Sunday, August 31, 2014

The President Has Run Out of Political Capital

PBO in his summer weight suit--The Audacity of Taupe
This week's admission by the President that he lacked a comprehensive strategy for combating ISIL in Syria and Iraq raises the ugly truth that for all his supposed political dexterity, President Obama has simply run out of political capital.

Let's face it.  Being President of the United States is an unusually difficult job.  I cannot even begin to understand the pressure under which that man operates every day, and the dark things with which he has to contend.  But Mr. Obama's position is no different than any other President's...the job was tough for all of them.  Where Mr. Obama's Presidency differs is the degree to which he has squandered the political capital he amassed as the darling of the media, the darling of the left (but I repeat myself), the darling of the young, and the darling of the apolitical. Five and a half years into his Presidency, the President is alone, marginalized, and treading water.

As the linked to article says, a politician makes a "gaffe" when he accidentally tells the truth.  Putting aside for a second the obvious truth that by saying there is no strategy the President leaves himself open to fears among the governed that he isn't up to the job...the strong likelihood that he was telling the truth, and the degree to which the truth was simply unacceptable to the media and the chattering class (my member number is 2387490) is just another sign of the utter lack of capital the man possesses.  The media is increasingly hostile to the President, slow to realize the degree to which he has been a disappointment though quick to natter on about how he hasn't been as cooperative with them as they would like.

The left has also turned on the President, for seemingly not being left enough.  Cornell West's deeming of the President as a "counterfeit" is just one of the many cries from the left indicating their discomfort with Obama. Folks like me and many of the readers of this President have been from the beginning, hostile to his programs and his ideology, but this turn from the left is noteworthy.

The Kitten is a relatively apolitical being, but even she had to admit that she has more and more conversations with friends who are also apolitical--but who voted (twice)--where those friends indicate their disdain for the President and their regret at having voted for him.

How did all this happen?  Well, for one thing, I have to conclude that the golfing thing really is hurting the President.  The scenes of him running off for the golf club after crying his crocodile tears for a beheaded journalist strike many a simple person as unpresidential.  We all get that he needs time off -- but the manner in which he is pursuing it is rubbing people the wrong way.  Don't come at me now with your "well, Eisenhower golfed...."  Yes, he did.  And he won World War II.  And he didn't serve during the days of a 24 hour cable news cycle.  The comparison is idiotic.  Hell, Roosevelt (T) road horses all the time.

Secondly, his foreign policy choices are increasingly questionable.  The President's pollsters tell him that the American public is war-weary and that they don't want to get involved in entanglements abroad.  They are right.  I think the American public does feel that way.  But the American public also likes being top-dog, they like our power and influence in the world, and they like knowing that we CAN do something about things even if we DON'T.  Here is where the President is failing.  He is so obsessed with the former that the latter concern escapes him.  And the public is losing confidence as a result.  They have come to believe that we don't act because we are incapable of acting, and that is causing deep in their bones anxiety that plays out in their support (or lack of it).

Finally, although the media did their best to deny and obfuscate, enough truth about Obamacare has gotten out that the public (appropriately) believes they were lied to.  Serially.  Blatantly.  The trust is gone and Mr. Obama's Presidency is gone with it.

Can he recover?  Never say never.  But the likelihood is low, and we will find ourselves in 2016 with the interesting
spectacle of Democratic candidate(s) running against the "transformational" President that they were in love with just a few short years ago.


Tom de Plume said...

Welfare hustlers, NEA members, and the rest of the Barasitic class would vote him in for a third term if they could.

"The Hammer" said...

The guy was out of his league from day one. He has delegated everything, from Obamacare (let Pelosi do it) to his foreign policy (lead from behind) to his election with all these IRS abuses. He is remote, he is aloof and he is a coddle, narcissistic jerk who was given the world when he thinks he earned it.
He's a great campaigner but was elected primarily due to his race. No way a white guy with his qualifications could have beaten Hillary or Romney. He represents identity politics at its most dangerous. As I've said before, we'll be lucky to survive him, and million won't.

JB said...

First of all, while I think the headline "The Audacity of Taupe" is clever, I think someone missed out on a great opportunity with "The Emperor's New Clothes". It's so appropriate for so many reasons.

On running out of political capital: I think "The Hammer" is absolutely correct - this is a man w/ the thinnest resume of anyone to run for President in my lifetime, and that includes the likes of Jimmy Carter (a mistake that was corrected after 1 term) & Michael Dukakis (a mistake that never happened, thank goodness). He was elected as a result of overwhelming Bush-fatigue, and by white guilt which wanted to "give a black man a chance." He went about the country (all 57 states) to tell everyone what he thought they wanted to hear. And he was propped up by a slobbering, cheerleading, solidly left media. The problem is, being President means more than just campaigning (at least it used to).

Being President is hard? Of course it is, that's why selecting the person for the job should be serious work, not a popularity contest. This man absolutely ridiculed his predecessor (who has maintained a post-Presidential silence, just like his dad - what a class act), then found out it wasn't as easy as he thought. Remember the Cairo speech? Remember how everyone was going to love us now that Bush was gone, replaced by someone who "looked different"? How's that working out? Remember how he was going to close Gitmo? He received a Nobel Peace Prize based on . . . what? . . . potential? Remember "the most open and transparent administration"? He didn't just lie about Obamacare, he lied about, and played politics with, EVERYTHING!

As for his heading to the golf course after commenting on the James Foley beheading, it wasn't un-Presidential, it was tone deaf, uncaring and unseemly! David Cameron returned from his one-day-old vacation immediately because the guy doing the beheading had a British accent. James Foley was an American citizen, but our President resumes his golf vacation on Maaahtha's Vineyaaahd. Shameful . . .

NavyAustin said...

My favorite Cornel West comment in Salon's interview:

"It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin."

"The Hammer" said...

If you're interesting in knowing how the Obama White House operates go out and buy Edward Klein's Blood Feud tomorrow. But be prepared to get the shit scared out of you. I cannot imagine an individual less prepared, be it by experience, temperament, ideology, whatever, to be President than this guy.

John said...

Couldn't agree more with everything that has been written here. What scares me even more, however, is that over the past five and a half years I'm not sure I am convinced that a clear cut opponent has emerged to right the ship (no pun intended, well, maybe a little pun intended)

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