[I]t eventually became clear the administrationís housing rescue was falling woefully short. While HAMP had aided fewer than 70,000 people in 2009, for instance, 2.5 million received foreclosure notices. [. . .] To date, administration programs have permanently reduced the debt of just one tenth of 1 percent of underwater borrowers.

The entire article is worth reading. The incompetence of one Tim Geithner shines through.

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    The latest housing brainstorm (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 03:55:58 PM EST
    is a massive refinancing program - that will open up the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP) to all borrowers who are current on their loans, underwater in those loans, have never taken advantage of HARP in the past and whose loans are owned or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie.


    The newly expanded program would expunge legal liabilities associated with mortgages refinanced through the program for the original lenders of the mortgages. Each time a bank sent a loan to Fannie and Freddie, it certified that the loan met Fannie and Freddie's safe lending criteria. But many loans sent to the mortgage giants did not, in fact, meet those criteria. Currently, when borrowers default on those ineligible loans, the mortgage giants can "put back" the resulting losses onto the banks that pushed the loans.

    Under the modified plan, "put back" liability at banks will be erased for any underwater mortgage that is refinanced through HARP, eliminating Fannie and Freddie's ability to sack lenders with losses in the event that the mortgage does not pan out.

    If borrowers go through HARP, but decide after several months that the modest monthly savings do not outweigh owing tens of thousands of dollars more than their home is worth, taxpayer-owned Fannie and Freddie will have to take the full loss. Even if the original loan was sent to Fannie and Freddie with false or fraudulent guarantees from the bank -- promises that may directly be tied to the borrower's current financial problems -- banks will be immune from liability. Fannie and Freddie plan to charge banks "a modest fee" to extinguish this liability, but the administration has yet to determine what that fee will be.

    And, as the WaPo article makes clear, the same people responsible for the bungling of HAMP will be responsible for this expanded HARP program, which is enough reason to view it through lenses that are not nearly as rose-colored as the ones the administration would like us to use.

    It seems to me to be a small stimulus plan, that won't get rid of the debt that's hanging out there, and will at the same time, provide more protection for banks.

    And where this leaves people who aren't current on their loans is, I guess, out in the cold; they must be the ones who don't really deserve any help.

    I'm fairly certain the banks don't see Geithner as incompetent at all, which is why he still has a job.

    I just don't trust these people any more (none / 0) (#10)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:40:32 PM EST
    HARP lets you get a lower interest rate, IF you pay your overvalued loan back faster. Gee, thanks.

    Felix Salmon has a good, if biting, (5.00 / 0) (#31)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:24:57 AM EST
    article up, here, that says the president's plan sounds impressive, and:

    It is, until you read the official FHFA press release. At which point you learn that

    If you're a homeowner whose mortgage isn't owned or guaranteed by Frannie, you're out of luck.
    If your mortgage was sold to Frannie after May 31, 2009, you're out of luck.
    If you want to get out of negative-equity hell by doing a principal reduction, you're out of luck.
    If your bank doesn't feel like participating, for whatever reason, you're out of luck.

    Details, details.

    Note, especially, that last part: your bank doesn't have to participate in the program.

    So, what, exactly, is the incentive for banks to refinance performing loans that are paying interest on over-valued property?

    And this is a pretty mind-blowing bit of info from Salmon's article (bold is mine, italics in the original):

    The FHFA itself, in its press release, helpfully points out that for someone with a loan worth 25% more than their house, they won't start building equity in their home for ten years if they refinance into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

    How this helps - really helps - the housing crisis is beyond me; and I'm not, apparently, alone in that.


    It seems to me it is geared to help (none / 0) (#47)
    by ruffian on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 01:33:31 PM EST
    those banks that are skittish about ever seeing their principal. Maybe they will lower rates a point to get their principal back faster, IF, as you say, all of those other conditions apply.

    As for the homeowner...I was going to find time to use a mortgage calculator to see if it would be worth my while to even apply. My only hope of getting equity at this point is to keep the house for 15 years or more. If they make me pay it off in that amount of time, is the 1 point off the interest rate worth it? Well, maybe - if "tax reform" takes away my tax deduction!!!!


