I’m not sure why a majority of America once did consider Obama a strong and decisive leader, but then there are a lot of things I can’t explain. But Gallup’s latest poll makes it clear than President Obama is no long considered a strong and decisive leader, at least for the moment:
After six messy weeks — defined chiefly by the partial government shutdown and troubled rollout of the federal government’s healthcare exchange website — President Barack Obama’s reputation with the American public has faltered in some ways, but not in others. Most notably, for the first time in his presidency, fewer than half of Americans, 47%, say Obama is a “strong and decisive leader,” down six percentage points since September.
The current spin coming from the White House and Democrats says this is all a cumulative bump in the road that had to be suffered. The disastrous ObamaCare rollout, the government shutdown, the perceived lie about keeping one’s healthcare insurance if they wanted it have all, as Obama’s favorite preacher would say have “come home to roost”.
The question, however, isn’t when will this pass, but whether it will pass at all? Is this just a bump in the road for the Obama team or is it the “new normal” for him?
There’s no question the trend in his approval ratings the past few months have been anything but encouraging. One thing politicians have learned throughout the ages that they’re unlikely to keep their job if they lose the trust of their constituency. There’s obviously very little reason for Obama to be concerned about losing his job, however, loss of trust now, barely into his second term, could mean his second term agenda is all but dead on arrival. His desire to push immigration reform and climate change legislation wouldn’t even get our of the starting gate. That’s because other politicians, the ones he needs to get the job done for him, will have no fear of defying his wishes and facing the wrath of the people.
So how has Mr. Obama’s trustworthiness done? Not well:
Similarly, the share of Americans who view Obama as “honest and trustworthy” has dipped five points. Exactly half of Americans still consider Obama honest and trustworthy, but this is down from 55% in September and 60% in mid-2012 as Obama was heading toward re-election.
He’s at 50% and sinking. And you’ve got other Democrats taking the lead in trying to fix the ObamaCare debacle while he seems to be doing what he usually does – dither.
The hit, then, to both his trustworthiness and decisiveness are a bit of a double whammy to his ambitious agenda. And it may not be recoverable as Gallup points out:
Of more concern for the White House, Obama’s once-positive image as a strong and decisive leader has suffered, in addition to his longtime reputation for being honest and trustworthy. Of these, the decline in Obama’s honesty rating may be the most noteworthy because Gallup has previously found that this dimension is one of the most important drivers of his overall job approval. Thus, the recent controversy over whether the president honestly described Americans’ ability to retain their own healthcare plans under the Affordable Care Act could have the most significant implications for his presidency.
As Insty would say, indeed. Taking hits in decisiveness and trustworthiness are not hits you shrug off. They represent core qualities or a lack thereof and once lost, they’re very hard to regain. Mr. Obama is seen more and more to be lacking those qualities. That doesn’t bode will for him in the next 3 years.
Not that it should come as any surprise to those familiar with our president. Nile Gardiner hits the sore spot:
The American Left’s hatred for all things conservative has been on full display in Washington in recent days, with the White House and its allies in Congress heaving with anger and indignation over mounting opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and growing calls to defund it. President Obama has blamed Tea Party Republicans for what he calls a right-wing “ideological crusade” prompting the federal government shutdown. As the president put it in his Rose Garden press conference, “they’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.” Obama allies have used similar inflammatory language over the past week, aimed at demonising anyone who disagrees with their approach. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has railed against Tea Party “anarchists,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has attacked what she calls “legislative arsonists.” Even former Vice President Al Gore has jumped in to the fray, accusing the GOP of “political terrorism.”
The harsh invective flowing from Washington’s liberal establishment has been nasty, juvenile and petty. This should be a moment for humility for the White House over its hugely unpopular Obamacare reforms, which are opposed by a significant majority of the American people. Ironically President Obama turns the other cheek on the world stage when it comes to challenges to US global power, and has made the appeasement of America’s enemies and strategic competitors into a form of art. But he acts in a truly imperial fashion at home, refusing to listen to the slightest hint of criticism domestically. This is a president who happily apologises for his country’s past when he travels abroad, in thoroughly humiliating fashion for the United States, but cannot bring himself to acknowledge that his own policies might be wrong.
That’s exactly right. And he makes it clear he’s not going to take a leadership role – like a petulant child, he’ll just refuse to deal with others. Fred Barnes points out the obvious:
Presidents have two roles. In the current impasse, Mr. Obama emphasizes his partisan role as leader of the Democratic Party. It’s a legitimate role. But as president, he’s the only national leader elected by the entire nation. He alone represents all the people. And this second, nonpartisan role takes precedence in times of trouble, division or dangerous stalemate. A president is expected to take command. Mr. Obama hasn’t done that.
