Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Real Obama, Master of Failure

By now we’ve all heard the view of Team Obama as a disciplined machine working according to a secret plan laid out by an evil genius to make the United States a socialist workers’ paradise. We’ve heard about Obama, the greatest politician of all times, the silver-tongued antichrist who is slowly, inexorable putting a dagger into the heart of capitalism, Christianity, freedom, and America itself. Ha! Let’s talk about the real Obama, the tone deaf politician Obama, the man with no political instincts. Let’s talk about Obama the failure. . .
To begin, let us recognize that Obama has advantages that few prior presidents ever had. He has the good will of being a Democrat at a time when the Republican brand has been so tarnished by it’s prior leaders that most people would rather identify themselves as child molesters than Republicans. He has the good will of most Americans, who want to see the nation’s first black president succeed. He has a sycophantic media that shares his every belief and has lost any pretense of being impartial, and who willingly shade the truth to support him and his causes. Finally, on the most practical level, his party has control of both the House and the Senate, and in such overwhelming majorities that the Republican Party is all but irrelevant. In other words, he is essentially unopposed.

With all of these advantages, he should be both supremely popular and should easily be able to get his agenda through the Congress, no matter how radical. Yet, something has gone wrong. Consider Obama’s major legislative goals:
• Stimulus I: Obama’s first act was to sign a huge “stimulus” bill into law, a bill that was drafted by the Congress long before he became involved. Still, we have to call that a Pass. . . but there’s a caveat. The bill did nothing to help the economy. Unemployment is the worst it’s been since the Great Depression, the economy continues to worsen, and the stimulus has become an albatross for supporters. It’s so bad that Obama had to send Joe Biden to assure the country that the stimulus really is working, despite the total lack of evidence.

• Stimulus II: D.O.A.

• Cap and trade: Cap and trade, one of Obama’s big initiatives, limped over the finish line in the House, possibly ending several careers. The plan is considered a non-starter in the Senate. D.O.A.

• “Card Check”: The unions wanted Obama to push through the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have taken away the choice of employees to remain union-free. This law would have allowed the Federal government to essentially impose a union on companies while the employer “negotiated” with the employees. Neither the House nor the Senate is willing to bring this one to a vote. D.O.A.

• Assault Weapon’s Ban: Team Obama promised their gun control friends they would get the assault weapon ban re-instituted. . . until Eric Holder announced they would do no such thing. D.O.A.

• Banking Regulation: Team Obama was handed the worst banking crisis in American history and carte blanche to re-make and regulate the industry as they saw fit. Not only that, but everyone, even the banks, agreed it was necessary. Barney Frank’s still working on it, but the will to pass this has been lost as a result of the health care debate. Stalled.

• Health care reform: The big red cherry on top of the Obama’s “socialist agenda” was supposed to be health care reform. Obama promised his supporters that the government would run health care. That was a non-starter. So he promised a “public option.” That died too. Now he’s promising “health care co-ops”, which the left hates. He promised price controls on drug makers, he got some price cuts for Medicare patients. He promised to extend coverage to 46 million Americans, now he’s talking about a couple million -- after ten years. He promised subsidies for most Americans, now he’s talking about hardship exemptions. And he can’t even get those things passed. ObamaCare: D.O.A. A face-saving version of health care reform-lite: Stalled

• Iraq: Obama was going to pull our troops out of Iraq on Day One of his Presidency. They’re still there, he’s just redesignated the combat troops as advisors. Fail

• Guantanamo: Obama was going to close Guantanamo on Day One and give these poor terrorists more legal rights. Not only did that not happen, but he tried to make them non-persons with no legal rights. . . something dictators do. Fail
That’s quite a poor record for our secret communist, genius President and his master plan. I guess his plan didn’t prepare him to deal with a willing Congress? In reality, he and his team have mishandled every one of these issues.

But those are just the beginnings of his failures. Let’s consider foreign policy, where he can do as he pleases without consulting a pesky, interfering Congress:
• Afghanistan: Obama told us he would fix Afghanistan, which Bush had neglected. He even tossed out the generals Bush had chosen so as to make sure he had the right team in place. We are now told by the generals (and our allies) that Afghanistan is a loss. Fail

• Iran: Obama would sit with Iran and stop them from wanting the bomb. They flipped him the bird of non-peace. They even put down a revolution as he watched, cluelessly. Fail

• North Korea: Obama would abandon this six-party talks stuff and fix this sucker right up. Nothing changed, except that North Korea started lobbing missiles in the Pacific. Fail

• China: Obama would change our relationship with China -- no more dumping, safer products or no imports, and he wasn’t going to put up with their currency manipulation. Unless you count begging the Chinese keep buying our bonds, there’s been no progress here. Fail

• India: Obama would get India onto the non-proliferation train and get them to sign up to climate change legislation. They told him no, and he praised them. Fail

• The Arab-Israel Conflict: Obama planned to use his “special” background to show the Arabs our sincerity (and our desire to leave them alone) and thereby solve this deep-rooted conflict. So he gave a speech telling the Arabs that Americans are jerks, and . . . um, that’s it. Now the Israelis are building more settlements and getting ready to bomb Iran, Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan, and he’s agreed to send more American anti-missile hardware to the Middle East to compensate for his sell out of the Eastern Europeans. Fail

