 20 years up to the current date. Some of the people he appoints to positions in his administration are self avowed far left radicals, and / or terrorists, and / or self avowed Marxists and / or self avowed communists and / or are responsible for appointing them to prominent positions in the Obama administration:

Please click on the videos below, and you make up your own mind.

Make sure you view all the posts below before you make up your mind.

After clicking on each of the links below, you can get back to this main page by clicking the back < arrow.

Obama Himself during the campaign: “Spread the Wealth Around”.


The One Hundred Articles of Impeachment.

1. Appointment of a “shadow government” of some 35+ individuals termed “czars” who are not confirmed by the Senate and respond only to the president, yet have overarching regulatory powers – a clear violation of the separation of powers concept. Obama bypassed the Senate with many of his appointments of over 35 “czars.”

2. No congressional support for Libyan action (violation of the War Powers Act ). Obama lied to the American people when he said that there were no US troops on the ground in Libya and then later said they were only “logistical troops.” Obama violated the War Powers Act of 1973 by conducting a war against Libya without Congressional authorization.

3. Betraying of allies ( Israel and Great Britain. Obama has placed the security of our most trusted ally in the Middle East, Israel, in danger while increasing funding to the Palestinian Authority (Fatah, just another Islamic terrorist group) whilst they have enjoined a reconciliation pact with long-standing terrorist group Hamas and the disclosure of British nuclear secrets to the Russians in the Start Treaty. Obama gave missile codes to British Trident missiles to Russia.

4. Backdoor implementation of the DREAM Act which would grant 22 million illegals amnesty. Obama passed the Dream Act through an executive order, bypassing Congress again. DREAM is: Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors

5. Telegraphing troop reductions to enemies – against the consult of his experienced field commanders – while embracing negotiations with our enemy, the Taliban, and recognizing another, the Muslim Brotherhood.

6. Betrayal of Arizona. Obama brought a federal lawsuit against a sovereign state, Arizona, seeking to protect its citizens from this threat of mass illegal immigration

7. Obama’s Failure to enforce U.S. law, the Defense of Marriage Act. He’s stripped America of its moral base by his support for homosexuality and the attack on marriage between a man and a women Obama allows the DOJ to refuse to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.

8. Support of an inept and incompetent attorney general who has failed to prosecute voter intimidation cases (New Black Panther Party), initiated a dangerous gun-smuggling program (Operation Fast and Furious) – which resulted in deaths to one of our own law enforcement agents.

Obama allowed Operation Fast and Furious to occur, which allowed hundreds of Mexican nationals and Border Agent Brian Terry to be murdered with illegal arms given out by the ATF and DOJ.

9. Increasing the regulatory burden on American business through bypassing the legislative process with his executive branch agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

10. Failure to take the steps necessary to secure our borders and stem the flow of illegal immigration, termed as “repel invasions” in our United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 8 and Article 4, Section 4.

Obama has failed to defend US soil in Arizona as Mexican troops bring illegals and drugs into the USA, crossing the border doing so. This is a direct violation of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution.

11. Inappropriately commanding the release of strategic oil reserves and providing Brazil $2 billion for its offshore oil exploration.

12. Illegally soliciting funds from within the White House ($5 dinner video fundraiser). The unalienable rights endowed to us by the Creator life, liberty, and the pursuit (not guarantee) of happiness – are being threatened by the Obama administration.

This current government has abridged the consent of the governed and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends. It is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.

13. Taking on the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review with a preemptive striking against justices who might contemplate an unfavorable ruling on ObamaCare.

14. ”Open Mic ” gaffe in which he explained Russian President Dimitri Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” to sacrifice American security after his re-election

15. Occidental College Transcripts Reveals Obama Claimed Foreign Citizenship to Get Scholarship? http://tinyurl.com/czldzx8

16. Obama’s secret back channel Nuclear deal with Iran, a sworn enemy of America and our Allies

17. Obama’s offer of a seat at the table for our avowed enemy the Taliban

18. Barack Hussein Obama’s Ineligibility to be POTUS because he was born in Kenya

19. Obama and his Administration leaking previously classified information about our intelligence communities’ efforts to slow down Iran’s march to nuclear weaponry.

