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POTUS Ponderings: I Didn't See the Economic Crisis Coming

In his Feb. 25 "Day of Reckoning" speech, Obama could scarcely contain his demon glee at the downturn that his inauguration and policies accelerated, thus creating his opening, "The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight. Nor did all of our problems begin when the housing market collapsed or the stock market sank." Then he began talking about health care, energy, and education, all of which had zero to do with the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Picture a Wall Street trader saying: "Wait a minute, Bill, you mean we're importing oil from the Middle East? Sell, sell, sell!" The price of oil was, of course, plummeting at the same time the stock market was collapsing. Without a script to turn to Wednesday night, Obama said the opposite: When he began his presidential bid, "The economy appeared on the surface to still be relatively strong." In other words, he didn't see it coming.

Obama is like a weather forecaster who has never managed to accurately predict the weather but can't stop making forecasts. "We have lived through an era," he intoned, "where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity. ... Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day."

If all this were true, why didn't Senator Obama notice these things? Why didn't he, for instance, take some time out on the campaign trail to make a few speeches about these shadowy, unspecified regulations that were being gutted? Why didn't he denounce the way Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had not only "pushed bad loans" but had done so by gambling our money? Maybe because he was too busy being the second-largest Senate recipient of Fan and Fred donations. Or maybe he was so busy running for president in 2007-2008 he just didn't notice what was going on, as he candidly admitted Wednesday night: "Obviously, I didn't anticipate."