Underdog Obama – No, really
The campaign that never really stopped to govern is gearing up again and Barack Obama is out there saying things now in an attempt to defuse them and make them “old news” when the election nears.
Calling himself an "underdog," President Obama today said the faltering economy is a drag on his presidency and seriously impairing his chances of winning again in 2012.
"Absolutely," he said in response to a question from ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos about whether the odds were against him come November 2012, given the economy. "I’m used to being the underdog. But at the end of the day people are going to ask — who’s got a vision?"
The American people, he conceded, are "not better off" than they were four years ago.
The next thing you know, he’ll try to pass himself off as an “outsider”.
Here’s the cold, hard truth – no incumbent is really an underdog and especially when that incumbent is President of the United States and owns the bully pulpit. Oh they’ve certainly lost reelection bids in the past, no question. But, as is evident now by watching the GOP field of candidates, if Barack Obama is in trouble it is because of Barack Obama, not anyone else.
He understands why – people are indeed not better off than they were four years ago. But what he doesn’t seem to understand yet is that most Americans have seen his “vision” and aren’t buying.
He seems to think that his grandiloquent rhetoric is going to again save him as he stands before bedazzled crowds and snows them with his “vision”. Right now, however, his vision has gotten us into $14 trillion of debt, 9.1% unemployment and the distinct probability that the economy will suffer a double dip recession. He’s made us more energy starved with his policies and he’s taken over a good portion of the economy with his health care law and it appears it will be bending the cost curve up. Yes, records are a bitch and this time he actually has one.
Not only are we not better off than we were four years ago it appears to be getting even worse. And Mort Zuckerman, a former Obama supporter has some thoughts on the subject as he discusses why businesses aren’t getting back to the business of growing the economy:
When governments are shown to be powerless or incompetent, ordinary people suddenly realise that their elected officials have neither the understanding, the political power and sometimes not even the will to do what is necessary. In part this is because they are scared of voter backlash. At that point despair and alienation takes control of public opinion and they concentrate on preserving what little of their long-term prospects and savings they can.
This dismal point we have reached today. Confidence in the US government has fallen so far that a recent Gallup poll found only 26 per cent approving the president’s management of the economy. And there is a sense that there are not too many effective tools left in the toolbox of the government.
So what is the Obama vision he plans on selling given Zuckerman’s spot on assessment. Is he going to sell he has suddenly become competent and his administration has finally figured out how to govern? That he’s now a leader? That his ideas aren’t warmed over leftovers that have failed every time they’ve been tried?
No wonder independents are deserting him.
What is Obama’s vision? Well if what we’ve been hearing from many on the left, it certainly isn’t a liberty lovers idea of utopia, but it appears that desperate times knocks the veneer off the “democratic” left:
One of them, former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, penned a piece this week in the New Republic arguing, as the title says, "Why we need less democracy." Orszag wrote that "the country’s political polarization was growing worse — harming Washington’s ability to do the basic, necessary work of governing." His solution? "[W]e need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic."
Orszag’s view is typical of Obama White House alumni. Last year, former auto czar Steve Rattner wrote in his book, "Overhaul," "Either Congress needs to get its act together or we should explore alternatives. … If our country wants to do a better job of solving its problems, it needs to find a way to let talented government officials operate more like they do in the private sector." True to the founding ideals of the progressive movement, both men are suggesting that enlightened technocrats who know best should be allowed to operate the federal government independent of popular will.
Perhaps know-it-all bureaucrats can be forgiven for harboring such contempt for the voting public. But elected officials cannot. That’s why similar comments by Gov. Bev Perdue, D-N.C., are far more troubling. "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover," Perdue told a Rotary Club gathering in suburban Raleigh this week. "I really hope that someone can agree with me on that."
Perdue’s office at first claimed her comments were made in jest. The subsequent release of the audio conclusively demonstrates otherwise.
For those of you agreeing with Rattner, democracy is a messy business and while there are certainly aspects of the private sector which should be integrated into government, hierarchical management is not one of them. We don’t work for the government, it is supposed to work for us. And I damn sure am not going to agree to giving that up for temporary convenience.
But it does sort of give you a righteous peek under the sheep’s clothing and a glimpse of the wolf, doesn’t it?