20. Obama destabilized Western Ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and allowed the Militant and Anti West Muslim Brotherhood to take over the Egyptian Regime, posing a mortal threat to our Ally Israel and our own Western assets and interests in the region. Obama instigated a revolution in Egypt against an ally in the War on Terror.

21. Obama has appointed Muslim Brotherhood advisers, enemies of the State, to the White House. Aid and comfort to the Muslim Brotherhood is TREASON per Article 3 Sec III of the US Constitution.. http://tinyurl.com/3x88l2s

22. Obama bypassing Congress again by Executive Decree to allow Illegal Immigrants to remain and vote in America for partisan electoral purposes and reasons.

23. Obama selling citizenship to criminals in direct opposition to Federal Law.

24. Obama admin assisted Egypt in remilitarizing the Sinai, “something forbidden by the Camp David Accords” http://is.gd/nDwdbl

25. Obama has attempted to compel religious institutions to pay for abortion services — a clear violation of First Amendment rights

26. Obama apologizing on 9/11 day to our sworn Islamist enemies, the Salafists, the same day these terrorists massacred the American Ambassador and three other American officials in the Benghazi Embassy, Libya. and ramsacked and looted the Cairo Embassy in Egypt.

27. Obama spending billions in aid on America´s enemies, while disregarding the needs of the US.

28. Obama is directly responsible for the many wars and murders of Christians in the Middle East

29. Obama has financially ruined this country, and his actions are leading to the demise of the dollar. President Obama is either an idiot or he is purposely trying to destroy the American economy.

30. Obama is hollowing out our military, and destroying our intelligence gathering capability.

31. Obama, aka Barry Soetoro deliberately concealed his true illegal background to be POTUS, TRUTH out: why # Obama records sealed FOREIGN student ID http://twitpic.com/aufduf Can we trust Pres. who games system – lies

32. Criminal cover up by the White House over BengaziGate, where four Americans, including Ambassador Stevens were murdered by Islamic Extremists.

33. # CANDYGATE Collusion with CNN Moderator Candy Crowley at the 2nd Debate to cover up BengaziGate The Candy-Obama Controversy : Get the Transcript’ http://amsp.ec/1P1Dyy

34. Obama’s Illegal Foreign Campaign money.

35. Obama Administration defining the Fort Hood Terrorist Act as a Workplace Accident, which gave succour and comfort to our enemies.

36. The Border-gate arms deal offense that resulted in the death of a border patrol agent as well as numerous innocent Mexican civilians.

37. Suspected organized and widespread election fraud engineered by Agents of the Obama Regime at the November 6th Presidential Election.

38. Obama and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers misappropriated over 300 million dollars in donations meant for the education of Chicago’s minority students. They routed the money to Obama’s community activist buddies who then tried to turn the students in radicals. The program was a total failure.

39. Obama, as an Illinois State Senator, redirected tens of millions in Illinois tax dollars to Valerie Jarrett and Tony Rezko, to provide housing for low income families. They returned the favor with political donations. The housing units were built with cheap materials and labor and are uninhabitable after a mere 10 years of use.

40. Obama accepted millions in illegal campaign contributions from foreign credit cards after the credit card filters used to screen out foreign money, was switched off. This also allowed domestic donors, who were over the legal limit, to contribute more.

41. Obama attempted to move control of the Census Bureau from the Commerce Department to the White House, to be managed by then Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel.

42. Obama had provided under the radar amnesty to illegal immigrants by allowing ICE Director John Morton to prohibit ICE officers from enforcing US immigration laws.

43. Obama allowed USAG Holder to ignore the violation of US immigration laws in the sanctuary cities, i.e.,San Francisco, etc.

44. Obama illegally fired the IG Walpin for investigating Obama’s buddy, Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento), for fraud (850K) with AmeriCorps.

45. Obama is in contempt of Federal court for his illegal oil drilling moratorium in the Gulf…

46. Obama spent a month as the UN Security Council Chair in 2009, which raises the question of his conflict of interest between the US and the UN. This is also likely a violation of his Oath of Office as the UN conflicts with our Constitution on many levels, i.e., LOST, UN Small Arms ban, etc.

