Non-surprise of the day: Warren Buffett gets thrown under the Obamabus. It's very sad, because Obama and Buffett were once dear friends...
Buffett and Obama became fast friends when they first met in 2005. "I've got a conviction about him that I don't get very often," he told the Tribune at the time. "He has as much potential as anyone I've seen to have an important impact over his lifetime on the course that America takes."
Buffett endorsed Obama, and in turn, Obama anointed Buffett as one of his top economic advisers and showered him with praise:
"Not only am I a less successful investor, but my jokes aren't as funny," Obama said, later calling Buffett "an example of what's best in this country."
While Obamaphiles bemoan the thought of the rich getting richer, they were quite proud that the world's richest person was one of their own. They hit him with every kind of flattery they could think of:
After Obama was elected, Buffett was giddy:
"He's the absolute right commander in chief. That— you know, that's another thing the American people seem to do, occasionally, is that we elect people that are right for the times. You know, whether it was Lincoln, Roosevelt. And I would say Obama— you couldn't have anybody better in charge."
"Well, he's smart, he's got the right values, but he also— he understands economics very well. He's cool. He's analytical. But then, when he gets it all thought through, and he's fast— he can convey to the American people what needs to be done. Not to expect miracles. That it's gonna take time. But that we're gonna get to the other end. And I don't think there's anybody better for the job than the president-elect."
"He'll use his team, he'll use them very effectively. He'll synthesize, he'll analyze. But, in the end, it'll be his decision."
"If you're in a war, and we really are in an economic war, there's a obligation to the majority to behave in ways to not go around inflaming the minority. If on Dec. 8, or maybe it was Dec. 7, when Roosevelt convened Congress to vote on the war. He didn't say, ‘I'm throwing in about ten of my pet projects,'" Buffett said.
Taking aim at one such issue, interviewer Joe Kernen replied: "You might not have fixed global warming the day after - the day after D-Day, Warren."
"Absolutely," Buffett declared. He also told Kernen that the Republicans should provide general support for the administration, but that the Democrats should not be pushing "contentious" policies that are not related to solving the nation's economic woes.
"Job one is to win the economic war. Job two is to win the economic war and job three...and you can't expect people to unite behind you if you're trying to jam a whole bunch of things down their throats. So I would absolutely say, for the interim until we get this one solved, I would not be pushing a lot of things that, that you know are contentious."
On Sunday, on 60 Minutes, Obama returned the fire:
Your Treasury Secretary's plan... Geithner's plan, and— your plan really— for solving the banking crisis— was met with very, very, very tepid response... I know you're coming out with something— next week on this. But these criticisms were coming from people like Warren Buffett, people who had supported you, and you had counted as being your—
And— and— and— and Warren still does support me. But I think that, understand Warren's also a big player in the financial markets who's a major owner of Wells Fargo. And so he's got a perspective from the perspective of somebody who— is part owner of a bank.
Translation: "Buffett is a turncoat Wall Street fat-cat. You can't trust him; his opinion is worthless."
When you're in a hole, the first order of business is to stop digging.
Last week I reached out to the president, asking for a federal waiver from restrictions on stimulus money. I got a most unusual response. Before I even received an acknowledgment of the request from the White House, I got word that the Democratic National Committee was launching campaign-style TV attack-ads against me for making it.
Is this the new brand of politics we were promised? Instead of engaging with me and other governors on the merits of our dissent, I am to be attacked in television ads? In the end, I just don't believe a problem created by too much debt will be solved by piling on more debt. This doesn't strike me as an unreasonable or extremist position.