Thursday, September 30, 2010

Obama: The Implosion of a Presidency

-cross posted from The Shining City on a Hill.

The seas have not calmed and the waters have not receded. A record number of homeowners are in foreclosure. More Americans than ever are slipping into poverty. Unemployment is stuck at 9.6% (according to the government). The dollar is dropping. Health care insurance coverage costs are skyrocketing. Businesses are afraid to spend or hire because of the uncertainty of the tax and regulatory environment. Obama administration officials are leaving in droves.  The national debt is at its highest ever and still growing with President Obama on pace to raise the deficit higher than any other president ever. Across the political spectrum and from within his own administration there is talk of losing control, hostility toward military leaders, buyer's remorse, failure to enact the progressive agenda he promised and a sense of desperation as the president's approval numbers drop to nearly 40% as a tidal wave of Republican gains appear likely with the mid term elections.

Newsflavor spoke to a White House insider who says the president is losing it.
I don’t have a problem saying that the president is losing it. I don’t mean he is like losing his mind. I mean to say that he is losing whatever spark he had during the campaign. When you take away the crowds, Obama gets noticeably smaller. He shrinks up inside of himself. He just doesn’t seem to have the confidence to do the job of President, and it’s getting worse and worse. Case in point – just a few days before I left, I saw first hand the President of the United States yelling at a member of his staff. He was yelling like a spoiled child. And then he pouted for several moments after. I wish I was kidding, or exaggerating, but I am not. The President of the United States threw a temper tantrum. The jobs reports are always setting him off, and he is getting increasingly conspiratorial over the unemployment numbers. I never heard it myself, but was told that Obama thinks the banking system is out to get him now. That they and the big industries are making him pay for trying to regulate them more. That is the frame of mind the President is in these days. And you know what? Maybe he is right, who knows?
Standing alone, the Newsflavor article might not mean that much. But couple it with Bob Woodward's portrayal of a president who "oversaw a staff of bickering advisers and an administration that was rife with infighting during the Afghanistan policy review," and you see a similar picture of a self-absorbed intellectual who lashes out when the frustration reaches a certain point. Peter Baker of The New York Times writes:
As for Mr. Obama himself, the book describes a professorial president who assigned “homework” to advisers but bristled at what he saw as military commanders’ attempts to force him into a decision he was not yet comfortable with. Even after he agreed to send another 30,000 troops last winter, the Pentagon asked for another 4,500 “enablers” to support them.

The president lost his poise, according to the book. “I’m done doing this!” he erupted.

To ensure that the Pentagon did not reinterpret his decision, Mr. Obama dictated a six-page, single-space “terms sheet” explicitly laying out his troop order and its objectives, a document included in the book’s appendix.

Mr. Obama’s struggle with the decision comes through in a conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who asked if his deadline to begin withdrawal in July 2011 was firm. “I have to say that,” Mr. Obama replied. “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”
Clearly, there is a willingness on the part of Obama to put his concerns about losing the Democratic Party as a priority over winning a war and doing what's right for the country. He appears to be feeling squeezed between his base on the left, which has become impatient with his inability to enact progressive change faster, and his detractors on the right who are standing in unison against his legislative agenda.

His response to these pressures has always been to acquiesce to his base and lash out at his opponents. This time, however, Obama scolds his base. Howard Portnoy of The Manhattan Examiner writes:
In an interview in Rolling Stone to appear on Friday, the president asserted, "People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up," adding that "if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place."

And home is exactly where those voters are heading, though only a man in the terminal throes of self-delusion and utter narcissism could accuse them of being unserious. In the first 19 months of Obama’s presidency, the federal debt rose by $2.5260 trillion—more the cumulative total of the national debt amassed by all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan. Unemployment has risen to 9.6 percent despite his promises that passage of his stimulus would keep the rates at under 8 percent.
This is a breaking point for Obama whose entire presidential raison d'etre is to usher in the hope and change for a radical progressive movement that has spent over a century trying to infiltrate the institutions of the U.S. government. He stands to not only fail at achieving that, but to position himself to be regarded by the mainstream electorate as a weak president in the historical context of Jimmy Carter or Warren G. Harding.

Telling the people to shake off their lethargy is Obama's "malaise" moment. Jimmy Carter described it as "a crisis [of confidence] that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will." Robert Guttman of The Huffington Post writes:
The president needs to show some real concern for the average American. Like the days of Jimmy Carter we are fast approaching a crisis of confidence in the current presidents' leadership style.