    I jsut scared myself..... (none / 0) (#48)
    by ruffian on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 01:45:19 PM EST
    maybe "tax reform" will be used as a club to get us into these programs that favor the banks more than us. Make it more attractive to trade principal reduction for low rates.

    Refinancing for a shorter term is not (none / 0) (#50)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 02:14:33 PM EST
    required, but since there won't be any principal reductions as part of the refinancing, FHFA points out that the longer the term of the loan, the longer it will take to accrue equity.  

    FHFA provides the following examples:

    Assume a homeowner currently has a mortgage on which he or she owes $200,000 and has an interest rate of 6.5 percent - a monthly payment of $1264.

    If the house is worth $160,000, the homeowner has a current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 125 percent.

    If this borrower refinanced into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4.5 percent, the monthly payment would decline to $1013. But, by refinancing into a 30-year loan, the borrower's loan balance will not reach $160,000 for ten full years.

    If the borrower chose a 20-year loan term at a rate of 4.25 percent (mortgage rates tend to be less for shorter term mortgages), the monthly payment would be $1238 ($26 less than the borrower currently pays) and the borrower's loan balance would reach $160,000 in five-and-one-half years.

    If this same borrower refinanced into a 15 year mortgage, assuming an interest rate of 3.75 percent, the monthly payment would be $1454 ($190 more than the current payment), but the loan balance would be below $160,000 in a bit more than three-and-one-half years.

    These examples are purely illustrative and are not meant to represent interest rates borrowers should expect to pay. They do show that some HARP-eligible borrowers, depending on their circumstances and priorities, may benefit from a shorter term mortgage. Since shorter term mortgages reduce credit risk to the Enterprises because of the faster repayment of principal, there will be no added fee for borrowers that choose shorter terms.

    This is a program that is voluntary for the lenders - your loan may be otherwise eligible, but the lender is not required to participate.  


    Thanks - when I read that I (none / 0) (#56)
    by ruffian on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 05:05:01 PM EST
    thought it was mandatory. But it seems strongly encouraged since it is the only incentive for the lender to work with you.

    BTD (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:31:56 PM EST
    it's not just Geither's incompetence unfortunately. This is Obama's incompetence with regard to the problem too. The buck stops with Obama.

    Supposedly, Harry Truman (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Zorba on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:38:09 PM EST
    had a sign on his desk that said "The buck stops here."  I agree.  Either Obama totally agrees with Geithner, or he is so weak he can't rein him in, or he's totally clueless about what's going on.  I think it's the first, but none of the alternatives exactly covers Obama with glory.  "Uneasy rests the butt that sits on the throne."  That's my take, anyway.

    Article indicates Obama realized (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:40:32 PM EST
    not enough/nothing was happening re his admins. helping underwater homeowners.  Sounds like he kinda lost track of the issue and how his admins. was responding/not responding to it.  

    That doesn't exactly (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Zorba on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 05:51:24 PM EST
    cover Obama with glory, though, does it?  He seems to have "lost track" about a whole lot of things regarding, not just underwater homeowners, but about people who have lost jobs and can't get another job.  Among other things.

    Underwater (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by norris morris on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 06:21:10 PM EST
    It has finally occured to Obama that unless he makes a half assed attempt about mortgage relief, that he might not get elected.

    The lack of political insight to say nothing of Obama's incompetence is as underwater as the mortgages he's ignored.

    This is an obvious political ploy and a woefully  inadequate response to the mortgage crisis.


    Supposing on a baseball team, (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by lentinel on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:57:01 PM EST
    there is one pitcher that continually gives up runs to the opposing team. The team consistently loses when this guy is on the mound.

    Yet the manager of the team insists on playing him in each and every possible game. And even makes a point of having him pitch in games that are crucial - as in the deciding game of the playoffs or the World Series.

    Of course the fans would boo the pitcher.
    And he would deserve it.

    But what are we to think of the manager who insists on playing this incompetent? I would think the owner would move heaven and earth to give the manager the heave ho.

