From the golf courses of Martha’s Vineyard to the shores of Tripoli and beyond.
From the golf courses of Martha’s Vineyard to the shores of Tripoli, President Obama’s re-election strategy is running out of steam. As our economy remains stalled and unemployment remains high, it’s tougher and tougher for even Obama’s closest allies to swallow his “it’s all the Republicans’ fault” line.
If he can’t shift the blame, he can’t win. But the Teflon has worn off. Unless the media can save him — or the Republicans nominate another John McCain — Obama will be “one and done.”
Obama’s blame-shifting strategy isn’t working well among the sentient (and even some liberals) because it’s clearer each day that the nation’s economic ills are mostly of Obama’s making, and that his proposals to spend more will only accelerate our economic decline. (The outright lie he keeps telling about the three trade agreements Congress can act on immediately is very instructive. All three are still sitting on his desk, and haven’t yet been submitted for congressional action. Only the likes of MSNBC and the New York Times will cover for him on so big a lie.)
And to the extent people are even thinking about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the coming Palestinian intifada against Israel, it’s equally clear that these problems are also of Obama’s making.
The media will break their picks helping Obama shift the blame on economic issues because that’s their focus. But the Obama-media partnership can only seek to conceal by not covering the explosions we’ll see abroad. If the problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel become as big and bloody as they may well be next year, even the media won’t be able to protect Obama, and the blame will be his and his alone.
As I’ve written here before, Obama is desperate to prevent Iraq and Afghanistan from falling apart before Election Day 2012. In Iraq, the situation is — already — nearly desperate. Terrorist bombings have taken dozens of lives in just the past two weeks, there is a resurgent al-Qaeda presence there, and it’s all too obvious that Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki is too closely tied to Iran to do anything to prevent Iraq’s neighbor from planning and implementing its strategy to gain hegemony over Iraq once we leave.
To pull the covers over this, Obama — and now his newly installed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — have been trying to get the Iraqi government to modify the agreement reached by the Bush administration which mandates that all U.S. forces be removed from Iraq by year’s end. Panetta’s diplomatic skills are not yet evident. After eleven days in office, Panetta was widely reported as telling the Iraqi government, “But damnit, make a decision” on whether U.S. troops would stay.
Late last week, a Politico report said that Panetta had declared an agreement with the Iraqis so that U.S. troops would stay there at least through 2012. That was quickly repudiated by the Maliki government and “clarified” by Panetta’s people who pointed out that Panetta didn’t quite say that. (Politico’s reading of the transcript was fair. Panetta strongly implied that there was an agreement.)
Obama’s Iraq muddle is of his own making. His doublespeak says that we need to get out by the deadline, but we should stay if the Iraqis want us, and — please, please, Mr. Maliki — say that you need us. Obama’s plan to blame Republicans for the inevitable fall of Iraq may or may not succeed, depending on how quickly the Iraqis toss us out and how soon Iran asserts control of its neighbor.
Obama is playing the same game with Afghanistan, though our “ally” there — Hamid Karzai — is one of the few allies we have who is less coherent and loyal than Maliki. According to a report in the Friday U.K. Daily Telegraph, the Afghanis have apparently agreed that U.S. forces will stay there ten years past Obama’s 2014 deadline until 2024. If that agreement is actually signed, the media will take Afghanistan off the screen altogether. Unless the Republican candidate can argue convincingly that Obama’s Afghanistan war is failing — as nation-building always does — Obama will probably be able to dodge the issue throughout the campaign year.
He may be able to slide by on Libya, and Syria, and even Iran. But not on Israel.
Obama may yet be able to claim some sort of victory in Libya if Gaddafi is swept from office. But to what avail? As the apparently-untouchable Bashar al-Assad continues to slaughter the Syrian rebels, the contrast between Obama’s actions will be stark if anyone can be brought to care. Libya was supposed to be so easy that the French were eager for war. Syria is a hard target: Obama lacks the judgment to conclude that decisive action is essential against a state sponsor of terrorism and the courage to pursue such action.
But it’s almost impossible to see how Iran or Libya — or Syria — will figure significantly in the 2012 campaign. Few Americans will care about these hotspots if there is no open war involving U.S. troops there. Few voters will choose to vote for Obama or whomever his opponent may be based on Obama’s dangerous policies toward those nations.
Last week, President Obama demanded that — on the basis of the uncontained anti-regime riots in which Bashar Assad had ordered the continued massacre of the rebels — that Assad must step down. But, as Frederick the Great said, diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments. Not even Obama’s cabinet took him seriously.
Last Tuesday Mizz Clinton derided the president’s demand before he made it, saying “Okay. Fine. What’s next? If Turkey says it, if King Abdullah says it, if other people say it, there is no way the Assad regime can ignore it.” But, as Clinton says, it’s safe for Assad to ignore Obama.
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.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online