The extent to which he has abdicated this role shows up in his speeches. On the eve of the shutdown, he warned that a government closure “will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away.” Defunding or delaying his health-care program—the goal of Republicans—would have even worse consequences, he suggested. “Tens of thousands of Americans die every single year because they don’t have access to affordable health care,” Mr. Obama said.
In an appearance in the White House pressroom, he said that “military personnel—including those risking their lives overseas for us right now—will not get paid on time” should Republicans force a shutdown. At an appearance in Largo, Md., the president accused Republicans of “threatening steps that would actually badly hurt our economy . . . Even if you believe that ObamaCare somehow was going to hurt the economy, it won’t hurt the economy as bad as a government shutdown.”
Yet as he was predicting widespread suffering, Mr. Obama steadfastly refused to negotiate with Republicans. He told House Speaker John Boehner in a phone call that he wouldn’t be talking to him anymore. With the shutdown hours away, he called Mr. Boehner again. He still didn’t negotiate and said he wouldn’t on the debt limit either.
Mr. Obama has made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid his surrogate in the conflict with Republicans. Mr. Reid has also declined to negotiate. In fact, Politico reported that when the president considered meeting with Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, along with the two Democratic congressional leaders, Mr. Reid said he wouldn’t attend and urged Mr. Obama to abandon the idea. The president did just that.
The man is a presidential bust – and I don’t mean the type that sits on a pedestal. He’s never had it, he will never have it and we’re going to continue to suffer because instead of any leadership qualities the only thing this man can boast is petty partisanship. He’s a master at that. He’s essentially said that he’ll not negotiate and he’ll use his bully pulpit to insult and degrade his opposition.
Until he steps up and assumes that role – this is his shutdown.
That’s the question headlining a Ron Fournier article in National Journal. My first reaction was to laugh out loud. My second reaction was to wonder why it has taken all this time for someone in the press to actually ask that question.
The evidence of his lack of leadership has been on the table for 4 plus years. And for me that’s a double edged sword. On the one side, I’m happy he’s such a dismal leader because it limits what he can destroy. On the other side, especially the policy side both foreign and domestic, it has led to a decline in almost all areas. A decline a real leader will have to address when Obama is finally relegated to history.
Anyway, here’s Fournier’s take:
In March, a reporter asked Obama why he didn’t lock congressional leaders in a room until they agreed on a budget deal. Obama’s answer was based on two assumptions. First, that his opinion is supreme. Second, he can’t break the logjam. What a remarkable combination of arrogance and impotence.
"I am not a dictator. I’m the president," he said. "I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington; that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right."
Obama could still do great things. But not if he and his advisers underestimate a president’s powers, and don’t know how to exploit them. Not if his sympathizers give Obama cover by minimizing his influence. Cover to fail. Not if the president himself is outwardly and boundlessly dismissive of his critics, telling The New York Times, "I’m not concerned about their opinions."
To say the situation is intractable seems akin to waving a white flag over a polarized capital: Republicans suck. We can’t deal with them. Let’s quit.
I’m afraid they have quit—all of them, on both sides. At the White House and in Congress, most Democrats and Republicans have abandoned hope of fixing the nation’s problems. If leadership was merely about speaking to the converted, winning fights and positioning for blame, America would be in great hands. But it’s not.
Well I’m not so sure they’ve quit … or at least Obama hasn’t quit. He has no desire to persuade or do the hard work of a leader and work with Congress. Instead, where he’s headed does give lie to his claim of not being dictator. That’s precisely what he’d prefer to be. And Daniel Henninger brings you that bit of insight:
Please don’t complain later that you didn’t see it coming. As always, Mr. Obama states publicly what his intentions are. He is doing that now. Toward the end of his speech last week in Jacksonville, Fla., he said: "So where I can act on my own, I’m going to act on my own. I won’t wait for Congress." (Applause.)
The July 24 speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., has at least four references to his intent to act on his own authority, as he interprets it: "That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it." (Applause.) And: "We’re going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress."
Every president since George Washington has felt frustration with the American system’s impediments to change. This president is done with Congress.
The political left, historically inclined by ideological belief to public policy that is imposed rather than legislated, will support Mr. Obama’s expansion of authority. The rest of us should not.
