I have just received the new Suskind book and so haven't read it. But Brad Delong is excerpting the economic passages for everyone to read and they are fascinating.
There's a lot to say, not the least of which is the fact that the president seems to have been remarkably hostile to any discussion of trying to do another stimulus when it was obvious the first wasn't doing what was needed. (And evidently he particularly didn't want to hear any more about it from someone who didn't have a penis in her pocket.)
In the excerpt about the "jobless recovery" Suskind reports that when the administration was informed of the potential for unemployment at 9.8% in 2010, Obama was pensive, knowing that the midterms could be a bloodbath and he asked for some input. (Apparently he prefers "pro and con" lists rather than detailed analysis or charts, which seems oddly Bushian.) In any case, he was apparently unmoved by the various scenarios, passively saying he hoped the rosier scenarios came to pass and that was that.
It certainly does clear up any thought we might have had about whether or not the president is a real fiscal conservative or whether he was just flogging this deficit obsession for political effect. He's a true believer. And we know this because of his reliance on other deficit hawks and because when the political bloodbath the jobless recovery had predicted came true, his first move was to validate the Republicans' manufactured narrative about what had motivated their voters and launch his program of budget cuts and deficit reduction.
I have thought that his fetish for a Grand Bargain was mostly born of a delusional belief that he was someone who could bridge unbridgeable differences and be remembered as the man who brought cats and dogs together. But it looks as though he was just as motivated by the fact that he's a true blue, Concord Coalition, Pete Peterson deficit hawk.