Thursday, February 5, 2009

Disillusionment With Obama

I'm still figuring it out, but Barack Obama's the first president in memory to have his "presidential honeymoon" come to an end before the second week of the new term.

Chris Bowers was throwing his hands up in frustration on Tuesday, asking "
What Does Obama Want Us To Do?" Josh Marshall's reverted to the tried-and-true psychological escape, blame, asking "why would Republicans be trying to drive the country off a cliff?"

But especially interesting is
the comments from Theda Skocpol:

Obama is, sadly, much to blame for giving the Republicans so much leverage. He defined the challenge as biparitsanship not saving the U.S. economy. Right now, he has only one chance to re-set this deteriorating debate: He needs to give a major speech on the economy, explain to Americans what is happening and what must be done. People will, as of now, still listen to him -- and what else is his political capital for?

Speaking as a strong Obama supporter who put my energies and money into it, I am now very disillusioned with him. He spent the last two weeks empowering Republicans - including negotiating with them to get more into Senate and his administration and giving them virtual veto-power over his agenda -- and also spending time on his personal cool-guy image (as in interview before the Super Bowl). The country is in danger and he ran for president to solve this crisis in a socially inclusionary way. He should be fighting on that front all the time with all his energies - and he certainly should give a major speech to help educate the public and shape the agenda. That is the least he can and should do. Only that will bypass the media-conserative dynamic that is now in charge.
Skocpol's a well-known Harvard political scientist (her name's pronounced "Scotch-pol"), so to see her admit to her own Obamessianism is striking. While she pins the responsibility on Obama for his own failings, notice that dig there at the end on the "media-conservative dynamic."

In any case, the president has apparently forsaken his cool-guy image-building momentarily with his essay this morning at the Washington Post: "The Action Americans Need" (via

But for the political analysis of the administration's predicament, see Jeanne Cummings, "Obama Losing the Stimulus Message War."


Philippe Ohlund said...

Well, I think President Obama does something very smart here.

He knows that the problem of the U.S. not is primarily economic but diplomatic.

In a world, which is getting more and more hostile toward the U.S., Obama tries to unite all Americans.

After years of bad international diplomacy, President Obama understands the importance of Americans standing together.

President Obama will hopefully succeed better than Rocky in this video clip.

cracker said...

I'm on-board with Phillipe here....


The Republicans have been empowered by The Presidents philosophy sure, maybe taking advantage of the crisis for a political pulpit..but what may seem like gains now....may very well be the next step in an even deeper dis-crediting of Republican character and capability.

Average American said...

I NEVER thought I'd say this: I almost feel sorry for the guy. NObama is in it SO FAR over his head. I'll bet he has a few times wished that he had lost, like when he went to be in the company of the 2nd graders. Yup, I actually do feel sorry for the guy, quite pathetic really.

Jason_Pappas said...

It’s his first real job—at least the first that required executive experience. Unfortunately, for Obama, vague clichés are fine for a campaign but are hazardous when one needs concrete proposals. He allowed Pelosi to fill in the details. That was his biggest mistake. No one elected her President.

PrivatePigg said...

The day after the election I said his honeymoon would be short, as I don't believe even had much more in popular vote than Bush did in 2004. Did Bush have a mandate?

Even today with his Op-Ed piece Obama, in writing to the people, has to tell the people why they voted for him - he tells them they elected him to pass this claptrap, which is completely untrue.

Bush was not a manager. He never seemed to have any intellectual curiosity as to why a certain policy was the best. He simply surrounded himself by advisers and took their advice. People were ready for a POTUS who seemed to himself be the leader. So they went another direction. The liberal voters themselves were just ready for the anti-Bush. Nothing else was required. And, again, Obama barely beat Bush's '04 numbers. And that means the country turned socialist?

Obama is in way over his head. He has no idea how to actually lead and get people to go along with him. Pelosi and the porkulus Democrats wanted stuff for their constituents and Obama had no clue how to tell them "No." He'd never done it before! He'd never been in that position. He expected to be able to just stand there, let the Congressmen and women work out a quick deal, everyone's on board, and he signs it. Done. Easy job. He shows this when he keeps telling us "the time for talk is over." No, on a $900 billion package, the time to talk is now. Every item must be talked about. A lot. Similarly, he thought he'd just nominate a few people, get 'em in, come up with some ideas, pass them, and be on Rushmore. Easy peasy.

It's like taking a cashier who has been at the store for a few weeks and promoting them to manager. There is no way they are going to be able to just jump in and run the company, deal with differing opinions, make the tough decisions even if they anger people, etc.

I don't doubt that Obama can learn on the fly and become a better leader as time goes on. But, unfortunately for him, this is not the type of climate that is conducive to that - the public probably won't accept it.