47. Obama signed an EO in December 2009 that allows Interpol to operate in the US without oversight by Congress, courts, FBI, or local law enforcement.

48. Obama and SecState Clinton misappropriated, er, used $23 million in US taxpayer funds to help Obama’s homeland of Kenya move to a communist nation where the freedom of speech, private property rights, and other rights are subservient to “social justice”.

This includes the fact that the Kenyan constitution adopted Sharia Law, which violates the basic human rights of women.

49. Obama was likely involved with then Governor Rod Blagojevich to try and sell his Illinois Senate seat, i.e., pay to play. Jesse Jackson Jr is under investigation for it and it appears that Valerie Jarrett might also have been involved.

50. Obama ran a website that asked Americans to report on other Americans, in the area of ObamaKare, using whitehouse.gov and taxpayer money to do so. He repeated this with AttackWatch.

51. Obama got onto the Indiana ballot through voter fraud in 2008.

52. Obama sealed all of his records that would show that he is possibly an illegal president, that he is feloniously using a false SSN, that his draft registration number is false, that his Fulbright award was falsely awarded as Obama claimed foreign student status, and that his student aid was falsely obtained.

53. Obama violated the Constitution by firing the GM CEO.

54. Obama violated bankruptcy laws by forcing GM bondholders to accept millions of dollars in losses of money that they were legally entitled to.

55. Obama violated bankruptcy laws by awarding the UAW with a share of GM and Chrysler during their bankruptcy proceedings.

56. Obama bought votes for ObamaKare with acts like, “Cornhusker Kickback”, “Louisiana Purchase” and the DoI increasing water allocations toCalifornia’sCentral Valley. This brought in the votes of Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa, both Democrat holdouts.

57. Obama lied about Americans being able to keep their healthcare coverage if they wanted to. ObamaKare is already forcing them out of their current coverage.

58. Obama attempted to bribe Joe Sestak with a job offer in order to get him to drop out of the Senate race against Arlen Specter.

59. Obama bypassed Congress and told the EPA to set carbon emission standards.

60. Obama forced BP to pony up a $20 billion slush fund to compensate Gulf Coast businesses and residents affected by the BP oil spill. It was administered by one of Obama’s political appointees and there is NO Congressional oversight.

61. Obama did nothing to Holder (abetted a felony) when Holder refused to prosecute two New Black Panther Party members for brandishing weapons in front of a voting location in Filthadelphia. A direct violation of the voters Civil Rights.

62. Obama bypassed the Senate with a recess appointment of Donald Berwick as the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Violates policy.
http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?postid=273766

63. Obama illegally fired Sherry Sherrod from the USDA over remarks she made at an NAACP meeting in March 2010. He violated her due process.

64. Obama violated contractual law when his regime cancelled 77 oil field development contracts previously approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, under Bush 43’s administration. This keeps us from extracting from 2-3 TRILLION barrels of oil.

65. Obama used the DHS to determine the political affiliation of Americans making FOIA requests about the Regime. This led to requests being stalled, lost, etc.

66. Obama acted in April 2009, at the G20 meeting, to expand the Special Drawing Rights, that now gives the IMF more control over the US economy.

67. Obama issued an EO on July 12, 2011, attempting to restrict the Second Amendment rights of US citizens in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona.

68. Obama’s allowed the FCC to assume authority over the internet, in direct violation of a federal appeals court that DENIED the commission that authority. In December, the FCC voted and passed the first federal regulations on internet traffic.

69. Obama allows the DHS/TSA to routinely violate the 4th/5th Amendment rights of Americans at airports, train stations, and VIPER checkpoints.

70. Obama allows the DOJ in 2009 to stop enforcing federal drug laws in regards to marijuana.

71. Obama attempted to bypass Congress and raise the Debt Ceiling by “reinterpreting” the 14th Amendment.

72. Obama just bypassed the Senate AGAIN by appointing Richard Cordray to a new unconstitutional agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Violates policy.
http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?postid=273766

73. Obama deprived the due process of two U.S.citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, by assassinating them via a CIA drone attack in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011. This also raises the question of an act of war against Yemen for firing into a sovereign nation. Obama said in 2008:

“No. I reject the Bush Administration’s claim that the President has plenary authority under the U.S. Constitution to detainU.S.citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.”

