The president may be getting to a point where he can no longer deny the obvious about the economy and his failed policies. At today’s House financial services committee hearing to discuss the annual Financial Stability Oversight Council report, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted, “The economy is not growing fast enough. Unemployment is very high. Huge amount of damage left in the housing market.”
Last week, at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke also expressed hesitation about the state of the economy, saying that progress in reducing unemployment is likely to be “frustratingly slow.” Bernanke further stated that the Federal Open Market Committee is considering the possibility of an additional stimulus, in an attempt to drop the unemployment rate below 8 percent.
Obama can’t keep saying one thing in public while the public feels something different, and his nominees have to tell mostly the truth in front of Congress. Given that recent polling shows voters have more trust and goodwill in Obama than they do in Romney (49 percent to 35 percent), but that Obama lags Romney on the question of who can best handle the economy (36 percent to 43 percent), perhaps the president is calculating how to best play the hand he has been dealt. If his ego will let him, perhaps Obama will offer an apology for being wrong about the economy, and ask for forgiveness and another chance.
Anyway, Bernanke and Geithner’s testimony make the president’s political position more untenable. At some point, Obama has to acknowledge the obvious — that his economic policies have failed — and to express that he is willing to try something new. His best hope in November is for some forgiveness and that voters will be patient with him. No one is going to vote for more of the same.