Democrats are growing impatient with President-elect Barack Obama’s refusal to inject himself in the major economic crises confronting the country.Obama has sidestepped some policy questions by saying there is only one president at a time. But the dodge is wearing thin.
“He’s going to have to be more assertive than he’s been,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., told consumer advocates Thursday.
Frank, who has been dealing with both the bailout of the financial industry and a proposed rescue of Detroit automakers, said Obama needs to play a more significant role on economic issues.
“At a time of great crisis with mortgage foreclosures and autos, he says we only have one president at a time,” Frank said. “I’m afraid that overstates the number of presidents we have. He’s got to remedy that situation.”
Well, we actually do have a President but putting aside Congressman Frank’s snark, the interesting thing is that in the wake of Barack Obama’s win, Democrats have already started sniping at him with a vengeance. They sense on the part of the President-elect and his team a lack of direction, a lack of focus, an excess of caution and a desire to let the political sway and credibility of others take a hit while Team Obama and its chief principal remain above the fray. Word has gotten out that the incoming Administration won’t exactly be sharing the frontline foxholes with the Congressional Democrats as the shooting starts in the war over financial policy.
Unless the incoming Administration jumps in quickly with both feet, this strategic and tactical lack of enthusiasm will be long remembered by Congressional Democrats, who will, in turn, be less inclined to come to the rescue of the 44th President when he needs it. And he will need it at some point in time. Because–and this is important to remember–Barack Obama is not the Messiah. He is just another politician.
Oh, and in the event that you think that we are in a period of national togetherness that will somehow allow is to transcend our ideological divisions:
Frank, shrewd and quick-witted, also poked fun at Obama’s calls for a “post-partisan” governing environment in Washington. Frank predicted that regulatory legislation aimed at preventing abuses related to subprime mortgages and credit cards stood a much better chance next year, when Democrats have greater majorities in the House and Senate.”It is a grave mistake to assume that parties are irrelevant to this process,” he said. “My one difference with the president-elect, about whom I am very enthusiastic, is when he talks about being post-partisan.
“Having lived with this very right wing Republican group that runs the House most of the time, the notion of trying to deal with them as if we could be post-partisan gives me post-partisan depression,” Frank said.
So Congressman Frank’s idea of leadership is “giving Republicans the shaft.” This too will be long remembered.