Mort Zuckerman: America's Love Affair With Obama Is Over

Tyler Durden's picture

Obama's biggest fan-turned-critic is back, this time with a gloating epitaph to what has been a disastrous two years for the US economy, which has so far been prevented from collapsing, thanks to the trade-off which is making Wall Street richer than ever, the middle-classes poorer in real terms than ever, and letting the country to plunge to a record level of indebtedness, which merely guarantees that when the inevitable day of reckoning comes it will be that much worse.

From the US News and World report.

Mort Zuckerman: America's Love Affair With Obama Is Over: The administration is running out of time to lower unemployment and fix the economy

It was the worst of times for the Democrats and the best of times for
the Republicans—almost. The GOP did not succeed in capturing the
Senate, or dethroning the Democratic leader, but with an energy boost
from the Tea Party movement it certainly reflected the anger and dismay
of voters who see their country foundering at home and abroad.

Click here to find out more!

The results represent a sharp rebuke to President Obama, who
interpreted his 2008 "vote for change" as a mandate for changing
everything and all at once. Right from the start, he got his priorities
badly wrong, sacrificing the need to help create jobs in favor of his
determination to pass Obamacare. It was the state of the economy that
demanded genius and concentration, and it just did not get it. The
president will now have to respond to public anger, not with anger
management and, not, please God, with still more rhetoric. The unusually
revealing exit polls spell it all out—how he re-energized the Republican Party, lost the independent center, and failed to overcome the widespread sense that the country is heading in the wrong direction.

The exit polls conducted by Edison Research for the National Election
Pool show that the economy was the dominant issue, rated at 62 percent,
while healthcare
was only at 18 percent. Minority voters remained loyal (9 in 10 blacks
and 2 in 3 among Hispanics), but everywhere else Obama was deserted.
Independents and women fled the Democrats;
among white women, no less than 57 percent chose the GOP. There are
some surprises for the conventional wisdom. The case for creating more
jobs by government spending was rated within a hair's breadth of
reducing the deficit
(37 percent to 39 percent) and opinion was evenly divided (33 to 33) on
whether the stimulus had hurt or helped the economy. Voters registered
their disapproval of Democratic control of Congress and of what the
White House promised but failed to deliver. It is apparent that Obama
didn't seem to have understood the problems of the average American.


He came across as a young man in a grown-up's game—impressive but not
presidential. A politician but not a leader, managing American policy
at home and American power abroad with disturbing amateurishness.
Indeed, there was a growing perception of the inability to run the
machinery of government and to find the right people to manage it. A man
who was once seen as a talented and even charismatic rhetorician is now
seen as lacking real experience or even the ability to stop America's
decline. "Yes we can," he once said, but now America asks, "Can he?"

The last two years have exposed to the public the risk that came with
voting an inexperienced politician into office at a time when there was
a crisis in America's economy, as the nation contended with a financial
freeze, a painful recession, and two wars. The Democrats were simply
not aggressive enough or focused enough in confronting the profound
economic crisis represented by millions of ordinary Americans whose main
concern was the lack of jobs.

Jobs have long represented the stairway to upward mobility in
America, and the anxiety over joblessness became the dominant concern at
a time when financial security based on home equity and pensions was
dramatically eroding. No great speech is going to change the fundamental
fact that millions of people are either jobless or underemployed at a
time when only a quarter of the American population describes the job
market as good.

Why did Obama put his health plan so far ahead of the economy? To do
what the Clintons couldn't? His rush to do it sparked a broad resistance
that has only spread since the bill was passed. The public sensed that
healthcare was a victory for Obama, and maybe for the Democrats, but not
for the country—and contrary to Democratic hopes, public support for
the measure has continued to drop to as low as 34 percent in some polls.
A significant majority, some 58 percent, now wish to repeal the entire
bill, according to likely voters questioned in a late October poll by

As political analyst Charlie Cook put it: "Every month, every week,
every day that Washington seemed focused on healthcare instead of the
economy frightened people. It seemed out of touch." It also seemed
tone-deaf to the public's concern with unemployment,
the cost of government, and the sense that America was declining in its
ability to compete in the world. It made Obama's behavior seem as if he
headed the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party in Congress,
particularly when he allowed the major policies of his presidency to be
written not by his cabinet or the White House staff but by the
congressional leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Then he
accepted the lopsided bills that emerged and the political corruption
that accompanied them—the very processes he condemned during his
campaign and that are so much distrusted by a broad section of the
American public. Eighty-five percent of Americans were concerned about
the cost of healthcare, but the administration focused on extending

