Oct 06 2009

“The Somber Seriousness Of The Presidency Has Yet To Sink

The Pitch-man in Chief, the new POTUS.

Prior to last fall’s election a lot of people warned about how inexperienced and naive candidate Obama was, especially when he kept pretending to wave his magic wand during the campaign, promising to make everything beautiful. His promises were so simple they bordered on fiction. He was going to fix everything, he was The One. And he did not need any executive experience to pull off all this magic, he was – of course – The Community Organizer! (queue the super-hero theme music).

Candidate Obama sounded the simple messages a naive and self absorbed America wanted to hear. After years of fighting the evil in this world, America wanted to go back to their little cocoons, wrapped in modern sensory couches, denying reality. Why couldn’t things be as simple and neat as in the movies? Why does there have to be war? So we fell for easy promises on complex issues.

Of course we could extend health care coverage, lower health care costs and save money – who couldn’t? Of course we could set up make-work programs in the government that would quickly stimulate the country’s economy back into forward gear (forget the fact it takes the federal government almost a year to put in place any program and the specialized government contractors to start the work). Heck, we even believed we could tax ourselves into sunny, cools days. We were so powerful we could control the weather (and even the climate!! – queue the super-hero music again).

It was a vote of exhaustion and wishful hope for better, easier times. What we got was no surprise: Clark Kent without the super powers (does that make him Jimmy Olson???). Except the POTUS does have one trick – stagecraft.

Check out his latest proposals to break the health care jam:

President Obama yesterday rolled out the red carpet — and handed out doctors’ white coats as well, just so nobody missed his hard-sell health-care message.

In a heavy-handed attempt at reviving support for health-care reform, the White House orchestrated a massive photo op to buttress its claim that front-line physicians support Obama.

A sea of 150 white-coated doctors, all enthusiastically supportive of the president and representing all 50 states, looked as if they were at a costume party as they posed in the Rose Garden before hearing Obama’s pitch for the Democratic overhaul bills moving through Congress.

Sorry, I guess there was no substantive points made on the fiction of how government rationed health care can lower costs, not reduce options for seniors and allow us to keep the current plans we have and like. It seems POTUS believed we could be duped by a bunch of campaign supporters dressed up to play doctors on camera (yes, I know they are doctors, but who cares – it’s all imagery because they are also campaign supporters).

Richard Cohen, on the other hand, wrote a provocative and serious article about our young POTUS and his biggest challenge: Afghanistan. Cohen rightfully notes that the Afghan-Pak situation with the Taliban, al Qaeda and other regional Islamo Fascist groups in the area is winnable. It is winnable if we try to win – but it will cost us:

The stakes in Afghanistan are great. But they are not ours alone. Russia is nearby. So are China and Iran. So why Americans have to shed most of the blood for a Taliban-free Afghanistan is just one of the questions Obama will have to answer. Another is why Americans have to die for a set of possibilities that seem remote to most people.

The war in Afghanistan is eminently more winnable than was Vietnam. The Taliban are far from universally liked or admired. Still, the war will require more than a significant commitment of troops and, of course, money.

I have talked to a few people who work in Afghanistan for the US and NATO. The ‘war’ is won. The requirement now is to provide enough security so that the Afghan people can build their new nation (this is not nation building, but giving the people the space to stand up and build their own). They are being threatened and cowered by Taliban and al Qaeda remnants, who have a shrinking sanctuary in the Tribal Regions of northern Pakistan. The situation requires a final push to get it over the top.

But Cohen notes a real problem in this fairly obvious and straight forward cross roads we face:

But the ultimate in realism is for the president to gauge himself and who he is: Does he have the stomach and commitment for what is likely to be an unpopular war? Will he send additional troops, but hedge by not sending enough — so that the dying will be in vain? What does he believe, and will he ask Americans to die for it? Only he knows the answers to these questions. But based on his zigzagging so far and the suggestion from the Copenhagen trip that the somber seriousness of the presidency has yet to sink in, we have reason to wonder.

It is coming tragically clear that we may have promoted Barack Obama too soon. He has simple minded solutions to complex and dangerous problems. He ignores and shuns those with opposing opinions, many of whom have the experience he needs to make the right decisions.

The trip to Copenhagen, the late night comedy show tour, the beer with the cop and the belligerent citizen – these are all staged events of no substance. But maybe that is all the POTUS can do well?

Update: Another liberal opinion writer comes out questioning the seriousness of the POTUS:

The big question on the domestic front right now is whether President Obama understands the gravity of the employment crisis facing the country. Does he get it? The signals coming out of the White House have not been encouraging.

The Beltway crowd and the Einsteins of high finance who never saw this economic collapse coming are now telling us with their usual breezy arrogance that the Great Recession is probably over. Their focus, of course, is on data, abstractions like the gross domestic product, not the continued suffering of living, breathing human beings struggling with the nightmare of joblessness.

