The Obama Watch

Obama Under Water

Living in housing he (and we) can scarcely afford.

By 10.24.11

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If President Barack Obama were a legal document, he'd be a sub-prime home loan.

The nation's housing crisis seems an apt metaphor for the president and his political position one year before he stands for re-election.

Like nearly a quarter of the mortgage loans outstanding on U.S. homes, Obama is under water. His poll ratings are low and sinking. Gallup records 43 percent approval, 49 percent disapproval. Three-quarters of American voters think the country is on the wrong track under his leadership. In moving into the White House -- a very fancy address -- Obama bought a lot more house than he could afford, based on his ability and experience.

Obama finds himself in this upside-down state because his leadership skills simply aren't sufficient to make the payments on the big, questionable loan that the American voters made to him in 2008. Like those banks that were willing to extend mortgage loans to risky prospects without documenting their credit-worthiness, the voters gave the untested, inexperienced junior senator from Illinois the keys to the White House, simply because they were sick of the guy and the gang that had occupied that property for the prior eight years.

Obama was like the single mother with a part-time job at Wal-Mart who scored a no-doc, interest-only mortgage loan of $400,000 on a big suburban house to fulfill her "American dream" fantasy, only because the mortgage lender was throwing money at almost anyone with a pulse. Obama's pulse was "hope and change" and it looked good on paper when the voters were grasping at anything or anyone not named Bush.

But just as Americans have discovered that that home values can go down as well as up, they have learned that hope is not a strategy and change can be for the worse as well as for the better. In real estate, there's a well-known post-purchase emotion called buyer's remorse. So it is in politics, too -- ask almost any Democrat these days and you'll hear some variation of buyer's remorse. They thought they'd just love living in Obama Acres, but now they know they should have bought that other place on Hillary Hill.

As for the president, he's in that desperate state of denial exhibited by so many under-water homeowners. He can't make the payments (leadership, effectiveness, sincerity) so he's dashing around the country on campaign buses or running to fund-raisers, bashing the rich, the bankers and the Republicans, hoping nobody will notice he's a deadbeat deep in debt.

But it has become so obvious to all, and Americans are running out of patience. If he were like a lot of under-water homeowners these days, he could face up to reality, mail in the keys and move on. But Obama is too arrogant and stubborn for that, so we are going to have to foreclose on him about 12 months from now. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

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About the Author

James P. Gannon is a retired former Wall Street Journal reporter and newspaper editor. He lives in Virginia.