And Obama is engaged in the systematic demonization of the other two coequal branches of government in order to sway the public toward his dictatorial inclinations:
To create public support for so much unilateral authority, Mr. Obama needs to lessen support for the other two branches of government—Congress and the judiciary. He is doing that.
Mr. Obama and his supporters in the punditocracy are defending this escalation by arguing that Congress is "gridlocked." But don’t overstate that low congressional approval rating. This is the one branch that represents the views of all Americans. It’s gridlocked because voters are.
Take a closer look at the Galesburg and Jacksonville speeches. Mr. Obama doesn’t merely criticize Congress. He mocks it repeatedly. Washington "ignored" problems. It "made things worse." It "manufactures" crises and "phony scandals." He is persuading his audiences to set Congress aside and let him act.
So too the judiciary. During his 2010 State of the Union speech, Mr. Obama denounced the Supreme Court Justices in front of him. The National Labor Relations Board has continued to issue orders despite two federal court rulings forbidding it to do so. Attorney General Eric Holder says he will use a different section of the Voting Rights Act to impose requirements on Southern states that the Supreme Court ruled illegal. Mr. Obama’s repeated flouting of the judiciary and its decisions are undermining its institutional authority, as intended.
Clearly, Obama’s arrogance leads him to believe that a ruler is what we need, not a president. And he’s up for that job, because it doesn’t brook interference and it doesn’t require leadership. Tyranny is the the usual place people who couldn’t lead an alcoholic to a bar end up. And we’re watching that happen now.
Henninger ends his piece with a final, ironic quote:
"To ensure that no person or group would amass too much power, the founders established a government in which the powers to create, implement, and adjudicate laws were separated. Each branch of government is balanced by powers in the other two coequal branches." Source: The White House website of President Barack Obama.
Our Constitutional scholar is now involved in a process to wreck that balance and enhance executive powers to the point that he really doesn’t need Congress or the courts. And a compliant media along will the left will do everything in their power to enable the transition. Because their ideas and ideology would never pass the test of a real democracy and they have little chance of persuading the population to go along with them. So imposition is truly the only route open. That’s precisely what you’re going to see in Obama’s remaining years as president. Executive imposition of his version of laws or, if you prefer, a brand of executive lawlessness unprecedented in our history.
But then, that’s what dictators do, isn’t it?
Maureen Dowd must be a little slow on the uptake if she is just figuring this out:
ABC News’s Jonathan Karl asked Obama if he was already out of “juice” to pass his agenda, citing the president’s inability to get a watered-down gun bill passed in the Senate, Congress swatting away Obama on the sequester cuts, and the recent passage of a cybersecurity bill in the House with 92 Democrats on board, despite a veto threat from the White House.
“Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up and go home,” President Obama said with a flash of irritation, before tossing off a Mark Twain line: “Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.”
Then he put on his best professorial mien to give his high-minded philosophy of governance: Reason together and do what’s right.
“But, Jonathan,” he lectured Karl, “you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and for the American people.”
Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.
He still thinks he’ll do his thing from the balcony and everyone else will follow along below. That’s not how it works.
That may not be how it works, but for 6 long years, that’s how he’s pretended it worked, acted like it worked and claimed it worked. Of course he’s not ever been a leader nor has he ever lead. Even his foreign policy has been a position of non-leadership (euphemistically called “leading from behind”). The great sucking sound you hear in DC these days isn’t just the GOP leadership. It’s the leadership void of this president.
Of course, it is a bit funny that the sycophants of the press are just now getting around to figuring out how ineffective the man is. And while we’ve been pointing out this lack of leadership from day 1 of his presidency, let me note that, in a meta sense, it is probably a good thing he’s such a lousy leader. Lord knows what other abominable laws we’d be stuck with right now if he had even a clue about how to lead.
I think Philip Klein has the best read on Obama’s second inaugural speech. Oh, it had lots of things to make the left wet itself in joy, but, well, here’s what Klein thinks (he bases his conclusion on 2 lines in the speech):
This brings us to the two lines in Monday’s speech. He declared that, “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.” This is Barack Obama, bold leader speaking (with an extra twist of irony given that the signature legislative accomplishment of his first term was supposedly aimed at containing the growth of health care costs). Then, he said, “But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” Translation: he isn’t going to do anything to seriously reform Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and wants more economic stimulus spending, too. So, within a breath of calling for hard choices, he rejected the need for them. I can think of no more fitting summation of Obama’s presidency.
