Free Markets, Free People

Even the true-believers are losing faith

Mark Halperin has an interesting article in the current TIME.  He wonders how Obama got where he is and how he can change that.  It is interesting for some of language used.  It demonstrates a changing view, even among his supporters, that perhaps – just perhaps – this guy isn’t really up to the job … yet.   That last word that sentence is important. 

Many of us feel he has never been up to the job. We’ve pretty much been proven to be right.  Many have decided after the election that he’s not up to the job.  But there is one other category that will sort of, kind of admit he may not seem up to the job, however that’s just a temporary condition.  Once he finds his feet again, he’ll do fine.  And it that latter category that seems to best fit Halperin. 

But his opening two paragraphs are both brutal and true, whether Halperin really believes them totally or not:

Barack Obama is being politically crushed in a vise. From above, by elite opinion about his competence. From below, by mass anger and anxiety over unemployment. And it is too late for him to do anything about this predicament until after November’s elections.

With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters. This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration just beyond the inner circle.

When you have “pundits” like Halperin (you know, the guy who feels compelled as he’s saying this to throw out the "Fox News pundits" bit out there as if they’re really the only pundits mouthing off) compelled to finally be somewhat honest about the man, then he’s in trouble.

A little further on Halperin engages in a little bit of defense for Obama:

Most of Obama’s private (and sometimes public) rebuttals to the voices slamming him on all sides are justified or spot on. He did inherit a lot of problems from the Bush Administration. He did act quickly in the initial weeks of his Administration to stave off a worldwide depression. His efforts at job creation have been obstructed by Republicans (even the proposals based on policies supported by the GOP in the past). His opponents haven’t put forth specifics of their own, nor offered genuine compromise, while the media have allowed the right’s activists and gabbers to run wild with criticism without furnishing legitimate alternative solutions.

Of course all of this depends on how you view what he’s supposedly “done”.  Unfortunately for him, the majority don’t agree that he’s earned the accolades Halperin and Obama think are due him.  And the continued nonsense about “Republican obstruction” when everyone knew he had uncontested Democratic majorities that didn’t require a single GOP vote for quite some time simply isn’t washing with the masses. 

Notice too Halperin’s attempt to spin the opposition.  They’re “allowed” to “run wild with criticism without furnishing legitimate alternative solutions.”

Really?  What rock has he been hiding under – there have been multitudes of alternative solutions offered.  It is just that Halperin and the left don’t want to admit to their legitimacy.  And just who are these organizations which have “allowed” these people to go “wild?”  The same organizations that routinely allowed that same sort of behavior during the last administration.  I guess you just don’t recognize it until it your ox being gored.

But you get a creeping sense as you read the article that Halperin, and most likely other true-  believers, really, deep down inside, understand their man doesn’t have what it takes to do the job in such a way that it will be defensible in 2012. It will be very tough to help someone who seems so bound and determined to do the wrong things politically. For instance, look at how he’s reacted to various political problems:

But Obama has exacerbated his political problems not just by failing to enact policies that would have actually turned the economy around, but also by authorizing a series of tactical moves intended to demonize Republicans and distract from the problems at hand. He has wasted time lambasting his foes when he should have been putting forth his agenda in a clear, optimistic fashion, defending the benefits of his key decisions during the past two years (health care and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, for example) and explaining what he would do with a re-elected Democratic majority to spur growth.

Shorter version: he’s on the defensive and has retreated to campaign mode, the only real success he’s ever had in his life – getting elected to some office.  He’s in his comfort zone.  How are they going to entice him back out of that to “govern”?  How does one get someone who is uncomfortable in the job and the role his election has garnered him to do what he’s supposed to do and not worry about what the critics say?  Apparently they don’t.  He’s abdicated his leadership position before and there’s no indication he’s really all that keen on the role.  Halperin and his side are beginning to see and understand what many of us have understood before he took office.

How lost is Obama, the guy once touted as having one of the most finely tuned political antennas in the world?

