Ed Quillen: How Obama failed, even before he was president
Aspen Times Staff
The phone rang early, before I’d even started the coffee, so I was a bit grumpy at first when I got the call from my favorite inside source, Ananias Ziegler, media relations director for the Committee That Really Runs America.
“Some media-elite type you are,” he began, “being such a slug-a-bed during business hours.”
“Wait a minute,” I protested. “It’s not even 8 o’clock here. We’re on Mountain Time.”
“Lamest excuse I’ve ever heard,” Ziegler said. “If there really was such a thing as Mountain Time, they’d mention it on TV, and they never do. Real time zones ” Eastern, Central, Pacific ” we hear about them. But never Mountain. You’re nowhere.”
I interrupted him. “Surely you didn’t call at sunrise just to berate my time zone.”
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“You’re right,” he conceded. “I wanted to make sure you were getting the right spin on the failed presidency of Barack Obama.”
“He’s already failed?” I asked.
“Look at his Cabinet appointments. Bill Richardson had to pull out of Commerce on account of an investigation. Then there’s Tim Geithner at Treasury, in big trouble over some income taxes he failed to pay. And let’s not forget the mess with his home-state governor, Rod Blagojevich, who’s been impeached and faces trial.”
“That doesn’t look good,” I agreed.
Before I could say more, Ziegler jumped in. “Obama has really messed things up. Look at the economy since the election. The unemployment rate rose from 6.8 percent to 7.2 percent just in December, with 524,000 jobs lost. That’s change, all right, but change you don’t want to have to believe in.”
Ziegler had more to say. “And look at these failed efforts to improve the economy.
Something like $350 billion at first for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and people are still losing their homes and people can’t borrow money for new cars, which means Detroit comes begging. The whole structure of free enterprise is at risk of being replaced by some bizarre form of socialism while the national debt keeps right on growing. It’s more than obvious that things have been going downhill fast.” He paused. “Are you getting this?”
“I’m scribbling notes as fast as I can,” I replied, and he kept going.
“He ran on health care,” Ziegler continued, “and yet there are about 50 million Americans who don’t have coverage, and the number is climbing on account of job losses. How’s that any improvement?”
“Clearly, it isn’t,” I said as he gathered breath for more.
“Now look at foreign affairs. I’ll grant you that Iraq has been rather quiet of late, though we can never be sure it will stay that way. But we may be losing Afghanistan, since the Taliban seems to be making a comeback. And we could have some serious problems with Pakistan, and remember, it’s a nuclear power.”
“I know that,” I said, and finally I was able to get a few more words in. “Ziegler, aren’t you forgetting one thing?”
“Oh, I can tell you plenty more,” he said.
“I’m sure you could,” I agreed. “But you seem to be forgetting that Obama hasn’t even been sworn in yet.”
“Details, details,” Ziegler sighed. “You’re forgetting that, for the Committee, the important thing is to get him branded as a failure before he takes office, so our job will be easier in the future.”
And with that, he hung up before I could ask more about the Committee’s plans for the next four years.
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