I was hoping after a full year in office I would be comparing the president to FDR or Lincoln but instead I am comparing him to the unpopular Jimmy Carter.
"Our liberal friends are wondering where it all went wrong," writes Christopher Chantrill at The American Thinker. It went wrong when the progressive movement decided that they were going to seize the moment in 2008 to take advantage of Obama's charisma and overlook the fact that he was wet behind the ears. After deliberately and methodically moving in over the course of decades, progressives and radicals jumped the gun by sending in a political child to do a man's job thinking that their opportunity had arrived.

David Rothkopf, in talking about Obama's current woes, writes:
Part of the problem here is that this president and his communications team have failed to assume the role of effective leaders of their own party. They have neither connected well with the Hill leadership nor demanded discipline nor provided support.

A bigger part of the problem is just inexperience. Obama hasn't suffered blows like this before and it's hard to be a golden boy all your life and then to face brutal competition. He may have the character to rise to this challenge but thus far he has not demonstrated it. He seems even more withdrawn and aloof than he usually does. What's more he has relied on a team that is also inexperienced or that has cut out the voices within his administration that could really help him deal with the current situation. He has a fairly dysfunctional administration despite the reports of smooth meetings and "no drama." The Woodward book demonstrates this but so do a hundred other bits of evidence.
All the signs were there before Obama was elected president. But they were ignored by too many. Today's buyer's remorse is coming from the people who are realizing that they were duped by what we can now say was a dog and pony show of a campaign where huge promises were made and the people were misled by both a complicit media and a financially strong-armed Democrat party machine to believe that Obama was the second coming of something that he wasn't.

The campaign promise of changing the tone in Washington has turned into a continual lashing out at Republicans, "people waving tea bags" and Fox News when the president is not too busy blaming George W. Bush for all his problems. The campaign image of Obama as a fiscal moderate has turned into the reality of Obama as big spender and redistributor of wealth. The campaign promise of cleaning up corruption and ending the influence of lobbyists has become the Culture of Corruption. I could go on.

This pattern continues throughout his presidency. Even the promises of Obamacare don't match the realities.

Obama supporters are exhausted of defending him. People are asking, where is the hope and change they voted for? As more and more people figure out that the Obama presidency is really just the progressive movement's political To Serve Man, they are getting off their couches to join the ever growing Tea Party movement. Seeing that the frog cannot be boiled the way they are doing it, Democrats and the president are becoming more outwardly frustrated and Republicans are becoming more and more "see I told you so."

During her speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Sarah Palin said:
This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy ... our opponent is against producing it.

Victory in Iraq is finally in sight ... he wants to forfeit.

Terrorist states are seeking new-clear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights? Government is too big ... he wants to grow it.

Congress spends too much ... he promises more.
Two years later, her words continue to resonate.
My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of "personal discovery." This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer.
So how's the on the job training going? According to Newsflavor's administration insider:
The president is finding out what it's like to be president. Obama loved to campaign. He clearly didn’t like the work of being President though, and that attitude was felt by the entire White House staff within weeks after the inauguration. Obama the tireless, hard working candidate became a very tepid personality to us. And the few news stories that did come out against him were the only things he seemed to care about. He absolutely obsesses over Fox News. For being so successful, Barack Obama is incredibly thin-skinned. He takes everything very personally.
Normally, this writer would take a quoting an anonymous source like this with a grain of salt. But it wasn't until after the insider was quoted that Obama called Fox News a destructive force and returned to campaigning at a point when the governing part wasn't going so well. The President's behavior seems to collaborate what the Newsflavor's insider says. Even the thin skin showed when he told his supporters to "Buck Up." Sweet Spirits of Ammonia writes, "As usual, Obama plays the blame game never accepting responsibility for what he has caused."

The Democrats are getting desperate and the administration is losing control. So what do they do? They go back to the old dog and pony show with a campaign event in Wisconsin (fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me?). They create a failed "Coffee Party." They can't defeat the Tea Party with rhetoric so they now they are trying their hand at a rally this weekend. Take a look of the types of people who are going.

The whole thing is unravelling and the wheels are falling off.

1 comment:

  1. Only one thing I would point out about members of his administration leaving. This may be because their mission to destroy America is done.


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