1. Engaging in a course of conduct that lead to the creation of the Tea Party after being told "the country’s surge of populist rage could devour the president’s best-laid plans, including the essential Act II of the bank rescue, if he didn’t get in front of it."
2. The Do-Too-Little Economic Policy of Obama: One extremely well-informed observer describes the attitude of the highest levels of the Obama administration in late 2009 as this: We have stopped the downturn and saved the financial system, and now the economy will recover on its own. We don’t need to do anything else to boost the economy. We don’t need to do anything to preserve our levers of power to boost the economy in the future. We should put the economy on autopilot, turn to other things, and simply declare that “green shoots” are coming for as long as it takes. That was a crucial, decisive, unforced, and profoundly stupid policy error. Housing, change in monetary regime, extra rounds of fiscal stimulus using Reconciliation and other tools, leveraged use of residual TARP funds–all not just left on the table, but actively pushed aside. And the Obama administration has been unable to admit even to itself that it was an error because that would have required and would require too many immediate personnel changes.
3. In that context, Geithner’s paragraphs about FHFA and DeMarco should have begun with: “My and Barack Obama’s failure to even nominate a director for FHFA before the political defeats of the 2010 election was an extraordinary act of political malpractice: we dropped the ball bigtime.”
4. Using all of his political capital to pass the ACA when the country was demanding populist economic action for the benefit of Main Street
5. Not understanding the "these emotional and tribal appeals that shifted much of America to the Republican camp. The average working- or middle-class Republican voter doesn't have a clue who Greg Mankiw is, what determines economic growth rates, or how trickle-down economic policies are supposed to work. But, in whole or in part, he has bought into a narrative that tells him that he does a hard, honest day's work, and that taxes and government spending are nothing more than a way of punishing him for that hard day's work (and, probably, rewarding some black or Hispanic person for a life of indolence).
“That is why we are still having a debate over progressive taxation at all. The rump movement that is still trying to make an intellectual case for tax cuts at the elite level maintains their outsized clout and elevated profile only because of the success of the populist narrative that keeps the Red States red. Until we change that populist narrative, we can smack down Arthur Brooks and laugh at Greg Mankiw all we like, but we're not going to save our nation-state from fiscal ruin. I'm sorry if that sounds overly pessimistic.”
Before the 2012 elections Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote for the Harvard Business Review blog:
Leadership is about change, but what is a leader to do when faced with ubiquitous resistance? Resistance to change manifests itself in many ways, from foot-dragging and inertia to petty sabotage to outright rebellions. The best tool for leaders of change is to understand the predictable, universal sources of resistance in each situation and then strategize around them.If anyone has evidence that President Obama has ever thought about either the strategies or tactics to dealing with his creation, the Tea Party, please share.