I pretty much agree. He’ll talk tough and then go to Hawaii. He’ll claim the desire to do all sorts of things and then hit the links.
Leadership takes another 4 year holiday.
In his case, it might be a good thing, although it means nothing with entitlement reform will happen – again. We’re instead going to play around the edges of immigration, gun control and global warming.
Seriously. After spending 8 years holding Bush responsible for everything from 9/11 (it was an “inside job”) to a Pelosi’s hangnail, we now have the left settling on “it’s Hillary’s fault”?
Truman’s “buck” stops at the State Department now?
The point, of course, as any good commander in the military knows, is that everything that happens or doesn’t happen while you are in command is your responsibility.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton said during a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
Hillary, for political reasons, is trying to fall on Obama’s sword for him. Someone has to take the blame (and Bush is unavailable for this one) so Obama can once again seem faultless. He does no wrong, you know. And besides, he has a debate tonight and he wants someone to point his finger at when the subject is inevitably brought up. Now he has her.
Jumped? Or pushed?
This episode illustrates how spot on Eastwood’s empty chair metaphor really is. John McCain, the stopped clock that is right twice a day, actually gets this one right:
“The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the commander-in-chief. The buck stops there.”
Of course the left first tried to blame it on the GOP claiming they’d cut millions from State’s security budget.
Here’s the bottom line on that line of attack: If you have a security contingent of Marines in the Embassy at Barbados, but not Tripoli or Benghanzi, your problem isn’t “funding”. It’s resource allocation and politics.
Secondly, when something like this happens, you don’t act like a politician, you act like a leader. IF you’re a leader.
This past weekend we were treated to the spectacle of David Axlerod avoiding answering Chris Wallace’s direct question about whether or not Obama met with his national security advosors and State in the aftermath of the murder of the US ambassador in Libya.
We all knew the answer before Wallace finished the question. And Axlerod’s non-answer answer confirmed it.
Hell no, he was late for a political fund raiser in Las Vegas, and besides, these are just “bumps in the road”.
While Clinton’s attempt will seem courageous and loyal to some, it is pure, calculated politics. Hillary knows that by 2016 this will be well behind here and, actually, an advantage, since she’ll have stepped up into the leadership void and acted like a leader. Obama? Not so much.
And make no mistake, as the state of the world and our foreign policy have announced loudly this past month – we are indeed suffering from a leadership void.
The empty chair we now have must be filled. We, nor the world, can afford 4 more years of it remaining empty.
That’s the consensus in an interesting poll just published:
More than two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and a clear majority think the next generation will be worse off than this one, according to the results of a new poll commissioned by The Hill.
A resounding 69 percent of respondents said the country is “in decline,” the survey found, while 57 percent predict today’s kids won’t live better lives than their parents. Additionally, 83 percent of voters indicated they’re either very or somewhat worried about the future of the nation, with 49 percent saying they’re “very worried.”
The results suggest that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary, but instead see them continuing for many years.
My father used to tell me “you live between your ears” meaning attitude and outlook are yours to control and play a critical part in life.
Attitude and outlook are also critical in any sort of economic recovery. If the attitude is pessimistic and the outlook deemed as dismal, it sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I remember back in the days of the Jimmy Carter presidency, the “malaise” that settled in on the country. People felt everything was out of control. Interest rates were through the roof, we were seen as a paper tiger in the world and whatever else Jimmy Carter might be, he wasn’t much of a leader. Everyone then thought America was in decline then too.
But then Ronald Reagan came along, took charge, changed the attitude and outlook of Americans and, well, the rest is literally history.
One of the key jobs of a President of the United States is to address the country’s outlook and attitude. It is a very important aspect of leadership. It is also critical to recovery from economic problems, unemployment and other ills that are besetting our country. It is about setting up the proper climate to make attitudes swing to the positive side and the outlook appear rosier.
One of the things I’ve said consistently since Barack Obama has taken office is he’s not (nor has he ever been) a leader. That’s actually no surprise to me because I understand what leadership requires. In a word, development. The great leaders of today, with very few exceptions, worked their way up to their ultimate leadership job through a series of lesser leadership jobs.
I use military examples because they’re familiar to me, but no division commander ever took that job that hadn’t first been a platoon leader, then company commander, battalion commander and brigade commander.
And even then, some division commanders are better than others. But regardless, their leadership skills have been developed and honed by successive leadership positions of increased size and responsibility. And the weak leaders have been cast aside in that process.
