Tuesday, February 10, 2009


President Obama in last night's press conference:

... I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some and then let [Republicans] take credit for all of them. And maybe that's the lesson I learned.

The New York Times on stimulus discussions in the Obama White House:

In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.

Mr. Geithner ... successfully fought against more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid.

He resisted those who wanted to dictate how banks would spend their rescue money. And he prevailed over top administration aides who wanted to replace bank executives and wipe out shareholders at institutions receiving aid.

Maybe there's a lesson there for Axelrod and his allies -- just as in Washington at large, maybe even in the Obama White House you should start to the left of your actual position if you want progressive ideas to survive negotiations.

Maybe Axelrod et al. should have come to the table proposing public horsewhippings and long sentences on a chain gang for the worst of the reckless high-flyers. Then maybe they'd have come a little closer to what they really had in mind.

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