OBAMA: WHAT YOU SEE... YOU MAY NOT GET
by Joe Duarte, MD
Joe-Duarte.com & IntelligentForecasts.com
November 25, 2008
Obama: What You See.. You May Not Get
The preconceived notions, and they seemed reasonable based on campaign rhetoric and Mr. Obama’s past record, was that the president elect was going to come out of the gates firing on all liberal cylinders, raising taxes, spending freely, and immediately reversing the actions of the past 8-years.
Yet, as Dr. Duarte found out in a freewheeling interview with an Obama follower with high level access to the campaign, the new administration, at least in its early days may be full of surprises.
To be sure, it is still early in the transition process, and no one knows what lurks in the hearts of men and women, liberal or otherwise. But, the actions that have been put in place by the Obama team, since this interview was conducted and published, suggest that our insider was right on the money.
This interview was conducted on November 11, 2008 and was published at Joe-Duarte.com on 11-12-08.
They’re Not Lying When They Say They Are Exploring “All Options”
Throw out your preconceived notions about Barack Obama. The President Elect is a thoughtful, careful, smart, and tough politician in the traditinal Chicago style, whose smooth demeanor is a tactical asset, and whose policies and presumed direction for the country have yet to be finalized, says one experienced Democrat with access to the campaign.
Over dinner on Tuesday night, this scribe had an opportunity to discuss, at length and in detail, the status of the real world, and its connection to Obamaworld with an experienced political operative who's been around the block a few times and has the ability to see the world through pragmatist eyes, despite his left leaning tendencies. And the portrait he painted of the future, is full of ambivalence and caution, tinted with the hope that it all works out in the end.
To be sure, our dinner companion was not there to represent the views of the Obama administration, and his opinions and observations were solely his own, tempered by the occasional hedge and at one time a brief look of what seemed to be concern and trepidation in his eyes, when we discussed whether he thought that an Obama administration would turn out to be positive or negative for the country.
Yet, what emerged, with regard to the President Elect, was a picture of a calculating man whose exterior is nothing like his inner self, but rather an image which he has found useful in getting his goals accomplished.
Let's make sure that the reader understands our meaning. We are not saying that Mr. Obama is an evil man, or that he has evil things planned for the country. In fact, our fellow diner was neutral about his expectations of the new administration, noting that a nice outcome would be that Mr. Obama would "set things right" and take the U.S. back to where the country was before the Bush administration took over.
Our companion spent a lot of time on that topic, noting that in his view, the U.S. is a society in decline and that the best that we could hope for is that the decline takes a long time, rather than being precipitous. He did not mention whether he thought that Obama could reverse that particular trend.
He also noted that Mr. Obama is not someone who will make rash decisions, or that he goes into a discussion with pre-conceived notions. Instead, he told us that Obama is a "good listener" and is someone who "gets it," but that it seems as if he is looking for a way to swing the pendulum back from the Bush years.
More than anything, it seems to our observer, that the first 12-24 months of the Obama administration will have some "pain" associated with it, as the new president will have to do things that are unpopular.
He then noted that at some point, Mr. Obama will have to spend some "political capital," ie. take a stance on something, and that at that point the honeymoon will be over.
On the press coverage of the Obama campaign, our source noted that the press isn't so much biased to the left, but biased to the corporate view of the world. In other words, they have to sell papers, which is why they are no longer impartial. Our source noted that he expected the press to never revert to their former selves.
On health care, he thinks that drug companies, especially drug prices will be targeted by Obama. There probably won't be a mandate that leads to socialized medicine for all. Instead, socialized medicine will be an option in the system, which will mean that there are several layers of care in the future for America, similar to the system in the U.K. where those who can pay for it will have access to faster and more traditional methods of care, while those who choose the public option will have to deal with the rationing of care that goes with it.
On international policy, Vice-President Biden will likely play a "significant role," and will likely work closely with the State Department. He described Biden as being a whole lot smarter than he is made out to be, but that he has a problem keeping his mouth shut, which makes him look like someone who is less able to accomplish things than he actually is.
The biggest surprise of the evening was the notion that Obama may be paying too much attention to his "Wall Street" advisors, like Bob Rubin and Paul Volcker. You figure that one out, because it made no sense to us since all we ever seem to hear from Mr. Obama is all about the evil Wall Street guys who got us to where we are today. Our source did not mention the Congressmen who were involved in fostering the subprime mortgage situation by turning Freddie and Fannie into de facto mortgage markets, instead of players in the field.
And here's shock number two. Our source thinks that the defense industry is going to do better under Obama than it would have under McCain.
Mr. Obama seems to be a lot like the rest of us in many ways. He finds himself in an unfamiliar position and seems to be trying to adjust to the change in his life, carefully weighing what his next move will be.
That explains why there have been no major announcements about cabinet posts or policy. The few trial balloons that have been aired, ie. the remarks about using executive orders to reverse Bush policies, were likely just something to wet the press' appetite.
The real stuff is still being crafted, and honed, likely influenced by the new access to government data and intelligence briefings that the new administration is presumably being exposed to at the moment.
Perhaps the bottom line is this, the Obama machine is organized, tempered, and is currently in data acquisition mode. It doesn't want to make mistakes, and never operates in a manner that leads it to a position where the risk of failure is high.
In other words, these guys play for keeps, and they are seasoned professionals. The silence emanating from their camp is not to be mistaken for confusion, as it is the sound that precedes a tidal wave gathering steam before it crushes the seawall.
Perhaps this analysis will crystallize it for you - while Clinton was the best politician of all time, Obama is a mastermind.
No one is sure about which way this is going to break. But when it does, we get the feeling it will take the air out of the system, just prior to breaking a few bones. Sounds a lot like Chicago politics with an intellectual twist.
© 2008 Joe Duarte, M.D.
Dr. Duarte's Bio and Archive
Joe Duarte M.D. is founder and Editor in Chief of Joe-Duarte.com. Dr. Joe Duarte's Daily Market I.Q. is a premium service that provides daily intelligence, trading strategies, and technical analysis at www.joe-duarte.com. Duarte offers free analysis and news coverage at www.intelligentforecasts.com . Dr. Duarte is a board certified anesthesiologist, a registered investment advisor, and President of River Willow Capital Management. He is author of "Successful Energy Sector Investing" and "Successful Biotech Investing" (Prima/Random House). Duarte's analysis appears regularly in major outlets including CBS MarketWatch and Investor's Business Daily.