Mort Zuckerman was on MSNBC just now talking about the Aspen Aristocracy Festival. He's very upset with the president and says just everyone he runs into (at the Russian Tea Room) is too. He rightly pointed out the stimulus program was inadequate and then went on to explain that 85% of the country wanted a health care plan that would deal with costs and the administration foolishly decided to focus on covering more people (presumably rather than fewer.) He says it will add a trillion dollars to the deficit and it is cratering in the polls with only 34% of people supporting it.
I don't think I need to point out that all these points about the health care plan are wrong -- the CBO says the plan will cut the deficit, you had to find a mechanism to get most people into the system in order to cut costs (or allow people to just die in the streets when they get sick) and the health care plan is actually gaining in popularity. (I'm not defending it, I'm just pointing out that every single point Zuckerman makes against it are factually incorrect.)
Then he explains that all the right people were very receptive to his message:
Zuckerman: Niall Ferguson and I were the two speakers talking about this [at the Aspen Elite Circle Jerk Society Confab] and I would just say that a year ago 90% of them would have thrown tomatoes at us!
Hostess: Are you even surprised by some of the people who are in that group with you as critics of the president?
Zuckerman: I don't know if I'm surprised because I don't think of specific people, but you know everywhere I go there is a level of dismay at the failure of this president to address the problems that we're facing.
In fairness, Zuckerman's critique of the stimulus is actually fairly right on. He was writing over a year ago that it was too small and not properly targeted, although I'm not sure that we would agree on the targets. His health care critique is just misinformed. There are lots of good reasons to be disappointed, but his points aren't among them. What curious is that his speech at the Aspen Socialite Kaffe Klatch proclaimed that because of all this we now need to concentrate on austerity and cutting spending dramatically because people have lost faith in government to do anything right. Looks like old Mort is now an open confidence fairy.
Meanwhile, his tag team partner, invisible bond vigilante channeler Niall Ferguson, is flogging Paul Ryan's nihilistic Randian dystopia (which even the Republican party has abandoned like a rotting corpse) and telling all these rich dilettantes that the only thing that can cure this problem is destroying the safety net, cutting the taxes of the wealthy and "incentivizing" the unemployed to take jobs that don't exist (presumably by homelessness and starvation.)
And all of this to wild applause from the wealthy Obama supporters in the audience. I assume they all went out afterward and ate gobs and gobs of cake.
Update: Howie has more on Ryan