The open purchasing of votes through the provision of special
exemptions for five states and for unions, and concessions to many of
the special interests in the Democratic Party, especially trial lawyers,
symbolized the corruption of our politics. The 2009 omnibus spending
bill alone contained 8,570 special earmarks like those that had so
enraged the American public in the past. When lawmakers had no time to
even read the bills, it gave the impression that what was important was
passing anything, no matter how ineffectual. Obama had promised he would
change "politics as usual." He changed it all right, but for the worse.
The list of his additional programs only provoked the public's distaste
for big government, big spending, and big deficits.


Today the polls indicate that the president has reached a point where
a majority of Americans have no confidence, or just some, that he will
make the right decisions for the country. There isn't a single critical
problem on which the president has a positive rating. It didn't help
when he kept on and on asserting that he had inherited a terrible
situation from the Bush administration. Yes, enough, and sir, the
country elected you to solve problems, not to complain about them.

It did not help that the administration had completely lost the
support of the business community, where virtually no one has a good
word to say about the administration and where there is no go-to,
high-level businessman in Obama's inner circle. The result was to make
corporate America lose even more confidence in making investment


Obama's job approval rating has fallen well below 50 percent overall,
but the numbers are lower among whites and even lower among
working-class whites, whose revolt may be the defining characteristic of
2010 (counting even more than the rise of the mostly white and affluent
Tea Party movement). These were the famous "Reagan Democrats." They
felt that the economy was collapsing around them and that their
president was out of touch. In addition, as those exit polls confirm,
Democrats have for some time been losing vast pieces of their core
constituencies among women, independents, college graduates, and the

As for the public's hope for bipartisanship, Obama's partisan
approach was underlined by putting forth one of the most liberal budget
programs in decades. This failure was captured most recently in a New York Times front-page
story that reported that for the first 18 months of his presidency,
Obama would not meet one-on-one with the Republican leader in the
Senate, Mitch McConnell. This is not bipartisanship, and inviting a few
Republican congressmen to the White House for the Super Bowl is no

The public disillusionment has now hardened. In a Quinnipiac poll
this summer, only 28 percent of white voters said they would back Obama
for a second term if the election were held then. Still, those results
do not mean the public will go Republican next time. It depends on the
candidate and the party. A centrist Democrat could win again—someone
like retiring Sen. Evan Bayh, who sets a better course for the party in a
New York Times op-ed. "A good place to start would be tax
reform. Get rates down to make American businesses globally
competitive," he writes. "Simplify the code to reduce compliance costs
and broaden the base. . . . Ban earmarks until the budget is balanced
[and] support a freeze on federal hiring and pay increases."

The love affair with Obama is over. The jobless will be the new swing
voters. Unemployment, underemployment, and collapsing home equity will
be the leading factors in 2012.
The administration hopes the economy will have improved significantly
by then, but it is running out of time and out of the confidence of the
American public.

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egdeh orez's picture

A lot of people in ZH hates Mort Zuckerman... but I love the guy.

MrVincent's picture

..and this is why I dont love him:

"The case for creating more jobs by government spending was rated within a hair's breadth of reducing the deficit (37 percent to 39 percent).."

Imminent Crucible's picture

Zuckerman has no credibility among ZHedgers because he promoted Obama and voted for him.  Zuckerman could have used his media presence to tell the truth about OFascist before the 2008 election, but instead he was in full denial mode.

Now he wants to blame Obama for being himself, a product of the Chicago corruption machine.  Zuckerman is pathetic.

Cruel Aid's picture

There was no choice in that election, but the truth about O was fully known for anyone who cared to know. Now McCain's buddy Feingold is history.

Glimmer of hope?

Zuckerman is a Massengill.

jplotinus's picture

I neither 'love' nor 'hate' any pundit or opinion purveyor who has access to publicly disseminated media.  There is no point.  Pundits, like everyone else, have beliefs that they can choose to adhere to for as long as they can do so.  My interests lie solely in what can be objectively asserted, backed by data or other aposteriori confirmation.

