Free Markets, Free People

The incredible shrinking presidency

Yes I know Peggy Noonan was one of “those” on the right to who thought Barack Obama would “deliver” (deliver what I’m not sure but she thought he’d be a welcome change to Bush).  And, in a weird and fascinating way it has been fun watching her discover how unbelievably wrong she was (not that it shouldn’t have been obvious from the beginning).  Frankly, it makes you a little skeptical concerning just about anything she might say that isn’t based in observable fact.

However, I think her opinion today is just about right:

Because when I imagine Barack Obama’s State of the Union, I see a handsome, dignified man standing at the podium and behind him Joe Biden, sleeping. And next to him John Boehner, snoring. And arrayed before the president the members, napping.

No one’s really listening to the president now. He has been for five years a nonstop wind-up talk machine. Most of it has been facile, bland, the same rounded words and rounded sentiments, the same soft accusations and excuses. I see him enjoying the sound of his voice as the network newsman leans forward eagerly, intently, nodding at the pearls, enacting interest, for this is the president and he is the anchorman and surely something important is being said with two such important men engaged.

But nothing interesting was being said! Looking back on this presidency, it has from the beginning been a 17,000 word New Yorker piece in which, calmly, sonorously, with his lovely intelligent voice, the president says nothing, or little that is helpful, insightful or believable. “I’m not a particularly ideological person.” “It’s hard to anticipate events over the next three years.” “I don’t really even need George Kennan right now.” “I am comfortable with complexity.” “Our capacity to do some good . . . is unsurpassed, even if nobody is paying attention.”

Nobody is!

Yeah, she hasn’t quite lost the “fan girl” crush she had on Obama, but the stark reality of what this man is … or perhaps isn’t … has finally begun to set in. Reality is a bitch and she doesn’t let you play pretend for long before she begins slapping you around the head and shoulders with what “is”. And what “is” with this presidency is “over”.

No one trusts this man. He’s been an incompetent buffoon. And the pity is, it was entirely predictable. In fact, we did predict it. We talked about the presidency not being an OJT position. That you needed experience having run a major organization before (you know, executive experience?). Or someone that had actually done something other than write his own autobigraphy at 40.  If not, you’re likely to be well above your competency level and it will show.

But some sort of ability to suspend disbelief infected the chattering classes and they began coughing, sneezing and throwing up a myth about this empty suit. At the end of the 2008 campaign he had somehow become magic.

In reality he was the Wizard and the Noonan’s of the world, 5 years late and trillions of dollars short have finally … FINALLY … begun to peek behind the curtain where the rest of us have been sending SOS’s for years. And they’re discovering he doesn’t even know what the levers are or do, much less how to pull them.

And this discovery has led to more discovery … such as that above. He’s mostly irrelevant and ignored. Someone we must suffer through to get back to business. And so when he speaks … well, no one listens. Oh, they may show up, and they may even feign paying attention, but when you’ve heard the same speech and all it’s variations for 5 years and nothing has happened that was promised (and a lot has happened that wasn’t promised and isn’t good), you tend to not pay attention any more.

For a speechifier who thinks words equal action, I can’t imagine a worse fate.


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23 Responses to The incredible shrinking presidency

  • Dignified
    Who knew….I didn’t realize it automatically applied to anyone who coughs up the dough for a tailored suit, a shave, and a haircut.
    Now if she meant ‘self-esteem’ – well, Barry has plenty of esteem for himself.

  • I wonder if even the most supine dupe of a tool of the Collective still believes what he says?

  • You know it has to be bad in the cocktail circuits/parties Ms. Noonan wants to attend that she feels free to opine now about Obama’s (PBUH) competancy when for so long, in spite of so much evidence, she held our hope.

    And yet, somehow, I get the feeling she’s just longing to sing Hosannas over Obama once again.  In fact, it’s like watching a Jerry Springer show:  you just know she wants to still believe in him, despite of all the evidence to the contrary.

  • “The new poll finds 59 percent of voters oppose the health care law, up from 55 percent who opposed it six months ago (June 2013). The increase in opposition comes from both independents and Democrats. Nearly a third of Democrats — 30 percent — oppose the law, up from 22 percent in June. Opposition among independents went from 53 percent to 64 percent today.”

    If you like your anger at being lied to, you can keep your anger about being lied to.
    AND you can do something about it.
    Just say NO!

  • But he means well! If it wasn’t for GOP controlling the House, he could have………………….