And he's never going to have popularity like he does as the newly elected first black President. If the GOP stands up to him now, and is able to claim victory, they will stand up to him a lot more in the future. Plus, his luster will have worn off. That makes it possible that we could have 4 years of complete and utter disarray.

Imagine an inexperienced and unqualified executive who also has little popular support (or at least not enough that he can claim some "mandate")?

And the best part of this is, he has the votes in both houses to pass everything. He can't actually blame anyone but his own party.

Average American said...

Private Pigg, as you eluded to, all he really had to do was surround himself with THE BEST people out there, never mind which party. He got a few right, very precious few. He had the right idea when he grabbed a few Republicans, he just didn't get enough of them. We've never had a president resign unless he was pushed real hard to do so. We may see that soon. God forbid we would have to train Biden. What a pickle we are in!

Ba---rak the magic ne---gro---lived in D.C.

Yup, I do feel sorry for him. I know it's all his own fault, but I have a soft heart.


Trish said...

Bless you Philippe, but please stop. It might sound all cozy and EU-like for Non-Americans to say he's trying to unite us, but it is not even remotely true. Obama wants to divide us, as do all Democrats. Just look at his very first acts which are such obvious leftist talking points, abortions and Gitmo. He is no uniter, and he is a rookie at this job. This half white guy is only very average at best. He's going to be lucky to make it through one term, if he keeps this attitude up. He's throwing temper tantrums because people don't like his (democrats) crap bill, he's pulled the plug on oil exploration (job growth and energy independence down the drain) in Utah, and now he's letting evil go untried at Gitmo. What is the next stunt he hopes to pull out of his hat? It's his funeral as they say, we don't have to do anything but sit back and watch Obama implode. I can only hope he takes Pelosi and Reid with him, because they are creepier than a load of Stephen King books.

Anonymous said...


Wanting Obama to fail is just like syaing you want the country to fail. So who wants to divide and ruin the country?? Please don't judge half of United States when you don't really know any of them. Rooting for the Rebuplicans or the Domocrats is not like rooting for someone in the Super Bowl. We can't have a loser.

Trish said...


Though I didn't say I wanted him to fail, I don't want Obama to make my country a socialist's haven. So if by not wanting this pork bill to pass, diving head first into socialism, means I want him to fail, then by all means I want him to fail.
But, since I don't want him to destroy this country, I thereby want him to succeed in keeping us safe and bringing the economy back.
Liberals do want to divide us. I've been around a lot longer than you have, and know plenty of them to judge by. They would prefer to see conservatives go the way of the dinosaur, but until then, they want us to be as disenfranchised as possible.
As for superbowl analogies and the like, who was it recently who used the term "I WON" ????

Anonymous said...

Giving tax cuts to miilionairs isn't the right way because it hasn't worked. Its time to try new things and even if you don't think its going to work you have to wait and see. Many of the new and younger voters see conservatives has people looking out for the not the average person. So yes people would rather see the country has whole do better. And the things are broken so hopefully they can be fixed. I'm not agree 100% with anyone. Just like there is no way people with like every aspect of a bill. we need to be flexable. Being stubborn will not get us anywhere Everything Philippe says hopefully happens.

Rich Casebolt said...

Vanessa, the average person has always had the capacity to look out for themselves ... but in my own lifetime, leader after leader has said "Trust us -- we have experts who can handle this for you" and discouraged us, especially in deed, from doing so where we should have.

I lived through the 1970's ... and I saw what happened when we waited to see if the new ideas of that era were going to work. We perpetuated poverty across generations and risked millions of lives ... and we are still paying interest on the debt run up by the Great Society "stimuli".

And yes, tax cuts for millionaires -- the vast majority of whom became millionaires because they are the most productive among us ... did work. They turned the stagflation and malaise of the Carter years, into a new Morning in America that facilitated prosperity and increased the peace for over two decades.

I thank God that I was young enough, that I didn't have to cut the apron strings of home until those tax cuts started turning things around.

Philippe Ohlund said...

Thanks for commenting my comment, Trish and Vanessa.

I see President Obama as a unifier.

But I believe myself that not only millionaires, but that all should have tax cuts.

Modern society is like an ice-hockey game.

Right now our societies are on the financially losing side, and losing a lot of money.

In ice-hockey, when your team has difficulties, you give your best players more ice time, because it is more probable that they will score, than the worst players of your team.

In our financial crisis it is the same thing.

Only the best people can turn things around, and they are the millionaires who pay more taxes than everybody else.

Therefore the millionaires need the biggest tax cuts, because only they can come up with the big changes, which we all so badly need.

It is much easier for a multimillionaire to make another million and employ more people, than for average Joe to make another thousand.

Philippe Ohlund said...

Thanks also to cracker! :-)

Anonymous said...

