Instead of exerting a calming influence, Obama ramps up the fear connected with the shutdown and the debt limit.

Watch his demeanor, too; chilling:

But actually this is nothing new, it’s how Obama rolls. Why do I say that?

It was also his reaction when he was candidate Obama, at the very outset of the financial crisis signaled by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008. His initial response to the Lehman bankruptcy was to heighten the feeling of alarm and blame his opponents in a speech given on September 15, 2008:

Obama said that this latest development in the financial world is “as bad as anything we’ve ever seen…This is a serious, serious situation. We’ll have a lot of rebuilding to do. This turmoil is a major threat to our economy. There are too many folks in the U.S. and Washington D.C. who weren’t mending the store. This is the most serious financial condition since the Great Depression.”

Obama said that problems with U.S. financial institutions would not be addressed by Sen. McCain. “A few hours ago he said the fundamentals of the economy are still sound. I ask McCain what economy are you talking about?”…

Obama also stated that the policies of a McCain administration would parallel those of the current Bush administration, saying: “We know what the consequences are: a meltdown on Wall Street; millions without jobs or health care; pain at the pump.”

Here’s what I observed at the time:

Obama’s response has not only been more partisan [than McCain’s], it is also more alarmist.

…Obama would do well to remember that it was a fellow-Democrat who understood the principle that investor panic can make these things a great deal worse, and who said as much during that Great Depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Obama is reckless to speak as though a such a catastrophe has already occurred, drumming up fear rather than attempting to calm it through a realistic appraisal of what we are facing right now.

Professor Jacobson also saw it back in October 2008, Fear Stalks The Land:

Fear is stalking this land, and being stoked by Obama. The genius of Obama is that he has taken a message of fear, and sold it as hope. And the public buys it.

Obama knew that the worse the crisis seemed, the better it was for his chances of election. By immediately painting Republicans as having caused a crisis of the utmost severity, John McCain as out of touch (which he actually was, unfortunately), and himself as the sober solution—despite his complete lack of knowledge of economics—Obama knew it would almost guarantee him the presidency. And the worse the crisis was perceived to be, the more time the public would give him to fix it after he was president, and the longer he could go on blaming Bush and the Republicans for the nation’s problems.

Same now, although of course Obama isn’t running for election. But the Congressional races of 2014 loom, and he’d love to have a Democratic Congress result. Making the crisis worse and demonizing Republicans for it may seem like a winning hand.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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