Do you remember, what happened immediately after the 2008 election? So anxious were the perpetually adolescent pundit-elites at the NY Times and elsewhere to be rid of the moron Bush in order to make way for The Colossal Obama; Superior Being of Staggering Competence and Illumination, that they wondered why — despite the constitution and plain good sense — President Bush wouldn’t resign from his office, and let The One begin to put everything to rights:
Seriously. We have an economy that’s crashing and a vacuum at the top. Bush — who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks — hasn’t got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world’s most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.
Putting Barack Obama in charge immediately isn’t impossible. Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We’re desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.
Such smarties, our betters. I bet they’re not even embarrassed for that, now, but they should be.
The hot topic, everywhere, is Obama’s horrific ten minute exposition, yesterday of a man wholly at a loss, and either completely out of touch with the people, out of his depths, lacking the skills of mature leadership, or all three.
Really, I think it’s all three.
Since the S&P downgrade, I’ve been suggesting that the move was less about our economy, dire as things are, than a stark vote of “no confidence” in our White House or our Congress after the drama, game-playing and mendacity of the weeks preceding the “agreement.”
And yesterday, Obama’s empty, aloof, wasteful ten-minute remarks — during which he swiveled his head from side to side and seemed unable to look into the camera and meet the “eyes of the people”, nattered on about “coming weeks” and committees and November, and was unable or unwilling to break from his standard, overused script — the president proved that a vote of “no confidence” is just. The sharp-dressed politico who Hillary Clinton once derided as receiving too much glory because “he gave a good speech, once,” exposed himself as an aching void of a man, bereft of ideas or energy; a lonely planet, spinning as it fades away.
I say this as someone who opposed his presidency — for precisely the weaknesses that some of his supporters are finally admitting have always existed — but who wants the best for her country, and frankly for The American President. I am concerned about Obama. The guy I saw yesterday seemed barely in control of himself — he seemed angry, frustrated and terribly frightened — like a lightweight who had been thrown into a heavy-weight competition and knew he’d survived this long on luck and kindness, and was anticipating the bell which, this time, would force him to either fully engage or get knocked out.
Hence the deepening of his bunker mentality. The longer he can stay in the corner, huddled with his team, the longer he puts off facing that bell.
Well, the bell is striking. He’s going to have to either pull up his trunks and engage, or we all go down for the count. Forfeiting is not the option of champions.
As I write at First Things today,:
Yesterday, President Obama took to the podium and proclaimed, “. . . we have always been and always will be a triple-A country,” and it sounded like empty sentimentalism from a man at a loss for words and for meaning—the kind of helpless, grasping-at-straws thing you say to a defeated friend you are trying to buck up, even as you know you lack the answers, or the resources, to offer either consolation or solutions.
His weakness has me worried for him. Recalling the infantile “assassination chic” that existed against George W. Bush from early in his candidacy (remember Kilborn’s “Snipers wanted” poster?) and throughout his presidency, I suggest that — like Bush — Obama needn’t fear actual harm from his opposition, because (again, as with the left and Bush): “the opposition never wants to martyr the object of their animosity, thus handing sympathy and myth to the other party [ . . . ] Obama has little to fear from the right, except for their boisterous opposition and the possibility that the more spiteful among them might sing “na, na, na, na, hey, hey, goodbye” as Marine One carries the former President Obama to Andrews Air Force Base.
But an incumbent whose competence and ability to win re-election is seriously in doubt, and against whom a primary challenge would be ill-advised, is a terrible albatross for an ideology that, three years ago, had anticipated decades of political dominance, and hates letting a good crisis go to waste. I wonder if someone can convince him to decide against running for re-election, maybe for medical reasons, and let him start his post-presidency — a life of perks and prestige without all the pressure.