This NYRB article by Krugman & Wells provides some excellent insights (via the books reviewed) about the workings of the Obama administration viz. the economic crisis, and it provides some excellent points about the current status of American politics. Among the take-away points:
1. Obama went with "insiders", like Geittner & Summers, for his economic team. Understandable in the sense of wanting to have experienced hands at the wheel, but Geitner especially seems to have been way too concerned Wall Street. Thus, Wall Street got a pass on its reckless behavior and the American public resented the fact.
2. Obama was (I my! How I hope I've used the correct tense!) way too concerned with appearing "bipartisan" and not "parochial". Accordingly, he compromised way to much and way too quickly. (Drew Westonn, whom I've cited in earlier blog posts, has dissected this very well. Here again. )
3. Make no mistake about it: the current dysfunction in the American political system lies overwhelmingly with the contemporary Republican Party. Not the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, or even (oh, dear!) Nixon. So sad, as I've addressed in earlier posts as well.
The take away: our economic policy has been inadequate the the challenges that we face (not to mention that we're under a cloud because of European dysfunction), but our situation is even more dire because of an increasingly dysfunctional political system dominated by a wacky Republican Party.