In One Week, Obama Insults Nancy Reagan, Witnesses a Record Stock Plummet and Convenes the Chicago Machine and Clinton Cronies – This Is “Change?”  Barack Obama’s Inauspicious Debut 

In One Week, Obama Insults Nancy Reagan, Witnesses a Record Stock Plummet and Convenes the Chicago Machine and Clinton Cronies – This Is “Change?” 

Less than one week into Barack Obama’s post-election transition, his team already resembles the proverbial gang that couldn’t shoot straight. 

Americans of all political persuasions should wish the new administration well during this moment of financial and international peril, lest its failure necessarily become the entire nation’s.  Early signs, however, are troubling. 

First, the stock market registered its immediate reaction to Obama’s victory by plunging 486 points, its worst post-election day decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 112-year history.  The Wall Street Journal observed that “some commentators concluded that Wall Street was welcoming Barack Obama with a Bronx cheer.  While polls had favored Mr. Obama for weeks, the reality of a new president and uncertainty about how, and how successfully, he will handle the financial troubles may have contributed to the losses, which left the Dow down 5.1%.” 

Talk about understatement. 

But it didn’t stop there.  The next day, stocks again declined 443 points, or 4.9%.  Combined, the two-day loss of 929 points, or 9.7%, constituted the worst two-day point drop in history.  That’s not just a Bronx cheer – it’s a Hudson River burial. 

Because stock markets are by their very nature forward-looking, these declines signify the gloom with which the economy assessed the prospect of Obama’s redistributive and over-regulatory agenda. 

Then, before the ballots had even been counted and the tingle had disappeared from MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews’s leg, Obama proceeded to insult former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who had recently been hospitalized.  Speaking at his first post-election press conference, Obama told reporters that he had spoken with every living President to prepare for office, but “I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances.” 

Aside from the insult itself, Obama’s mockery conveniently ignored the fact that Senator Hillary Clinton was actually the one who claimed to have channeled former First Lady Elanor Roosevelt when she occupied the White House in 1993. 

Not exactly a textbook example of how to make friends and influence people in one’s first week as President-Elect. 

Meanwhile, the candidate whose campaign coasted primarily upon the meaningless – not to mention grammatically-incorrect – slogan “Change We Can Believe In” assembled a transition team consisting almost entirely of former Clinton pit bulls and Chicago Machine veterans. 

Among the first appointments was former Clinton White House operative Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff.  This is the same Emanuel whose partisanship runs so vulgar and vicious that he mailed a dead fish measuring over two feet in length to a pollster who had offended him, and who once suggested to a crowd that Republicans “go (expletive) themselves.” 

In addition to Representative Emanuel, former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta was appointed Chairman of Obama’s Transition Committee.  No word yet on which position is being cleared for Janet Reno, but her suitcases are reportedly packed. 

Obama then named Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the very person who has piloted that state’s economy into the ground, as one of his economic advisors.  Perhaps he brought her on board in order to do the exact opposite of what she proposes, but prospects are not bright in that regard.  Also named to Obama’s economic advisory board was former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who may be the most boilerplate Washington insider of them all. 

Then, word leaked that Senator John Kerry, he of “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it” and “reporting for duty” fame, was a potential nominee for Secretary of State.  

All of these appointments, of course, follow Obama’s selection of Senator Joe Biden, one of the most tired and conventional inside-the-Beltway fossils, as his Vice President. 

Most recently, Mr. Podesta was forced to apologize and clarify the record after the Obama team leaked the substance of private discussions between himself and President Bush. 

Perhaps Team Obama will correct its course.  At this rate, however, his administration may rival Bill Clinton’s as the most error-prone and incompetent in recent memory.  Stay tuned. 

November 13, 2008
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