    I think you get my drift.
    It has been stated by Ga6thDem below.

    As crappy as Geithner has continually proven himself to be, what are we to think about the person who keeps foisting his incompetence upon us?

    There is no doubt in my mind that we, the owners, should give this manager, Mr. O., the heave ho.

    Would that there were someone with brains, courage and integrity waiting in the wings... but that does not seem to be the case.

    So our team will continue to lose.

    ..continue to lose (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by DFLer on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 08:31:02 PM EST
    because they didn't let the girls play on the team? ;0)

    Exactly, lenitnel (none / 0) (#14)
    by Zorba on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 05:52:50 PM EST
    Sorry, "lentinel" (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Zorba on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 05:53:41 PM EST
    Doggone no ability to edit!

    That manager would not be (none / 0) (#19)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 06:46:11 PM EST
    Earl Weaver.

    But what you say is true.


    So, what finally brought about (none / 0) (#23)
    by Towanda on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 11:00:39 PM EST
    this slight improvement in HAMP was that Obama, sports-lovin' guy that he is, caught the first game lost by the Cards in the playoff and said, "wait, am I Tony La Rusa"?

    (Reading the Cards' fan boards that night, when TLR would not pull the pitcher, I learned some new words from St. Louisians.)

    Let's see if there's more of that in the Series to swing more cluebats Obama's way.


    The ESPN radio guys think Washington (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 11:49:47 PM EST
    is slow to pull the pitcher, not La Russa.

    again, and again (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 05:15:21 PM EST
    we come back to "experience."

    When the Treasury Secretary and the Head of the NY Reserve Bank tell you the world will end if you don't confiscate all the victim's money and hand it over to the perpetrators it shouldn't come as a surprise that a neophyte fraud would do as he's told.

    An experienced politician, one who had an actual agenda for the country, rather than just for himself, would've known that sometimes aides lie to you

    Apparently JFK got suckered in (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 11:50:34 PM EST
    as to Bay of Pigs plan.

    Btw, oculus, it's a bit of an odd detour (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by brodie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 02:06:28 PM EST
    you took to go from Obama and his economic advisers' consistently weak policy making over nearly 3 years, to a one-time foreign policy blunder very early on in JFK's presidency on a matter recc'd strongly by nearly all the nat'l security establishment, not to mention WW2 hero Ike who originally ordered up the scheme and believed in it.  A blunder which, as I've tried to show JFK quickly learned from.

    I mean, why not bring up a relevant economic blunder by a previous Dem president instead of really reaching to bash JFK over a very early FP folly?  E.g., how about bringing up FDR's awful decision in 1937 to take his Treasury Sec'y (speaking of treasury secretaries) Morganthau's advice re cutting the budget to avoid deficit spending, since the Depression was obviously under control, a decision which caused a massive increase in unemployment.

    And that happened in Roosevelt's fifth year in office -- speaking of the wisdom of experience.  Took FDR nearly 9 months to recover from his mental stupor, too, to begin acting boldly to recover from his self-induced error of huge proportions.

    Seems a lot more relevant to the matter under discussion in this thread to raise that 1937 decision -- and then deal with how it tends to undercut all the talk leveled at O about experience and principles.  



    Yes, JFK was suckered by the CIA (none / 0) (#28)
    by caseyOR on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 12:36:17 AM EST
    into following through on the plan that was hatched during Ike's administration.  Kennedy, however, learned, and learned quickly, from that mistake. He was already inclined to distrusting the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. After the BoP, he essentially shut them out of any decision-making.

    So, while one might forgive some early mistakes by Obama, the fact that Geithner, among others, remains a powerful member of this administration indicates that either Obama does not learn from his mistakes, or Obama is getting exactly the policies he wants.


    Although Brodie disagrees, I am convinced (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 12:47:46 AM EST
    JFK was also instrumental in immersing U.S. military in Vietnam quagmire.

    I don't know if we will ever know (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:32:22 AM EST
    how that would have gone.  He was cut down in mid stride.  Maybe when we get to heaven and we get to ask our one question.  There are so many though.  Where is Jimmy Hoffa?  Honestly, who killed JFK?  Is there life on other planets?