Nearly one in four American families has suffered a job loss over the past year, according to a survey released by the Economic Policy Institute. Nearly 1 in 10 Americans is officially unemployed, and the real-world jobless rate is worse.

We’re running on a treadmill that is carrying us backward. Something approaching 10 million new jobs would have to be created just to get back to where we were when the recession began in December 2007. There is nothing currently in the works to jump-start job creation on that scale.

I agree. Just look at how bad the numbers are once you dive into the details:

28 responses so far

28 Responses to ““The Somber Seriousness Of The Presidency Has Yet To Sink”

  1. daniel ortega says:

    Obama said: “If the winds shift, I will stand with the Muslims.”

    Obama wants to lose the war in Afghanistan. I think he hopes it will
    shock Americans into another Vietnam syndrome, that they cannot actually
    win anything. They should defer to some other authority.

    His new unwanted calculation is his new General has put him squarely in
    the spotlight. Americans know now, that it would be Obama who chooses
    to lose.

    Any fool can lose a fight, it takes neither skill, nor bravery, nor strength.
    His last recourse would be to walk off, again with his nose pointed towards
    the sky (and hope there is no rain which would drown him).

  2. kathie says:

    Iraq attracted a lot of these bad guys, who have now gone back to Afghanistan with expertise gained fighting in Iraq along with connections with IED makers from Iran. Bush didn’t take his eye off Afghanistan, it was kept under control when Iraq was the destination for “real fighters”. So now that Obama has bragged that he has all the answers, he is going to have to make a decision. Too bad he didn’t think of what his words meant during the campaign. Just like “I’m going to close Gitmo”, oh dear, it is harder then we thought. We’re going to get Bin Laden, oh dear it’s harder then we thought. So was the new General just window dressing? Is anyone getting tired of everything is harder then we thought? And the worst of it is that MSM set up the Presidency for this slick tongued, arrogant, “I have no plan” but words I know you want to hear, by making Bush look like a retard. I hate it when we think we can take the easy way out. When are we going to learn that there few things in life that are easy. Maybe Obama will teach us this lesson. That would be a good thing!

  3. AJ,

    Obama’s lack of direct executive action on the economic front due to his concentration on Heath Care reform, Cap & Trade energy taxes and Chicago special interest things like the Olympics has deeded all economic governance policies to the Congressional Democrats.

    This has dire implications for Obama and Democrats in general, particularly House Democrats in 2010.

    _Everyone_ in the American public — except the Main Stream Media and hard core Democrats — sees that the $787 billion Stimulus package was a highly corrupt Congressional Democratic Party/special interest pig out.

    The drip drip of ACORN corruption by the alternate media, Congressional Democratic corruption like Chairmen Murtha and Rangle, Justice Department inaction on the Black Panthers voter intimidation and other local Democratic corruption issues in New Jersey & New Mexico are all taking it’s toll.

    This toll is showing up in the Rasmussen poll:


    Government Ethics Edges Out Economy As Top Issue Among Voters
    Thursday, October 01, 2009

    For nearly two years, economic issues have held the top spot in terms of importance among voters.

    But the latest national telephone survey shows that 83% now view government ethics and corruption as very important, placing it just ahead of the economy on a list of 10 key electoral issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters see the economy as very important.

    This is the first time since October 2007 that voters have rated ethics and corruption as more important than the economy. Voters viewed the two issues evenly in November and December 2007 before placing a higher priority on the economy starting in January 2008.

    Public unhappiness with corruption is NEVER good for the party in power. Last year the public was mad at the Republicans. The Democrats have worked really hard to reverse that in such a short time.

    And to make it more important than a 9.8% unemployment rate has never happened before in the history of American polical polling!

    Now add on top of that the fact that unemployment is growing and would have topped 10% nationally save for people dropping out of the job market. _After_ the Democrats were hired in 2008 to address the problem.



    A Jobs Crisis
    Joshua Zumbrun, 10.02.09, 09:50 AM EDT
    Confounding talk of recovery, losses increase in September; unemployment hits 9.8%.

    All the talk of recession ending is confounded by one simple fact: The job market is not recovering. In September, the 22nd month since the recession began, an additional 263,000 jobs were lost, bringing the total number of unemployed to 15.1 million.

    The losses were worse than August, when 201,000 jobs were lost, but better than July’s 304,000. The unemployment rate rose to 9.8% from 9.7%.


    The rise of joblessness, always a political problem for the White House, is especially unwelcome news for an administration that predicted its $787 billion stimulus package would halt unemployment at around 8%. Since its enactment, $86 billion has been paid out, and taxes have been lowered by $62 billion as a result of the bill’s provisions, but this has been unable to stop job losses.