MZ's statement at the outset of his current opinion piece states:

"The results represent a sharp rebuke to President Obama, who interpreted his 2008 "vote for change" as a mandate for changing everything and all at once."

Obama is noteworthy for the opposite of 'change.'  On an objective basis, Obama represents a continuity of the Bush policies in virtually all domestic, economic and foreign policy spheres.  There are some exceptions, of course.  But, both (D) and (R) "party" differentiations serve only the purpose of distinguishing one right wing, corporatist-capitalist segment from the other.

I do not know why more Murkins do not grasp that there is very little difference between what are called the two parties, but which, in actuality, are but two branches of one party.

It is not good to accept an underlying premise -- the existence of two parties, or the policies of change -- when there exists an inadequate objective basis for allowing a premise to be given assumed validity.

Doing so results in the perpetuation of illusion.

asianist's picture

Amen. Amazing how one person's radical policy shift is another's status quo.

psychobilly's picture

"I do not know why more Murkins do not grasp that there is very little difference between what are called the two parties, but which, in actuality, are but two branches of one party."

It was a one-two punch.  First, the public "education" system in this country, as designed, destroyed its victims' ability for independent, critical thinking.  In the words of John Taylor Gatto (who has written extensively on this system): "Once the best children are broken to such a system, they disintegrate morally, becoming dependent on group approval."

The corporate media system then took advantage, and has been bombarding generation after generation of the mentally enfeebled with propaganda. 


NationalizeTheFED's picture

You tell it. The only real choice will be in the republican primary if Ron Paul runs again, everyone else are just different flavors of the same criminal mindset.

Sqworl's picture

I love Mort and begged him personally to run for President.

Miles Kendig's picture

If he is man enough to sport both a big left & pinky right red sharpie toenails open toes, in public and private without interruption for the whole of race week in Monaco while attending every event of significance I might be consider this recommendation, since it comes from you Sqworl

sgt_doom's picture

Oooooohhhhh....poor, poor Morty Z.  Something he must have eaten at one of those posh Trilateral Commission brunches,


or perhaps it was at one of those ultra-expensive New York Bretton Woods Committee dinners,


must have given him indigestion.


Poor....poor Morty.


Burn him hell, and hope I never get my hands on your phony butt.

benb's picture

Good call – Uncle Mortimer is complete phony NWO baloney. I can see by some posts that a few people here think that the theater is real. It’s not.  We are given the children’s story. The Round Table Groups run the government from behind the scenes.

“It’s a nightmare in there. Obama is just a television watching second fiddle guy. He doesn’t make any of the decisions. He doesn’t have any interest.”

From an insider who left the White House in early October - as reported by Joel Skoulsen.


zaknick's picture



Almost all the jokers who get airtime in the fascist MSM are there precisely because they are complict in their fascism.

wisefool's picture

When people like Mort get bandwidth here. I Just want to know where freud died to pour my student loans over his grave with McGlauglin egging me on.

Tyler, it was fun. Tell me where we are supposed to go next. PBS is not going to work any more.

MeTarzanUjane's picture

Tyler has some kind of affinity for [this].

Penny stock pusher, gold man lover, Randomberg promoter.

Perversions. Subversions.

In the first instance, one is not "guilty of a conflict of interest." A conflict of interest, in and of itself, is not a crime. There is only the appearance of a conflict of interest. Why, exactly, are appearances so important? We think it reflects a particular attitude about public discourse. A particularly disturbing attitude.

Apostate's picture

Nihilists always switch sides to the most powerful faction. Ho-hum. 

GoinFawr's picture

You must be referring to 'Trash-nihilists', Kropotkin knew better.

FreedomGuy's picture

I'm not a Zuckerman fan but he got this right:

"He came across as a young man in a grown-up's game—impressive but not presidential. A politician but not a leader, managing American policy at home and American power abroad with disturbing amateurishness. Indeed, there was a growing perception of the inability to run the machinery of government and to find the right people to manage it."

I have said since they got in office we have a bunch of 5 year olds at the controls of a 747.  The 747 is the American economy and most of the time if you leave it alone it will fly itself on autopilot. Right now we have serious problems and all they know to do is randomly punch buttons, flip switches and go for the shiney lights all the while telling the passengers everything will be the plane rolls and dives.

