Business

And Now, Some Skepticism

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O.k., enough with the flowers and rainbows. Let’s look at why there’s reason to be skeptical about Barack Obama and his team. Politico lays out seven worries about Obama’s presidency. I summarize those concerns and comment below:

1. Teams of geniuses don’t always produce genius results.
Of course, teams of fools aren’t known for their great results either.

2. An urge for bipartisanship might create a herd instinct.
That’s why we don’t need bipartisanship but rather independence from partisanship. Congress is often at its worst when members aren’t disagreeing. Let the arguments flow. Just don’t make them based on petty political maneuvering or shortsighted ideological games. Easy to say, I know …

3. We’re broke.
And we’re going to get more broke. There’s no stopping it. The trick is to make sure money is spent wisely and that policies are put in place to allow for a quick return to fiscal responsibility once the economy is out of the weeds. I hope a re-inspired Republican minority and the growing contingent of Blue Dog Democrats can keep the more profligate congressmen and women from leading us into financial ruin.

4. Obama ain’t done nothing yet.
Obama has the style of a leader and the sense to surround himself with tough, smart advisors. But style won’t get us through our first crisis. As hopeful as most of us are about Obama’s prospects, many of us will remain apprehensive until Obama proves he can be competent and decisive in a moment of crisis.

5. He talks post-partisanship but he hasn’t walked the walk yet.
Just like #4, this is a holdover from all the concerns about Obama pre-election. He has a liberal record. But he promises something more inclusive. His cabinet choices were a good start. I’m hopeful his presidency will not be a series of kowtows to liberal special interest groups.

6. Everyone is winging it.
Yep. The current economic situation is unprecedented and no one knows for sure what will and what won’t work. Hopefully we have the best people in place to do the job. But there will be wrong turns.

7. The watchdogs are weak.
Serious investigative journalism has suffered under budget cuts at newspapers and under television’s predilection to embrace the easy story du jour rather than doing the hard work of digging into the details. The media, in all its incarnations, must watch Obama like a hawk. I’m hopeful tenacious bloggers can fill some of the role abdicated by professional journalism. But I do worry Obama will not be subjected to the level of scrutiny all presidents deserve.