Rich I see you comment all the time and you are "never wrong." You have an answer for everything even if you are totally wrong. And most things are personal opinions on other peoples behalf. Not all people that are very welathy earned it or are so productive to society they shouldn't pay. An really most people who have a lot will get out of it anyway. Its really the people stuck in the middle that get screwed. Now we are just off topic. My main point is lets give Obama a chance and maybe not root agaisnt him.

Anonymous said...

Vanessa, some of these folks have been backing a losing political and economic philosophy for the last 8 years. So, the only thing that will make them feel better is if Obama fails as badly as Bush did. If Obama succeeds, it will shatter their little world views to pieces.

Tom the Redhunter said...

Trish has it right.

vanessa said "Wanting Obama to fail is just like syaing you want the country to fail."

This is idiotic and needs to be slapped down hard. It's become some sort of test that we're all supposed to "want Obama to succeed"

But succeed at what? If you mean in some vague sense of "make the economy better" or "keep us safe from terrorism" then yes.

But politicians don't run on vagueness, they run on specifics. Read Obama's agenda on the wesbsite.

I want Obama to fail to pass his stimulus bill. I want him to fail to get his energy bill passed. I want him to fail to get his health care proposals made into law. Why? Because I think they're bad for the country.

So you and Deranged Leftwing Baker grow up and stop this childish "do you want Obama to fail" nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Tom, personally I don't care what people on the right want. If you want Obama to succeed or fail makes no difference to me. Chances are that there is going to be a stim bill of some sort passed. The economy is going to improve between now and 2010 or, at least 2012. I believe it will be because of the stim bill. I believe doing nothing or mindlessly chanting for more tax cuts is not the answer. Politically it doesn't matter, tho. Dems will get credit for supporting it and Reps who oppose it will be held to account.

Trish said...

That is correct, DLB, Dems can take the credit, AND the blame solely, when the country spirals into depression.
This stim bill has no good plan for jobs; we had jobs, and only tax breaks will bring them back. Making new temporary ones (fixing bridges and building Dog parks) is not and never will be the answer. Especially if we can't give them to "white construction workers or people with college degrees". You know, the people who've actually LOST their jobs...
Oh- and I have no idea why you keep talking about tax cuts for "millionaires" anyway. That is the lamest excuse and so overplayed, it's wearying. Never happened and never will.
Tom is right, read the agenda, it is so far left that even my democrat friends are afraid of it.

Anonymous said...

Trish, only time will tell if the country is going to spiral into a depression. If it does, I will come back here so you can say, "I told you so." In the meantime:

it is so far left that even my democrat friends are afraid of it.

Just want to point out something that the right seems to have a problem with. I am just a simple baker (emphasis on simple). But, the word "democrat" is a noun, always. In your sentence above, you are seeking to modify the word "friends." That would call for an adjective, in this case, "democratic."

I certainly hope you know more about economics than you do English grammar.

And, by the by, some might consider this remark from another comment to be, at least bordering on, racist:

This half white guy is only very average at best.

I won't even ask what very average is.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and just for good measure, Trish; in the sense that you are using the word, it probably should be Democratic. Capital "d."

You folks really should try to learn the language when you cross the border.

Trish said...

You are a funny guy, Baker...a very funny guy.
A bit pretentious perhaps, but funny.

Trish said...

His speech tonight Monday Feb 9th, was SO, unifying.
My fears are calmed.
I am satisfied that he has done EVERYthing to be BI-partisan.
I must simply misunderstand the terminology.
Or, I'm as bad at the use of the English language as my friend the Baker accuses me of.
My major was Art.
I first had children, then worked as a doll artist, and most recently, work in Corporate America, and as a sidebar, may lose my job this week, but I am also an EVIL American. I am so DUMB, I should have realized my previous president had my welfare in his CROSSHAIRS, 'cause he hated America so much he wanted it to fail.
Sorry , but nothing can make me believe that PRESIDENT Bush ever, ever, wanted this country to fail
But, EVERYthing in my heart and body makes me positive that YOUR PRESIDENT wants us to fail.
I've had 4 children, and 5 grandchildren, expect 2 more grandchilren this year, and PRAY we make it.
God Bless America! And God keep us safe.

Anonymous said...

What we need to do in this country is to get rid of the middle class and make everyone share a very small amount of wealth. Only then will all things be fair. If you have not read Rules for Radicals, read it now so that you can help us to get to this utopia. Barack and Michelle have read it and they quote that book. Be in the know. Read it and help out. It is not going to be easy to take down the middle class because they are pretty smart and they have figured out that we want to take away all their wealth , mainly through taxing them to pay for unsustainable programs. They are greedy and want to keep their suburban houses. This must be stopped. Bring down the middle class before they show up at the next round of tea parties.