Frankly, it is the modern liberal-statist in general. They all have this child's view of the world and government represents mommy and daddy while they act like petulant demanding children. That's how I'd describe the European protests. Like kids they know less than half of what they think they know and all they care about is what they want. Not necessary to deal with reality.

You have a tax cheat as the head of the treasury for Christ's sake! It's not important that you are competent or even ethical. You just have to say the right stuff and be "in" the club. Every time I see Obama speak I see the shallow rhetoric of a community organizer. He has never really had to make a damn thing work his whole life. We voted in rhetoric and that's all we will get.

Time to get some grown ups in there. Time is growing short and the education process for the public has to speed up. The Fed and the Imperial Congress of the United States are going to drag the whole world down the drain. The Obama's party while Rome burns.

janchup's picture

You have to wonder what Obama is thinking. Destruction of the economy would certainly qualify as change we damn well better believe in.

apberusdisvet's picture

Get familiar with the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

SRV - ES339's picture

Yes, it's all an "evil plot" to reverse the (apparently positive) redistribution of wealth up to the obscenely wealthy top 1%, to (a completely unacceptable) redistribution of (exponentially less) wealth down to the obscenely poor bottom 1%.

Makes perfect sense to me... Glenn said so!

Bartanist's picture

Where do you find grown-ups?

No "real" person of value wants to have anything to do with government and politicians and for most of the sound-bite club, being in the club is what made them who they are. It does not mean they have any value as a person, only that they did what the club rules demanded ... and that has always worked for them because they became powerful and wealthy through the club... those not courting club membership? ... not so much.

There was no fundamental problem with healthcare reform. The problem is that the bill was written by the insurance companies to ensure their power and profitability, was 2700 pages long, anyone with power who wanted to be exempt was allowed to be exempt and no one who voted for it had read it. That, by definition is not reform... and Obama & Pelosi claimed it as some miracle and a victory (but for whom?). It is assinine.

Rogerwilco's picture

I guess this means Mort didn't get the job.

sgt_doom's picture

That, and the Obamatron has still failed to burn and incinerate millions of innocent Iranians, which would do more for Zuckerman than his usual mega dosage of Viagra.

RockyRacoon's picture

Your answer implies that Zuck was promised something and didn't get it.

I feel that same way although we'll never know what it was, I'm sure.

A guy doesn't turn like that in such a vile way without reason, and seemingly out of political character. 

There is much more in this story than meets the eye.

onlooker's picture

The way that Obama and the Democrats/Media handled the election loss was most telling regarding their ability to understand the Citizens of the United States of America. It also showed that they have little realistic understanding for the condition of the Nation. OR, even worse---THEY DO NOT CARE.


The rant from the Left was caustic and the raves from the Right were not healthy or realistic. If Pelosi is put in as minority speaker and the Republicans continue talking Ronald Raygun conservatism----- we are still upside down.


A 3rd option political party is the only game in town, until they too are corrupted. Right now, lets give the Tea Party a chance by trying to screen the nut cases and also put pressure on the main 2 corrupted parties.


Go out and win one for the Griper.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Hey I love to read The Exiled, but they have a hard-on for the Tea Party movement. Bitter and violently deranged doesn't make for clear-eyed journalism.

Cathartes Aura's picture
The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests.

Read more


read about 'em in the new yorker then. . . but do read about their support of the tea party, it's an important chunk of the narrative.

Bartanist's picture

You do no find it great irony that capitalists were able to profit from fascist communists? Is that not what capitalists do? There is no doubt that the Tea Party was not a spontaneous movement. It was opportunism put into action and backed by some serious money ... and then subverted by the Reblican mainstream.

However, maybe you should buy the clue. People who profit from regimes quite often do not share the values of the regimes. To imply otherwise seems to be simple diversion.

New_Meat's picture


"The way that Obama and the Democrats/Media handled the election loss was most telling..."

totally expected

- Ned

(couldn't find a video clip)

economessed's picture

These pretzels are making me thirsty.

Miles Kendig's picture

It did not help that the administration had completely lost the support of the business community, where virtually no one has a good word to say about the administration and where there is no go-to, high-level businessman in Obama's inner circle. The result was to make corporate America lose even more confidence in making investment decisions.