    Tracy that's a long-held pov often (none / 0) (#46)
    by brodie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 11:17:11 AM EST
    asserted by JFK detractors or Johnson fans, but a number of scholars and independent authors have debunked that view in the past twenty years.

    James Galbraith, David Kaiser, John Newman, Howard Jones, James Douglass and others have written books or major articles showing how the record strongly suggests Kennedy by the fall of 1963 was clear about getting out -- and doing so regardless of conditions on the ground in VN.  JFK was all too aware of how the Pentagon was itching to get us massively involved and of how an initial request now for just 25k combat troops could easily open the door to unending later requests for more and more troops.

    JFK did learn quite a bit about the national security types who'd so badly mislead him in the BOP-- he was determined not to repeat that mistake either in VN or Cuba or anywhere else the militarized wanted him to intervene.

    The Q of whether JFK would have bogged us down in VN as LBJ did has already been answered authoritatively in the negative.  Far less clear cut are some of the other major Qs you want answered.


    JFK as well as Ike and Truman (none / 0) (#45)
    by brodie on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 11:00:41 AM EST
    all played a role in getting the US involved in VN, but it wasn't until LBJ crossed the line on sending in massive numbers of combat troops (which Kennedy always firmly refused to do) that VN became a "quagmire" for us.  And in doing so Johnson was consciously reversing the Kennedy Oct 1963 formal decision to begin withdrawing all US military personnel.  The documentary record is rather clear on this point.

    Thank Lyndon for your quagmire and not his predecessor who was going to pull the US out of that country by the end of 1965.


    When they saved the banks (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 09:30:18 PM EST
    without conditions, without the return of real regulation, and pronounced them TBTF...the banks have no reason to work with anyone either.  And they won't, they have no incentive to even think about taking a haircut and write down principal in order for the people in the houses to stay in the houses.  The underwater theme song for all of us.

    According to the article, this another (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 11:54:31 PM EST
    instance where Obama's first inclination was the correct one, but he buckled when others (inferior to him) strongly disagreed.

    Geithner is not incompetent (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:39:42 AM EST
    I think you assume he is trying to help homeowners; he is not.  He is working to insure Banks get repaid as much as possible.  At most he wants to help homewoners repay, the full loan amount, & only to restore the balance sheet for his banker buddies (who he believes can always be bailed out).

    Viewed from that perspective, he is highly competent.

    But it is the wrong mission & I agree with Casey above, because Geithner is still on the team Obama is either clueless or getting what he wants from Geithner.

    I like that OWS is not making demands and just expressing a general feeling of discontent, disgust.  But insisting that Geithner go ought to be a no brainer.  He represents all that is wrong with Government; he represents the 1%.

    "he represents the 1%." (none / 0) (#51)
    by NYShooter on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 02:56:18 PM EST
    1% of the people, 100% of the power.

    Geithner is simply the poster boy of the problem.

    What OWS is saying, but can't say out loud, is that the problem is systemic; we need a 100% amputation of our "elected" government.


    Ironic: (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 03:56:02 PM EST
    My argument at the time was, with Fannie and Freddie sitting on 30 million mortgages, anything you did to right the mortgage market would actually save money," said former FHFA director James Lockhart, a George W. Bush-era appointee.

    Isn't that one tenth of 1 percent (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 03:56:22 PM EST
    vindication for the instrumentalists? It's working. Have patience. Or something like that?

    incrementalists maybe? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:04:45 PM EST
    unless you meant the accompanist to the fat lady whose been singing for awhile.

    who's (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:05:28 PM EST
    editor edit thyself.

    Heh. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Edger on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 04:13:56 PM EST
    Yes. Incrementalists are instrumental in saving the economy. ;-)

    Heckuva job, Timmy. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Addison on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 06:23:06 PM EST
    President Obama had a great chance to fire Geithner over the summer and politically substitute that one cabinet change for a jobs bill that (as it turned out) never passed. But he didn't! I think he even gave Geithner a vote of confidence!

