Of course not. I know that Obama and McCain were both up on that stage last night. But so was Hillary Clinton – that is, her plan for the economy was. And when Obama parroted that plan, those ten minutes or so were the strongest portion of his argument. He never reached those heights again during the entire debate.
Don’t believe me? Let’s do a side-by-side comparison, shall we?
Here’s Obama’s plan from the debate.
No. 1, we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got oversight over this whole process; $700 billion, potentially, is a lot of money.
No. 2, we’ve got to make sure that taxpayers, when they are putting their money at risk, have the possibility of getting that money back and gains, if the market — and when the market returns.
No. 3, we’ve got to make sure that none of that money is going to pad CEO bank accounts or to promote golden parachutes.
And, No. 4, we’ve got to make sure that we’re helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country.
Wow, that sounds great! Clear, cogent and easily and succinctly expressed. But why does it sound strangely familiar?
From Hillary’s Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2008:
First, we must address the skyrocketing rates of mortgage defaults and foreclosures that have buffeted the economy and ignited the credit crisis.
That’s Obama’s Step 4.
Second, American taxpayers should have a voice and a stake in the resolution of this market crisis. If the Treasury proposal is enacted in its current form, the American government would assume enough financial risk to become the majority shareholder in the companies rescued by taxpayer dollars.
The American people are bearing the risk and therefore deserve to reap the rewards of a shared equity model. And mortgage securities bought by taxpayers must be valued accurately at prices disclosed in real time, with checks and reporting requirements to prevent abuse.
That’s Obama’s Step 2.
Third, taxpayers are being asked to bear an unparalleled degree of financial risk. We cannot allow taxpayers to take on this burden so that Wall Street and the Bush administration can hit the “reset button.” This historic intervention demands a historic shift in priorities: an end to the broken culture on Wall Street, and the broken economic policies in Washington.
Corporations that will benefit must be held accountable, not only to large shareholders but also to the American people, who are rightly tired of business as usual: short-term profit at the expense of long-term viability; lax oversight and regulation; obscene bonuses and golden parachutes regardless of performance; reckless risk-taking that has placed the markets in jeopardy; rewards for foreclosing on middle-class families and selling mortgages designed to fail; and outsourcing good jobs to serve short-term stock prices instead of America’s long-term economic health.
Voila! Obama’s Steps 1 and 3.
Now, if Obama were an ordinary Democratic politician, I would be over the moon about the fact that he promoted Hillary’s plan. It wouldn’t even matter to me that none of it was his idea. (She outlined similar steps in a much longer presentation to Congress on September 18, when Obama was out campaigning in New Mexico.) In fact, if I thought Obama had the remotest intentions of doing any of these things if elected, I would run, not walk, to the polls and vote for him in a heartbeat. McCain’s economic plan has some good elements, but to claim that he will keep taxes low is not credible. Republicans always raise taxes on Joe and Jane America; they just do it indirectly. For example, Bush has lowered taxes and even given us rebates twice; but he has starved state and local governments so much that many of them are insolvent. So, our state and local taxes end up increasing because those branches of the government need more money to make up the federal shortfall. Heyyyyy, tricky!
Unfortunately, I don’t trust Obama to implement any of these steps. First of all, where was this economic clarity during the entire 18 months of the campaign? Only on Clinton’s side, never on Obama’s. In addition, the economic ideas he puts forward that ARE his own, seem ill-considered or unreachable. For example, he claims he will lower taxes on 95% of the American people. But if and when he does this, how will raising taxes on such a small percentage of Americans generate enough revenues to help begin to balance the budget again? And if milk goes up to $5 a quart and gas goes up to $7.50 a gallon, will a tax cut even matter? And what about all the insolvent state and local government entities? If their needs are not addressed, won’t state and local taxes remain high?
I believe that the only way to insure that the Clinton economic plan goes forward is to make sure that Obama loses the Presidential election. Once the corporatist, appeasement-minded Obama for America organization is defeated, the Clinton/FDR wing of the Party will gain power and credibility. I would like to see Hillary as Senate Majority Leader, pushing forward her aggressive, bold and liberal plan for fixing the economy, the environment and many other areas of domestic interest.
And speaking of FDR…here’s a sneak peek at what some of us PUMA and non-PUMA types have been working on for post-election activism. It’s not finished yet, but it should be fully-launched sometime next week.
We will bring Democracy back to both the country and the Democratic Party. We are excited, optimistic and hopeful about the future. America can and will be placed back on the right track – a track that will allow all citizens access to the opportunities they deserve to achieve the American dream.
Will you join us?
Cross-posted at Partizane