As President-elect Obama vacations with his family in Hawaii and publicly complains about the intrusiveness of the press pool and the intense scrutiny of his Secret Service team, I suspect about now Obama may be recalling George Bernard Shaw's heartless observation that: "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it."
This last week of December 2008 is a strange moment for the country. It must be positively bizarre for our president-elect. It seems as if all the problems of the world are lining up and just waiting for our new president to handle. For every American but one, we are merely waiting to see what Obama will do in three weeks. For that one -- Obama -- he, presumably, is puzzling over finding the right policies -- if there are any right policies. Probably there are only terrible and catastrophic policies to pick from.
There are media reports that he is smoking more than usual. Who could blame him? For many of the rest of us, we wake up at 2 in the morning worried about our family's or our business's finances. Obama has to worry about the nation's and the world's finances -- and wars and threats of yet more wars.
Americans continue to not shop (until recently the world, including citizen of the world Obama, condemned Americans for shopping to the tune of 25 percent of world consumption. Now the whole world is begging us to buy more stuff to keep the world from going broke.) How long will it be before President Obama repeats Bush's advice to Americans after September 11 to go shopping.
The economy continues its downward track. The bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler have been delayed a couple of months -- to give Obama time to be sworn in as president before the real unpleasantness begins (or the really big bucks are spent to delay the unpleasantness by a few more months).
As Pelosi and her colleagues get ready to spend about a trillion dollars to try and stimulate the economy, Obama is going to have to start saying no to his friends on the Hill. Left to their own devices, that $1 trillion will fall well short of the spending urges that get larger by the day. It must be tough to spend a trillion dollars you don't have -- and be called cheap.
But even as he must worry whether even a trillion dollars of stimulus can ameliorate the precipitous economic contraction, he must also worry about the real possibility of double digit inflation hitting our economy in six to 18 months -- as a result of all these trillions of freshly conjured-up dollars that will be flooding our currency supply.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.