    Our system rewards the "clubbiness" of elites on the way up, but doesn't set up incentives to ditch that clubbiness when you're at the top (president) and being a go-along guy can only hurt you personally through bad executive decision making.

    Obama's not going to fire Geithner, (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 06:44:22 PM EST
    and when/if Geithner resigns, a Geithner clone will take his place; trust me when I say that I'm sure there are plenty of those in the pipeline.

    If Suskind's book is accurate - and there is little to suggest that it isn't - Obama has a problem with executive decision-making.  He can make decisions, and those in the inner circle can talk him into un-making them - or, in Geithner's case, can slow-walk those decisions with no repercussions.  None.

    The thing people just have to come to terms with is that Obama believes in Geithner, and in Geithner's world view; three years in, I don't see how one could make the case that Geithner isn't exactly what Obama wants.


    Oh Anne... (none / 0) (#20)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 06:48:03 PM EST
    There's a reason for the 'new normal.' /snark, for the snark inabled.

    That's not making decisions (none / 0) (#24)
    by Towanda on Mon Oct 24, 2011 at 11:04:10 PM EST
    That's called tossing out hypotheticals.  (A commonality among community organizer sorts and academic sorts in brainstorming.)

    Decisions are enforced, because they have authority behind them.

    That's what he lacks.


    Why should Obama be re-elected again? (none / 0) (#30)
    by redwolf on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 03:51:19 AM EST
    Just to be clear: Given Obama's track record and the likely-hood of things getting even worse if he's re-elected do you all really think it's a good idea to run him again?  Even if he squeaks to a bare victory in 2012 both the house and the senate are going to the GOP.  And by 2016 they will have a 2/3s majority with the way things are going. Your basically handing at will constitutional amendment power to the GOP.

    FDR is rolling over in his grave.

    I don't believe the House and the Senate (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:26:45 AM EST
    are going GOP in the way you predict.  The whole country is so pissed off at them right now, and they aren't going to do anything to make that any better soooooooo predicting that the country is going to vote to put them fully in charge of two branches is nuts.

    I think most posters here would have liked to see Obama primaried but that isn't an option.  The only Republican I might consider is Huntsman but that MIGHT is huge.  And the candidate that the insane ruling Republican base will offer up as their choice is going to be so horrific, that candidate will not even matter.  There might be a race if Romney is the candidate but in all seriousness, now that I've seen Romney campaigning of late, Obama is going to kick his a$$.....just stomp it.

    I love how Repubs blew up the whole fricken world economy and now they insist that they will fix all this swiftly and easily and the reason why it isn't right now is because of Obama.  That's just too ridiculous to even listen to.

    I don't believe any Republican is going to improve my domestic policy, and they will in fact ruin and destroy even more.  When it comes to foreign policy I don't think anyone could have done better than Obama.  And this is an active duty household so I'm just going to throw out there that given all that reality, you don't change horses midstream when you have a wartime President :)  Muwhahahahhahahaha


    The bigger question, I think, is (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:49:18 AM EST
    what are your Democrats in Congress going to do to stop the onslaught of Republican policy, domestic or foreign?

    Looking at what they have failed to do up to this point, because they were following the wishes and commands of a Democratic president who is overly fond of Republican policy, how confident are you that (1) they won't continue to enable a Democratic president, albeit with probably fewer numbers, which may render it token pushback, or, (2) however many of them there are in both houses, they use the rules and tools at their disposal to block the desires of a Republican president?

    You can stop laughing - or sobbing - now.

    Democrats, more than ever, are the party of Find a Way to Get Along and GET SOMETHING DONE, and that has meant, over and over, catering to the tantrums of Republicans.  Is that going to stop?  I am not feeling confident that it will.

    This is why we're screwed, and all we're arguing about is the degree to which we're going to be screwed.  And the more it goes on, the more normal it feels and more accustomed and inured to it people are becoming ; I have to tell you that being asked to make a conscious, affirmative effort to vote for someone I know is going to screw me, just not as badly as the other guy, is something I can't bring myself to do.  


