Barack Obama: Economic Wonkster, Not Rock-Star


As students filed out of the great hall of Cooper Union after Sen. Barack Obama’s speech on the American economy this morning, a young woman looked at another student and said, “That wasn’t very rock star.”

It wasn’t. There were no Stevie Wonder songs. No chants of “Yes, We Can.” This was not electrifying; this was a wonky Obama laying out six core principals of new government regulation designed to prevent another bubble-bust cycle that has the nation in recession and millions facing foreclosure.

“We let the special interests put their thumbs on the economic scales,” Obama said from the same podium where Abraham Lincoln once spoke. “The result has been a distorted market that creates bubbles instead of steady, sustainable growth; a market that favors Wall Street over Main Street, but ends up hurting both.”

It was also remarkable in that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who flirted with a presidential run himself, introduced Obama and called the November election “perhaps the most important decision of our lives.”

In a moment of levity in an otherwise somber affair, Bloomberg thanked Obama for picking up the tab when the two had a breakfast meeting. And before Obama delved into his policy paper, he told the billionaire mayor that he expected some sort of payback. “The mayor was a cheap date that morning and New York has some good steakhouses,” said Obama.