Throughout the year, we have been treated to Obama-led attacks on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Congressman Joe Barton (for his odd apology to BP), John Boehner (for seeking the speakership — or was it something about an ant?) and Fox News (for everything). Suitable Democratic targets in some cases, perhaps, but not worth the time of a busy Commander in Chief. In the past few days, we have witnessed the spectacle of the President himself and his top advisers wading into allegations that Republicans are attempting to buy the election using foreign money laundered through the Chamber of Commerce, combining with Karl Rove and his wealthy backers to fund a flood of negative television commercials. Not only is this issue convoluted and far-fetched, but it also distracts from the issues voters care about, frustrating political insiders and alienating struggling citizens (not that many are following such an offbeat story line). Feinting and gibing can’t obscure those job numbers.

Pretty darn lost.  And I, frankly, don’t think much will change in the next few years.  The man is not a leader and he’s not going to learn it in time to help himself.  In fact, because he’s engaged in this battle with the Chamber of Commerce, I’d say he’s in even worse shape than previously imagined and seems to have some pretty bad advisers if they are enabling or encouraging the sort of behavior described above.



29 Responses to Even the true-believers are losing faith


  • The potency of the kool-aid must be weakening a bit.

  • I read this one – usual stunning accusations – that the Republican minority was able to stop the Democratic agenda.  What?  Does he believe Cantor and Kyl are channeling King Leonidas?  Is Bohner really the leader of the Battling Bastards of Bastogne?
    This is more about having chosen a leader who couldn’t lead them to Baskin Robbins for ice cream.  These guys make the average middle school candidates for student council look like the Founding Fathers.

    • This is why the MSM has to die. It does a huge disservice to the public when it can insinuate this stuff.
      Plus, the notion that the GOP has nothing to offer…excuse me? They came up with a variety of plans. Ryan came up with some amazing stuff. Not to mention, how many Democrat plans were offered from 2000-2006? Not much I can remember due to the 24/7 Bush bashing frenzy by the media. Oh, yeah, they were going to stop the culture of corruption…tee hee.

  • I’m fully confident that two years hence, in Oct 2012, Halperin will be opining that Obama has finally grown in office and fully up to any challenge.

    Halperin, Noonan, et all are of the same mold and should not be listenend to again, on any topic, including whether or not the sun is currently shining.

  • It’s fascinating to read these articles, wherein the writer first criticizes Obama for doing a poor job, then offers one cheap excuse after another.  As if, having dared to utter a miserable peep of dissent, he must now make sure to explain that it’s not really Obama’s fault.  It’s the not-liberal-enough media.  It’s those insufferable pundits at Fox News.  It’s that ne’er do well Bush fellow.  It’s those obstructionist Republicans.  It’s those perpetually unhappy  tea party people.  And so on.
    I don’t think it helps the administration– nor does it do the Democrats in congress any favors– to try and temper legitimate criticism in this manner.  Dealing with problems is a two-step process.  First, admit that there are problems.  Second, take steps to deal with those problems.  Note to Democrats– making weak excuses and blaming everyone else is not a proper way to deal with problems.  It’s what Carter did in his “malaise speech” and it’s why the speech is seen as such a low point in his Presidency.

  • Wow.  P*ss-weak and pro forma attempts to blame Fox News, Rush and the GOp aside, this is an absolutely damning indictment of The Dear Golfer.  “[T]he White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless” is not an appraisal one wants to see even from a political opponent, and CERTAINLY not a political ally like Time.

    I’ve been waiting for months for the floodgates to finally open, for the lefties to not only realize that their messiah is a fool but also that it’s safe (even chic) to publicly and loudly say so.  I don’t know if this is that moment, but it’s certainly getting closer, and The Dear Golfer and his gang will be in major trouble when it comes.  MiniTru has been covering for them since the campaign, whitewashing and spinning and ignoring anything the might make them look bad.  IF leftie reporters and pundits decide that they aren’t in the whitewashing business anymore, if they start really digging into the things that go on*, then The Dear Golfer may not make it to November ’12.


