Free Markets, Free People


I think Toby Harnden of the UK’s Telegraph describes pretty well what most of us have observed and concluded about President Obama:

Perhaps we should not be surprised that the land of the permanent campaign has produced a president like Barack Obama. During his White House bid, Mr Obama’s staff argued that his masterful oversight of the machinery that ultimately got him elected was his highest achievement.

In many respects this was true, though Mr Obama was more chairman than CEO. Even Republican political operatives acknowledge that the Obama ’08 campaign was a thing of beauty.

Essentially, however, Mr Obama won because of his persona – post-racial, healing, cool, articulate and inspirational. In a sense, therefore, his greatest achievement in life is being Barack Obama. Or the campaign version, at least.

Therein lies the problem. While campaigning could centre around soaring rhetoric, governing is altogether messier. It involves tough, unpopular choices and cutting deals with opponents. It requires doing things rather than talking about them, let alone just being.

Mr Obama is showing little appetite for this. Instead of being the commander-in-chief, he is the campaigner-in-chief.

I think this is best reflected in a number that’s been circulating recently – Obama has done 2 to 3 times more political fundraisers at this point in his presidency than did either GW Bush or Bill Clinton. While they were apparently concentrating more on the job at hand Obama seems unable, or unwilling, to drop the campaign mode and step into the governing role.

Consequently Afghanistan strategy is adrift, health care reform is leaderless and Obama flits around doing fundraisers and campaign-style townhalls.

Now, he is stumping for Democratic candidates in states he won last year but which are now in danger. Last Wednesday in Hackensack, Mr Obama took to the stage to proclaim: “Your voice can change the world. Your voice can elect Jon Corzine, governor once again of New Jersey.” Change the world? Mr Corzine is a former Goldman Sachs executive whose political career was launched when he spent $57 million of his own money on a Senate seat in 2000.

The rally was an attempted 2008 reprise. There was the spontaneous (or not) cry of “I love you!” bashfully acknowledged by Mr Obama with a “I love you back.”

There were the Obama-led chants of “Fired up! Ready to go!” and the ubiquitous “Yes We Can” signs.

And as he always does, Mr Obama blamed every economic woe on the Bush years, conveniently forgetting that Republicans are no longer in office and it’s been his mess for nine months now.

The “blame Bush” card, just like the race card, is wearing very thin. It is also worth remembering that the budgets that were passed by Congress during the last two years as well as the initial 700 billion bailout package appropriated by that same Democratic Congress all had Mr. Obama’s stamp of approval by way of his vote for each of them.

But, going back to the subject, it seems like every time it gets a little hot in Washington DC, Obama’s answer is to leave and rally somewhere as if doing so will somehow improve the other situation.

And then, in what one can only describe as a fit of stupidity that compounds the problem of perception, the White House picks a fight with a news organization with which it has issues. It ends up rallying the other news organizations to the side of the one it’s picking on and ends up looking both petty and vindictive.

Finally, it appears even the comedians have had enough:

“President Obama agreed to commit an additional 40,000 troops to help fight Fox News,” quipped NBC’s Jay Leno. “Senior White House adviser David Axelrod told reporters that Fox News is just pushing a point of view. Well, yes, but at least they’ve got a point of view.”

Losing the comedians is usually an indicator of a loss public support. And all of them are now taking pot-shots, even the odius Bill Maher.

Harnden concludes:

Mr Obama was elected on a promise of being post-partisan to Washington and transforming the country. Thus far, he has won the support of only a single Republican for his health-care plan and has shown himself to be as aggressive a Democratic partisan in office as anyone in the fabled Clinton war room.

Beyond the grand announcements, fine speeches and his eager acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr Obama has yet to achieve anything of substance. It is time for the campaign to end.

But it won’t. It can’t. And there is a very simple reason for that – Mr. Obama has never done anything of substance, nor has he ever run anything of substance. He simply isn’t equipped with the experience and know-how necessary to do that. He’s never been a leader, had to be a leader and doesn’t know how to lead.

He knows how to campaign. It’s that at which he is good. Campaigning is all “grand announcements” and “fine speeches” in which the campaigner never has to put up or shut up. Now that he finds himself in this rather awkward position of actually having to deliver on his “grand announcements” and “fine speeches”, he reverts to that he knows best. And that means a perpetual campaign.



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8 Responses to Campaigner-In-Chief

  • I’ll even dispute that he knows how to campaign.

    Comon,  we all saw that the press went totally into the tank for this guy during the campaign. His greatest campaign achievement was his web people “accidentally” turning off the credit card security package so he was able to get lots of shady donations via the net.

  • McCain was leading Obama in the polls until the Wall Street banks/investment houses tanked.  The party in power lost the race when the economy tanked of their watch.  McCain would be president if the banks/investment houses tanked in December not earlier.

  • If Mr. Obama like the Europeans so much, perhaps he would like to try something that they have and we don’t .. a ban of campaigning except during the few months or weeks leading up to an election.
    I know I could go for that.

  • What we are seeing is the world’s only remaining superpower being managed by college sophomores. Fair to say, though…this is what the world said it wanted. Now we all have to live with and pay for the consequences.

  • Obama is a boorish demagogue at leadership and a boorish amateur at governance.

    That’s the good news.

    The bad news is that he is a clear and present danger to the country. It doesn’t get worse than that, until it gets worse.

    He is everything that the bad judgment it took for him to stay with that sick church predicted.

    Remember that he was taught there to hate the United States, or worse, had his existing hatred for the U.S. confirmed and reinforced.

    “God damn America.”

    “Just get the power Barack.”

  • <a href= “DNC Gears Up for Perpetual Campaign”/a>
    “…analysis of Federal Election Commission records found that since the beginning of the year [2009] , the …{DNC}… has paid at least $5.9 million to staffers and firms that worked on the [Obama] campaign – but had little to no independent history with the DNC – to do a range of work that will … lay the foundation for Obama’s reelection campaign…”
    “…Paul Begala… said Obama has earned the right to remake the DNC in his image. “Yes, this is an Obama-centered DNC,” he said, “but it ought to be. To the winner goes the spoils.”….”

  • I cannot believe that anyone would put a dime on Obama in 2012.  All he’s done is pass a stimulus that didn’t work, bass a huge budget that will bankrupt the country and gobble up chunks of the private sector.

    No bipartisan effort.  No job growth.  Rudderless foreign policy.  Advocating upside down domestic agenda – government healthcare, huge energy taxes, open borders, union shops.

    An engineer could make a fortune by inventing a device that changes channels or mutes the TV at the sound of Obama’s voice.