    On the bright side Anne (none / 0) (#39)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:37:16 AM EST
    the screwing is increasingly leaving people homeless, without food and in the gutter.  Even the most accommmodating among us find it difficult to become inured to homelessness, hunger & hopelessness.

    Even Fox News can't convince a destitute person that he or she is well off.


    Yes, all we are arguing about is the (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:40:13 AM EST
    degree of being screwed right now.  But I sense the dimensions of the debate changing and one thing that will not ever change is that the Republicans will ever be bringing to the table any real solutions.  That is still an option for Democrats, and Obama is now having to face that real solutions for little people are his only winning strategy.  Obama's current use of third way will kill him trying to get re-elected, it will make the fight a battle all uphill...and I still don't see him losing it.  But I think he sees that it will destroy his legacy and what the history books will say about him too, and this man cares about his legacy IMO.

    You only need look at the insanity of (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:26:29 AM EST
    the GOP candidates' proposals for tax policy to know that they are never going to have the answers - and this is true on multiple issues; we already knew this.

    But...Dems keep giving credibility to the insanity by listening to it, trying to accommodate it, and coming up with these bipartisan "solutions" that don't actually solve anything for the 99%.

    Obama still seems determined to be a better Republican than the Republicans, and while he may take a rhetorically populist campaign stance out of abject fear of not being re-elected, we've seen that show before, and what has it gotten us?  And, more importantly, what will it get us if he is re-elected?  More grim announcements that we have to do something to fix the social safety net?  More parts of the ACA that will be jettisoned?  More renewals of tax cuts for the 1%?

    The truth of the matter is that on the housing crisis, the Obama administration is offering little that will have any effect on it.  And the total incompetence with which the original HAMP was administered has burned a lot of people who won't take the risk of trying the new-and-improved HARP because they fear being burned again.  How can you blame them?

    So, we've gone from the brilliance of Win The Future, to the last-resort desperation of We Can't Wait; I know that WCW is supposed to be a slam at the Congress, but it's just another FAIL in the slogan department, because it invokes urgency, not end-run, as in, why has it taken this long to have a sense of urgency?  And by explaining that it has to do with not waiting for Congress, they manage to invoke the specter of a president who has decided to cut the legislative branch out of the picture.  Is that an image Obama really wants people to have?  Or the GOP to use against him?

    You and I both know, from reading Suskind, that this is not a man with good executive skills, who can use good governance to overcome the circumstances he cannot control.  And we also know, just because we're both reasonably intelligent, that running on one's record is a world apart from running on a dream, and Obama has no skills in that department.  None.

    We're Screwed.


    Obama cares about the history (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:43:09 AM EST
    that he makes though.  I guess I'm hoping that that will end up being something that will make his second term better than the first.  Whatever they do in dealing with the housing crisis though, they don't have anything very workable proposed yet.  Trying to do another HOLC now will only cause more anger over "bank bailouts".  He needed to do that before now, but between not taking the crisis very seriously and letting slow walking insubordinates run his economic solutions he lost the window.

    People are furious about banks being bailed out and we've sold them enough bonds for troubled assets bailing them out that if we do it again many people will scream bloody murder.  The banks need to take haircuts now and investors need to take haircuts or no solution will float.


    I don't doubt that Obama is very (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 10:51:11 AM EST
    invested in, and concerned about, his legacy, but I wish he could make up his mind which group's opinion matters most to him - the 1% or the 99%, the hawks or the doves, the Democrats or the Republicans.  Maybe this is evidence that he still doesn't know who he is, or what he believes, but either way, I think he's going to be disappointed - and bitter - about how history treats him.

    I think Geithner and Gang have made him so fearful of doing anything that ticks off the banks and Wall Street that he is just throwing bones at the 99% in hopes that it will be enough to get him re-elected.

    "Courage" is not going to be a label history is likely to grace him with.


    Sooner or later (none / 0) (#62)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:19:20 AM EST
    the parade of horribles Geithner & Co. must be running by Obama will happen.  These guys are pumping air into tires that they and their compadres on Wall Street have slashed.  Talk about driving on fumes.   I think we'll see another huge bailout, or the exposure of some clandestine huge bailout already underway, before Nov 2012.

