Recent polls suggest Barack Obama has become a turn-off. Why?
In part, all presidents wear on Americans. Their presence has become as ubiquitous in our lives as the busts of the emperor Augustus dotting the Mediterranean world. So who wouldn’t annoy after speaking and appearing on our screens 24/7 for five years? Continue reading “Crashing and Burning in 2013”→
The Republicans are feeling confident these days. The slow-motion debacle of Obamacare promises to keep that albatross around the necks of the Democrats at least through next year’s midterm elections. The IRS, NSA, and Benghazi scandals are still simmering, and any day new information may emerge that puts them back on the front page. Obama’s disapproval rating is at 53.4%, according to the RealClearPoliticsaverage of 11 polls. The Republican Party’s approval numbers are still lower than Democrats’, but they are trending up while the Dems are moving down. Continue reading “The Progressive Reality Is Here”→
What will history make so far of our five-year voyage with Barack Obama? What will it make of hope
and change — other than a sort of hysteria of 2008 that was a political version of the Pet Rock or the Cabbage Patch Doll derangement? Did we really experience faux-Greek columns and Latin mottoes (vero possumus) as Obama props to usher in the new order of the ages?
We are currently learning whether the United States really needs a president. Barack Obama has become a mere figurehead, who gives speeches few listen to any more, issues threats that scare fewer, and makes promises that almost no one believes he will keep. Yet America continues on, despite the fact that the foreign and domestic policies of Barack Obama are unraveling, in a manner unusual even for star-crossed presidential second terms.
Abroad, American policy in the Middle East is leaderless and in shambles after the Arab Spring — we’ve had the Syrian fiasco and bloodbath, leading from behind in Libya all the way to Benghazi, and the non-coup, non-junta in Egypt. This administration has managed to unite existential Shiite and Sunni enemies in a shared dislike of the United States. While Iran follows the Putin script from Syria, Israel seems ready to preempt its nuclear program, and Obama still mumbles empty “game changers” and “red line” threats of years past.
We have gone from reset with Russia to Putin as the playmaker of the Middle East. The Persian Gulf sheikhdoms are now mostly anti-American. The leaders of Germany and the people of France resent having their private communications tapped by Barack Obama — the constitutional lawyer and champion of universal human rights. Angela Merkel long ago grasped that President Obama would rather fly across the Atlantic to lobby for a Chicago Olympic Games — or tap her phone — than sit through a 20th-anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are beginning to see that the U.S. is more a neutral than a friend, as Obama negotiates with Putin about reducing the nuclear umbrella that protects America’s key non-nuclear allies. Perhaps they will soon make the necessary adjustments. China, Brazil, and India care little that Barack Obama still insists he is not George W. Bush, or that he seems to be trying to do to America what they seek to undo in their own countries.
The world’s leaders do not any longer seem much impressed by the president’s cat-like walk down the steps of Air Force One, or the soaring cadences that rechannel hope-and=change themes onto the world scene. They acknowledge that their own publics may like the American president, and especially his equivocation about the traditional role of American power in the world. But otherwise, for the next three years, the world is in a holding pattern, wondering whether there is a president of the United States to reckon with or a mere teleprompted functionary. Certainly, the Obama Nobel Peace Prize is now the stuff of comedy. Continue reading “Is Obama Still President?”→
Republicans and Democrats are still name-calling in their arguments over the government shutdown, out-of-control federal spending, and the implementation of Obamacare. Yet if both sides would agree to just follow the earlier advice of President Obama, tempers might cool. And had President Obama himself just listened to earlier guidance from Barack Obama, his opponents might have had no cause for either a government shutdown or another debt-ceiling crisis.
In 2006, Obama rightly called for an end to the Bush administration’s intemperate deficit spending that had resulted in an annual deficit of $250 billion that year. Accordingly, Senator Obama voted to shut down the government rather than automatically to extend the debt ceiling. He explained his resistance this way: “Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
Obama rightly added an additional warning in forcing an impasse over further borrowing: “Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans — a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about.” Continue reading “Obama, Heed Thyself”→
The campaign contour is pretty clear: The Obama reelection team will not make the case for the advantages and popularity of Obamacare, for the Chuian advantages of $4-a-gallon gas, for the dynamism of a 1.7 percent GDP growth rate, for the stimulatory effects of adding $5 trillion in new debt, or for why 8 percent unemployment does not qualify under the old rubric of a “jobless recovery.” Continue reading “The Face of Things to Come”→
George W. Bush left office in January 2009 with one of the lowest job-approval ratings for a president (34 percent) since Gallup started compiling them — as compared to Harry Truman’s low of 32 percent, Richard Nixon’s of 24 percent, and Jimmy Carter’s of 34 percent — and to the general derision of the media. Continue reading “Bush Reconsidered”→
Who exactly were the rich who, as the president said, were not “paying their fair share”? The rapper Jay-Z (net worth: nearly $500 million)? The actor Johnny Depp (2011 income: $50 million)? Neither seems to have heard the president’s earlier warning that, “at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” Continue reading “Let the Real Fat Cats Pay Their Fair Share”→