• Honduras: Obama tried to bully little Honduras. They told him to take a hike. He did. Fail

• Eastern Europe: Obama sold out Poland and the Czechs by cancelling a missile shield that was supposed to draw them closer to us to protect them from the Russians. Fail

• Russia: Obama sent a re-set button to Putin, who punched it and reset the present to the Cold War. Now Putin’s helping Iran finish their nuclear dreams and he’s stationing troops in Venezuela. Fail
Hmm. That’s not very good for a messiah, who promised to bring peace with the mere joyous chords produced by his voice. At least he’s got good political instincts, right? Actually, he and his team have been remarkably tone deaf:
• Nominations: Obama’s nominations have repeatedly blown up in his face. Right out of the gates, several were caught not paying their taxes. And his claims to not allow lobbyists into his government were shown to be false. Post racial Obama appointed Van Jones, a racist communist, and Justice Sotomayor, a racist embarrassment. His attorney general choice infuriated the left because of his prior advocacy of torture, and then everyone else when he called us cowards on race.

• CIA Investigations: Obama’s plan to investigate CIA agents has drawn fire from both the right and the left, and recently from every head of the CIA dating back decades.

• Budge Buster: Obama immediately dwarfed the biggest complaint against Bush (that he vastly increased the deficit), when Obama gave us our first trillion dollar deficit -- and then tried to blame everyone but himself. Mr. Fiscal Irresponsibility also disappointed everyone when he signed a budget containing 9,000 earmarks after promising to end the practice.

• Stupid Cops: So in the middle of this melt down, Obama chose to wade into the race debate by slandering a white police officer who had acted reasonably and correctly. That killed his claims to be post-racial, and made everyone wonder why he felt the need to get involved in a local matter. Can you say, "bad judgment"?

• Fishy-Snitch: As the health care debate unfolded, Team Obama put out the word that neighbor should turn in neighbor for expressing impure thoughts, thus adding Team Obama to the infamous pantheon that includes the Stasi, the Gestapo and other secret police.

• Demonizations: And throughout his entire presidency, particularly health care, Obama has shown a knee-jerk tendency to react to opposition by demonizing his opponents. Be it evil insurers or greedy doctors or “those who would oppose us”, or the crowds of crazy, misled, angry, unhinged, racists who stood up to him in such vast numbers at town halls, tea parties, or the tea party protest on the Mall, Obama always made it clear that he does not see good faith in disagreement.
So much for the healer, for the man who would bring us all together. And this misconduct has been reflected in the polls, where Obama’s support has fallen steadily like a ski slope. He is now one of the least-liked, least-supported presidents since post-Watergate Nixon.

And while we’re talking about Obama being tone-deaf, let’s finally put to bed this idea that Obama is a gifted speaker. If he is such a great speaker or reader or whatever, tell me one thing he has said that’s memorable? Give me any line from any of his speeches that you remember. Even the left doesn’t quote his words. . . because he’s never said anything interesting.

Finally, even if he can’t get his legislation through, even if he can’t get anyone else in the world to obey his wishes, and even if he can’t convince the people to support him, at least his friends are benefiting from his presidency right? Wrong:
• The anti-war people got nothing. Iraq and Afghanistan are continuing as before.

• Gay groups got nothing. Obama’s justice department is still defending the Defense of Marriage Act, and Obama even refused to extend full benefits to gay partners of federal employees -- something he could have done without anyone’s approval.

• His friends at ACORN lost their role with the census and just got defunded by the Congress, all without a peep of protest.

• Immigration groups got nothing. In fact, the backlash from the health care bill may have set their cause back for a generation.

• Gun control groups got nothing.

• Minority groups got nothing.

• Only the unions got a few crumbs. They didn’t get nationalized health care like they wanted. But they did get one union member appointed to the New York Federal Reserve Board, though that means nothing to such a large body. They also got effective control of GM and Chrysler, but that’s probably a bigger problem than it’s worth -- not to mention they lost half their jobs in the process.
So where is this success I keep hearing about? Has he just not broken out the secret plan yet that will make him omnipotent and let him unwind capitalism, steal our freedoms and make America into Nazi Germany? Or is it possible he’s just not that competent and that Team Obama is just a group of poorly-skilled amateurs posing as professionals?


LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: That litany of failure is the first comforting thing I've seen in an otherwise gloomy day. It proves his inexperience, and probably his complete inability to be a leader. I also want to say that there is a second component, and that is that he has enough goons to do what he's not strong enough to do himself, but the awakening public has set up roadblock after roadblock on the road to serfdom. His promises were hollow, and his reach exceeded his amateur grasp. We can't count on his continuing incompetence, but we can use it against him. Great article.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Lawhawk. I remember during the election thinking how much he reminded me of many of the young lawyers I've met. They are super sure that if they just get the chance to do their "thing", they can do better than anyone else ever. Of course, they couldn't tell you what they would do differently, they just knew they could do it better. And then time and time again, they got smushed by their experienced foes. That's who Obama struck me as.