    (*) For example:

    1.  Given the wild accusations about the Chamber of Commerce allegedly taking foreign money to fund campaign ads, might we ask about the financial irregularities, such as phony credit card data, that were seen in The Annointed One’s (as he was then known) campaign?

    2.  So, just where DID all that stimulus money go?

    3.  Why DID that IG get fired?

    4.  Who DID tell the DoJ to not prosecute the Black Panthers?

    5.  What is the REAL relationship between Goldman Sachs and the administration?

    6.  Why did Pharma give all that money to help campaign for ObamaCare?

    7.  What did the administration know about Toyota and when did they know it?

    8.  Gulf Oil spill?

    etc, etc.

    • On point 1, I am surprised that is being raised again (Obama’s foreign donors) and even touched by the MSM. I thought that was long down the memory hole.

  • As McQ points out, the attack on the chamber is the punch drunk fighter flailing around hoping to hit something.  When you have gotten a reputation for being anti business, it is not helpful to pick a fight with the Chamber of Commerce when you are more vulnerable to the same charge and have nothing to back up your charge.  Axlerod’s wimpy defense that his charge of foreign money going to the Chamber had not been proven false was embarrassing.  This is two straight years of the fan favorite, amateur hour.

  • They’ll still vote for him though.  After all the alternative is a vote for “Palinamerica” as some idiot colorfully called it recently.

    • True, true.  AND, come to think of it, they’ll brand anybody who DOESN’T vote for him as a racist, ignorant no-nothing teabagger just like they did in ’08. 

  • “From above, by elite opinion about his competence”

    Gee, I guess I am now officially one of the elite.

  • Steve C:
    Yes, it is O’s hubris on display – I just hope the inevitable ate has limited collateral damage.

  • “He wonders how Obama got where he is …”
    I suspect historians are going to ask that question for a long time.  I’ve been asking it since he got the nomination.
    “… and how he can change that.”
    Resignation, decide not to run again, or get beaten in either the primary or the general election would be my preferences in reverse order.

    • “He wonders how Obama got where he is …”
      At some point, historians ARE going to have to accept that there WAS a ‘Vast Liberal’ conspiracy at play between the standard (Old Guard) media, and the Democratic party.  This collusion, following a persistent campaign to demonize the Bush Administration, coupled with significant national desire to reduce racial guilt by electing a non-white President,  and abrogation of responsibility to tell the truth (tacitly accepted as real by the populace) by the media, led to a huge, and successful, con-job from June to November of 2008 by the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party.
      It fell apart so badly because the Democrats, it appears, started believing their own press releases about Obama’s capabilities and those in the know didn’t realize the monster could get out from under their control so easily.

      • I do think Obama did not think he would win the nomination.  Oh well.
        A Brit friend told me that their system of government would never allow such a poor speaker as Bush to become the national leader. I argued that being well-spoken does not mean you are smart or even a good leader. Obama rolls up to prove me right.
        Though, in Question Time, Obama would do pretty poorly, maybe even compared to Bush.

        • Unless Herr Doktor Teleprompter is there to help.
          “Dr. Teleprompter, or how I learned to loathe high tech”

  • CBS’s Bob Schieffer on Sunday mocked President Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod for echoing last week’s unsubstantiated charge by a liberal website that the Chamber of Commerce is funneling foreign money to support Republican candidates.
    “The New York Times looked into the Chamber specifically and said the Chamber really isn’t putting foreign money into the campaign,” said the Face the Nation host.
    “This part about foreign money, that appears to be peanuts,” chided Schieffer.
    When Axelrod continued to press the issue, Schieffer said almost laughing, “If the only charge, three weeks into the election that the Democrats can make is that there’s somehow this may or may not be foreign money coming into the campaign, is that the best you can do?