Hope you're paying attention Obama.  Mort says that you need to spend more time kissing Wall Street's ass if you're going to do any better.  I suggest that you had better get Ben busy on purchasing risk assets to support the economy.  Mort would hope you'd begin with supporting CRE and its related products.

wisefool's picture

Mort owns a crapload of NYC real estate.

Miles Kendig's picture


While Mort & I both appreciate that there is little more Obama can do to support the folks off S. Main than by maxing out the Wall Street bonus pool so the neighborhood hookers and dope dealers can afford a holiday this year.  Trickle down even Dave Stockton could appreciate as the cost of conversion would go directly to support the TBTF and their plussed up margins for the on-the-left economic conversion.

wisefool's picture

That is how you do it. Trite, but everybody likes bread and circuses. And zoos. But I seriously need to know where I should be reading now that people like mort get bandwidth here. Been watching him on McGlauglin for my entire adult life. And will watch him there this Sunday.

Miles Kendig's picture

Just about anything gets bandwidth here.  Never try and judge where tyler and crew are coming from by what gets posted.  The idea is to speak your mind and fight for your ideas to see if they hold up.  In this there are few better places to go simply because you'll see just about everything here.  Welcome to freedom of expression (see the manifesto for more).

Back to Mart and his love affair with "centricism" since that is the most easily manipulated by his $.  If Mort had ball one, or hair one on that Abe Vigoda sack of his he would be urging fiscal & monetary stability.  The last thing that would enrich him so it will be the last thing he will advocate.  A true example of parasitic symbiosis on the body of society.  Which is why he advocated for an expansionist fed.  Funny how with Summers, Geithner, Bernanke, a federalized FNM/FRE and all the rest of these fraudulent fucks in power Mort is still sniveling about how there aren't enough friends of business in the administration...

wisefool's picture

Friends are hard to come by. But I'd take the lot of you over a sliver of gold any day. Thanks for the guidance. I'll read the manifesto.

Miles Kendig's picture

Welcome to fight club.  If it is your first time you have to fight.  Find an idea or writer that rubs you right, wrong or whatever go to town and have some fun getting bloody. It takes all of us being as real as we can to get to it so bring yours since it takes everyone to make a society function

SRV - ES339's picture

Very well said (as ususal) Miles.

Bananamerican's picture

"have some fun getting bloody."


Is THAT why there's only a "junk" button and no "love" button?

In 2007, as now, the economy was issue #1 so I waited to see who O tapped for his econ team. NOTHING else mattered, not his veep pick, nor his stances on abortion, affirmative action, gay rights or health care or any of that other typical topical bullshit. So Obama picked (or had picked for him more likely) the clown car team of oligarch insiders we all know and loathe. What else did ANY sentient being need to know at that point??? another four years of figurehead fronting fucktastic fascism was in the offing...that the country itself was being offed (or "oafed" if you want to be generous...i don't)

Miles Kendig's picture

Digital blow jobs arrive only after some quality fights ..

Most old timers only use the junk button when a +inf or +! just won't do .. unless the comment is truly beyond the great beyond (Which should be a nearly unbearably high/low bar since the site is premised upon being able to be as off the wall as yawanna be).

Keep on keepin' on bringin' it.

Bartanist's picture

Congress and the administration did everything for Wall Street and the rest of the parasite class. What they apparently did not do is praise and defend them in the media... and this pissed off the parasites.

laughing_swordfish's picture

Miles, you got some names mixed up.

Dave Stockman: Neo-conservative deficit hawk and failed hedge-fund guy.

Dave Stockton: Utah Jazz basketball immortal (along with Karl Malone).

Go Jazz !

Miles Kendig's picture

Speared  :D  Thanks for the head slap

Perhaps the Jazz can follow the Giants of baseball...

mnevins2's picture

John Stockton - not Dave. I'm a Chicagoan who used to care about professional basketball and so I recall the Jazz - coached by Bulls great - Jerry Sloan!

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

How 'bout that friggin Jeff Hornacek!

laughing_swordfish's picture

You're right - my bad it's John Stockton

Besides, here in LV all we get are Lakers games anyhow.