The Obama White House has been in a frenzy of activity since last Tuesday night when Republican Scott Brown won the special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.
The very next morning, President Obama declared war on the big banks by announcing what the Agence France-Presse (AFP) called, "the largest regulatory crackdown on US financial institutions since the 1930s, would ban the banks from using taxpayers' money to engage in proprietary trading or operating hedge funds and private equity funds."
This had the effect of (a) Changing the debate from how the result in Massachusetts made Democrats in general and the President in particular, look weak (he had campaigned there on the previous Sunday); (b) Allowing the White House to proclaim Obama America's Populist-in-Chief; and (c) Driving the stock markets into the ground.
According to reporters Renae Merle and Tomoeh Murakami Tse writing in the Washington Post yesterday,
"By Friday's closing bell on the stock exchange floor, the Dow Jones industrial average had plunged 4 percent over four days. And in a move reminiscent of the depths of the financial crisis, investors piled into government bonds, seeking cover from the turbulence."
The spitting and fussing among Democrats as to who knew what about the race in Massachusetts, when they knew it, and what they did about it was so much fun to watch, I actually bought popcorn to eat as I watched the cable chat shows.
On Saturday, the WashPost's Chris Cillizza reported that former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was coming on board as a non-official political advisor to make some sense of how the Washington Democrats deal with House, Senate and Governor's races in November.
According to the Atlantic's Mark Ambinder:
Plouffe doesn't report to David Axelrod, or Jim Messina, the deputy White House chief of staff, or to Jen O'Malley Dillon, the DNC executive director or to Gov. Tim Kaine, the DNC chairman, or to Patrick Gaspard, the political director. He reports to the President. Informally. But this informal channel is Plouffe's and Plouffe's alone.
Golly, Buffalo Bob! Remember back during the campaign for President when Sen. Obama said he would remove the "perpetual campaign" apparatus from the White House?
The polling out of Massachusetts tells me that it the result was not a failure of politics, but a failure of policy by the White House and its allies on Capitol Hill.