    Hope and Change embraces the “Politics of Personal Destruction”

    • “They [The Chamber of Commerce] can put this to rest,” said Joshua Earnest, a White House spokesman. “They have the keys to the file cabinet.”

      Isn’t this the essence of “birtherism” ??

  • Those good ol’boys down in Missouri, that I once worked with, would have this to say:


    I think that pretty much describes our President.

  • {chuckle} You dense righties are so very gullible.

    Politics goes back and forth. And forth and back. So the wise politician rides these cycles, and times everything to make them work in his favor. I know this because I’m a political scientist with advanced degrees.

    He of the christlike visage is simply positioning himself properly for the next wave. His previous wave got the most important program in our lives enacted, healthcare reform, which was critical because healthcare is a moral right. My Russian nurse wife tells me that it’s just what we needed, and she ought to know.

    Plus, as Halperin note, Obama has lots of other successes in guiding the government closer to leftist utopia. He thinks like me, you know, so he has that going for him, and just don’t don’t start about how I pose as a pragmatic moderate when I’m really an extreme leftist. I’m a pragmatic moderate, as I can tell every day when I have mild disagreements with the Marxists in the faculty lounge, who think we should have already nationalized all the industries Obama hasn’t gotten around to yet.

    So Obama is getting ready for the next wave, and wise, chin pulling pundits like Halperin know what to do to help him. They make pro forma declarations that he’s having big problems so that the next time he has a success, even a minor one, they can trumpet how he’s “come back” and is ready for another round of leftist utopian progress.

    So don’t start up about the Republicans winning so many seats he won’t be able to do anything. He’s a genius and he’ll figure out something. Besides, they might have peaked too early and will only get twenty seats in the House, and two or three Senate seats. I have a blog post about that. Stop laughing! It might happen! Besides, I also said they might do better than that, so no matter how it turns out, I will be around to tell you how I predicted it. Stop laughing, I said! I’m just telling you how it is, with my godlike powers of political science!

    So he’s prepping for the next wave, which is guaranteed to come sometime, just like the violence in Iraq is guaranteed to increase sometime so I’ve warning you about it for three years. And shut up about Sadr! He did too win over Maliki! And the fact that Sadr is now looking like he supports Maliki just proves that he’s pulling all the strings behind the scenes, and the fact that you haven’t heard a peep from Sadr for two years doesn’t mean his power is diminished! It just doesn’t! And would you stop laughing, for goodness sake! You’re going to hurt yourself!

    You thick righties just get it wrong all the time. LOL. {giggle} {eyes rolling} Probably because you’re ex-military types wigged out from the stress, and just unable to see the world as it truly is or to understand the magnificence that is Obama. While I, from my glorious perch in the faculty lounge, look out over the political landscape and sniff the political winds and then do analysis which isn’t either opinion (because of my advanced degrees, of course), and finally come here to inform you poor ignorant righties out of the goodness of my heart and my concern for your well-being. Darn it, stop laughing! It is too analysis, not regurgitated talking points from leftist pundits like Halperin! I decree it!

    • The market for personal data about Internet users is booming, and in the vanguard is the practice of “scraping.” Firms offer to harvest online conversations and collect personal details from social-networking sites, résumé sites and online forums where people might discuss their lives.

      They have all the “goods” on you, I bet.

  • “Many of us feel he has never been up to the job. We’ve pretty much been proven to be right”

    You may believe, think, feel, assert, or adduce that President Obama “has never beein up to the job”. But you will never be able to prove it. 

    By the way, where is your evidence that the majority dont agree with Halperin? 

    • The fact that the “country is on the wrong track” poll hasn’t changed a bit since Obama took office. That also makes the point about him not being up to the job.

    • “But you will never be able to prove it. ”
      BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – god you’re funny.   We don’t have to prove it,  he’s doing a terribly (in every sense of the word) excellent job without any help from us now.
      “By the way, where is your evidence that the majority dont agree with Halperin? ”
      To pull a card out of the Democratic deck and play it, where’s YOUR proof they do?