We’ve elected a man who hasn’t even had a platoon, if you get my drift. And now we’re asking him to lead (well, in reality, we ask him to lead 3 years ago) in a very difficult time.
This poll indicates how well he’s doing.
In any school in the land, his grade in leadership would be “F”.
Is America in decline? Under this president the answer is “yes”. Does it have to remain in decline? No. But to change that, the first step is voting the present occupant of the White House out of office. The good news is we all know what happened to Jimmy Carter.
As I pointed out yesterday, taken singly, polls indicate a snapshot in time. Taken collectively and analyzed, they provide trends. And those trends combined with the trends in other polls can mean good news or big trouble for incumbent politicians.
In the case of Barack Obama, they’ve repeatedly promised trouble. The latest? Public opinion on the state of the economy.
Three years after a financial crisis pushed the country deep into recession, an overwhelming number of Americans – 90% – say that economic conditions remain poor.
The number, reported Friday in a new CNN/ORC International Poll, is the highest of Barack Obama’s presidency and a significant increase from the 81% who said conditions were poor in June.
Of course when politicians see polls like this they look for whatever good news they can find:
For a White House now fully engaged in re-election efforts, there is one shred of good news: More than two and half years after inauguration day, Americans are still more likely to blame former President George W. Bush for current economic conditions.
The public has a bit of a incorrect view of the matter but such is life:
Asked which administration is to blame, 52% of Americans blame the previous Republican regime, while only 32% point a finger at Obama and Democrats.
There wasn’t a “Republican regime”. There was a Democratic Congress for the final two years of the Bush presidency. And, of course, while 52% may still blame Bush, didn’t they hire Obama to fix the economy?
Meanwhile, enter Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, with his usual wonderful timing, blurts out the political truth:
“There’s a lot of people in Florida that have good reason to be upset because they’ve lost jobs. Even though 50 some percent of the American people think the economy tanked because of the last administration, that’s not relevant,” Biden told WLRN’s Phil Latzman.
“What’s relevant is, we’re in charge. And right now, we are the ones in charge, and it’s gotten better but it hasn’t gotten good enough. And in states like Florida it’s even been more stagnant because of the real estate market. I don’t blame them for being mad. We’re in charge, and they’re angry.”
That’s right – three years in, for better or worse, it’s their economy. Biden finally has one right. Now it’s up to the GOP to push that point home. And 3 years of pitiful performance is going to see the “Bush’s fault” excuse wear thin.
Of course the final poll comes in November of 2012. That’s the time this administration has to change the direction of the economy and the growing perception of poor leadership and a lack of viable solutions. The economy is indeed theirs, and political opponents will make sure that everyone knows they’ve been in charge (2 years with a Democratic Congress at the most critical juncture) while the economy has performed so dismally.
It’s all there in the record.
You are President of the United States. All 57 of them. And you have a challenge in front of you. The public is alarmed by the level of government debt and sharply rising deficits. Of course, being a “Constitutional law professor” you know that any action on this must be initiated by the House of Representatives since by law they are charged with the budget and appropriations. But because of a lack of confidence in the leadership of your party, as they held majorities in both chambers of Congress, the House was reclaimed by the opposition party who now enjoys a solid majority there.
So as a leader, you must address the reality of the situation, tone down the partisan rhetoric, make overtures to bipartisan cooperation and attempt to bridge the partisan gap that you and your party have helped create these past two years. Leadership 101.
Instead we got this – POLITICO lays it out for you:
President Barack Obama extended a fiscal olive branch to Republicans on Wednesday.
Then he beat them up with it. Obama’s long-anticipated speech on the deficit at George Washington University was one of the oddest rhetorical hybrids of his presidency — a serious stab at reforming entitlements cloaked in a 2012 campaign speech that was one of the most overtly partisan broadsides he’s ever delivered from a podium with a presidential seal.
I differ with the analysis – it wasn’t a serious stab at anything. No details were present. Just a “framework”, which is Obama’s usual way of laying off responsibility or outsourcing his job to others. His entire first term, to date, has been about grand and nebulous words left to others to flesh out.
But back to the point – as someone, I believe it was Paul Ryan, said, instead of building bridges with his speech, Obama went about poisoning wells.
What he essentially acted like was a Senate back bencher throwing verbal bombs at the opposition. And, of course, if you recall, that’s precisely what he was until he managed to fool enough people into electing him president.
How stupid was it to act as he did this past Wednesday?
