Looks like the Tea Party is reshaping American politics already. What does the Tea Party stand for? No more bailouts, cut spending, a sound currency. That is about it. it is a movement based on an idea that bailouts are bad as the government decides who wins and loses. I'm a big fan. It has caused the GOP to shapen up. It has caused some Dems to sing new tunes (Coons in Delaware and Feingold in Wisconsin come to mind). It has caused some states to elect virtual unknowns and toss the political creatures out on their asses. It has created a couple of rock stars as Rubio from Florida will probably be the GOP VP in 2016 or potential nominee in '16 or '20. It is cool to watch, and I hope they stick to their guns and cut back on spending before the dollar goes in the tank.
Could this trainwreck have been avoided? Yes. On the phone with my friend who works in Congress, we walked back to figure out where things went wrong. I argue that Obama went wrong when he did not break up Citigroup or AIG in spring of 2009 when they asked for more money. That was his chance. If he had broken them up, sure the economy would still be bad now but some of the big banksters would have been wiped out and 'dealt with'. A lot of regular Joes would have felt good that the banksters got a pounding. It would have given him a huge cushion with the American people. It also would have scared the other Wall St banks into cooperation. Instead, we just got business as usual. Busting up those Wall St banks and AIG would have given him some leeway with his broken promises of "no new net spending" or "no new taxes for anyone under 250K in income".
My friend argues that the inflection point for Obama was in winter of 2009-2010 when he kept pushing health care reform. The summer 'town hall' meetings of 2009 where angry citizens yelled at their Congressmen in normally polite districts should have been the warning. Instead, he kept talking, and talking, and talking, and demonizing people who disagreed, and talking. Nothing ever changed except that the HCR bill ended up as something that no one liked, not even the libs. The Scott Brown Massachusetts Miracle should have been the red light to not go any further, but Obama did not stop. A Republican won the Kennedy seat, and won it by 5% with MSNBC calling him a racist homophobe and the national GOP not helping much. Obama and Co trucked onward and now they are facing the wrath of angry voters who live in economic uncertainty and view each move by the administration as a sop to Big Banks, Big Pharm, Big Unions, GM, etc. If Obama had not pushed HCR, he could have blamed the economic crapfest on the banks not lending.
My friend's reasoning has points, but it feels too 'one issue' to me. I think a lot of people feel the Dems didn't give them the change they were looking for, and many independent voters feel bamboozled by Obama the candidate vs. Obama the president. I disliked him as a person, but thought he was sharp enough to prove my doubts wrong. As a person, I feel he is the ultimate opportunist who will be everything to everyone to be liked, never really making a stand. He gives speeches that say he hates banks, but every action and step he has taken only helps the big banks more. He says he gets it with gays, but does the opposite. He says he is trying to strengthen relations with allies, yet disses the Brits, snubs the Germans, doesn't curry favor with India or Japan and bows to countless other leaders. This all goes back to spring of 2009 with the banks. They came crawling to the Feds for more bailout money. That was his chance to be tough. Obama gave them billions more. Empty tough talk. Obama claimed on the news he was disgusted by AIG's bonuses, yet he signed the bill that allowed them. He had power to stop things, but didn't, which means he either is incredibly incompetent or is lying through his teeth. This election is his warning. He can change if he wants to, and he is given 2 more years to do so.