    Even more sobering: a report this week from Rutgers University professors James Hughes and Joseph Seneca who noted that, even if the economy suddenly started adding 2,150,000 jobs a year (instead of losing more than 3 million), it would take until 2017 to get the rate all the way back down.

    And you begin to see the outlines of an unfavorable to Democrats political tectonic shift.

    Meanwhile Obama is hammering small business and big capital confidence like a trip hammer, convincing them that any personal efforts or capital exposed in economic activity will be confiscated by taxes and regulation.

    It appears that the Obama policy people 1) Have no small business savy advisors and are 2) Completely ignoring their big business economic advisors because they are guilty of being big busnessmen.



    Obama, according to Wall Street people who regularly deal with his economic and budget officials, is acting as if he has a blank check to do what he wants, while ignoring the longterm costs of his policies.

    As one CEO of a major financial firm told me: “The economic guys say that when they explain the costs of programs, the policy guys simply thank them for their time and then ignore what they say.”

    In other words, the economic people feel that they have almost no say in this administration’s policy decisions.

    In my opinion, if Wall Street wanted a “Clinton Democrat” they should have supported Hillary. They didn’t and now those big business types inside the Administration are busy telling those outside it they are not responsible for Obama’s economic policy decisions.

    All of this spells really big problems for Democrats in 2010 and Obama in 2012:


    October 1, 2009

    2010 Could Easily Be Disastrous For Democrats
    By Sean Trende

    “So let’s say this: If it is apparent to the average American by the summer of 2010 that we are in the midst of a robust recovery, then I think that the Democrats’ losses will be very limited. We could even see minor gains. But if we’re seeing double digit unemployment numbers that are only beginning to crest or come down (or worse still, are still going up), the Democrats are going to have an absolute debacle on their hands. Every Democrat in a red district that voted for the stimulus package, which is almost all of them, will have to face charges that they voted for a trillion dollars in spending with nothing to show for it.

    Many will also have to defend votes on cap-and-trade, a health care proposal that isn’t particularly popular in red states, and other votes yet to be determined (immigration reform?).

    If that’s the playing field on which the 2010 elections are fought, then 2010 won’t look like 1994. It will look worse.”

    Unless something unforseen bumps up the economy between now and Nov 2010, the 1994 political disaster of Congressional Democratic 54 House seat losses will be _the floor_ in the range of political possibilities Democrats will face in 2010.

    Democrats picked up 66 seats in Red & purple districts in 2006 and 2008. They are all at risk in 2010 due to the economy, IMO.

    And this leaves out how health care cuts to Medicare will motivate the long time Democratic voting elderly to punish Democratic Congressmen and Senators in blue states & districts will cause unexpected Democratic losses of long time incumbants.

    Thus going into 2012, Obama will potentially face a hostile House blocking his domestic agenda and the emnity of the whole business community now willing to fund a Republican Presidential candidate to get Obama out.

  4. WWS says:

    I strongly suspect that Obama has led a life in which he has *always* been able to find the easy way out, and up till now it has always worked for him.

    Look at his biography – sure, his mother’s troubles are well documented, but at an early age he went to live with his wealthy hawaiian grandparents, one of whom was a bank vice president. Come on – even as a kid, he live the dream that the rest of us could only fantasize about. He went to one of the best prep schools in the state. Then he partied his way through his undergrad degree at Occiental – notice how the records have never been released? But he presented well, and he got someone big to clear his way to Harvard (he didn’t do it on his own, no way)

    Now I want to make a point about his Harvard career that I haven’t seen made before, because I think it is a very close parrallel to what is happening with Obama’s Presidency:

    At Harvard, he became editor of the Law Review – but although you know he didn’t produce any articles, most don’t quite realize the significance of this. The *reason* that Editor of the Law Review at any law school is so prestigious is that it gives *that* person the right to pick and author the most prestigious and significant research that may be open at the time. This in turn is used as a hiring marker for the various judicial clerkships and big Wall Street firms – the successful author of a lead article will literally have his choice of positions.

    It is *Unheard* of for someone to rise to this position and then to just kick back and do nothing at all but coast through a years worth of meetings with his feet on the table – which is exactly what Obama did. He *never* wrote anything, and although I haven’t verified this, I suspect he is the *only* Harvard Law Review editor who has *never* written any actual research. It was an astounding failure, but not just a failure – it was a total lack of effort.

    *This* is why he never went on to any senior judicial clerkship, which he should have done, and why he never went to any big law firm but instead ended up with some community activist group in Chicago. Potential employers looked at his record and saw a very glib and well spoken screw-off. Well, guys like that are a dime a dozen in this world. That’s why his legal career failed.

