I was talking to a friend in the world of finance last night who continues to be disappointed at Obama’s timidity in taking on the root of our economic troubles, which is the financial crisis. Obama talks about boldness, but he is doing more to exploit the crisis–and use it as an occasion to expand government–rather than to attempt to solve it directly. This timidity is understandable, given that whatever we do with the banks will be politically unpopular and will have considerable down-side risk. And perhaps we’ll have more clarity soon. But he’s slow-walking and down-playing his banking plan while expediting and hyping his spending plans, in a profoundly cynical performance.