74. Obama allowed Education Secretary Arne Duncan to grant waivers to No Child Left Behind however, this is a law enacted by Congress and neither Obama nor Duncan have the authority to authorize that.

75. Obama allowed the bailouts to grant money without the authority to do so. “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7U.S.Constitution

76. Obama allowed Operation Castaway to occur, which allowed firearms laws to be broken through coercion of legal gun dealers.

77. Obama bypassed the Senate to appoint three people to the National Labor Relations Board. (Naturally, they’ll all be Obomobots) Violates policy.
http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?postid=273766

78. Obama twenty three illegal Executive Orders to impose a Gun Grab, which is a direct violation of the Second Amendment.

79. Providing aid and comfort to the enemy by announcing the date for unilateral withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Thereby providing the impetus for the escalation of the green on blue attacks

80. Obama by announcing the date for unilateral withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby triggered the disintegration of the green respect that had been a goal of the training mission.

81. Obama deliberately interfering in the elections of our chief ally in the Middle East, Israel to try and influence the result.

82. Obama supplying the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt with F16 Jets and 220 Abram Tanks, sworn enemies of the USA and our Chief Ally Israel.

83. Obama nominating a Muslim John Brennan to be Director of the CIA,when America is at War with Radical Islamic Terrorists.

84. Obama nominating Chuck Hagel, a sworn enemy of our Chief Ally Israel, to be Secretary of Defense

85. Obama and Holder breaking Constitutional Law, by introducing Drone attacks on Americans.

86. Obama is using his Executive Decree to allow 80,000 Muslims to enter America next year, and 100,000 Muslims for the next five years.

87. The Obama administration failed to enforce a century-old law meant to prevent immigrants from taking root in the U.S. only to live on the government dole

88. The Obama administration’s release of hundreds and potentially thousands of illegal-alien criminals from U.S. detention centers

89. The sequester is actually a plot by Obama to cut defense spending and transfer money to “ACORN-like” groups that would help elect Democratic candidates.

90. The Obama administration’s allegedly revealing his political opponents’ private tax information to the media.

91. Obama allowing the third Saudi Bomber in Boston be deported to Saudi Arabia – Arch Terrorist Osama Bin Laden’s son

92. Obama Will Not Charge Boston Jihad Bombers as Enemy Combatants

93. White House Link to Illegal Taping of Sen. McConnell

94. Allowing Islamic Terror Group the Taliban to flourish and operate on American soil.

95. The Obama Government has been caught promoting the delivery of taxpayer-funded welfare benefits to foreigners – “These disclosures further confirm the fact that the Obama administration cannot be trusted to protect our borders or enforce our immigration laws. And the coordination with a foreign government to attack the policies of an American state is contemptible,”

96. Agents of the Obama Regime conspired in 2008 to get Obama’s name illegally put on the Indiana Primary Ballot.

97. Obama Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Involved In Massive Vote Fraud Scandal? http://j.mp/15QrBsb

98. TREASON…Obama Government Hired Al Qaeda to Defend the Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi?

99. Obama Military Considers Stopping Christians from Proselytizing

100. Obama and SecState Clinton’s efforts to bring the US under the UN’s Small Arms Treaty are direct violations of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

UNKNOWN: How many exact other violations of his Oath of Office.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


Mystery Surrounds Death of Alan Krueger, 58, Obama Economics Adviser

Celebrated labor economist Alan Krueger committed suicide at his home on Sunday, his family announced. The family did not release a cause of death in a statement on Monday.

Krueger's suicide at age 58 shocked his former colleagues in the political and business worlds.

The longtime Princeton University economics professor served as a Labor Department economist for President Bill Clinton. He also served as chief economics adviser for the Treasury Department under former President Barack Obama.

Obama credited Krueger with helping revive the economy during the 2008 financial crisis.

"He spent the first two years of my administration helping to engineer our response to the worst financial crisis in 80 years and to successfully prevent the chaos from spiraling into a second Great Depression," Obama said in a statement.

Questions surround Krueger's death as friends and associates wonder what could cause Krueger to take his own life.

According to Yahoo Finance, Krueger researched the effects of minimum wage on hiring and determined that the higher wage for low-income workers would not limit hiring.

