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Obama Fails On The Job Training

Mark Steyn and Jennifer Rubin have some interesting comments about the progress (or lack of) of the Obama administration and The Economist's recent article on the subject.

The writers at The Economist claim, not surprisingly, that the President seems to be getting a handle on the foreign policy element of his job but is failing on the domestic front, an analysis that is about 50% correct. Discussing the President's foreign policy accomplishments the magazine notes:

"In foreign policy in particular Mr Obama has already done some commendable things. He has held out a sincere hand to Iran; he has ordered Guantánamo closed within a year; he has set himself firmly against torture. He has, as the world and this newspaper wanted, taken a less strident tone in dealing with friends and rivals alike."

Actually, Mr. Obama has failed in each of these areas if he is to be judged by his campaign rhetoric. The "sincere hand" he held out to Iran was in fact the weak hand and no success can be implied. Gitmo has been ordered closed, but Obama watchers know that the order was not accompanied by an alternative for holding the terrorists anywhere else, thus the promise comes with the infamous Obama expiration date and can be reversed at any time. On renditions the President has simply outsourced the problem and declared victory. The failure to adopt a strident tone with friends and rivals (rivals? Surely they mean enemies. Or perhaps the Euphemizing Army has crossed the pond) is a rehash of the liberal complaint that results would be different only if we just made nice to folks. So, on the matter of foreign policy The Economist got it all wrong, as usual.

Fortunately for the writers, the bullseye on domestic policy was much larger and harder to miss even when blinded by ideology. The writers point to two major missteps by the President:

The first is Mr Obama's failure to grapple as fast and as single-mindedly with the economy as he should have done. His stimulus package, though huge, was subcontracted to Congress, which did a mediocre job: too much of the money will arrive too late to be of help in the current crisis. His budget, though in some ways more honest than his predecessor's, is wildly optimistic...

...Second, Mr Obama has mishandled his relations with both sides in Congress. Though he campaigned as a centrist and promised an era of post-partisan government, that's not how he has behaved. His stimulus bill attracted only three Republican votes in the Senate and none in the House. This bodes ill for the passage of more difficult projects, such as his big plans for carbon-emissions control and health-care reform

As Rubin wryly notes:

the real issue is that the Right was correct about Obama: he's an ultra-liberal at least on domestic policy, not a pragmatic centrist either on policy or in style. His mode of governance -- denigrate the opposition, engage in ad hominem attacks, refuse to compromise on substantive policy, disguise radical policy intentions with a haze of meaningless rhetoric -- bespeaks someone supremely confident in his ideological views and undaunted by fears (which are slowly creeping up on his Red state colleagues) of having overshot his mandate.

As has been discussed before by several writers here, the bloom is off the rose of the Obama presidency in record time. Steyn remarks, even the "smart set" is beginning to voice doubts about the wunderkind Obama:

"The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist "grappling" with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this."

For those looking for even more obvious indicators of a failed strategy I would suggest (as Rubin implies) that the next nine months of U S Treasury auctions might be a good place to focus attention. Much has been made of the threat of China no longer buying U S debt and this week brought talk of a new reserve currency to replace the dollar. Neither will happen. China will continue to buy treasuries because there is no place for them to park cash that offers equivalent safety. However, buyers of U S debt will demand a higher rate of return on their purchases because they know that the United States will inflate its way out of the current economic recession. Interest rates are going up and there is little the Federal Reserve can do about it in the long run. This increased cost on the national debt will crater both the Obama budgets and the President's political ambitions.


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Comments (10)

Ed M. over at Hotair likens... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Ed M. over at Hotair likens the turn-a-round by economists and others to a Damascus road conversion. The problem is that Saul had a conversion and changed. He did a 180 in his behavior and life. These economists would still vote for Obamalala. As far as being caught by surprise, please, give it a rest. Omamalala's life history and what he said on the campaign trail indicated what he was(anti-American socialist) and what he intended to do. His mock indignation at government spending was a show to fool some moderate Republicans and whoever was gullible enough to believe his lies. He told you so.