    He still had his gift of gab and good looks, which is always useful in machine politics. Since then, he’s had a helping hand pushing him from one legislative office to another – he’s never actually had to do any work. He didn’t have to raise the money, other people did that, he didn’t come up with the strategy, Axelrod did that, he didn’t have to build the organization, other people did that for him. He has *never* had to do anything in his life besides show up and take the easy way out. Somehow he managed to ride this incredible run of good luck all the way up to the Presidency, and he has never in his life had to do anything but show up, smile, and say some vaguely reassuring words to his fans.

    And now, for the very first time in his life, he has to face the reality that there is no easy way out. He has literally never been truly responsible for *anything* in his life up to this point – Heck of a time to think about growing up!!! I suspect he’s going to do the same thing as he did at the Harvard law Review – now that something is being required of him, I think he’s going to put his feet up on the desk and just pretend that everything is going to work out. And when it doesn’t he’ll search for someone to blame rather than fixing anything, which is always the other easy way out. And when that doesn’t work, he’ll find a way to quit, if not literally, then at least in real terms. Just as he did at Harvard.

    Now how we deals with his own supporters once this administration collapses into incoherent incompetence is going to be the most interesting game to watch. They’re already starting to figure out that things aren’t going well – when they finally realize they’ve been snookered by a false messiah things could get very ugly indeed.

  5. kathie says:

    Well said WWS……this passage so typifies the Obama administration and how MSM lead them to believe Bush was just some stupid inarticulate guy without a clue. It is talking about closing Gitmo.

    “To a certain extent, they had drunk a lot of the far-left Kool-aid: that everybody, or most people, at Guantanamo were innocent and shouldn’t be there, and the Bush administration was not working very hard to resolve these issues, and that the issues were fairly easy to resolve once adults who were really committed to doing something about it in charge,” said one Bush official who met with Obama’s aides during the transition on Gitmo. “It became clear to me they had not really done their homework on the details.”

  6. joe six-pack says:

    President Obama ran on a platform of being open-minded and willing to listen to all points of view. Sounds like compromise to me.

    The U.S. public told President Clinton that it did NOT want health care changed in 1994. The U.S. public looks to be sending the same message to President Obama, yet he is not listening as President Clinton did. (Not that I am a fan of President Clinton) President Obama does not appear to be listening (compromising) on this issue.

    I am seeing this pattern regarding foreign policy as well. Maybe I am wrong. Let’s see how things go over the next few years.

  7. Whomever says:

    WWS post is an analysis of character – something the public did not do prior to the election. It is painful to see it now. He won the Law Review Editor post in the 80s. Harvard had not had an African American editor until then. The election was based partly on grades and partly on what was called a “popularity contest.” This information and everything WWS said was available on line at the time of the nomination — in the Autumn of 2007 and well before Hillary was toast. But the public was busy and the press had its legs tingling . . . and now we have the young Icarus flying very close to the sun.

  8. stevevvs says:

    We can not “Win” with these Rules of Engagement
    We can not “Win” with this General
    We can not “Win” with this commander in chief
    We can not “Win” trying to get the “Hearts and Minds”
    We can not “Win” without stopping the youth indoctrination
    We can not “Win” with allies unwilling to go out in snow, etc.



























  9. stevevvs says:

    I sent a post, don’t know where it went…

  10. stevevvs says:



    She seems to be the only one with:

    1. Common Sense
    2. Knowledge of Islam
    3. An understanding of our Government

  11. WWS says:

    I would think more of Ms. West if she had supporters who knew that spamming ain’t cool.

  12. stevevvs says:

    WWSon 06 Oct 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I would think more of Ms. West if she had supporters who knew that spamming ain’t cool.

    By all means, don’t try to LEARN from her, WW.

    It’s not there for “Spam” it’s for you to learn.

  13. stevevvs says:

    We can not “Win” with these Rules of Engagement
    We can not “Win” with this General
    We can not “Win” with this commander in chief
    We can not “Win” trying to get the “Hearts and Minds”
    We can not “Win” without stopping the youth indoctrination
    We can not “Win” with allies unwilling to go out in snow, etc.

    Show me how we can “Win” with the above?

    Beyond that, were broke. The Piggy Bank is empty.

  14. Dorf77 says:

    WWS I think somebody needs to clean out the Trash…

  15. TomAnon says:

    AJ – Pitch man in Cheif! Good post

    WWS – nice add on.

    When the press finally decides they have to turn on the Pitch Man In Cheif, it is going to be ugly. Typically, family fights are the worst. He will get a few more months of coverage or rather non-coverage, then it will be just to tempting to not bring him down. Personal glory will bring out someone who wants to be the next Bob Woodward. O’Keefe and Miles have humilated the Old Media. They won’t sit back to much longer.

    After all they, the Old Media, gave him every chance to succeed?

  16. TomAnon says:

    Oh and I will hit the tip jar on my way out. This is AJ’s site afterall, STEVE!