This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.
There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this.
The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another...
This is what happened with Katrina, and Katrina did at least two big things politically. The first was draw together everything people didn't like about the Bush administration, everything it didn't like about two wars and high spending and illegal immigration, and brought those strands into a heavy knot that just sat there, soggily, and came to symbolize Bushism. The second was illustrate that even though the federal government in our time has continually taken on new missions and responsibilities, the more it took on, the less it seemed capable of performing even its most essential jobs. Conservatives got this point—they know it without being told—but liberals and progressives did not. They thought Katrina was the result only of George W. Bush's incompetence and conservatives' failure to "believe in government." But Mr. Obama was supposed to be competent.
Jules Crittenden piles on:
In 2004, for example, the Dems offered John Kerry. Didn’t work. In 2006 and 2008, they offered Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, respectively. Did work, though the problems inherent in both were obvious from the outset. Divisive incompetence, and divisive inexperience, respectively.
The big surprise with the current president is not so much that he is incompetent, inexperienced and divisive, but the extent to which he is all of those things, and the extent to which anyone is surprised. It’s not like there weren’t enough warning signs on the way in, all of which were summarily dismissed.
As for those George Bush "Miss me yet?" billboards and t-shirts, the answer is "yes".
Update, 5/31/10: Don Surber says:
Helplessness, however undeniable, is no defense. Moreover, Obama has never been overly modest about his own powers. Two years ago next week, he declared that history will mark his ascent to the presidency as the moment when ‘our planet began to heal’ and ‘the rise of the oceans began to slow.’ Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute, you mustn’t be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides”...
The president’s mettle has been tested four times now. I cannot give him a Gentleman’s D on any of them.
Update #2, 5/31/10: Roger Kimball adds a little more fuel to the fire, as if any is needed:
I believe that Obama is unique in the annals of American history. It’s not any individual quality — if “quality” is the right word: perhaps “attribute” would be better — that sets him apart. It’s the combination of attributes. What are those attributes?
Peggy Noonan touched on one: enormous, all-encompassing, stupefying incompetence. The man can pose. He can preen. He cannot, judging by his performance these last eighteen months, govern...
The other two attributes are 1) arrogance and 2) ideological animus.
While I agree with her, Peggy "I voted for Obama" Noonan has little credibility with me. I'd like to know what convinced her to drink the Obama Kool-aid in the first place.
I know more than a few people who were taken in by his smoothness. Let's hope they won't make *that* mistake again.
Republicans helped Obama as much as they could by running John McCain, a tempermental has been, and charming, but politically inept, Sarah Palin.
For Noonan to claim this is too little, too late. I don't forget how she ballyhooed this guy into prominence. Neither do I forget Chris Mathews with his leg tingles. The media has played a huge role in promoting this Ivy League ideologue far beyond his pay grade. Perhaps they now are turning because the population that watches and read their productions are shunning them. I have little faith that it is because of any real convictions.
Concur. Besides running a RINO link McCain, the Republicans lost their way in the 2000s (this includes George W Bush) by spending like drunken Democrats and pushing very unpopular programs (e.g. the Amnesty Bill). Hopefully they nominate a conservative in 12 that can wipe the floor with Obama.
The media has played a huge role in promoting this Ivy League ideologue far beyond his pay grade.
I’ve often said Obama is educated, but he’s not intelligent. He may have a doctorate in law but what had he done with it. What has he accomplished in his life prior to the presidency (I don’t count being a community organizer or backbencher in the Ill state senate as accomplishments). He is now bankrupting this country faster than any person ever considered possible. I guess that’s an accomplishment.
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