Barack Obama can change his rhetorical stripes, but not reality.
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Had the stimulus lived up to its hype, Republicans would have taken the political hit no matter how many experts they brought into massage the message and we’d all still be listening to the president yammer on about how he put the car in “D” and pushed it out of the ditch while Republicans drank their slurpees.
I’m quite sure Stanley Greenberg would have had the time of his life drafting polling questions under that scenario. Alas, what the poor man has been left to work with is something a stable-hand might call truly shovel-ready.
“Barack Obama can’t catch a break from the American public on the economy,” Greenburg writes, “even though he prevented a depression and saved global capitalism.”
I guess we could charitably deem that assertion questionable. For the sake of argument, though, let’s say Greenberg hit the nail on the head. Well, then, a shame the president didn’t set the barometer accordingly rather than tell us “generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”
Call me a cynic, but nowhere in that (in)famous speech does Obama say, “Also, just to keep expectations in check, let me add that we will make no progress or move in the right direction until the second term, but if it makes you feel any better I can promise my presidential robot will sign a full extension of the Patriot Act into law.”
I suspect this is why one of Greenberg’s remedies for Democrats’ current flailing is to “detoxify” politics by passing laws to “severely limit or bar individual and corporate campaign contributions” and impose a forced regime of public campaign financing.
It’s much easier to build frameworks, I imagine, when there is a regulator in your corner rearing to chop down the ones erected by the other side.
HERE’S THE THING: Barack Obama is doubtless a compassionate, caring man — in fact, it is probably self-awareness of his own virtuous intentions that allows the president to behave so churlish and imperious while maintaining a clear conscience. This is why we have a constraining Constitution — to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, whatever Obama’s most ardent fans or Woody “Make Obama Dictator for a Few Years” Allen believe, we have not found angels in the form of kings to govern us.
Whatever the intent of its designer — or perhaps in this case, figurehead — you cannot instill reason or a soul into technocracy.
Peggy Noonan stirred up a lot of mud tossing the “loser” epithet at the president last week, but I was more struck by this remarkable paragraph:
The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn’t really very good at politics, and he isn’t good at politics because he doesn’t really get people. The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The “Analytics Department” is looking for “predictive Modeling/Data Mining” specialists to join the campaign’s “multi-disciplinary team of statisticians,” which will use “predictive modeling” to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. “We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions.”
I ask you, dear reader, does that sound like a campaign simply searching for the best way to honestly project its candidate’s innate passions? Or does it sound like a political machine determined to say and do whatever it takes to get to the next zero-sum round where the framework will consist of fiat rule by executive orders and rule-making delegation? For our own good, of course.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?