His study on "no poaching" agreements between McDonald's, Burger King, Jiffy Lube, and H&R Block, resulted in lowering workers' wages by reducing competition for low-income workers.

Krueger's published study prompted threats of lawsuits by attorneys generals in 10 states and the District of Columbia, according to Yahoo Finance. The legal threats forced the franchises to drop their "no poaching" agreements.

"This paper has had an immediate policy impact, like no other paper I can think of, in labor economics," said Princeton economist Alexandre Mas in an email to Quartz for its annual review of economics research.

Krueger also researched studies on how to address the opioid epidemic and how the lack of public school financing hurts poor students.

Krueger's sixth book, titled Rockonomics, on economics and the music industry is set for release in June.

He used the music industry and rock music to explain economics in a relatable way to the public.

According to the Daily Mail, Krueger was an avid Twitter user who tweeted daily until January.

Krueger is survived by his wife Lisa, their two children, Benjamin, 28, and Sydney, 26, his elderly parents and siblings.


How Obama Fell into the Syrian Trap

President Trump reportedly has pulled the plug on the CIA’s ill-fated covert arming of Syrian rebels, causing consternation among the U.S. foreign policy establishment, Gareth Porter reported for The American Conservative.

Last week, a Trump administration official decided to inform the news media that the CIA program to arm and train anti-Assad Syrian forces had been terminated. It was welcome news amid a deepening U.S. military commitment reflecting the intention to remain in the country for years to come.

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As my recent article in The American Conservative documented, the net result of the program since late 2011 has been to provide arms to al Qaeda terrorists and their jihadist and other extremist allies, which had rapidly come to dominate the military effort against the Assad regime.

The Trump administration’s decision to acknowledge explicitly its decision to end the program invites a more systematic analysis of why and how such a program, which was so clearly undermining a fundamental U.S. national-security interest, could have gotten started and continue for so long. The preliminary version of the program that began in late 2011 is easier to explain than its more direct form two years later, which had continued (at least formally) until now.

One of the keys to understanding its origins is that the program was launched not because of a threat to U.S. security, but because of a perceived opportunity. That is always a danger sign, prompting powerful national-security bureaucrats to begin thinking about a “win” for the United States. (Think Vietnam and Iraq.)

The opportunity in this case was the rise of opposition protests against the Assad regime in spring 2011 and the belief among national security officials that Assad could not survive. The national-security team saw a shortcut to the goal.

Former Obama administration official Derek Chollet recalled in his book The Long Game that Obama’s advisers were all talking about a “managed transition” and urging President Obama to publicly demand that Assad step down, according to Chollet. What that meant to Obama’s advisers was bringing pressure from outside, including providing arms to the opposition.

That was wishful thinking not only in regard to the willingness of an Alawite-dominated regime to hand over power to its sectarian foes, but in regard to the assumed Iranian willingness to go along with toppling the regime. Not one of Obama’s advisers had sufficient understanding of regional dynamics to warn the President that Iran would not allow their Syrian ally to be overthrown by an opposition supported by Sunni states and the United States.

But the decisive factor in pushing the administration toward action was the pressure from U.S. Sunni allies in the region — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — which began in autumn 2011 to press Obama to help build and equip an opposition army. Turkey was the leader in this regard, calling for Washington to agree to provide heavy weaponry — including anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles — to the rebel troops that didn’t even exist yet, and even offering to invade Syria to overthrow the regime if the U.S. would guarantee air cover.

Pressuring Obama

In the ideology of the national security elite — especially its Democratic wing — regional alliances are essential building blocks of what is styled as the U.S.-sponsored global “rules-based order.” In practice, however, they have served as instruments for the advancement of the power and prestige of the national security bureaucracies themselves.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honor the four victims of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on Sept. 14, 2012. [State Department photo)

Then-CIA Director David Petraeus was particularly interested in ginning up a covert operation to arm and train the Syrian opposition. With the security bureaucracies supporting the allies’ desire to unseat Assad, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose sympathies and political strategy always lay with the war, eagerly took the lead in the administration on arming the rebels and calling for a “no fly zone,” which the Turks badly wanted.