    And then change, out of necessity & fear.  Not the ideal circumstances in which to rationally plan society's way forward.


    It's a numbers game (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:30:01 AM EST
    Dems have to defend something like 23 Senate seats and the Repbulicans only 8 or so.

    Since there is a huge anti-incumbent feeling, and many Dem seats are in moderate to conservative states, I predict the Senate to flip.


    I don't think it will flip (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:34:20 AM EST
    I think Romney beats Obama (none / 0) (#37)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:48:24 AM EST
    He will have the 1% united behind him with their $$$$.  He will be terrible but Obama would be only slightly better, if at all, and leave Democrats with the blame for the state of affairs in 2016; which will be awful.

    I have no idea how Congress will turn out.  

    There is no choice in 2012 so I for one am not choosing.  If you are unhappy with Obama's performance to date just imagine he gets re-elected and he views his polices and governing style as having been re-affirmed in his accountability moment.  He will pursue his grand bargain, i.e. our SS and Medicare cuts, with renewed vigor.  He will be terrible and a generations long disaster for the Democratic Party.

    Romeny, on the other hand, is such a politically slimy chameleon he might actually be forced to try New Dealish things come 2014-15 just to save his own politcal career.  

    What a pathetic predicament.  Yes we could have, but we didn't.


    If Romney gets the nomination (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 09:42:09 AM EST
    We should have us a bet Bob :)  I would, and I'm not much of a betting girl.  But if Romney gets the nomination are you interested in a wager?  It would make it more exciting :)

    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 03:03:09 PM EST
    I'll bet, not that I am hoping for it, just think it will happen.  To be truthful I don't know what I am hoping for at this point, other than OWS to keep on keeping on. I don;t see the economy getting any better over the course of the next year, & it is horrible now.  Over 9% unemployment, plus Romney's necessary move to the center in a general (& he did it well enough to win in Mass), I think Romney wins.  Add to that the very real possibility of another huge bank bailout, which the GOP will hypocritically campaign against (contrast Obama in 2008 providing cover to Bush & Paulson).

    The bright side is that a Romney win will leave the GOP holding the bag in 2014 & 16, and while Romney too will try to cut entitlements he is less likely to be successful at it than Obama. As you and Anne noted above, the GOP has no answers, or rather they have answers to the wrong problem.  Their only issue is, as always, what can we do to enable our rich benefactors to get richer.


    I am not as certain Romney gets GOP nod though (none / 0) (#53)
    by BobTinKY on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 03:05:21 PM EST
    I have in laws who are Southern evangelical types and they freak out over Mormons.  I don't think folks are giving that aspect of the GOP right the recognition it deserves,  they will never vote for him or Hunstman or any other "cultist."

    Romney's (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 04:43:24 PM EST
    road to the nomination is probably going to have to be outside of the south. I would expect that he would do very well out west and in the northeast primaries. The funny thing is the fact that he is disliked in the south probably makes for a stronger election candidate. It seems the majority of GOP presidential candidates are from the south these days.

    NH will prove dissappointing for Romney (none / 0) (#61)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:13:49 AM EST
    it should be a cakewalk but NH conservatives, GOP primary voters, are nuts, it won't matter that he is from next door.

    Except (none / 0) (#54)
    by jbindc on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 03:22:25 PM EST
    The latest polling shows that something like 85% of people have no strong feelings about a Mormon candidate and that would not be a factor in their decision to vote.

    I think there is something to what he (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:26:30 PM EST
    is saying about the South being anti Romney.

    Someone we know (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 25, 2011 at 08:24:58 PM EST
    Who is Evangelical and also originally from Georgia is really trying to sell Cain right now.  Says he is the tea party candidate.  Have heard zero from him about Romney.  You would think there was no Romney.

    Cain (none / 0) (#59)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 06:26:58 AM EST
    is the flavor of tea the partiers are drinking this month. As you can see, there's nothing special about Cain and actually he's not really prepared to run a country.

    Cain does not need to be preapred (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 09:08:50 AM EST
    the idea that our elected officals are actually running the place has become rather quaint, no?