Washington D.C.--It might say "Office of the President-Elect of the United States"on the podium, but Barack Obama and his economic team have already begun taking action as an active and operational presidential administration.
Alongside this there has been the parallel inaction and obstruction of the dead administration of George W. Bush and its inability to think outside the obsolete box of the "market economy" ideology. This week, reality handed them their ass, and now they're being far more cooperative.
This disintegration of the Bush II administration isn't being announced anywhere, but it's unprecedented in our history, it's real. George W. Bush's inability to lead and govern collapsed long ago, but it's now completely played-out and he has nothing left to offer to a situation that he helped birth through earlier negligence and criminal inaction.
My intuition is that the meeting between President-elect Obama and the outgoing President Bush yielded the belated cooperation, finally, because there was nothing left for them to do. They wanted help and they wanted someone to guide them, to hold their hand. You can imagine they also said, "Don't hurt us," in so many words.
The bailout of Citigroup (of whom vice president-elect Joe Biden has connections) is likely a concession on-the-part of Bush in-exchange for economic advice. A promise of amnesty might have been part of the deal as well. Why would Bush and his administration know how to fix the mess he helped create? How would they do it without implicating themselves? You can just feel that Barack Obama is already president due to the grave nature of things at this historical moment.
The GOP is doctrinally and politically paralyzed within the executive branch. Send in the new guy:
Remarkably for a president-elect, he said he wanted Congress to act "right away" on a stimulus measure that would blend spending and tax cuts. Asked for details, he said without elaboration that he wanted a measure "of a size and scope that is necessary to get this economy back on track."
Democratic officials in Congress said the stimulus plan could include aid to cash-strapped states to provide health care to the poor, along with road and bridge funding. More money for food stamps is also likely, they said.
Obama renewed his campaign-long call for middle class tax cuts but said he would let his advisers make a recommendation on whether to roll back Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. ("Obama urges Congress to pass costly stimulus bill," AP, 11.24.2008)
Bush and Obama spoke together on the phone today, and one can imagine why. There was no choice. Leadership in the White House has collapsed and illuminated what we--the critics of the administration--have contended all along: George W. Bush is not a leader in any sense, he is incompetent, and he has broken the law knowingly and unknowingly because of these fundamental facts.
Bush is also a very compromised man, and now Congress and the "incoming" Obama administration has begun bypassing the White House in addressing the economic crisis. This has never happened in the entire political history of the United States.
This is not hyperbole. This is not the grandstanding of Alex Jones or Naomi Klein, or even Arianna Huffington. The Bush administration ended last week. There is the possibility that the formality of impeachment might not be such a bad idea after all. What political party would want to lay claim to George W. Bush after the last year? Not even the GOP.
Expect some belated actions towards impeachment that could even occur after Bush and his cohorts leave office in January, and expect Obama to be a disappointment. But events have a way of forcing hands...
There is no statute of limitations on war crimes, and the economy might just be all the impetus they need in Congress to act in apprehending the worst band of criminals to hold high office in our history. General strikes and a groundswell have a way of making politicians behave.
This era promises to be as dramatic as the 1930s, if not more so. How often have you ever heard a president-elect urge Congress to act on anything before they've taken office? I'm not saying it's improper given the circumstances, but it's new, and it underscores that the Bush II administration is completely inept and has finally ossified into total inaction.
Yet Obama and his advisers are already talking about deficit-spending when they should be making-it-plain that Bush's 2001 tax-cuts on the wealthiest cannot survive after January 2009.
[Ed., 11.25.2008--If you don't get that there is no two party system, but just a one party one masquerading as a two party one, you've probably had fork-marks on face your entire life, and always will.]