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Frank Rich desperately tries to explain Obama

Frank Rich is thrashing around for an answer – a way to explain Barack Obama’s presidency to this point.  His latest excuse for the presidency’s inadequacies and incompetence is  …. the Stockholm syndrome.

THOSE desperate to decipher the baffling Obama presidency could do worse than consult an article titled “Understanding Stockholm Syndrome” in the online archive of The F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin. It explains that hostage takers are most successful at winning a victim’s loyalty if they temper their brutality with a bogus show of kindness. Soon enough, the hostage will start concentrating on his captors’ “good side” and develop psychological characteristics to please them — “dependency; lack of initiative; and an inability to act, decide or think.”

Where he ends up, of course, is trying to explain away Obama’s ‘baffling’ performance and apparently the best he could come up with this week is likening him to a hostage who ends up identifying with his captors.  Here, at its tortured best, is Frank Rich trying to make that stretch:

No sooner did he invite the G.O.P.’s Congressional leaders to a post-election White House summit meeting than they countered his hospitality with a slap — postponing the date for two weeks because of “scheduling conflicts.” But they were kind enough to reschedule, and that was enough to get Obama to concentrate once more on his captors’ “good side.”

And so, as the big bipartisan event finally arrived last week, he handed them an unexpected gift, a freeze on federal salaries. Then he made a hostage video hailing the White House meeting as “a sincere effort on the part of everybody involved to actually commit to work together.” Hardly had this staged effusion of happy talk been disseminated than we learned of Mitch McConnell’s letter vowing to hold not just the president but the entire government hostage by blocking all legislation until the Bush-era tax cuts were extended for the top 2 percent of American households.

The captors will win this battle, if they haven’t already by the time you read this, because Obama has seemingly surrendered his once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think.

I saw the last sentence and I immediately wondered what “once-considerable abilities to act, decide or think” Rich was talking about?  I’m sorry but I’m coming up  empty in that department.  Certainly nothing he did prior to the presidency identified any of those “abilities”.  And few can argue – apparently Rich included – that he’s demonstrated them while the President. So I’d have to ask Mr. Rich – what “once-considerable abilities” are you talking about?  Examples, please.

Here’s a thought – maybe, like many of us said,  he’s never had those abilities.  If Frank Rich, an long time Obama lap dog, can’t come up with a list of instances in which Obama has demonstrated those abilities, maybe they always were, well, myths.  Those “abilities” were “hopes” that those who wanted to  put a man in the White House about whom they knew virtually nothing “hoped” would be realized.  I mean the guy can give a hell of a speech, can’t he?

In fact, Rich is finally led to the same conclusion:

The cliché criticisms of Obama are (from the left) that he is a naïve centrist, not the audacious liberal that Democrats thought they were getting, and (from the right) that he is a socialist out to impose government on every corner of American life. But the real problem is that he’s so indistinct no one across the entire political spectrum knows who he is. A chief executive who repeatedly presents himself as a conciliator, forever searching for the “good side” of all adversaries and convening summits, in the end comes across as weightless, if not AWOL. A Rorschach test may make for a fine presidential candidate — when everyone projects their hopes on the guy. But it doesn’t work in the Oval Office: These days everyone is projecting their fears on Obama instead.

There you go.  A “sophisticated” member of the liberal elite (and he’s obviously not the only one) who revels in characterizing the opposition naïve and irresponsible is found to be among the naïve and irresponsible.   In fact,  what that group projected on the Obama the presidential candidate was insanely naïve and almost criminally irresponsible.  And that led to the book on how to pick a president being thrown out the window and version 2.0 was written on the fly.

Result?  Empty suit who looks good and can give a good speech.  The perfect Hollywood president who has his scripts written for him and in the celluloid world, really doesn’t have to do anything or accomplish anything to be a star.  To bad that doesn’t work in the real world, huh Frank?

Yes, version 2.0 said “we don’t need experience or leadership, that’s what advisors are for, all we need is someone who looks and acts like a president.”  How’s that working out for you?

Of course Obama is as complicit in this as anyone in this.   A junior senator for Illinois, where as a state senator he compiled a sparse record of accomplishment, Obama never even finished his first term in the Senate before seeking the presidency.  And the Frank Rich’s of the world were giddy at the thought and lavish with their praise and support.

Well, v 2.0 has crashed.  Big time.  It’s a flop.  And all the political code monkeys in the world can’t resurrect it.  Because there was never enough substance or experience there to ever make it work in the first place.  Obama is the WYSIWYG president and most folks taking a long hard look at him today aren’t seeing much they like or want to keep.

