The one he announced Monday withholding additional federal aid to General Motors and Chrysler was a doozie.
The new tough guy on the block basically fired GM's chief executive G. Richard Wagoner Jr. for driving too slow in the fast lane. That's a savings of $1 a year.
At the same time, Obama showed his forgiving side. He allowed GM 60 more days to offer a restructuring plan. He granted 30 days for Chrysler to complete its merger with Fiat.
Then he turned softy, vowing to keep the two Detroit automakers on life support by waving some magic wand. He promised both automakers the government would guarantee their customer vehicle warranties.
"We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish," he said "It is a pillar of our economy that has held up the dreams of millions of our people. But we also cannot continue to excuse poor decisions. And we cannot make the survival of our auto industry dependent on an unending flow of tax dollars. These companies -- and this industry -- must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state."
I can't help but wonder if a meaner, leaner GM reduces its TV commercials promoting Chevrolet's SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans. I'll miss their top pitch man Howie Long, the former NFL defensive tackle whose day job is color commentator for Fox Sports during the football season.
I don't intend to be flip because the economic impact of the struggling automakers signals a domino wave of financial doom for millions of Americans associated with the designers, manufacturers, suppliers and dealers of GM and Chrysler.
I'll leave the details of Obama's dramatic announcement to the comprehensive article in Monday's Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/30/AR2009033001239.html?hpid=topnews.
Instead, I'm more concerned about the precedents Obama is establishing in the wave of bailouts for the auto industry and banking sector.
Firing executives and capping executive salaries as part of the strings attached to federal rescue plans is extremely discomforting. This practice historically has been carried out in the bankruptcy courts and should remain there.
In the automakers case, Obama's car experts convinced the president their restructuring plans were deficient. By that they mean Detroit remains sluggish building smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles as well as rushing to the assembly lines new hybrids and electric-powered models. Detroit's excuse has been buyers aren't interested enough to make the sales profitable except in times when gasoline prices soar above $4 a gallon.
Here the president dons his professor's cap and gown and uses his office as bully pulpit to convince the public it is the right course to get off carbon fuel emissions. He's right, of course. But the sale of cars is determined by market demands, not presidential decrees. I'd rather keep it that way.
Obama is stepping perilously close to nationalizing banks and perhaps key industrial corporations. It already holds an 80% ownership in American International Union. Yet, he vows the administration has no interest nor ability to run these publicly traded institutions. We must take his word for it.
It is quite daunting that our multi-task president is cramming so many game changing measures down the public's collective throat. We scarcely have time to digest one before he throws another bone to the masses. What's next?
Oh, yes. Health care reform.