James Pethokoukis

The real message of the Scott Brown victory

January 29, 2010

Via John Ellis:

The answer, I think, is that whatever pivot is made will be irrelevant. The fact is President Obama doesn’t have the luxury of proposing an agenda. Agendas (or at least, agendas as we have come to think of them) are for people who have money. The United States is broke. And the debt gets worse by the day.

So-so growth for 2010?

January 29, 2010

That is how IHS Global calls it:

The fourth-quarter GDP surge was produced by a sharp turn in the inventory cycle. Firms still cut inventories in the fourth quarter, but much less severely than in the third. That led to increased production, which boosted GDP. Final sales growth, a better guide to the underlying path of the economy, was much more sedate, at 2.2%, but that was still an improvement on the third quarter’s 1.5% pace.

Dems might be in worse trouble than 1994

January 28, 2010

If Mike Barone thinks so, so do I:

I have not seen a party’s fortunes collapse so suddenly since Richard Nixon got caught up in the Watergate scandal and a president who carried 49 states was threatened with impeachment and removal from office.

A limited speech by a constrained president

January 28, 2010

The White House political team loves comparing Barack Obama to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, predecessors who easily won second terms despite early stumbles in their first ones. But the economic and fiscal pincers which constrain Obama are much tighter. None of the president’s proposals in Wednesday’s State of the Union speech can do much to free him.

Obama SOTU speech

January 28, 2010

It was a limited agenda outlined by a constrained president, constrained by the loss of a Senate supermajority, constrained by the Scott Brown win, constrained by his own falling popularity and constrained by investors whom he fears are reaching their debtload tolerance.

CBO paints nightmare scenario for Democrats in 2010

January 26, 2010

According to the new CBO economic and budget forecast,  the US economy will grow at just 2.2 percent next year, keeping unemployment above  10 percent. In fact, it has the jobless rate averaging 10.1 percent vs. 9.3 percent in 2009. As the CBO puts it:

The Obama Freeze

January 26, 2010

A few thoughts on the Big Budget Freeze:

1) Estimated annual savings of $25 billion over the next decade aren’t much when annual budget deficits will likely average a trillion dollars.

The case against Bernanke

January 25, 2010

From AEI’s Desmond Lachman:

Bernanke’s sole claim for a second term rests on the masterful and bold way in which he prevented the U.S. economy from falling into the abyss following the Lehman debacle in September 2008. However, this begs the question as to who led us to the abyss in the first place. Throughout 2006, when the worst of the sub-prime lending was taking place, Bernanke was conspicuously silent in sounding the alarm about the dangers of the U.S. housing bubble. Similarly, he was painfully slow in recognizing how severe the fallout from the bursting of the housing bubble would be and he displayed the poorest of judgments in allowing Lehman to fail in as disorderly manner as it did.

Yup, the Senate may be in play

January 25, 2010

New polling by Rasmussen shows Evan Bayh in danger. Remember, one of the big impacts of the Scott Brown victory was a boost to recruitment. RealClearPolitics has the details:

Bernanke Confirmation Watch

January 22, 2010

I would not say his support is collapsing, but it is eroding. He is going to need some GOP help to make it. Keep an eye on the “yes” votes from the Banking Commitee to see if they start wavering and how much Obama supports him in the next few days. BB is on the wrong side of the populist wave.