But the combative tenor of Obama’s remarks, which included a swipe at his potential 2012 GOP challengers, may have scuttled the stated purpose of the entire enterprise — to start negotiations with Republicans on a workable bipartisan approach to attacking the deficit.
And it didn’t build much goodwill ahead of upcoming fights, especially the looming battle over raising the debt ceiling.
That’s correct – the looming fights have now been made partisan by a president who set the tone. Donald Trump called him the worst president ever (well, unless Donald Trump were to become president that is). I have to agree – and I lived through Jimmy Carter who now seems almost competent in comparison.
Carter at least tried to be a leader. This man makes no attempt at leadership. He’s a hack politician in way over his head and seems to thrive on political one-upsmanship, partisan bickering and playing politics with everything.
Leaders lead. Sounds trite and clichéd, but as was said about porn, you know one when you see one.
I’ve known many leaders in my day, and Mr. Obama is no leader.
Funny stuff. Paul Krugman, representing much of the left, has apparently finally noticed what an empty suit Obama is:
What have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?
I realize that with hostile Republicans controlling the House, there’s not much Mr. Obama can get done in the way of concrete policy. Arguably, all he has left is the bully pulpit. But he isn’t even using that — or, rather, he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative.
Of course Krugman is pretty much focused on economic issues and so seemingly hasn’t been watching Obama through most of his presidency, as many of us have. He’s finally noticed the “timid guy” who doesn’t seem to stand for anything but does enjoy a good round of golf.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it has taken this long – the blinkers had to be firmly in place to elect him in the first place. You had, to quote Hillary Clinton as she addressed Gen. Petraeus about the situation in Iraq some years ago, “willingly suspend disbelief” in order to vote for the guy in the first place. What you had to suspend was the belief that experience and leadership count for something, especially when you’re talking about the highest office in the land.
This timid guy Krugman is talking about has shown the rest of us over and over he’s really unsuited for the job. And now, even the Krugman’s of the world are beginning to take some notice.
I have to admit to laughing out loud at Krugman’s example – apparently the one that finally clued him into the problem:
His remarks after last week’s budget deal were a case in point.
Maybe that terrible deal, in which Republicans ended up getting more than their opening bid, was the best he could achieve — although it looks from here as if the president’s idea of how to bargain is to start by negotiating with himself, making pre-emptive concessions, then pursue a second round of negotiation with the G.O.P., leading to further concessions.
And bear in mind that this was just the first of several chances for Republicans to hold the budget hostage and threaten a government shutdown; by caving in so completely on the first round, Mr. Obama set a baseline for even bigger concessions over the next few months.
Of course Krugman, as typified by his one-trick pony policy of more and more government spending to cure all ills is bound to be upset by any spending concessions a Democrat might make. However, I loved his characterization of Obama’s bargaining style. It is true and not only does it point to someone totally out of his depth, but someone with no real principles upon which to make a stand.
Krugman turns his attention, after wondering what happened to Obama, to trying to trash everything the GOP has put forward or will put forward. But so captured is he by his discovery of what Obama isn’t that he has to return to that subject:
You might have expected the president’s team not just to reject this proposal, but to see it as a big fat political target. But while the G.O.P. proposal has drawn fire from a number of Democrats — including a harsh condemnation from Senator Max Baucus, a centrist who has often worked with Republicans — the White House response was a statement from the press secretary expressing mild disapproval.
What’s going on here? Despite the ferocious opposition he has faced since the day he took office, Mr. Obama is clearly still clinging to his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend America’s partisan differences. And his political strategists seem to believe that he can win re-election by positioning himself as being conciliatory and reasonable, by always being willing to compromise.
But if you ask me, I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that’s not what we’re seeing.
Baloney. Krugman has to have lived in a cave if he believes the rhetoric has even come close to matching the reality of the Obama presidency. He is not a transcendent figure by any stretch. He is, instead, a true exception to the Peter Principle and has indeed risen to a level above his incompetence.
But to Krugman’s last point – Obama believes in one thing – Obama. And any objective appraisal of his performance in office these past 2+ years cannot give him very high marks on “principle” or a willingness to take a stand. There’s a reason for that. Obama traded principle for the achievement of his ambition years ago. He’s intelligent enough to talk the talk, but he seems absolutely incapable of walking the walk or even attempting to do so.
As Dale said on the podcast last night, you sometimes get the feeling that when he says something he truly believes it becomes reality. In this world you actually have to take action and lead to have things happen. Obama has no idea how to do that.