Obama: I Hope We Can

Wow. My “wealth creation adviser” at Merrill Lynch must have been watching the Oscars Sunday night. When I talked to him yesterday about the latest Wall Street meltdown, he appeared to have abandoned his career-long role as Pollyanna to embrace the Dark Knight. Ah, Mr. Adviser I queried: Market coming back? To wit: Hope so.

Say what? Actually it was worse. He opined that if the stock market declined another 10 percent I should start moving to cash. Since the Dow is cratering at about 2 percent a day, that’s about a week from now. And if the big dogs at Merrill and elsewhere are giving this advice now — and actually going to follow it — look out below and brace for impact. Of course, my adviser is just a well-intentioned doofus like most who are frozen now and who can never outperform the markets heading North or South. And if his Merrill Lynch retirement is riding on Bank of America stock — now on life-support — then here is someone who is worse off than most of us.

So I’ve decided to reject that turn-it-to-cash-and-hide-it-under-the-mattress advice. And I’ll gleefully ride this sucker down — like Major Kong at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

And I guess I’ll stay the course because I actually believe that Obama and team, given some time, can turn the economy around. But here’s the rub. We need a president who talks straight and tells the truth. We’re in this mess to some extent because the qualities of honesty, trust and confidence all but disappeared from the Oval Office and Washington in general during the past eight years.

But while telling the truth and letting all of us know that tough times are ahead, Obama has to be careful not to paint too dark a picture. Remember Jimmy Carter walking around the White House like Lady Macbeth?

Yes We Can. That still has the right ring to it. IMO.

And that’s the communication challenge facing Obama as he talks to Congress and to the American people tonight. Realistic, candid, truthful disclosure — without turning everyone’s underpants brown. And note to President O and the talking-head commentators. Could we lighten up on the D word.  That ain’t helpful. And it ain’t true — at least not today.

Then, to make things even more interesting, tonight marks the formal beginning of the 2012 presidential campaign. Following the Prez will be Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, giving the Republican response. (How about this: No we can’t. Just kidding.) OK. Game on. And Jindal at this early stage should make an attractive candidate. Unfortunately, I don’t like or trust anyone named Bobby. I base that on a lifetime of fighting against being called Bob, Bobby and so on. What asshole decreed that Robert had to turn into Bob? I digress.

And one more thing. I stopped by the see my tax guy yesterday. I figured that since the federal government is giving trillions to bankers and other members of the criminally incompetent class, I better hurry up and send in the balance of what I’m sure I will owe.

In passing, I mentioned that if (when?) I get nominated for a cabinet position in the Obama administration I fully expected that no tax issues will emerge during the confirmation hearings.

His retort: “We can only hope.”

So it goes.


One response to “Obama: I Hope We Can

  1. Hi Rob,
    I think you have finally hit the nail on the head.
    We are not in the middle of an economic crisis, we are, and have been, for some time, in the middle of a moral crisis. The qualities of honesty, trust and confidence have disappeared not only from Washington but from most of our society long ago, certainly befor GWB. Honesty leads to integrity, integrity leads to conscience, which is doing the right thing when nobodys looking.
    As far as Obama being able to turn this around, I leave you with a quote I found from Cicero, Roman Philospher and Statesman, C.55 bc: “The budget should be balanced, the tresury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
    What have we learned in 2 millennia??
    Evidently not much.
    See you soon

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