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Wielding the Paddle So I Don’t Have To

Eli at Firedoglake has a pretty damning piece on Obama’s willingness (or lack thereof) to make the hard decisions:

One of the changes I most hoped for (but did not, however, expect) was to have a president who puts the rule of law and well-being of the country ahead of the narrow self-interest of the rich and powerful. Admittedly, it’s still very early in Obama’s term, but so far I’ve seen precious little evidence that he has the stomach for it.

No matter how high the stakes, he tiptoes around the elephant in the room rather than confronting it head-on.

He goes on to list three areas where Obama’s seriously deficient in the hardnosed department. And these are areas – the economy, healthcare, accountability for the Bush regime – where a tough, merciless approach is needed. Yet, as Eli notes, “More than anything, Obama strikes me as a man who will spare no expense on balms and ointments to soothe a painful boil, but simply cannot bring himself to lance it.”

It’s early days yet. Obama may still find that lance – especially if we apply not-so-subtle hints that we expect lances to be found and duly employed. And while he’s fallen far short of expectations in some departments, I can’t help seconding Digby, who at the end of a post about McCain’s unwillingness to defend his own daughter against Laura Ingraham’s high-school attacks, says:

Whenever I find myself getting down about something the Obama administration is doing all I have to do is picture that man in my head and I immediately bring myself back from the brink. Imagine.

Exactly.

Still, no matter how grateful I am that we have an intelligent Democrat rather than a dumbshit Con in office, I can’t sing nothing but hosannas. Especially not when Obama’s administration plays dirty tricks such as this:

Good to see that the Treasury Department is so concerned about the AIG bonus babies that they are throwing Chris Dodd to the wolves to deflect criticism.

The administration official said the Treasury Department did its own legal analysis and concluded that those contracts could not be broken. The official noted that even a provision recently pushed through Congress by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, had an exemption for such bonus agreements already in place.

That’s just not true, as both Jane and Glenn Greenwald explain pretty definitively. Under a Dodd-written amendment, the Senate version of the stimulus bill included executive compensation limits for all recipients of TARP money, only to have the amendment stripped of retroactivity and applied strictly toward future payouts, after negotiations with none other than Tim Geithner and Larry Summers…

[snip]

The President brought this upon himself through his hirings. But if he wants to find a way out, he could stop the practice of his team blaming others and start living up to his own rhetoric.

We had quite enough lying and refusal to take responsibility during the last administration. More won’t be tolerated. A few sharp reminders may be necessary. The woodshed will remain open for business until the President grows a pair.