    • ……. eliminated poverty, cured cancer, provided superb healthcare to every American, reduced unemployment to zero, stopped the rise of the oceans, pushed back the Polar Vortex……..

  • Played a perfect round at Andrews.

  • …..not to mention world peace!

  • Americans aren’t impressed anymore by congressmen taking to their feet and cheering. They look as if they have electric buzzers on their butts that shoot them into the air when the applause line comes.
    This had me on the floor laughing.

    • At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). … For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin.
      However, who would dare to be the first to stop? … After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on – six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly – but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?
      The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter…
      Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!
      The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel. That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:
      “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.”

      —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The GULAG Archipelago

      You and I might be grateful that things are not so bad in this, the “Land of the Free”. But there are those who wonder when they’ll have enough power to be able to bring charges against Peggy Noonan.
      For now, they’ll just have to settle for Dinesh D’Souza.

  • Somebody, please explain with Black unemployment rates at historic lows why this is true …

    3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
    Approve 81%
    Disapprove 11
    DK/NA 8

    It’s not so much that those who disapprove of Mr Obama are racist. Instead it seems those who approve of him the most are racist.

    • 1) If you are unemployed, then you need all those social programs.
      2) They support anyone who will keep handing them out.
      3) They support white Democrats at nearly the same level, so they are not racist.

  • The next question is how do we dig ourselves out of the hole he’s put the presidency in, Domestically and Foreign Affairs.  I feel sorry for the next President regardless of party affiliation.  Blatantly inherited problems will be laid at the new president’s feet to protect the legacy of the Big Zero and to protect themselves from the fact the were mentally AWOL as reporters to any degree.

  • Per usual, she “forgot” to begin this, like all these other pieces of hers with, “I was wrong…”

  • Actually, nobody is listening to NOONAN anymore.  But I digress. The worst mistake you can make is to say Obama is irrelevant. As long as he has is pen to sign exec orders and his politicized bureaucracy to persecute his enemies (hi Dinesh!) he’s actually more dangerous than ever.
    He is the worst president in my lifetime, and the biggest monster ever to be in the oval office.

    • Correct, and Peggy doesn’t realize that because she is a speech-writer. She can’t help but think that those speeches are important and matter a lot, but as you pointed out they don’t.
      The only ones that mattered were the ones that let the press drag Obama over the finish line on November 6, 2012. The rest are just window dressing as he does whatever he can get away with, secure in the knowledge that his army of collectivist shills in the press will cover for him, no matter what.
      Who’s going to do anything to stop him and his bureaucratic minions, even from taking blatantly unconstitutional acts via executive order and published regulations? Boehner? McConnell?

      • Who’s going to do anything to stop him and his bureaucratic minions, even from taking blatantly unconstitutional acts via executive order and published regulations? Boehner? McConnell?

        >>> Nobody will stop him because nobody can stop him. Or maybe more accurately, those who could stop him are either neuters, or in on it.  But I say to you Billy, don’t worry overmuch. I predict that stopping the abuse of Presidential executive orders will become THE cause celebre across the land……the minute a Republican is elected.

        • Well it clearly IS a problem Shark and as you say one to be dealt harshly with az soon as a Republican occupies the White House. But hell if that’s the only way, I’ll take it I guess.

  • Am I the only one who, when Obama speak, doesn’t hear actual words, but just that noise the adults make on Charlie Brown cartoons?  It’s eerie as hell…  I have the feeling the content is identical.

    • I don’t hear the words because of that ridiculous, repetitious cadence he uses. Da DAH… da dah DAH…  da dah DAH… da dah dah. (With mandatory downtone on the last syllable to sound pompous/serious/adult/ready-for-mandatory-applause.) To repeat what I’ve said before: Every… time he talks… he sticks in… a pause… every few words… with a small… downtone for each… and then… he finishes… the sentence… with a large… downtone.
      He can’t just say a sentence like a speaker with any ability or talent. He has to insert those pauses every 2-5 syallables. Yet his shills in the media praise him as a great orator, simply because he’s saying the stuff they like, and, hey, it’s a black man saying it from the Oval Office! How could it not be epic!?!
      In a previous post about speaking tics, we discussed this in comments. One take: he sounds like William Shatner with less tone range. And occasional mis-pronunciations (“corpse-man”).

      • Someone once made the case he talks somewhat like a preacher to a degree and it is part of a structured cadence to help bypass critical thinking.  As silly as it sound, based on his followers evidence implies it would appear to be working.