Best of luck, Mr. President

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By Jim Flynn

Every true American will wish our incoming president success in his efforts to preserve, protect, and defend the nation and its liberty. In these troubled times our good wishes may be the only honeymoon card he’ll get.

Mr. Obama cracked the whip on his own party as soon as the electoral votes were counted, telling Congress he wanted a stimulus package for the economy on his desk as soon as his buns hit the chair in the Oval Office. Congress is moseying along at political warped speed.

Mr. President has made clear he doesn’t want any pet projects in the stimulus package. Unfortunately, by the time it gets to Congress, “clear” becomes foggy.

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad said, “Earmark projects have proven tremendously popular and effective over the years.” Congress people believe spending taxpayer money should always make them more popular and be effective in getting them re-elected.

We expect Mr. Obama’s public ratings will remain high during his first 100 days, but only time will tell whether Republicans will temporarily hold their fire, reporters will be deferential, and Congress will be cooperative.

We believe the president’s biggest problems are Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid. Mrs. Pelosi suffered attacks of giddiness during her public appearances on the banks bailout. It looked more like Barney Frank and Steny Hoyer were in charge of the House.

Mr. Reid did damage to his own party by his blundering refusal to seat Mr. Roland Burris, the new junior senator from Illinois, who was appointed by disgraced Governor Balgojavich. At first, Mr. Reid didn’t get it. Then he got touchy and couldn’t find a way to back down.

When he finally resolved the Burris mess, Mr. Reid took a gratuitous lip shot at Mr. Obama, saying he doesn’t work for the president. Talk show hosts and cartoonists are going to love the Nancy and Harry show.

The other early danger for Mr. Obama is an outbreak of corruption hives in the Democratic Party. It will take a while for the Democrats to catch up with the Potomac mud bath in which Republicans have wallowed for eight years – Craig, Foley, Cunningham, DeLay, and others.

Temporarily, Democrats are holier-than-thou. Most of their smirch has been at the state level. The case of House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel is the first challenge to the political piety that helped them capture the Congress in 2006. Mrs. Pelosi keeps hugging Mr. Rangel in public and playing a delay game.

With their president talking trillion dollar deficits for the next few years, Democrats have an itch to pork barrel every dumb idea they’ve had for the past decade. There is no talk of the Clinton days, of a balanced budget and sugarplum surpluses all the way to the horizon.

Mr. Obama is going to feel more like the candy at an old-fashioned taffy pull than a new president on a 100-day honeymoon. His instant agenda includes two wars, growing unemployment, accelerating home foreclosures, reluctant consumers, and manic-depressive stock markets. What else could go wrong?

Circling the White House like hostile natives are interest groups that  think it’s time for health care reform, tax reform, banking reform, investment reform, labor law reform, lobbying reform, and immigration reform.

Reformers are going to have a tough time getting heard over the crowd of supplicants holding up their bowls in hopes of getting a hefty serving of stimulus porridge. A bailout virus is very contagious.

Behind major banks, regional banks, GMAC, the auto companies, Fannie, Freddie, and the Bear, the line of beggars continues to grow – the auto dealers association, air transport association, libraries association, retailers association, and the adult entertainment industry.

So far California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and South Carolina have also joined the line, along with a bunch of cities, such as Phoenix, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Bridgeport. When the value of everything was inflated, it was yahoo spending time in cities, counties, and states everywhere. They want Washington to buy some more chairs and turn on the music again.

How can we say no to the Olmstead County School District, the Orange County Toll Road Authority, the Miami-Dade School District, and the Catfish Farmers Association? Easy: “No!”

It won’t be long before the conservative hypocrites start talking about socialized medicine and liberal hypocrites resume complaining about socialized capitalism. Good luck, Mr. President.

Jim Flynn was formerly a corporate counsel, served in military intelligence during the Korean War, and once aspired to be a newspaper columnist.