The “Incompetence Crisis”Posted: March 27, 2009
All last year, ALL I heard was how experience didn’t matter. I heard that being ‘ready on day one’ was a meaningless campaign slogan. I was told that what mattered was perceived good judgment, intelligence, and speaking skills. I remember watching the first Democratic Debates and thinking, this guy isn’t ready to be dogcatcher, let alone President. There were no wonky answers on economics or foreign policy. There was never a show of any detailed plan. There was always just a nice speech read from a teleprompter with a preacher’s patois, incredible (somewhat contradictory) promises, and messages that could have come from a motivational seminar instead of a political campaign. I never got on the bandwagon.
I finally found a home over here in the Pumasphere with people of similar thought after being treated like a scourge by other sites (blog or MSM) that had gone over to the hope side. I’ve been getting used to my role as pariah. I was thinking I’d have to live with it for at least a year. I figured I’d start getting the you were so right calls sometime in the fall.
Boy, was I wrong!
I figured that because of my experience during the early calls for the Iraq war. I was the one saying “Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11. Iraq is a different agenda. Iraq is a bad idea.” I actually had some one get up in a restaurant to tell me what a lousy, unpatriotic American I was that didn’t deserve to live in the US. I became a the scourge of all true American patriots. I’ve been thinking that my 9/11 protest was just a character building experience that would serve me well during the Obama fascination period and that it would probably take a few years of, yet again, being a scourge to all true American patriots before the worm would turn. Luckily, I found a other like minded out in the Pumasphere so I don’t have to be quite alone as I was with my opinion on the Iraq Invasion.
I think I can honestly speak for a number of us around here. We didn’t expect to be proven so right so quickly. At least I didn’t. I was hoping that maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as my gut and head had deduced. So many of my friends said, he’s not Dubya, so he’s got to be better, you’ll see. After all, we’d get rid of a lot of really evil signing statements that restrict women’s reproductive choices, the right of all people to love and marry whom they wish, and we’d move ahead on science again. I’ve said this before, but nearly any democrat would have done any of those things–including Joe Lieberman. Lieberman is one of those folks that I consider marginally a democrat, but even he would have done those things if he were POTUS. We certainly wouldn’t see any nasty supreme court appointments either. These were marginal hopes and small changes that I could cling to while knowing that eventually, I would be proven right. I just didn’t even imagine it would wind up quite like this, quite so fast.
So, if I haven’t made myself clear here, Rush Limbaugh and Governor Jindal may be cheering for a failure. I’m not in that camp at all. I’ve just been quietly sitting here telling myself that with all the beautiful things written into the constitution as well as the resiliency of the American people, that perhaps it won’t be quite as bad as I thought it would be. After all, we survived the incompetency of George Bush and the lunacy of Dick Cheney. Things can’t fall apart that fast!
Boy, was I wrong!
Pumas are the new Cassandras. Our warnings, unheeded, demonized, and marginalized, are now the stuff of MSM op ed pieces. I’d like to point you to a few that are searing Obama with legitimate criticisms. I would think they came from one of the edgier Puma sites but they don’t. One is from CNN. The other from the UK’s Prospect. I also have two from the NY Times. These comments are simply alarming.
This is from CNN: Commentary: Obama is flunking economics. This article asks a very cold, cold question:
“How is it possible that someone who was so likeable and so inspiring while running for president could, day by day, be so unlikable and so uninspiring as president?”
Many Americans are so emotionally invested in the Obama presidency that they consider it too historic to fail.
They won’t tolerate any criticism of the president or his administration, finding it easier to simply attack critics. And whatever goes wrong that they can’t defend or deflect, they just blame on George W. Bush.
But to many of the rest of us, it’s clear that President Obama is flunking economics. He is trying to do too much at once, and so he is not doing any of it well. He vows to cut the federal deficit while proposing an avalanche of new spending that will — says the Congressional Budget Office — increase the national debt by as much as $9.3 trillion over the next decade.
Here’s the really bad news, though. No matter what else goes awry, Obama’s strong suits are supposed to be communications and marketing. Yet, this week we learned that this isn’t the case when he has to communicate and market his message on economics.
The majority of this commentary talks about Obama’s media recent appearances including the presser that put so many insomniacs to sleep. The thing that I find most odd is that you won’t find this on Red State or Little Green Footballs. Its sitting right there on the CNN. CNN may just be rediscovering that there’s at least two points of view in political commentary but it seems a little more prescient than that to me. The commentator is Ruben Navarrette Jr. He’s a nationally syndicated columnist and a member of the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The article that really opened my eyes is this one: “No, he can’t” by Bartle Bull. This is a Brit, conservative magazine and it pulls no punches. Here’s something I found interesting. There are evidently people trying to get Hillary to bolt and bolt fast from the administration.
