As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Austan’s Powers

With the elevation of Austan Goolsbee to chair the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Obama continues move briskly to the center as he sets the stage for his eventual reelection campaign.

Having dispensed with the most liberal items on his agenda, like the nationalization of health care and the increase of spending by a couple of trillion dollars, the president is now presenting himself as a deficit hawk, champion of the middle class, and a tax cutter.

goolsbee and Obama
Obama Channels Austan

Goolsbee, who comes out of the conservative University of Chicago business school, is a moderate-liberal economist who backs free trade. “He seems to be the sort of person – amiable, empirical and reasonable – you would want at the elbow of a Democratic president, if such there must be,” wrote George Will in October 2007 as the Obama candidacy began its ascent into the stratosphere.

Goolsbee’s slippery claim Sunday that the “Summer of Recovery” that saw no recovery referred only to the “Recovery Act” – that is, the stimulus – should not be surprising to those who have heard his skillful management of words.

I listened once in awe as Goolsbee mercilessly destroyed Douglas Holtz-Eakin during a joint appearance in 2008. Rarely have I felt so sorry for someone on the losing end of a debate, so badly was Holtz-Eakin taken apart.

It was later that I understood why. Goolsbee won the national high school extemporaneous speaking championship, the national collegiate team debate championship while at Yale, and performed with an improvisational comedy troop while at the university.

That is, he’s good on his feet, and will probably take the lead in pitching the Obama economic program. And, you can expect more improvisational comedy with respect to the “recovery.”

5 Responses to Austan’s Powers

  1. Keith,

    This is one the *best* articles to date. Love the title.

    Although George Will makes a salient point about Goolsbee when Obama’s campaign was gaining momentum, it’s too little, too late now. Why would Mr. Obama bring in a “moderate liberal”? Moderation is a laughable pejorative when applied to his handling of the economy; twenty Austan Goolsbee’s can’t stop the economic slide.

    All that Mr. Obama can gain (now) is not momentum to win in 2012, but momentum to stop (or contain) a massive Republican sweep in 2012 if he were to continue his anti-free trade policies.

    An economic sage once said, “the people vote with their dollars.”

  2. Liked the crack about improv comedy–how about the part where small business really means lobbying firms…good try, guy! Oh, well, you know I am not a fan.

  3. That ship has sailed, the movie is over, the book is finished, the fat lady is getting ready to sing, stick a fork in it and a whole bunch more.
    The Pope could not convince 60million Americans that O isn’t a Muslim at heart, GM is running on empty, Obamacare is history, the Repubs will take the House, immigration reform is dead, green energy is a dead issue, and the economy will not recover anytime this decade, at least 20 states are going bankrupt, .oh, this is too depressing.
    We don’t believe O, we don’t like him, either. He’s a nasty, mean-spirited, insulting politician who doesn’t understand America or how it’s people think..
    A dozen Mr Gumbys cannot change this administrations desire to redistribute wealth (our wealth, not theirs).

  4. Economy “not coming back.” Newflash. This IS normal. Get used to it. I have been getting used to it for 3 yrs, only what, 20 to go, if I am lucky. But hey–another culvert will help.

    On Obama–don’t forget “snooty.”