And it isn’t going to get any better.  He wasn’t even able to control his own space when he had overwhelming majorities in Congress.   Anyone who thinks he can do better with a Republican majority in the House and a much narrower majority in the Senate need to make an early appointment for psychiatric help.

Interestingly, Rich spends much of the column praising NJ Governor Chris Christie and his leadership style.  There’s a pathetic longing evident in Rich’s writing.  A longing for a Christie-type Democrat in the White House right about now.  It is just as obvious he knows he’ll never see it, at least from the present occupant.

Hey, Frank baby – this one is yours.  You and your liberal buddies chose him. You threw all the normal conventions used to pick an accomplished leader for president out the window because Obama, at least on the surface, was the PC liberal candidate from heaven.  He gave you a chance to assuage your white guilt and show the world how much you and the rest of liberal America had grown up.  Well, Mr. Rich, you got exactly what you deserve.

Live with it. 

Unfortunately, thanks to you and your kind, we have to as well.



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14 Responses to Frank Rich desperately tries to explain Obama

  • What struck me after reading this piece, is that I have been so disappointed at all the right wingers who supported Obama – e.g. Andrew Napolitano, Peggy Noonan – that I never really saw that the left wingers are at least as disappointed as well. All the excuses attempt to hide the actual fact, which is, the guy is incompetent, the Peter Principle on steroids. Obama is, to me, the perfect example of what is wrong with affirmative action. Elevate the unqualified to make yourself feel better, but you end up with a guy who just can’t do the job.
    Clinton famously said that he felt like the dog who chases the pickup truck who caught it, but then didn’t know what to do with it. But THAT good ol’ boy figured out how to make it work for him. I fear that in Obama’s case he knew exactly what he was chasing, but it was not the power per sem it was the trappings of royalty, the plane and the big house with the Wagyu steaks. I do not believe the man to be any deeper than that.

  • Frank Rich: Living proof of what repeated carousing with Off-Broadway chorus boys  and attending too many premieres for bad plays and musicals will do to one’s intelligence. 

    Don’t let this happen to you.

  • what “once-considerable abilities” are you talking about?  Examples, please.

    “I Won”

    • Actually, Barack Obama, the candidate, said that he has this ability “to have people who are capable of sitting down in a room”  .. and do something or another.   He’s still got that” get people in a room” thing going for him.

    • Yeah I’m a little confused how even Frank Rich can take the treatment of the GOP by Obama and the congressional Democrats as any sort of hospitality they cruelly rebuked.

  • I predicted this from the very get-go.  It was eminently clear to me that Obama was a Bill Clinton centrist.  As I told anyone that would listen, I said I was voting for the most Clintonian democrat in the primary, so I was voting for Obama over the obviously-more-liberal Hillary Clinton.  I also figured that the left would come to loath Obama by the end of his first term
    This column is Rich trying to figure out how he was duped.

    • Doesn’t this assume that Obama was a centrist .. with a backboone.
      Obama knows that most of Capitol Hill isn’t that far Left, so he “can’t push a string”
      The Left (just like the Black community) have no where to go, so he can work his center-Left “middle”, fooling some that he is some kind of centrist.
      Obama reveals himself by his political appointees, who are anything but centrist

    • A centrist? It is obvious he’s a leftist who lacks leadership skills and backbone.

  • But the real problem is that he’s so indistinct no one across the entire political spectrum knows who he is.

    Uh…BS, Frankie!  I’ve known EXACTLY who he is for years now.  He is a doctrinaire Collectivist, and a very sick puppy.

  • He gave you a chance to assuage your white guilt and show the world how much you and the rest of liberal America had grown up

    Dead on; own it Frank, Besty et al.  Own every last minute of it.

    The key question is why do we even listen to these folks? 

  • Act, Decide and Think? Don’t they have it the wrong way around? You have to think first, then decide on the course, then act on it. Someone who act, decide and think is someone who don’t have a clue what they’re doing

  • I would enjoy the spectacle of the left trying desperately to figure out what went wrong with their messiah, but the problem is that this boob is screwing things up for the entire country.  Bah.

  • Rich wrote, ‘A chief executive who repeatedly presents himself as a conciliator, forever searching for the “good side” of all adversaries and convening summits’

    Except Republicans. They should shut up and let Obama fix their mistakes. They should stop sipping their Slurpees/lattes and help him get the car out the ditch. They’re hostage takers.

    Rich is just another dishonest liberal. Which is redundant.