Timothy Egan, liberal reporter turned ultra-liberal Times online columnist, filed this head-scratcher late Tuesday night amidst the wreckage of the former Democratic majority, comparing Barack Obama to FDR: "How Obama Saved Capitalism and Lost the Midterms."
If I were one of the big corporate donors who bankrolled the Republican tide that carried into office more than 50 new Republicans in the House, I would be wary of what you just bought.
For no matter your view of President Obama, he effectively saved capitalism. And for that, he paid a terrible political price.
Saving the American auto industry, which has been a huge drag on Obama's political capital, is a monumental achievement that few appreciate, unless you live in Michigan. After getting their taxpayer lifeline from Obama, both General Motors and Chrysler are now making money by making cars. New plants are even scheduled to open. More than 1 million jobs would have disappeared had the domestic auto sector been liquidated.
Egan ironically praised the government takeover of GM yet cited that as proof he wasn't a socialist (socialism is defined as ownership and management of the means of production).
All of the above is good for capitalism, and should end any serious-minded discussion about Obama the socialist. But more than anything, the fact that the president took on the structural flaws of a broken free enterprise system instead of focusing on things that the average voter could understand explains why his party was routed on Tuesday. Obama got on the wrong side of voter anxiety in a decade of diminished fortunes.
Egan passed along more fairy tales about how Obama-care will actually save money:
But each of them, in its way, should strengthen the system. The health law will hold costs down, while giving millions the chance at getting care, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Financial reform seeks to prevent the kind of meltdown that caused the global economic collapse. And the stimulus, though it drastically raised the deficit, saved about 3 million jobs, again according to the CBO. It also gave a majority of taxpayers a one-time cut - even if 90 percent of Americans don't know that, either.