Obama’s Pro-Forma Presidency

Jonah Goldberg points out that Obama has performed an orchidectomy on the Presidency.

Goldberg: The presidency matters, but how much does Obama?

Obama’s presidency has been shorn of its pretensions to greatness, but, as we learned in the Clinton era, the office still has clout.

By Jonah Goldberg | Los Angeles Times

In 1994, the Republicans took back the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The significance of that victory is hard for some younger people to appreciate, as the parties now seem to rotate power. The House then was the Democratic Party‘s fiefdom. The Gingrich Revolution was a tectonic shock. By the spring of 1995, Americans were talking as if we had suddenly adopted a parliamentary system with House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the prime minister. Really.

President Clinton was asked at a news conference if he were even relevant anymore. He responded: “The Constitution gives me relevance.” Critics guffawed at first, because it set such a low bar, like raving about potted meat because it complies with the minimal government standards for human consumption. Didn’t the president bring anything else to the table, other than the job description?

In 2010, President Obama‘s party suffered from an even worse “shellacking” in the House than Clinton had in 1994. Few asked whether Obama was still relevant, in part because the Democrats still held the Senate, but also because we had learned from Clinton that it’s a silly question.

And that’s what is amazing about Obama’s presidency right now. It is almost entirely pro forma. Save for a few marginal exceptions (like an overly sympathetic media and the loyalty of Senate Democrats), his place in American politics rests entirely with what the job brings to him and not what he brings to it.

Obama seems incapable of moving public opinion, at least among people who don’t already agree with him. You can tell his handlers have noticed because his talking points have become top-heavy with jargon freshly minted from focus groups: corporate jet owners, “winning the future,” raising revenue instead of raising taxes, etc.

Mr. Goldberg, have you considered that for all his many faults, Mr. Clinton was not an empty suit as the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue demonstrably is?  Have you considered that the man could not lead a shore party of sailors into a whore house after 14 months at sea?

Voting “Present” is simply not an option for the President of the United States, and that was all that Barrack Obama’s prior record indicated he was experienced in doing.

Hat Tip: Hot Air.

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  • Obama the hypenated.





    You know I didn’t vote for him.  I didn’t think his record was sufficient to justify his position at the time, much less getting into the Oval Office.  But I really figured when he was elected that he actually understood what would be necessary for the job.  That he knew enough of basic history, diplomacy, and economics to avoid looking like a clueless incompetent in the job.

    Man, was I ever wrong about that…

  • Anonymous

    Barry didn’t have enough experience to qualify to run for dog catcher.

  • retired.military

    If we make it through the next 18 months Obama will have proved that the US can survive anyone as President for 4 years.

    He has personally set back affirmative action for 30 years.  There will probably not be another African American President for 50 years because of him.

    • You make it sound like setting back “affirmative action” is a bad thing when in reality it is one of the remaining great challenges to realizing a “color blind” society.

    • mdgiles

      Sure there will be another African-American president. But it will be one with a background and real accomplishments in his resume. It won’t be an empty suit that gives a good teleprompter speech.

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