Diary

The All Hat, No Cattle Obama Recovery Plan

The Caucus Blog of The New York Times says that Barack Obama’s transition staff are claiming that his so-called economic recovery plan will be a “paperless plan.” By that, they mean that there will be no “detailed documents, cost estimates” or the sort of announcements and “fanfare that capital watchers expect for the unveiling of major initiatives.”

It seems that, in Papal fashion, Obama plans to issue lofty rhetoric from the balcony to adoring crowds, then will retreat back inside his chambers to allow others to “fill in details.”

Forget the usual detailed documents, cost estimates and announcement fanfare that capital watchers expect for the unveiling of major initiatives. President-elect Barack Obama and his advisers suggested on Friday that he has provided the “framework” of a plan in recent public remarks; now Congress, coordinating with the Obama team, will flesh it out.

Mr. Obama and his advisers “wanted to set the broad outline and, very smartly, want Congress to sort of fill in some of the details,” Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said in an interview. “It just makes sense. There’s a lot of knowledge here on the Hill.”

Like a true potentate, Obama plans to issue edicts and then to let Congress to fulfill his wishes.

When I first read this report, something struck me as familiar about the style. Then it hit me. Barack Obama is just like Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich!

One of the many jokes commonly said about Blago by Illinois legislators is that he “gives good press conference” but little else. The reason legislators were so fond of saying this is because Blago would come up with some wild idea, call a press conference, tell the state that he was going to “do” something or start some new program, then happily go home for a neighborhood jog. Blago, it appeared, felt that his job was to imagine every crazy program that he could come up with, announce it as a fact on TV, but leave it to everyone else to actually do the hard work of making laws.

Blago did not seem to think that he needed to craft an idea, work with legislators to garner support, oversee the writing of a bill, and arrange funding for those wonderful plans. He thought all he had to do was announce them on TV and *poof* we have new laws and programs.

Well, it appears that Obama is operating on an “all hat, no cattle” operating procedure similar to Blago’s style. Talk it up on TV in a sonorous voice and then go body surfing or something. Barack Obama has learned more from Blago than we thought.

Barack is a Blagoist. He’s Barack OBlago, even.