Despite this set of interrelated factors pulling the administration toward a policy of regime change, Obama said no to heavy weapons, no to a no-fly zone, and no to an official U.S. role in arms supply. What he did agree to, however, was a covert CIA operation designed by Petraeus to load weapons from Libyan government stocks in Benghazi on ships and arrange for them to be shipped to the war zone. It was Obama’s way of placating all of the actors pushing for an aggressive policy of regime change in Syria without being publicly committed to regime change.

That program, which began in October 2011, was halted abruptly by the attack on the embassy annex in September 2012. But by that time the Obama administration already knew that the weapons were falling into the hands of al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front, as administration official revealed to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, the Saudis, Turks and Qataris were pushing arms to groups with military arrangements with al Qaeda’s al Nusra Front at a feverish pace, and the Saudis had begun making deals in Eastern Europe for the heavy weapons, clearly intending to equip a large conventional army.

The danger signals of a policy gone horribly wrong could hardly have been clearer. But at that moment in the summer and fall of 2012, Clinton and Petraeus began a new push for the CIA taking on the role of arming its own hand-picked “moderate” groups. Clinton argued in a White House meeting that the United States needed to have “skin in the game” in order to persuade its Sunni allies to steer weapons away from the terrorists. But Obama fended off that proposal, citing the blowback from the U.S. Afghanistan adventure (in the 1980s).

While the debate continued in late 2012 and early 2013, the CIA did a series of studies — evidently ordered by the White House — of past efforts to build up insurgent armies from scratch. The conclusions were not encouraging, as someone defending Obama’s position in the debate leaked to the Times.

Obama’s Deadly Mistake

But then in early December 2012, Obama made a fatal political error: He introduced a “red line” — the use of a chemical weapon in Syria. Sure enough, within weeks the first rebel allegation of a regime sarin attack was made in Homs. And although the Obama administration quickly investigated and found that it involved tear gas, it was soon followed by a series of new claims of regime chemical attacks in March and April 2013, in which the evidence was very murky at best.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Aug. 30, 2013, claims to have proof that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21, 2013, but that evidence failed to materialize or was later discredited. [State Department photo]

But for a second time, Obama also agreed to a CIA program of helping to arm the anti-Assad forces it was a way of placating his own national security apparatus and U.S. allies while avoiding an open commitment to the war. And when nothing happened in the secret program for weeks, Obama’s national security team used an alleged crisis in the war to tighten the pressure on him to move more decisively.

Secretary of State John Kerry and unhappy CIA officials arranged for a rebel commander to call into a White House meeting with the claim that Syrian and Hezbollah forces were threatening to bring about the collapse of the entire anti-Assad war.

Kerry warned that Obama would be blamed by U.S. allies for the outcome and proposed missile strikes on Assad’s forces. Within days, the White House ordered a new intelligence assessment that expressed “high confidence” that the Syrian regime had used sarin repeatedly and immediately made its conclusion public.

And simultaneously the White House announced publicly for the first time that the U.S. would provide direct assistance to the opposition and leaked it to the Times that it would involve military assistance.

So at the very moment when Washington should have been exerting pressure on its allies to stop pouring arms into an anti-Assad war that was systematically building up al Qaeda’s power and influence in the country, the Obama administration was caving in to those allies.

The reason was simple: Powerful national security bureaucracies were threatening to blame Obama for the failure of their heroic effort to save the anti-Assad war.

The lesson of the entire affair is clear: A malignant alliance between powerful national security bureaucracies and the Middle Eastern allies with whom they enjoy mutually profitable relations are pressuring the White House to approve actions that threaten the real interests of the American people — including strengthening terrorists.

The only way to reverse that situation is to direct public attention to that malignant alliance of interests, which has thus far gotten a free ride.


Cost of Living 1990

How Much things cost in 2000

Average Cost of new house $134,150.00

Average Income per year $40,343.00

Average Monthly Rent $675.00

Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.26

Average cost of new car $24,750.00

US Postage Stamp 33 cents

Barrel Of Oil Tops $30.00 per barrel

Popular Culture 2000

The popular show Big Brother is broadcast on German private channel RTLH and captures worldwide media interest

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51 million viewers watch the first season finale of the reality show "Survivor"