OJT is a very tricky thing ... (Below threshold)

OJT is a very tricky thing all right!

And if it was just "The One" that we had to worry about I would actually be a lot less worried.

But this guy is looking (and acting) more and more like a ventriloquist's dummy...only instead of ONE hand up his, uh, back, he has every Leftwing special interest in the world operating him! And we can ALL their lips moving!!

Charley McCarthy...funny as a dummy, DANGEROUS as a President!

If You just needed OTJT any... (Below threshold)
914:

If You just needed OTJT anyone could have filled the job ( and apparently has )..Than odds are about 99.999% chance of someone more qualified than this Danny O'day.

Husseins political ambition... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Husseins political ambitions will not be "cratered" if no one is permitted to vote in 4 years. Or if ACORN does all of the counting, which amounts to the same thing. Martial law has yet to be declared. That will make Hussein, Americas "president for life."

And just what the the elite... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

And just what the the elite intelligentsia at the Economist expect from an empty suit? Guess it never occurred to them that past performance is a damned good indication of future actions. Nuthin + nuthin still = nuthin. So hang in there guys, keep hopin' for the change.

I see "post-partisan centri... (Below threshold)

I see "post-partisan centrist" a lot in this article, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Being a centrist is being a centrist; being post-partisan is NOT being a centrist!

Post-partisanship is a political ethic that has to do with arguing for an ideological position in a non-ideological way, namely on the basis of necessity. This is what Obama's "change" really promised, and he certainly has done that. A centrist, by contrast, does not stand strongly for any ideological position.

In other words, whether Congress unites in bipartisanship or not has very little to do with whether Obama's political ethic is post-partisan or not. I've been blogging heavily on this subject.

The real question is: when Obama acts partisan, does he justify it with a post-partisan stance?

For instance, Obama must convince Americans that there is a practical need for his liberal spending agenda, that he is not a liberal nut trying to remake the country in his own partisan image. In today's anemic economy, government spending should be an issue for POST-partisan consensus: it's simply necessary! Just like it was necessary to invade Iraq!

Obama struck a bipartisan tone during his campaign, but that is something all politicians promise by default. Post-partisanship, I believe, promises very much more.

Being a "centrist" means wa... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Being a "centrist" means walking around Washington with a KICK ME sign taped to one's backside. Evan Bayh and John McCain are attention whores who didn't get enough hugs as children.

Saying that Obama's policie... (Below threshold)
STaylor:

Saying that Obama's policies are based on post partisan necessity is, quite frankly, assinine. The guy had been a partisan robot for the left since he had assumed office.
Where is the necessity for cap and trade while we are in a weak economy? Where is the necesity for nationalized health care? Or the necessity for any one of the statist programs he seeks to advance? And the whole time we are treated to a song and dance about how Obama is bipartisan and trancedental while he simultaneously works to shut down the opposition and any debate about the rightness of his policies.
This man is single handedly grinding the boot of government ever deeper into the necks of the American people; but as long as he cloaks is actions in flowery language, meaningless slogans and assertions of being post partisan people like you will be content to let it happen.

And I hate to say this but ... (Below threshold)
STaylor:

And I hate to say this but hyperbolists last post did make sence to me.

"His [Obama's] mode of gove... (Below threshold)

"His [Obama's] mode of governance ... disguise radical policy intentions with a haze of meaningless rhetoric."

I find this particularly disturbing, because I've seen the Left use it firsthand. What they do, to everyone else's consternation, is invent language & create chaos. If time meant nothing or were somehow reimbursable; were it monopoly money instead (as I've heard others say as well), it wouldn't matter. Any adult knows however, that that's not the case. Accountability had to be built-out to begin with. And, we never hear about what has already transpired along these lines on radio or TV. Thank goodness for digital technology, thank goodness for bloggers & readers like you: http://theseedsof9-11.com




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