Thus the big question in Democratic circles today: “What does Hillary do about this?”
Her supporters still feel that the election was stolen from her. With capital on strike, states rebelling against the president’s dependency agenda, the treasury secretary probably soon to be replaced, many top jobs still unfilled, the liberal press anxious and poll numbers plummeting, Hillary Clinton’s departure could sink an administration that already feels like a listing ship, leaving her a clear path to the Democratic nomination for 2012.
Her relationship with the president, inherently unstable personally, erodes every day that he takes his swinging axe to the remarkable bipartisan achievements of the Clinton presidency, especially welfare reform and fiscal discipline. While the biggest shocks of this presidency to date have been at home, in the foreign sphere Hillary’s job as secretary of state is made more difficult by a distracted and inexperienced president.
Serious people do not like being associated with a White House that, eight weeks after the inauguration and four months after the election, in a time of genuine economic distress, did not have one single nominee for the various treasury jobs, much less a single actual appointee sitting behind a single desk. Paul Volcker, the head of Obama’s economic advisory council, recently called the situation at treasury “shameful.” This staffing fiasco is repeated across defence, state and many other departments. Nothing like it has ever been seen in Washington.
The article outlines what may be the new standard line. Obama is no Bill Clinton, FDR, or JFK. At best, he is Carter. At worst, he is Dubya. The Bull piece tackles the challenges faced by Obama by both the US economy and the rest of the world. The Obama surge in Afghanistan is “Vietnam”. The dealings with Russia are Cartersque.
Obama’s constant signals of weakness abroad—from the embarrassing hope that adversaries like Putin and Ayatollah Khamenei will change behaviour as a result of friendly overtures, to big reductions in defence spending, to schizophrenia over Palestine—are already inviting a frightening range of challenges and rebuffs around the globe. Chinese vessels never used to bully the US Navy as they did the USNS Impeccable in March. North Korea had never before ripped up its agreement with the south or offered the calculated challenge as publicly pre-announcing the date of an illegal ballistic missile test. Not since Jimmy Carter has the world seen Russia laugh at Washington as it did over the recent request to swap eastern European missile defence for co-operation in Iran, or the cheap ($2.1bn) Russian buyout of America’s base in Kyrghizstan (forcing vital Nato supplies for Afghanistan overland through Russia and Iran, and giving Putin and the mullahs huge leverage). And even worse than the tragic Vietnam that Obama is digging in Afghanistan is the fact that, in two years, Iran will probably have a nuclear weapon. This would be one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in American history. Obama has time to do something about it but will not.
Here’s the NY Times Gail Collins on Sunday in Everything Bad is Good Again.
Barack Obama — Kinda boring. Did you see the news conference? Same thing over and over again. Not that we mind. In these troubled times, we like stability. Thank God we didn’t elect somebody who was all charisma and exciting speeches.
In summary, there appear to be only two constants in our ever-changing world. One is that Barack Obama is going to be on television every day forever. No venue is too strange. Soon, he’ll be on “Dancing With the Stars” (“And now, doing the Health Care, Energy and Education tango …”) or delivering the weather report. (“Here we see a wave of systemic change, moving across the nation …”)
Ouch. Increasingly, we’ve had some of the NY Times Op Ed writers “question” Obama’s policies from the left over the last months. No one appears more willing to take them on than Paul Krugman who does so today in The Market Mystique. But today’s piece wasn’t just questioning the policy, it damned it.
As you can guess, I don’t share that vision. I don’t think this is just a financial panic; I believe that it represents the failure of a whole model of banking, of an overgrown financial sector that did more harm than good. I don’t think the Obama administration can bring securitization back to life, and I don’t believe it should try.
So, let’s sum up the real march madness. We’ve found that the power behind the throne is TOTUS. We’ve been subjected to repeated media moments to explain why Timmy Terrific is doing a heckuva job and to call for pouring money into an incredibly broken financial system. We find Cheneyesque back door meetings with Banking CEOS and Wall Street mucky mucks. We see life stirring in the depths of the Rovian torture chamber when they should just be slinking around, licking each others’ badly beaten genitals. There are now so many 527 ads against and for the Obama budget that I’m looking for the election date. Donna Brazile is a gone pecan from CNN. Howard Dean appears to be welcome no where but a few MSNBC shows. The Republicans, far from spinning over repeated little girl slap slap attacks on Billy Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, appear to be the offense and it’s working. They also have 16 democratic senators led by Senator Evan Bayh that may work with them. None of the 16 seem to be put off by the the idea of a dead fish on their desks.
What the heck is going on?