Now you add a real arrogance/petulance, an unwillingness to admit failure, and the fact that he's surrounded himself by a team that seems incompetent and has show no ability to learn from failure, and that's just a recipe for continued failure after failure.

Clinton got off to a rocky start, but unlike Obama, they learned very quickly. Team Obama hasn't and doesn't seem to want to learn. I guess that comes with being told you're perfect?

I also think that, contrary to what so many believe, Obama really isn't all that ideological. His actions tell me that he isn't looking to impose his own views so much as he wants to be the guy who gets credit for whatever others come up with after he gives them generic instructions: "fix health care."

That doesn't work with politicians.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I think that Obama is very ideological, but he doesn't have the courage of his convictions. So he sends out his troops to try again, and again, and again, and lets them take the heat for the failures. He wants a socialist state, but he doesn't know how to get it, and his spoiled child arrogance won't let him believe that he's failing because his ideas don't fit America. So he keeps lecturing us as if we're too stupid to understand his brilliance, and doesn't realize his ideas aren't supported by any kind of coherent plan. Like all weak men, he wants to be loved and pampered.

As you say, he doesn't want to impose his own views, but that's because he thinks they're self-evident. He doesn't want to impose, he wants to convince, and unlike terrified first-year law students, we'll just tell the professor he's full of horsefeathers.

He's not a dangerous ideologue, largely because he's professorial rather than power-mad. And his inexperience combined with his arrogance prevents him from seeing that this is the biggest classroom he's ever lectured to. It's unruly, the students have ideas of their own, most of which don't agree with his, and they're not bound by the rules of academic political-correctness. Chicago says "tell me." Missouri says "show me." As the soldiers say, "he can talk the talk, but he can't walk the walk."

CrispyRice said...

This is one of the reasons I love coming here. You do such great work summing everything up. And, as LawHawk said, this was a very comforting read, LOL!

It's too easy to lose track and to get wrapped up in feeling like "the end is nigh!" Thanks for clear-headed update!

AndrewPrice said...

CrispyRice, Glad you found it comforting. I think it's important that we keep persepctive and not get lost in the sky-is-falling syndrome that often accompanies politics.

Obama is no genius, his team is no collection of brainiacs, and there is no secret plan -- or if there is, it was put together by idiots. Obama is a second rate politician with a second rate political team, who got lucky in that he faced the two worst candidates in recent political history to get his current position.

If we'd nominated someone even quasi-acceptable, Obama wouldn't be president right now.

Joel Farnham said...


I love this article as it clearly and succinctly sums up Obama's Presidency. Thank you.

It also gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling as well. :-)

StanH said...

This is the problem with radicals. They are great at throwing rocks, agitating people, counter culturist. But, when it comes to actually producing something, I will use a scientific phrase, “they suck.” Most people can sense ignorance and inexperience, and nobody wants to follow a rookie into the morass that is life at any level. The frightening thing is this eggheaded man-child is the freaking President of the USA …wow! But before we get to giddy, we must pay attention and be vigilant if these statist are anything they are persistent. They have been dreaming of this moment for forty years. They finally have their slimy fingers around the throat of this great country, and the only way to get them to relinquish their grip is to vote them into irrelevance starting in 2010. IMO though Barry gets a resounding “F” this could make him more dangerous, …eyes wide open people.

Writer X said...

A pretty dismal report card. And when you have to send out Biden, you know you're in trouble.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, You're welcome. I figure it's nice to hand out report cards once in a while. And it's certainly worthwhile pointing out that when it comes to Obama v. The American People, we're winning this one!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I agree that we should not be complacent, but this is certainly encouraging. We should view this as just more reason to keep fighting.

AndrewPrice said...

Biden, Relying on Biden is a pretty sure sign of failure. Can you imagine coming to your parents with this report card? I'm thinking a pretty serious grounding would be in order!

patti said...

andrew, you are right, this did make me feel better BUT i am a realist and i think that all of these things aren't truly dead. barry's crew will push until the ever-livin' end.

i think along the lines of lawhawk: he has plenty of goons to do the dirty work for him. the one thing saving us is us, as in all of those concerned enough to take to the blogs, to take to the streets, to take to the place where barry and crew eat, sleep and dream of their hope and change.

i just pray it's enough to run the thugs out of office when the time comes.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, we definitely need to stay vigilant, but I think it's only going to get harder for Obama. Failure begets failure and the more you fail, the more politicians start to abandon the sinking ship.

I think Obama had his best chance to get his agenda on day 1 and it's been down hill ever since. And I think the only reason he didn't get more is that he's a really poor politician.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Great article! This is all very encouraging. It's easy to forget how much he's actually failed so far.

I was amazed at the overwhelming votes in both houses to defund ACORN after the pimp-prostitute scandal. Who could've thought that so many Democrats would do the right thing?

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, Thanks. Don't forget that they face re-election in about a year, and they don't want to give their opponents anythng to smack them with. So they're going to start behaving for a while, which is bad for Obama and his friends.

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