Friday, November 28, 2008

Obama's Picks So Far

In a post earlier this month ("The Election"), we noted that,

Broadly speaking, Obama supporters have fallen into two groups: those who voted for him because they thought he was an orthodox liberal (as some of his earlier statements, his background, and his voting record might suggest) and those who voted for him because they thought he was more of a pragmatic centrist (as some of his statements during the campaign, and some of the advisers he surrounded himself with -- e.g., Robert Rubin, Paul Volcker -- might suggest). We'll find out which group was right soon enough.

So far, at least, those who voted for President-elect Obama because they thought he was a centrist should be encouraged by his cabinet and staff picks so far. Even the editors of Investor's Business Daily are encouraged by these picks. In an editorial earlier this week ("A Reassuring Start"), they wrote,

Given Obama's public pronouncements and past associations, Americans had every right to worry that his election would signal a great lurch leftward in Washington. And once Congress reconvenes, that may yet happen.

So far, however, most of the signals the president-elect has given suggest he will — as we hoped almost against hope — govern from the center. His appointments, Cabinet and otherwise, look like he's putting effectiveness first and saving ideology for later, if then.


JK said...

The LaRouche wing of democratic activists were always opposed to Obama because they saw him as a right-winger in Dem's clothing. Those who think he would be a left wing idealougue probably were/are 1) Not listening to what he was saying or who his advisors are(such as his comments on Pakistan/health care, and his Chicago-school economic advisors) 2) listening to too much talk radio 3) scared of his "exotic-ness"

Backed by both the Brzezinksi school of the intelligence community and the Rockefellers, Obama will be a hawkish Dem, more right-wing than Hillary Clinton would have been. Its just in a warm fuzzy package. But once the honeymoon is over, no doubt there will still be the same accusations of leftist extremism that Clinton was (mostly incorrectly) bombarded with during his tenure.

Brzezinski's most frank piece of work on global hegemony, "The Grand Chessboard", is probably mandatory reading now for foreign policy wonks who want to have insight on what lies ahead, assuming he retains idealogical control of the administration.

DaveinHackensack said...

Since much of Obama's support has been due to his personal appeal rather than due to his policy proposals, he may feel less pressure to appease the left wing of his party. That's my hope, and time will tell if it proves to be the case, but the appointments Obama has announced so far have been more centrist than one might have expected considering Obama's background and voting record in the Senate.

Regarding foreign policy, there was never as much daylight between the positions of Obama and McCain as some of Obama's supporters supposed (or hoped).

DaveinHackensack said...


OT, but did you see that DSNY is up 50%+ today? On no news.

JK said...

"...considering Obama's background and voting record in the Senate."

Obama entered the Senate with the ambition to become president one day, so it's not suprising that his voting record was always with his party, so no one would be able to doubt his lib credentials in the primaries.

On some key issues dear to liberal activists, such as domestic surveilance and the RIAA, he has folded easily. The selection of corporate puppet Joe Biden disappointed them too. The LaRouche guys said "Told ya so!".
I personally wish he would be more 'liberal' on those above issues, and more 'conservative' on the second amendment than I fear he will be. But my political preferences are such a hodge-podge that'll I know I'll never be satisfied with any major party candidate.

Regarding DSNY, I actually just noticed that pop today as I was making another deposit to the brokerage account. I was hoping to buy more of either that or AYSI. Looks like AYSI will be the one. I was waiting to really get into it much earlier because the chart looked so darn nasty. Ugly looking triple top. Seems to have cooled down now though. Will resume nibbling.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Obama entered the Senate with the ambition to become president one day, so it's not suprising that his voting record was always with his party, so no one would be able to doubt his lib credentials in the primaries."

Hillary entered the Senate with the same ambition, but her voting record was a lot more centrist.

Re AYSI, I picked up some more of it last week and the week before, as I noted in one of the comment threads here. It'll be interesting to see the company's numbers for the September quarter (whenever they get around to releasing them).

DaveinHackensack said...


Btw, I think you'll find this humorous: Atlas Shrugged Updated for the Current Financial Crisis.

JK said...

Hillary was more worried about smear attacks from the fringe right (swift-boat attacks, Limbaugh) than courting the support of the fringe left/party activists. That was her mistake, she thought that she would be anointed in the primaries and did not see the insurrection coming by disgruntled Dems who didn't like her cozy-ing up to Rupert Murdoch and other hacks on the right in an attempt to pre-empt attacks. She never anticipated the hacks on the left (Olberman, Matthews) coming at her the way they did. Interestingly, MSNBC happens to be staffed by ex-Carter (Brzezinki's last president) people like Matthews and two of Zig's kids work there as well. It really transformed itself into the mirror image of Fox almost overnight. The whole election season was an amazing story to me because I've never seen such incompetent campaigns run by the two party front runners (Clinton and Giuliani). Another interesting development was how Pickens -who financed the Swift boat smear ads in 04- transformed himself into a bi-partisan clean energy solution-provider in this election after he'd divested from oil and into natural gas. I found it mildly humorous.

That adaptation of Atlas Shrugged was pretty good, lol.

Do you think AYSI is more likely to surprise on the downside than the upside? On one hand there's the overall downturn in commodities but on the other hand the company's main clients are the big miners, who wouldn't feel the pain as much and would be focused on investing in efficiencies.

I'm thinking of buying half a position now and setting a really low limit order to catch a drop.

DaveinHackensack said...

Hillary's biggest problem in the primaries was her campaign's tactical incompetence. They didn't seem to understand how the caucus system worked, and how they could win the popular vote in states like TX and still lose on delegates. The Atlantic published an entertaining post mortem of her campaign in September.

Regarding Alloy Steel, I think the quarter is going to be good, based partly on the finished goods that showed up in the last 10-Q, which appeared to represent sales that would hit in the September quarter. Also, the CEO's comment about "a pleasant surprise" is bullish. My guess is earnings might be ~$1.3 million on ~$3 million in sales. I think what may be depressing the PPS now isn't concerns about the September quarter but concerns about '09. Steel production in China has been slowing down something fierce, and this has impacted mining operations around the world, in the face of the global economic slowdown. That said, your point about the need for increased efficiencies still makes sense.

It's also worth noting that Alloy Steel's wear plates have applications in infrastructure as well as mining, and if they have hired the North American sales rep they planned to, that's an area he could pursue in addition to mining.