It's bad when the White House Press Corps (pronounced "core") stops laughing it up in your daily briefings. It get worse when one after another of your former friends in the "news" media start writing stories asking what went wrong?" You know you're headed downhill when the nation's first black governor tells the first black President he's got to shake things up. It's downright scary when the latest CNN poll has a majority (including many who voted for you) saying you don't deserve to be re-elected.
How did it happen? Simple. The top two issues for most Americans in 2009 and again in 2010 were the economy and jobs. President Obama promised in his State of the Union speech that "jobs must be our No. 1 focus in 2010." But just as Obama and fellow Democrats promised jobs were their big focus in 2009 (video), he again is spending his immediate political capital to push through yet another version of big government health care.
President Obama used his weekly radio address to once again attack the insurance companies and give a renewed push for his big government solution. I've lost count on the number of speeches he's made trying to sell his snake oil and convince people government can do a better job but it's clear he needs to do more listening and less talking.
Any hope Obama will be listening to GOP ideas in the big dog and pony show set for next Thursday on health care? Not likely as off the record Dems admit “This is a media event.” Obama is preparing to spring his latest version of health care reform on us on Monday. It remains to be seen whether what he offers is specific legislation or yet another set of concepts. But what we do know is that this latest "plan" is another product of the same backroom, secret negotiations, excluding Republicans, which has marred this process from the beginning.
Watch for Obama to pull yet another of his lame appeals to what the Washington Times calls "Sham Bipartisanship." Sure, they'll agree to one or two cosmetic GOP ideas, but somehow when the final bill comes up for a vote those ideas will be watered down to nothing. The real problem for Obama is that the only bipartisanship in Washington is found among the growing legion of Democrats who join Republicans in opposing his big initiatives.
Obama a One Term President?
When Dick Cheney announced that he thinks "Barack Obama is a one term President" (video) the normal hue and cry from the Cheney haters was more muted than usual. Perhaps because many of them would like to see Obama gone or because Obama has already raised the possibility he will be a one term President (video). And now, with the Washington Post running an article pondering on whether Obama might be better off moving to the Supreme Court the way is open for him to step down if things go from bad to worse.
As usual, Charles Krauthammer grasps the essential points of the entire discussion:
Excuses for Obama's Failure to LeadHow like liberals to hold the White House with the unbeatable majorities in both the House and Senate and then try and put the blame elsewhere for their failures. Mitt Romney said it best when he told the crowd at CPAC:
By Charles Krauthammer
Real Clear Politics
February 19, 2010
WASHINGTON -- In the latter days of the Carter presidency, it became fashionable to say that the office had become unmanageable and was simply too big for one man. Some suggested a single, six-year presidential term. The president's own White House counsel suggested abolishing the separation of powers and going to a more parliamentary system of unitary executive control. America had become ungovernable.
Then came Ronald Reagan, and all that chatter disappeared.
Later, a highly skilled Democratic president, Bill Clinton, successfully tackled another supposedly intractable problem: the culture of intergenerational dependency. He collaborated with another House speaker, Newt Gingrich, to produce the single most successful social reform of our time, the abolition of welfare as an entitlement.
It turned out that the country's problems were not problems of structure but of leadership. Reagan and Clinton had it. Carter didn't. Under a president with extensive executive experience, good political skills and an ideological compass in tune with the public, the country was indeed governable.
It's 2010 and the first-year agenda of a popular and promising young president has gone down in flames. Barack Obama's two signature initiatives -- cap-and-trade and health care reform -- lie in ruins.
Desperate to explain away this scandalous state of affairs, liberal apologists haul out the old reliable from the Carter years: "America the Ungovernable." So declared Newsweek. "Is America Ungovernable?" coyly asked The New Republic. Guess the answer.
Leave it to Mickey Kaus, a principled liberal who supports health care reform, to debunk these structural excuses: "Lots of intellectual effort now seems to be going into explaining Obama's (possible/likely/impending) health care failure as the inevitable product of larger historic and constitutional forces. ... But in this case there's a simpler explanation: Barack Obama's job was to sell a health care reform plan to American voters. He failed."
He failed because the utter implausibility of its central promise -- expanded coverage at lower cost -- led voters to conclude that it would lead ultimately to more government, more taxes and more debt. More broadly, the Democrats failed because, thinking the economic emergency would give them the political mandate and legislative window, they tried to impose a left-wing agenda on a center-right country. The people said no, expressing themselves first in spontaneous demonstrations, then in public opinion polls, then in elections -- Virginia, New Jersey and, most emphatically, Massachusetts.
That's not a structural defect. That's a textbook demonstration of popular will expressing itself -- despite the special interests -- through the existing structures. In other words, the system worked.
"President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and their team have failed the American people, and that is why their majority will be out the door. When it comes to pinning blame, pin the tail on the donkeys."